Facebook has finally rolled out its new Pages.
While a lot has been said about the new layout or the “Everyone” filter, the “Use Facebook as Page” setting caught my attention. This feature would allow a page administrator to interact with Facebook as that page, not their profile.
Opportunity for Outreach
For those who administer Facebook pages for organizations, this feature has great appeal. While interacting on a page with its fans, you and other administrators appear as that page, not your profile. But any interactions beyond that page must be done with your name and face.
For small businesses where you and your organization are one and the same, this isn’t a problem. But if you keep your work and personal lives separate (like me) and/or don’t want to be seen as a spokesperson for your organization (leading to friend requests from people you don’t know or being held accountable for what your organization does), you were stuck.
Being able to use the page’s name and icon beyond your page presented a great opportunity to interact with and engage others.
What New Facebook as Pages Can’t Do
Unfortunately, “Use Facebook as Page” is more limited than I’d hoped. You can’t interact with someone’s profile—no likes or comments. And you can’t see Groups when using Facebook as your page.
The changes are understandable. Facebook has always been about people. Allowing a page the same options as a person could easily lead to a page spamming someone’s Wall or raiding Groups to promote their products.
But it still does allow you to do some cool things.
What New Facebook Pages Can Do
Using Facebook as a page allows you to interact with other pages as your page. You can leave a comment or like an item on behalf of your page. So if your company is being discussed on another page, you can be a part of the discussion without exposing your Facebook profile to the flames of attackers. (But that also means having a monitoring strategy in place.)
It can also allow linked brands or products to cross-promote. If someone from the UK posts a question or comment on the Wall for the Canadian version of a product, the UK page can respond right on the Canadian page’s Wall. Though the Canadian page could try to answer the question or refer the user to the UK page, providing an authoritative answer where the user is presents a better user experience.
Also, pages now allow you to highlight page owners. For those small organizations that want to tie themselves with their owner, the owner’s Facebook profile can appear in this section, even if others maintain the page.
Somewhat surprisingly, a page can also interact with Events. As your page, you can create a new event, indicate attendance and leave comments. A savvy move, this new options recognizes that companies host events and should be able to interact with attendees. So someone looking for directions can be handled by someone who knows the area well. Issues around costs and fees would be dealt with by whoever is handling logistics. A question about when the event starts would be covered by whomever is setting the agenda. But rather than several faces appearing to answer these question, it would all appear to come from the organization, adding a level of credibility.
So Now What?
While this new feature presents some opportunities, a challenge could be keeping it all straight. A page is seen as a single persona, but there may be a large team—or several teams—behind it. If an events coordinator comments on a post for an Event, and then someone posts a question about that comment on the page’s Wall, which is maintained by another team, there could be a scramble to find the right person to provide the answer.
And, this also opens up the debate about using a human face and name to interact in the social space, or a brand name and logo. When it comes to Facebook, though, I don’t want to get my profile mixed up with my job, especially if I switch jobs.
And, like we saw on Twitter, how long will it be before Coke or Pepsi posts on the other’s wall?