by Jon Wade
October 19th, 2012

Facebook’s announcement on their Studio Blog is a blessed relief for Social Media strategists the world over.

One of the constant questions asked of digital strategists by clients is whether they should have a single global brand page or multiple local market pages. The answer has typically been “it depends”, but that undoubtedly was a fudge.

The actual answer was “both…in one location, but that structure is not presently supported by Facebook”.

For some time now, you’ve been able geo-target wall posts on pages covering multiple geographies so that users in the US don’t see posts in Japanese and vice versa, but the whole layout and language of the page has only been available in one variant. This restriction has spawned, for most global brands, multiple brand pages that are tailored to individual local market and regional requirements. Whilst that works for the communications departments of large client at a local market level, it really isn’t great for global clients or more importantly, for consumers.

From a client point of view, this structure of multiple pages fragments the brand’s audience with their ‘Likes’ all over the place, adds unnecessary administration overheads communicating the same content at a global level across multiple pages and can lead to inconsistencies in the way the brand is communicating, as each page is controlled by a different admin.

But for consumers, it’s far worse. If you want to find a brand’s Facebook presence, most people do so by searching on Facebook. With multiple brand pages you will get a bewildering list of a variety of pages in the results returned.

Which one do I like? No idea…

What am I missing out on if I don’t like this page? No idea…

The changes announced are a great move on Facebook’s part. What is not clear from the announcement is whether these changes will become mandatory for brand’s to adopt. Recent history shows us, as with Timeline, that initial optional approaches tend to become mandatory over time on Facebook. In addition, the process of migrating current presences into this new structure is also not yet clear. Time, undoubtedly, will tell how much pain for brands will be associated with what appears on the face of it to be a triumph for common-sense.

Jon Wade is head of digital, Asia Pacific, at Weber Shandwick

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