ImageReecently Facebook announced Global Pages for brands.  Instead of a single page in whatever language it was originally created, with geo-targeted foreign language content; or disparate, scarcely-linked pages run independently by different regions; truly global brands can now have the benefits of both global and regional content. However, before you jump at the next New Shiny Facebook Thing, hold fire – at least until you’ve read this blog: Global Pages are not for every brand.

What is a Facebook Global Page?  In essence it’s a one-Page presence on Facebook with one URL:  www.facebook.com/brand. Instead of users searching for  a particular brand by country, if you want to find a global brand, you will only be given one option. (Making it a lot easier to find the Page you want using Facebook’s search facility). Each brand’s Global Page structure will include localised Pages for specific markets (single- or multi-country regions) and a default Page for all other markets.

Take, for example, Dove. It’s one of the first companies to use a Global Brand Page.  Here it is:

Dove has promoted the ‘global’ very directly via the cover image. But what happens if you don’t want to be lumped in with the other 11 million Dove fans? You just want to know what is going on in your neighbourhood? Then you can switch regions and save the new one as your default.

 

 

Able to choose whichever I wanted, I went for Canada:

Spot the difference? Apart from the altered cover image, company information is changed, there are different photos and different tabs. Facebook’s own communication didn’t really define which elements could be customised, but a really good article from tnooz spells it out:

Here are the items that you can change if you have local Pages coming off your Global Page:

  • Profile photo
  • Cover photo
  • About
  • Photos – uploaded and only shown to each region
  • Tabs/Apps – customisable for each region

However the fan count and People Talking About This show the same aggregated total number for all regions. All sounds good so far doesn’t it?

  • One centralised Facebook Page offering one global brand identity. Users from all countries will see the same Page name (translated into their local language).
  • One URL
  • One centralised Global Insights

But before you dump all your localised Pages, you need to take some things into consideration. Firstly you might not actually have the functionality yet. It seems it’s only being rolled out to brands that spend lots of money with Facebook Advertising. This will eventually come to all Pages but you may have to wait until later.  (Here’s how you can ask for access to Global Pages.)

Next: do you have the branding capabilities for each region you want to represent?  This needs to be managed centrally, and could be a good opportunity to rid your brand of any unauthorised ‘rogue’ local Pages which have sprung up.

Do you have good content production and community management for each region? The community managers won’t be translating content but posting up real, relevant and culturally biased content for each localised Page.  Look at the latest posts from Dove on English language pages:

Dove USA:

Dove Canada:

 Dove Global:

Local community managers need to be given the freedom and flexibility to engage with your fans while adopting brand values and tone of voice. You’ll need to recruit moderators for each language you are serving.  Ideally, the localised Pages will be able retain a distinct local personality, whilst having the central consistency of a global brand.

Facebook maintains that these Global Pages are more than just the ability to geo-target content: posts from the Global Page cannot be targeted to localised Pages, as with the current system. Global Page status updates will be the default, visible to fans who haven’t specified another region or country they would prefer to see.

Community Managers need to be aware that engaging global messages (to make it through the new Facebook Edgerank changes) could be difficult to create: you’ll be trying to tell a story without knowing who your audience is.  The need to produce better localised content which engages your fans has just gone up your priority list.

Global brands are now pushing out the responsibility to the countries and their community management resources. The editorial calendar will have to support lots of wide-appeal, non-localised global content, alongside good quality engaging content for the local Pages.  On the Global Page, avoid mentions of the season (oops Dove!), holidays, cultural references, time of day (no ‘Good Morning!” posts).  However, it’s the reverse with the new localised pages: previously brands tended to post out content that would be relevant in several regions – but now there is the opportunity to be truly relevant to your fans by referencing country-specific media, events, seasons, culture.

For brands that are truly global (and having a presence in more than country isn’t the same thing), the arduous task of managing multiple localised Pages has suddenly become a lot easier. One account with one URL and one analytics dashboard is good news. You can set up multiple admins to allow your local CMs to look after your localised Pages.

However, as tnooz has pointed out, it would be well to be wary of the integration process until Global Pages have been tested out. Facebook say:

Clients using a multi-page strategy have been able to easily transition their existing Pages to the new Global Pages framework. The global Walt Disney Studios team working on Frankenweenie easily associated their country-specific Pages for France, Ireland, Italy, Spain, the United Kingdom, and the United States into the Global Pages framework. The Holiday Inn team and the Kit Kat team from Nestle had equal success migrating their localized Pages from regions all over the world to the new model.

… but in our experience, it may be better to keep an eye on developments. And of course, if you are struggling to produce content for, engage, and moderate a single page - you’re not ready for Global Pages yet.