Have you ever searched for the name of your business in Facebook to see what shows up? Whether you have a business Facebook page or not this is a good practice to do every so often.
Unofficial pages for your business can appear on Facebook for multiple reasons. The most common way they appear is because someone checked into or tagged the location using their phone. Their smartphone calculates where they are and creates a business listing on Facebook. If you have a Facebook business page ideally it links to that page, but occasionally Facebook creates new unofficial pages even when you already have a page. If you don’t have a Facebook page it doesn’t have an option other than to create an unofficial page.
You’ll also want to check for alternate names. I’ve seen businesses that have gone by numerous names in the past and each of those business names had an unofficial Facebook page. One company had four different Facebook pages. One that they knew about and were posting to regularly. Three others that they were unaware of with different names tied to random posts and reviews.
What is the big deal?
Sometimes unofficial/unclaimed business Facebook pages are not a problem. They could exist for months or years without you knowing. That could be part of the problem. When an unofficial page is created it can cause confusion for people that are searching for your business on Facebook. If you have a well put together Facebook page that you’re consistently posting on you might think that would be the obvious real business page, right? People and computers can still be confused.
Often times you’ll find reviews left by customers on unofficial pages. If you don’t know about the unofficial page you don’t know about the review. If it is a good review it isn’t as much of a concern other than you’re missing out on that positive experience. Unknown negative reviews are more concerning as they can spiral out of control. You now have this unofficial Facebook page that may or may not have your correct information on it that has a negative review for the world to see, without a response from you. It can leave a very bad first impression on potential customers. If they see that negative post before they see your real Facebook page they may not even look any further. You now have a lost customer.
What To Do
- Search Facebook for your business name. Schedule this as a monthly task.
- Don’t already have a claimed Facebook business page? Set one up and manage it.
- Find an unclaimed/unofficial Facebook business page?
- In the upper right corner, you’ll see “Is this your business?”. Click that.
- You can either claim or merge the page:
- Merge = If you already have a Facebook page you may be able to merge the unofficial page with your current page. If there are positive reviews on the unofficial page this is a way to transfer them onto your official page. Merging may not work if the addresses on the unofficial and official page don’t match.
- Claim = Claim and verify the page is your only option if you don’t already have a Facebook page. You can also claim the listing and then once you receive control over the page you can unpublish and delete the page, so it is no longer visible on Facebook. You can also claim the page and then use that as your official Facebook page if you don’t already have a page.
- Whether you merge or claim be prepared to prove you own the business by answering a phone call at your place of business, receiving a verification code via mail or providing other business information that only you may know. Facebook offers some helpful answers to the process if you get stuck.
- Check back often and see if new unofficial pages appear. Just because you’ve fixed this once doesn’t mean it won’t happen again.
Completing this check is one more step in the right direction to know how you are perceived online. If this is overwhelming, Vivid Image can help. We see these things all the time and help businesses cleanup their online presence. The first step is being aware of what is out there.