Aqua Pebble
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copycateAs a com­pany you will usu­ally have mul­ti­ple chan­nels you use both for busi­ness and mar­ket­ing and it is clear which online prop­erty belongs to you. In social media this can be a bit muddy, some­times, as any Joe can make a page and look like they might be the offi­cial deal. Some­times this can work out well, but other times it is less than ideal.

Unof­fi­cial Pages

There are some great sto­ries about fans cre­at­ing a page or group for a brand, mak­ing a huge suc­cess of it and end­ing up employed in the brand. These sto­ries are not your every­day occur­rence and are less and less likely the more com­pa­nies embrace social media.

So what do you do when you find your­self fac­ing many unof­fi­cial pages of your brand (some brands have 100’s), espe­cially in the early days when you are still build­ing your fans and it might not be clear to a Face­book user which page is the real one?

Facebook’s Rules

Facebook’s stance is that pages are only to be cre­ated by some­body who has autho­ri­sa­tion and who is an offi­cial rep­re­sen­ta­tive of who­ever the page is cre­ated for. Groups are for fans or haters who would to sup­port or take a stand. There­fore, any one who is not offi­cial is break­ing their terms and con­di­tions. Face­book will merge all the non offi­cial pages fans with your page and take down those pages. You will gain the fans who are not already a fan of your page from these.

The Dilemma

The real dilemma for a com­pany is how fans will react to this, is it right to treat fans of your company/brand like that and whether it will cause a prob­lem that will become a PR night­mare? The deci­sion taken will be dif­fer­ent for every com­pany or brand depend­ing on circumstances.

6 Con­sid­er­a­tions

The things that you will need to con­sider when decid­ing is:

1. Is your brand/company image being com­pro­mised by these pages?

2. How are they unof­fi­cially using com­pany images and does this pose any prob­lems like licens­ing or con­trac­tual (e.g. actors and per­mis­sions for usage)

3. Are you happy with the way they are rep­re­sent­ing your com­pany and brand?

4. Have the peo­ple who have fanned the unof­fi­cial page done so believ­ing it to be offi­cial and there­fore are being misled?

5. How active are these unof­fi­cial pages?

6. Will the fans get a bet­ter qual­ity expe­ri­ence by being merged into the offi­cial page?

Advice and a Plan

Per­haps involve your PR depart­ment and get advice if you are still not sure. Some­times brands merge these pages and the fans don’t even realise that it has hap­pened and start to see the offi­cial mes­sages and become more engaged with your com­pany or brand.

At the end of the day it is an impor­tant deci­sion that needs to be care­fully con­sid­ered and you need a plan in case of any back­lash. Remem­ber these fake pages are break­ing Facebook’s terms and con­di­tions and these peo­ple should be encour­aged to cre­ate a group rather than an offi­cial page.

Have you had to con­sider this and what did you decide?

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  • A mes­sage from Lee-Ann

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