Facebook has made it possible for companies to merge their Facebook Page and Facebook Place on one page. The question is, should they? There are pros and cons to taking this step, not the least of which are the reports by some users that it is not as easy as it looks.
The benefits of merging the two are obvious. It creates a single hub for customers to interact with a brand and to find information, writes Luna Metrics. It also allows for easy updates and maintenance. "After a merge you only need to update your customer base from one channel within Facebook, which allows for an easy connection to your business’s online presence and physical location."
Also, it is a good option for small businesses that want to emphasize their physical location - say a coffee shop or local retailer - as the merged page features a small map illustrating how the business can be found, along with an address, phone number, website and hours.
But the drawbacks are many. For businesses that don't have to play up their location - that is, they are not a local business - the map at the top of the page is confusing, Luna Metrics notes. Also, FBML customized tabs are shortened in width after a merge, which will alter any existing custom designed tabs and distort the images.
Perhaps the worst drawback is that there's currently no way to reverse it once it's implemented, Luna Metrics says. "This is hard to deal with because as a business, especially online, your market and product is always changing. Therefore, not having the ability to alter a facet of your brand may become frustrating and in the end troublesome for the transforming state of your business."
Social media speaker and trainer Mari Smith writes that from she's seen, many business owners are extremely dissatisfied and confused by the merge for the following reasons:
- All your tabs disappear along the top and are now links down the left hand column.
- You cannot set a default landing tab - so all that work (and money) you put into having a beautiful custom landing tab and testing your conversion has gone to waste.
- The central focus is the Bing map plus links that were previously on your Info tab.
- It's not easy or obvious where to write on the wall as the page lands on "Profile" by default and users have to click "Wall" to be able to make a post.
Then again, she says, for the past several weeks, The Ellen DeGeneres Show's Facebook Page has been using the new merged style "and somehow her 4M+ fans are managing just fine to engage on the page."