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Facebook Fans: The Ultimate Misnomer?

Facebook is getting some serious attention these days and for good reason. There are some interesting ways to stay in touch with your friends and reconnect with some people that you may have “forgotten” about over the years. You can also keep in touch with family and allow people who you do business with to see something a little more about you. While it can be fun and interesting, it can also be incredibly dangerous if you don’t show some restraint.

One of the real business applications of Facebook is the business/fan page. I have seen quite a few of these pages popping up around companies that haven’t had a social media presence until someone decided to put the page together. I find it funny what a Pollyanna attitude people can have when it comes to social media, though. No one likes to consider the dark side of doing something like this.
Dark side? What could possibly go wrong by putting some innocent banter about a company on Facebook? What could possibly create more harm than good? There are two main concerns.
The first is Business/Fan page neglect. There is plenty of evidence of what I call the Facebook “rush.” The company page is started by a peppy, overzealous person who doesn’t truly understand that they have potentially pried the cap off a huge can of worms. There is a month or so of furious activity and a ridiculously high level of expectation that the pace and quality can be maintained. Next thing we know, the employee assigned has left or has lost interest. The updates slow and the quality slides. Suddenly, there is a house that was once the pride of the neighborhood that has fallen into ill repair.
Neglect leads to the next problem, the Facebook landmine. The moment that no one is minding the Facebook shop, it happens: unhappy customers turn into your biggest anti-fans. They sneak in and start to subvert the efforts of the company page to create a whole new problem, Facebook Reputation Monitoring. If you or someone in your company is only paying lip service to the maintenance of the page, a negative comment could sit on a “fan” page for an extended stay. I’ve seen this. A bad review and no response on a business page is just bad business. It happens a lot more often than we want to think.
So the takeaway here for Facebook is that if you are going to get in, you must stay in. You swing the door wide-open to a lot of really good things. That door swings in two directions, though. You can just as easily create a customer service nightmare. You’d better be completely sold on the possibilities, because the surprises from some of your “fans” could be more trouble than it’s worth.

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