Anyone who follows Facebook closely should be aware of the emergence of Community Pages on the network over the last number of weeks. These pages, on literally any subject from ‘bowling’ to the ‘Bay of Fundy’ have taken Facebook by storm, not to mention attracting thousands of fans in the process. The numbers are dramatic, although I have yet to see any real stats.
Here is how they work. You can setup a Community Page easily (click HERE for the link). Initially, it has the look and feel of a Fan Page. The page title or general topic you chose must be general or generic in nature to really work. If your page IS NOT designated as a ‘Community Page’ by Facebook (and this is important) you can manage it, add photos, etc. as you would any other Facebook page. If your page IS designated as a ‘Community Page’, you have no control of the management and the page and content becomes the property of Facebook. What’s confusing here is that if your page is not designated as a ‘Community Page’, what is it? Is it a Fan page or an Official Page? Or is it a ‘Community Page’ in waiting? Just how this process works, no one seems to know, but we do know Wikipedia plays a role.
If you search, for example, ‘Nova Scotia’ on Facebook and find a Community ‘Interest’ Page, you’ll see a Wikipedia description and two categories of postings – one for ‘Related Posts by Friends’ and another for ‘Related Global Posts’. In the postings listed under each category the word ‘Nova Scotia’ is highlighted, as you would find with any search tool.
What is perhaps more important here is where these pages take us and how they could change search patterns on the internet. If you are a social media marketer and have clients in the ‘wine’ business, for example, you can now access nearly 209,000 potential customers (‘208,896 People Like This’ as of this date) by simply becoming a fan of the page and adding the correct word or phrase to each Facebook entry. With a bit more planning you could communicate your message to thousands of additional people within the same interest group or groups. The potential, well, is significant, when one considers all the personal marketing data Facebook has at its disposal, not to mention the huge number of users on the website.
Screen shot of 'Wine' Community Page
Just one final note. No one really seems to know exactly what Facebook plans to do with ‘Community Pages’. At the top of each page is this note to passers-by: “Our goal is to make this Community Page the best collection of shared knowledge on this topic. If you have a passion for Wine, sign up and we’ll let you know when we’re ready for your help. You can also get us started by suggesting the Official Facebook Page.”
What role are fans going to play in the management of Community Pages? What is Facebook expecting from us when they’re “ready for our help?” Why does Facebook want control of Community Pages? Are these pages going to be another huge revenue source for the company? Why are they asking us to submit an ‘Official Facebook Page’?
Stay tuned, the answers to these and other questions will emerge soon.