Over the years, Facebook’s Pages platform has slowly but effectively oozed into any (decent) online communication strategy – as of the end of last year, there were over 37 million Facebook pages out there with 10 or more likes (according to the company’s S-1 filing) – update: make that 42 million.
Now obviously most of these business pages are designed to primarily cater to a specific country or territory – but they will (or at least should) usually allow anyone from around the world to join the conversation. But what if a business or brand is active in two territories? What if it’s active in two hundred? Should it just pay someone (employee or company) to create, grow and maintain separate pages for each market (as many already do)?
OK, fair enough – those big consumer-facing companies who are active in hundreds of markets will have to settle (and fork over the cash) for that or – if they want to keep a single page that’s able to individually address each market – employ an enterprise-level social profile management platform that elegantly uses Facebook’s Graph API to cater to even the most rigorous geo-targeting needs, all packaged up nicely into a carefully tailored solution (Syncapse comes to mind, but I can’t vouch for how much it can do in this sense).
But what about the rest of us mortals? Well, here are the geo-targeting features I’d like to see for Facebook Business Pages and their posts, which would be useful for, let’s say, a consumer-facing brand that’s active in 10 markets.
POST VISIBILITY: EXCLUDING MARKETS
This one’s a no-brainer. When you want to geo-target a page post, you can select which countries, cities or even user languages you want it to be visible for – but you can’t do it the other way around so you can simply exclude certain markets but have it visible to everyone else in the world.
Example: You have a global post that you want everyone except UK users to see (because you’re doing something slightly different in that market and the post must reflect it) – with the current system, you would have to *manually select every other country* to publish the post for everyone except your UK audience.
Geo-targeting is just a different take on the privacy system that Facebook has built – in other words, aside from a few amends the technology’s already there.
Another logical one. At the moment, custom tabs on Facebook Pages can not be geo-targeted (at least not from the settings page) – the solution is as simple as adding a couple of extra fields (“Visible for” and “Hide this from”) in the respective dialogue.
AUTOMATIC POST DISTRIBUTION TO SUIT LOCAL TIMES
This one’s a bit trickier, but I can see lots of potential for it. Let’s say you want to post something that’s relevant for each of the markets you’re active in. However, your audience is split up into too many timezones (which are too far away from each other – think LA-London-Tokyo).
In this sense, Facebook could give you the possibility of publishing the post as-is – or offer to take it live at a certain time in each time zone (i.e. Your post will be published at 3:30pm local time.)
A somewhat relevant reference for this would be the ‘Alcohol-Related Age Restriction’ feature, which can hide the page from anyone who is under the legal alcohol purchasing age as per each country’s laws.
POST SCHEDULING & TRANSLATION/LOCALISATION
I’ll admit to this one being somewhat of a long shot. Scheduling-wise, page admins need to rely on third-party software if they want to, let’s say, schedule a post for the weekend (and it almost never works right when you attach media). Think about an iteration of HootSuite’s Publisher within the Admin Panel. You could just schedule a post right from Facebook’s Publisher and in the Admin Panel you’d have a list of all these scheduled posts.
You could build on top of that by adding a translation (or just localisation) element – while you’re in this alleged post schedule manager, you could just break off a separate post for a specific market and type in the translated/localised version (and even adjust the timing if it hasn’t been set to automatic).
Have you noticed any other shortcomings in this area? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!
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