Facebook Groups have morphed into Facebook Fan Pages and on the most part they are worthless placeholders within Facebook’s closed garden.

ahuvah friendlist

The common (mis)conception is that brands need to have a Facebook Fan Page to show that they are active on the network but I want to point out the fallacies in this theory. Dont get me wrong, there are some amazing Facebook Fan Pages but they are used as a placeholder in the network. These fan pages bring something new to their fan base that their blog and other online activities do not offer.

But I am not going to go into detail for Facebook pages that get it right, this post is how brands get it wrong.

Creators of fan pages tend to assume that since Facebook has such an enormous amount of users, it is necessary to participate somehow on it. Most people tend never to look at fan pages once they’ve joined.  Can you remember the last time you went to check on a fan page?

Now lets keep our eye on the ball – using social media is about reaching eyeballs and creating brand awareness.  It is about engaging the brand’s user-base in a unique manner.

Now lets go back to how a Fan Page is built. The way a brand can invite people to join the group is to be friends with the person or to already be a member of a fan page. So typically the brand begins to build the fan page around the fan page owner’s friends, family and Facebook friends.  There are two options for the friends; support their friend by joining the fan page, or become annoyed from the constant nagging to join the fan page.  Currently there  is no blocking solution the same way one would block a Facebook application that is spamming their Facebook feed. The only solution to is ignore the endless fan page invitations and not answer the requests (and for me that is not an option).

Now from the point of view of the fan page creators, in order for the page to be “popular” it needs to have an ever increasing number of members which means that the creator is going to constantly invite their friends to join the page over and over again until it becomes viral.  Unfortunately turning something “viral” is not an easy feat nor is figuring out a creative way to engage current and potential fan page members.

Fan page creators like to point out how “easy” it is to access fans of their brand by using the fan pages. Gone are the days that the brand needs to sort through their entire friend list to reach out to the “appropriate” friends  when there is an update/ upcoming event/ etc. I guess those individuals never thought about using Facebook friend lists as a way to sort and manage their friends. Now everyone who is a member of a fan page is notified when there are updates  – regardless of the reason why you joined the group.

So the bottom line is that those that initially join are friends and family and those that dont join feel spammed.  Either way both group is spammed by the brand which in turn dilutes the brand image.

So think long and hard about creating a fan page and think even harder on how to offer  a different value proposition for its members to result in brand awareness.

Take a look at some of the interesting fan page screen shots here.