As Facebook grows stronger and more relevant each day, it also becomes an attractive and significant marketing tool for businesses. In fact, businesses that neglect Facebook do so at their own peril if their competitors make the effort to craft a positive user experience there.
While Facebook's potential as a marketing platform for a company is hard to ignore, it is also wise to proceed cautiously on a network within which the user has few, if any rights, and little recourse in the event that something goes wrong.
Know that because Facebook is a free platform, it can do essentially whatever it wants. This means that it can, and does remove information for any reason. Unfortunately, such action sometimes seems random, and it becomes a huge problem for the Page owner, who suddenly finds himself adrift in a huge Facebook sea of indifference with no pipeline to a real-live human being who can or will help.
I've had 2 instances where I've experienced Facebook's callous disregard for it's users. In the first, Facebook took down a note on my own Grow My Company page because someone reported it as abusive, which is absurd. I had spent many months developing a list of tips for social media usability. I would tweet them and post them to my Fan Page, and then add them to this note, which linked off a graphic on my page that portrayed me as a "Tipster." There was absolutely no questionable content included. It was just tips for Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, video, and social media in general, but someone reported it as abusive, and Facebook yanked it down.
So, why would Facebook do this? I can't say with certainty, but I can speculate that somebody decided to be spiteful for their own selfish reasons, and they reported the Note just to be mean. Unfortunately, this instance proves that Facebook doesn't bother to review reported content, they just remove it. So beware.
Unfortunately, I neglected to keep a local copy of the list I was developing. I can certainly rebuild it simply by going back in my posts. Will I? Maybe, but it will be a lot of work to duplicate my effort.
In the second Facebook affront, it suddenly, and without warning, took down a client's Fan Page. This was a law firm Page with absolutely no questionable content as well. It contained over a year's worth of blog posts from 4 legal blogs, legal news, and 50+ legal videos.
In both above instances, I tried my best to open a channel to an actual person within the Facebook conglomerate who could listen and help, to no avail. I dug through countless help documents and sent many messages. I worked my social media channels hoping to find someone who knew someone within Facebook. My LinkedIn network gives me access to about 11 million people, and I came up dry. Facebook is a black hole when it comes to customer service.
So, I am very cautious about positioning Facebook at the center of any of my clients' marketing endeavors. I agree that it's an essential component, but I've been reading lately that some companies are actually getting rid of their websites in favor of establishing their Facebook Page as their primary online presence. I believe that is foolish. When you use Facebook, you're playing in a sandbox that you don't own and where you have just fleeting, non-specific rights. Facebook can make any decision it wants at any time, for any reason, and you have no recourse, as you would with something that you pay for, like a website hosting service.