Facebook Global Pages: One ring to bring them all?
This is the second in a series of posts about Facebook’s Global Pages for Brands:
- Post #1 Facebook Global Pages: One ring to rule them all: gives an overview of the features global brand pages offer both businesses and users, as well as the benefit to some global brands in terms of diversifying risk/impeding access to region specific content when the brand may potentially be the subject of coordinated online activism as a result of their actions in a specific region/country
In this post, I want to look at some of the the objectives that should be key influencers in the decision to pursue (or not pursue) the umbrella approach offered by Facebook’s global pages feature, if you are eligible.
I also want to look at alternative approaches that may be more appropriate, dependent on your objectives and requirements.
One ring to rule them all, One ring to find them,
One ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them
[Source The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001)]
Just because it exists, doesn’t mean it is right for you and what you want to do
There are a couple of good articles on the rationale behind moving (or not moving) your brand into a Facebook global brand page structure:
- Mashable: What’s the Right Facebook Strategy for Brands With Several Locations?
- InsideFacebook: Facebook Global Pages for Brands: To Use or Not To Use?
- Jonathan Gaiger: Facebook global pages are not for ALL brands (as featured in Wall Blog)
I have tabulated some of the influencers that should drive decisions made by organisations (commercial or not-for-profit) about how they structure their online presence:
|Drivers for having only one Facebook Page:||Drivers for establishing a Facebook global page structure||Drivers for having separate Facebook Pages|
|Drivers for considering Global Pages in spite of the above:||Drivers for not considering Global Pages, in spite of the above:||Drivers for not considering separate Facebook pages, in spite of the above:|
|Brand has potential to be focus of commentary that organisation wants to limit exposure to and limit potential for other audiences to see (as it may ignite additional commentary, protest or activism), e.g.:
There are side effects to the decisions you make
Where possible, your decision should consider these side effects as part of a cost-benefit analysis. And any strategy for adopting a particular approach should also include an address of those side effects or a plan for optimising your presences in light of those side effects.
Example #1: Country Pages – Picking the one Amnesty International page out of the many
Consider Amnesty International’s presence on Facebook, which is undertaken through separate pages for the overall organisation, then each country.
When someone undertakes a search discovery process to find an Amnesty International page on Facebook, this is what their search will retrieve (as at 09/03/2013):
Given Amnesty International run very strong country specific activities, there may be a requirement for separate pages instead of a unified page, which uses targeted posts to deliver location specific information. Of course it does mean, coordinating a cross region/cross country campaign increases load on their page admins, but there will be benefits.
Having said that, consider the following:
- No standard naming taxonomy for these pages (Amnesty International Nederland vs Amnesty International-Ireland vs Amnesty International – Suomen osasto): capitalisation, hypenation and spacing are inconsistent
- No distinguishing features in the profile pictures or country specific iconography. Are there ways Amnesty could nationalise or regionalise each of the profile pictures on its pages, so that searchers from specific regions will immediately recognise which is most relevant? This would help with discovery and faciliate users meeting their search goals.
- Given the delineation of page jurisdiction fits within the country/region delineations within Facebook’s Global Pages feature, Amnesty International’s country specific presences could benefit from a global pages structure (If they could meet the cost and if they were eligible for it), which would also faciliate users finding their country content.
Example #2: City/Suburb Pages – Picking the one Whole Foods page out of the many
Consider Whole Foods with their hyper-local presence, where each store has a page:
Whole Foods see significant benefit in a hyperlocal approach:
Each store has its own marketing specialist or promotion coordinator who monitors and manages engagement on the local Facebook Page — they’re individuals who identify themselves as social savvy and know how to engage on various channels. There’s also a support team at the corporate level to offer training and best practices, but these specialists are allowed to engage on local Facebook Pages as they see fit. As a result, many Pages discuss local charities and environmental initiatives, helping the Whole Foods brand become more ingrained in the local community.
“This particular model works so well for us because we’re so hyperlocal in-store, which translates well to the social sphere and allows each store to interact in a way that benefits the community,” says Bepko [Global online community manager for Whole Foods]. “It’s something we couldn’t do on a national scale.”
While there is a standardised naming structure:
- There are no distinguishing features in the profile pictures or location specific iconograph. Are there ways Whole Foods could hyper-localise each of the profile pictures on its pages, so that searchers from specific regions will immediately recognise which is most relevant? This would help with discovery and faciliate users meeting their search goals.
- To effectively retrieve relevant pages, users need to be aware to search for Whole Foods [location], otherwise they have to pick through the results to find the page relevant to them.
While the coordinated approach is great for consumers already on the pages who want to see hyper-local content, the organic search results mean the easiest way for consumers who have not yet liked a page to connect, is for them to either enter specific URLs or see a Facebook ad or be sent to the page from a store specific web site/page.
Pros and Cons to the Amnesty International and Whole Foods approaches
The approaches used by Amnesty International and Whole Foods, in setting up separate pages, and any company that establishes a Global Pages umbrella structure (where the separate pages sit under an Global Page infrastructure) do require significant resources to meet the specific audience requirements of each page.
The approaches also diminish the ease of consumers finding their pages through organic Facebook search results (without being pre-primed to enterpage specific search terms or being sent to the page from a country/location dependent website or publication).
But there are benefits to the localised/regionalised/nationalised approach, from a guest post on InsideFacebook by Peter Heffring discussing the benefits of Facebook Global Pages based on results observed for local/city/suburb pages:
Expion has seen engagement that is 100 and 700 percent higher when pages are locally focused at a store location level. We also expect country pages to experience significant increases in engagement over a geo-targeted approach from a global page.
There are still options for unified page owners with few resources…
Business and Organisations who are not eligible to take up Global Brand pages and/or who do not have the resources to set up separate pages, still have options, such as targeting posts to their existing likebase.
Admittedly according to Peter Heffring’s commentary, above, this may not provide as good returns in comparison to localised Facebook presences (at country, region, state, city or suburb level), but for:
- smaller businesses
- business who cannot yet justify the cost of setting up either global pages or separate pages
- not-for-profits who do not yet have:
- the infrastructure to successully manage a large cohort of pages
- access to Facebook’s global brand page functionality
This can still be a positive option that provides initial return to justify further investment of time, money and resources further down the line. From little things, big things grow.
How to target your page posts
Since 2009, page owners have been able to target their posts by language and location.
Facebook announced the roll out of additional targeting options mid 2012. These areccessible to page owners with a likebase over 5000 members and include the ability to target by relationship status, educational status, interests in addition to location and language targetting (Image from InsideFacebook article: New page post targeting options coming to all Facebook pages over 5,000 Likes):
Brittany Darwell summarises how Facebook’s post targeting features work:
…page post targeting will only apply to News Feed distribution. All posts will remain visible from the page’s Timeline. This will allow the friends of fans who don’t meet the targeting criteria to see stories about their friends Liking or commenting on the post.
Considering paid advertising (Facebook ads) to get your message out to people in specific location(s)
Additionally, pages can consider paid advertising to increase their exposure to members of their likebase and potential likebase in specific demographics:
…you can define your target audience based on location, sex, age, likes and interests, broad categories, relationship status, workplace or education. Additionally, if you are the admin of content on Facebook (such as a Page or an event), you can also target your advert to users who are already connected to your Facebook content.