Let me just start by saying that this post is somewhere between informational and a rant. You ever feel the need to vent about something that you felt either wasn’t working or was working in such an obtuse way that the designer may have have been creating it while having portions of his anatomy stuck somewhere interesting? Good, well then you understand!
Facebook Groups have a lot of assets, as I mentioned in my previous post (“Facebook Fan Pages vs Facebook Groups“), there are advantages to them. However, I ran into a conflict of philosophy with them.
I believe that, if something your doing that takes up a large chunk of your time, contributes to making you money, can be automated WITHOUT costing you money, and that automation will free up large portions of time, you should definitely hustle it! (On the contrary, too many people are quick to automate things that they haven’t streamlined enough to make them money, and into an automation method that will COST them money. That behavior is a serious financial and business mistake.)
Now, many of you know that I’ve been burning the candle at both ends, so to speak. I’ve become extremely time-strapped and I imagine that is true for many of you. Have you ever got to the end of your day and not to the end of your to-do list? Yeah? Me too!
I was delighted when I discovered that if I connected my blog to the “Networked Blogs” Facebook application, and then connected to that, that I could have it publish every new blog post I make to any (selective control exists) page and profile I select. This means that my Syndication Alliance page and my Facebook personal profile magically get blog updates to their status/wall! (There’s a minor downside that I don’t get to add commentary, but I usually post a blog post a couple times, for tagging reasons, so this just eliminates one of the times I need to burn that energy!) Do you see the time-saver here? There’s a huge potential for “social abuse” if you aren’t HONESTLY active on the profile/page you are piping data to, but if you are, there is no harm. (Remember, talk WITH your members, not TO them!)
There are several other applications as well, such as “Profile HTML” (used for adding an opt-in box) and “Static FBLM” (used for adding a welcome tab and embedding HTML including video, optins and more), and the list goes on. Each of these are free, save time, increase branding, increase cohesion, and … most importantly… allow me to spend time building real relationships knowing that certain things will take care of themselves.
I spent several days looking for alternatives to connect my rapidly growing Facebook group to applications, with absolutely zero luck. There is ZERO connection between groups and applications. Groups have essentially been abandoned in development. Then I looked for an easy way to move my group (or convert my group) over to a fan/biz page… and again, came up empty handed.
Finally, I headed down to the Pages section, to re-create my group as a page… and then things got REALLY interesting. My group’s name is/was this: “Need WordPress, Facebook or Twitter Help? Ask & Answer Questions Here!“, which is pretty useful! However, regardless of how I tried to shuffle it or switch it up, I couldn’t get that name through the filtering system that pages use for name approval. I tried removing “facebook”, converting Facebook to “FB”, removing twitter and then wordpress, changing Ask & Answer to Q&A, etc… I worked on every variant I could think of for about 24 hours. Below is the warning I continued to receive.
Finally, I broke down and used the Contact Support Team link, and sent the inquiry you can see below. I was fairly naive because I was optimistic that this was just a filter hiccup and I would get this approved. Nope.
Inquiry submitted by me to Facebook:
First Name: Kimberly
Last Name: Castleberry
Email address: (removed)
Page name: Need WordPress, Facebook or Twitter Help for Social Media? Q&A Here!
What are you creating this Page for?: I do a lot of support for social media platforms. I have a FB group with a similar name that I want to move to a Page. I’m not sure why this is blocked. Please allow this so we can have our community with the advantages (applications/seo/etc) of pages.
Page Category: 135 – Professional Service
Reply received by me from Facebook:
Facebook Pages offer musicians, public figures, businesses and other organizations a place to interact with their fans, and create a highly engaging presence plugged into Facebook’s social graph. Only the official representative of a figure, brands, or organization is permitted to create a Facebook Page. Additionally, Pages may not be created to represent things that don’t fall into these categories.
If you would like to create a space for fans of a certain topic or figure to share their thoughts and opinions, we suggest you create a Facebook Group. To get started, please click on “Groups” in Application menu and then on the “Create a New Group” button found at the top of the page. Let us know if you have any further questions.
Thanks for contacting Facebook,
So, if you represent anything that doesn’t neatly fall into their categories, you may be breaking Facebook rules. After consideration of that, I decided to leverage the brand I’m building and the services I provide. The page may be a little rogue, a little rebel, but then again, so am I! I took the nearest name I could get approved that convey that while also conveying what I’m building: “Ask Kimberly & Community: Social Media Technical Support“. I’ve always been a fan of using “ask campaigns” to build interaction, and so here I go taking my own advice!
Facebook Groups still have their uses. They just dramatically clashed with my technology-centric lifestyle. If you enjoy using technology time-solvers to maximize your efficiency, you may find groups somewhat stifling. It’s key to be aware that there is no conversion method and your decision is final unless you want to make the manual move I had to. Do your research, weigh your options, decide what works best for you. Facebook (apparently) stopping development on groups is disappointing. Pages have grown because they’ve striven to make it easy for large corporations to come join the fun while keeping them off of profiles.
For me, pages are now my solution. They offer me the technology connection even though they have their own issues. What works for me may not work for you (insert proverbial grain of salt here). As they say, YMMV (Your Mileage May Vary).
Hopefully this helps you make an informed decision! I highly suggest the reading links in my previous post (“Facebook Fan Pages vs Facebook Groups“) as a good place to begin. Drop me a comment and lets share thoughts! I look forward to your questions!
(PS: Several more Facebook Page tutorials coming soon, including setting up Networked Blog! Let me know if there’s something you’d like me to cover!)