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Friday, May 3, 2013
What's in a name? Name Your Facebook Page Carefully
Business owners and Facebook Page administrators must choose their facebook page names wisely, or risk difficulty down the road. Facebook's Page Name Guidelines provide some direction for establishing a page name, including using proper grammar and avoiding superfluous descriptions. But often, and by the time page administrators realize their page needs to be renamed, it's too late. It used to be entirely impossible to change a page's name once it reached 100 fans. Facebook now allows page admins to submit a name change request form, but can only do so once.
What's in a name? Page names are the most visible representation of a brand on facebook. In addition to providing a physical title to the page, the name of a facebook page also impacts its visibility in the News Feed. It also reflects the ease with which a page can be tagged in posts by other people and pages.
So why would a page name need to be changed? The most common potential problem, besides the always annoying typo, is illustrated by event pages with sponsor names (think Tostitos Fiesta Bowl.) Fun Fact: The Fiesta Bowl has changed names, and sponsors, three times since it became the first bowl game to acquire a title sponsor in 1986. Events like the Fiesta Bowl are usually the pages most likely to include ‘superfluous descriptions’ like sponsor names, locations and dates.
For large events like the Fiesta Bowl, which has more than 13,700 fans, it may be easier to get through facebook's page name change process due to their visibility. On the other hand, for smaller events with less than a national presence, it can prove extremely difficult, if not impossible.
Page admins should get involved in their organization's sponsor contract drafting process. This is to ensure that sponsor mentions happen only in the account's posts and in the ‘About’ section. Loyal sponsors like Tostitos may stick around for 18+ years. But if their contract ends, the admin may have a tough time renaming the page. Since page names can only be changed once, if a sponsor change takes place again, the page will become obsolete and the event will have to start with a brand new Page.
When many admins try to change the name of their pages, they are unable to do so. In the official Pages Terms, Facebook provides a vague description of its page name policy, but does not outline it in detail. The process of approving name changes is left to the discretion of Facebook staff. As noted by hundreds of users in Facebook's community forums, that can be hit or miss.
While the Pages Terms naming section is vague, some further clarifications are provided in the Page Name Guidelines and noted again when an admin first initiates a name change request:
From there, the admin must select the type of page: a business or company, a person or public figure, an organization, a website or blog, an event, or other. The page type selected brings up a handy list of "things to keep in mind," giving the admin some further guidance on things to avoid this time when creating their new page name, such as specific dates, locations, corporate sponsors, taglines and other descriptions. Admins who find their page request declined may be in violation of these requirements.
The final step in the process, which Facebook claims will help "expedite the process" is to "upload documentation that clearly shows the name and address of your business", such as a utility or phone bill. For pages without official documentation, this step can be the final insurmountable barrier.
Given the inherent difficulties in the complicated process of changing the name of a Facebook page, business owners and page administrators should study the Page Name Guidelines, choose their page name wisely and be willing to stick with it - or be stuck with it - forever.