The scariest thing about building your presence on Facebook is building your presence on Facebook. Their on again, off again shenanigans do little to build confidence among the brands who showcase themselves on the social giant’s site. It reminds me of the Tom Hanks classic, “Big” in which a disorganized, inexperienced, hyperactive child transforms into the CEO of a toy company when his wish – to be big – comes true. And while Facebook has taken steps toward building a mature (and profitable) business operation, setbacks abound.
Take this post on Facebook’s developer’s forum yesterday. Essentially, it says Facebook Pages need to be “authenticated” in order to have landing tabs. Authentication basically means you must have at least 10K fans and you’ll be forced to spend some (unspecified) amount of money on Facebook ads. It’s a major change in course. A significant new hurdle for marketers who are trying to build their brand via Facebook. And all Facebook did to announce this was post a few sentences on a developer forum that none of their average users read.
Oh but wait! Today, Facebook seems to have reverted back to the original permissions, making landing tabs available for anybody. Are you joking? Their only explanation is a 3 sentence response in the same developer forum. It claims the requirement was instituted as “part of a Pages quality initiative”. (There’s some speculation that Facebook is trying to crack down on the spammers.) And it goes on to say they are “re-investigating the situation, and will not make any further changes without first giving our community standard notice and lead-time.”
With all the debate over Facebook privacy issues, this snafu seems to have gone virtually unnoticed by many major social media watchdog sites. Unfortunately, this problem isn’t going away. And for anyone seeking to build their brand on Facebook, I offer this advice:
1. Do: Get input and guidance from a social media professional. Even if you simply make a habit of reading the blogs (like mine!), awareness will be the key to success on Facebook.
2. Don’t: Put all your eggs in one basket. Diversify your social media strategy onto twitter, foursquare and the blogosphere.
3. Do: Have Faith in the power of Facebook, but engage your fans through interesting wall posts, cool apps and a complete strategy. Posting a splashy landing page isn’t enough, because you never know when Facebook might change the rules, again.