Fake Facebook profiles

by Gunnar Engblom on April 18, 2010

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Faked Profiles

Faked Banksy Faked profileOne of the things I have picked up as good practice as a blogger is to try to give suggestions that will solve someone’s problems. This is such a post. I am not intending to point fingers and make this into a rant -which certainly struck me as a possibility – but to try to suggest a solution to an increasingly annoying problem. Please share this post as you feel necessary.

New Facebook Community Pages

I started two new Facebook Community Pages a few days ago. One for Worldbirders and one about SocialMedia.  Community Pages are like a combination of groups and pages. Posts will show on the walls of the members and the page can be seen also by non-users just like pages, but one may promote a general topic as with groups as well as un-official fan-pages. The new concept was created to tackle pages that did not follow the guide-lines.  Once the pages grow to a certain size of a couple of  thousand members the original admin will lose the admin rights and the whole community will manage the page.

This is good news. The groups I have started have very strict rules regarding spam and self-promotion. Since they are open to all public they need to be heavily monitored. For the time being I have no problem doing the daily admin duties. The community can help in reporting the posts that are not following the rules. Advertising is generally not allowed.However, there is one thing that worries me which is the topic of this post.

UPADTE September 4, 2011: The new Facebook groups make community pages for small communities superfluous, as dialogues and updates are easier to monitor for both the admins as well as the group members. Read about the new groups here.

What to do with fake names?

There are a lot of profiles that have names that does not respond to a person’s real name. Most of the time, I think these names have been created not really understanding how Facebook works. When creating an account in Facebook you SHOULD use your own REAL  name and tie that to your email.  Fake names can be sorted into 3 categories.

  • Pseudonyms or alias. Most of the times, these are pretty harmless – and I don’t make a big fuss about it. Although, it would be nicer to know whom you are actually talking to. While it is allowed to use a pseudonym on Twitter it s not allowed on Facebook.
  • NGO:s and causes.  Most of the times due to having not understood well the Facebook structure. NGO:s and Causes do well to have proper pages.
  • Businesses.  Every tweet is in effect  advertising. Some users are using this as a strategy by posting on every single group about birds they can find.  It can become quite annoying and even though it give exposure, it also hurts the business as it upsets a lot of people. Business should have Facebook pages.

Advantages of Facebook page for businesses and NGO:s

  1. You can talk about your product 24/7 and you are expected to.  With your personal REAL profile you can take part in conversations  without looking like a spammer. Soon enough without being too obvious you will be the person behind the brand which in turn will give strenght to your brand if you come off as a nice, helping person.
  2. As a person you can send invitations to become fans of your page. If you have been engaging it is more likely people will become true fans.  Sure, it is a bit like friend invitations and you may not get as many fans as you have friends this way, but I would not worry too much about that. As for your fanbase you want to have real fans. Among the Facebook Friends you can build relationships that indirectly supports your brand.
  3. There can be several people as admin for a Page.  It shall be much easier to create content on your fanpage if there are various people on your team involved.
  4. With a Page you can advertise. It is remarkably cheap to advertise to specific age groups with specific interest in specific geographic areas. I have had around 100 000 impressions for only 20 dollars in a recent campaign.
  5. The Page will be 100% searchable by search engines.  The Facebook page for my company now has Google Page Rank 5 after 6 months!
  6. You can customize the looks of your page. UPDATE: Facebook now use iframes which are much easier to use than the old FBML code. See this link for some tips. Also check this post from John Haydon about custom tabs.
  7. You can add a widget of your fanpage to your blog or your web-page. That is pretty cool.

Is it too late now to start a new Page?

Actually, it is not. It is very easy. Four steps

  1. Just enter http://www.facebook.com/pages/create.php and follow the instructions.
  2. Make sure to send invitations to all your friends by the Suggest to Friends link under the profile picture in the newly created Page.
  3. Change the name on the profile to your real name. I am not sure this option was there before, but it is now.  Just enter Account top right and Account settings – then edit your name. As easy as that!
  4. You should also send a direct message to all your friends explaining what you are doing. You can only send to 20 people at a time so it may take you a while. You can naturally also post on your wall which hopefully your friends will see.

In the end you win big time this way, not only have you created a Facebook page for your company, but you also give a face to your company. A real person your clients and supporters can relate to.

More about Pages can be found on this recent post in the Social Media for birders series.

Image by Streetart
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