Keep it real, don’t fake it

5th September 2019

What does real vs fake mean?

Let’s start off by saying what we mean by keeping it real, not fake. This post discusses using a real person’s profile or setting up a fake (read as ‘not a real person’) management profile for managing business pages.

Wait… What? So to make managing pages simpler, businesses will setup a single user profile on networks such as Facebook that’s a ‘business person’. For example we might create one called “SCRM Hub”, which we will setup to manage our social media page as an administrator or content publisher.

This details of this fake management profile are then shared with everyone that needs access to that page – username, password, etc. In this way they only have to maintain one profile, they don’t have to add every new person to the page, remember to remove people that have left etc.

Obviously some networks like Twitter do require this kind of behaviour as that’s their model as they don’t have the concept of pages, only profiles.

On a side note, it’s amazing that Twitter does not support creating profiles that can be managed for the reasons I’m about to say.

But sites like Facebook and LinkedIn where you have business pages do support this behaviour.

So what are the risks?

First up, let’s talk about what networks do to these profiles. Sites like Facebook and LinkedIn operate – and make money – from actual, real-life people (cue the Frozen song), and to them a fake profile is a red flag of which they have lots of ways to identify those pages.

So what happens if they identify your not quite a real person profile? Well, first they will contact you to tell you it doesn’t look right and ask you to prove it’s real. Now, there are ways to manipulate this to make it look real. The main thing is that if it has your business name as it’s name, it’s going to be pretty hard to convince them it’s real.

Now, lets assume you don’t get past the fake profile check. What happens next. Well, that profile will get shut down, which then means that all of your staff who relied on that page to access your business page now can’t, which in turn means that unless you have a backup real profile, you have no way to manage your business page.

Is that all that’s wrong with a fake profile?

OK, so that’s probably not the end of the world as you probably have a backup user on the page so you can still get in and add new people, maybe even a new fake management profile.

Which brings me onto the second issue with these profiles. You have a single profile that everyone uses. This means that everyone knows that username and password.

Now, suppose someone in your business leaves and you forget to change the password. That person still has access to your page through that profile. If they weren’t happy when they left, they might do something silly. We like to think people don’t, but it does happen. They go, take that profile, change the password, and that’s it. Game over till the lawyers fix it.

“But we can change the password”. Ok, yes you can, but then you’ve got the hassle of remembering to share that with everyone. You’ve also got the risk that you’ve got a business critical username and password written down and shared – auditors love that kind of thing.

And one final thing. If you have a shared profile, it means that any activity on the page is always attributed to that profile. That means you don’t know who posted a piece of content, or wrote a comment responding to that customer. That, again, is something that auditors love to sink their teeth into.

Alright, so what are you suggesting we do?

For networks that allow it, in my opinion, the only way to manage this well, is to use each person’s actual profile and give them permission to your page.

Right now you’re screaming “That’s crazy! Giving people’s personal profile access to manage our page! And all that work to maintain it too! Have you gone mad”. Please, hear me out on this, I’ve been doing it for a long time so I have some idea.

The advantages of granting your staff’s user profile access rather than a single profile are:

  • You can manage the access for each person. e.g. some can only create content, and other’s just reply to comments, etc. Think about that. Those profiles have limited access to the page. They can do exactly what you let them, and nothing more
  • If someone leaves, all you need to do is remove their page access. This is actually no harder than remembering to change a shared profile password in reality, and easier because you don’t need to tell everyone you’ve done it (and subsequently have them update all their saved passwords)
  • And last but not least, you know exactly who did what. Think about that. You will know exactly who posted a piece of content, or wrote a comment on the page. That is gold, and lets you identify if someone in the team needs additional training or if they are excelling at keeping your community happy

Ultimately, it’s up to you how you manage your pages, but from my experience as someone that has managed office networks, and worked on managing Facebook pages for 7+ years, and watched the changes come through to facilitate this level of management, it really is advisable to take this approach.

The next step on Facebook is to ensure you have Facebook Business Manager setup, but that’s something for another blog piece.