By: Jor­dan Enright-Schulz, Strategist

The ques­tion of whether to cen­tral­ize a brand’s Face­book pres­ence through one global Page or main­tain regional Face­book Pages is one our clients ask us fre­quently. High-profile brands fall into both camps, so it is under­stand­ably a chal­lenge for our clients to fig­ure out what makes the most sense for them. Star­bucks is often cited as an exem­plary brand main­tain­ing a robust regional Page pres­ence. On the other hand, Lenovo recently announced to the fans of its global Face­book Page that it has begun to col­lapse its regional Pages into its global Page; Heineken did the same thing last year.

While we believe con­sol­i­dat­ing a brand’s Face­book pres­ence into one strong global Page offers many ben­e­fits, our ini­tial answer to clients is still always: It depends. We work with our cus­tomers to exam­ine some key fac­tors that should help inform this decision:

1. Is your brand per­ceived dif­fer­ently in dif­fer­ent coun­tries to a sig­nif­i­cant extent?
McDonald’s is a good exam­ple of a brand that would likely answer no to this ques­tion, so it makes sense that the brand has decided cus­tomers would be more likely to Like and iden­tify with a global Face­book brand Page than, say, McDonald’s France. This is often true for large global brands. If, how­ever, you feel that cus­tomers strongly iden­tify with the local iter­a­tion of your brand, regional Pages may make more sense. A good exam­ple of this is hotel prop­erty Pages.

2. Is cus­tomer ser­vice the pri­mary purpose/focus of your brand’s Face­book pres­ence?
If so, and if your brand’s cus­tomer ser­vice pres­ence is coun­try– or region-based, dis­crep­an­cies in cus­tomer ser­vice response time and infra­struc­ture may cre­ate chal­lenges on a global wall where cus­tomers from dif­fer­ent coun­tries are rou­tinely post­ing cus­tomer ser­vice com­plaints. Pos­si­ble cul­tural mis­matches in wall con­ver­sa­tions involv­ing mul­ti­ple lan­guages can also present challenges.

Social media man­age­ment plat­forms such as Con­text Optional’s Social Mar­ket­ing Suite offer the abil­ity to esca­late cus­tomer ser­vice ques­tions to the cor­rect global team in real time, and imple­ment­ing a ded­i­cated Cus­tomer Ser­vice tab on a global Page is another option. How­ever, we do have some clients who have decided regional Pages make more sense based on their global cus­tomer ser­vice infrastructure.

3. If your brand cur­rently main­tains regional Face­book Pages, how do those fan bases com­pare to the num­ber of inter­na­tional fans on your global Page?
For exam­ple, one of our clients recently dis­cov­ered that the num­ber of Indian fans (one of its most sig­nif­i­cant inter­na­tional cus­tomer bases) on its global Face­book Page far out­weighed the num­ber of fans on its India regional Page, which con­tributed to their ulti­mate deci­sion to con­sol­i­date their pres­ence into one global Page.

It’s also impor­tant to fully under­stand Facebook’s robust geo-targeting capa­bil­i­ties, which allow a brand to do the fol­low­ing from one cen­tral Page:

  • Choose to post widely rel­e­vant wall con­tent to the entire Page audi­ence, or gran­u­larly geo-target wall posts by coun­try, state, city, and/or language
  • Geo-target tabs and Page appli­ca­tions by coun­try to ensure that spe­cific geo­gra­phies are shown region-specific pro­mo­tions (Note that offer­ing robust geo-targeting solu­tions to brand mar­keters is a pri­or­ity for Face­book, and it is gen­er­ally expected that the social net­work will soon offer more gran­u­lar appli­ca­tion tar­get­ing abil­i­ties to match the speci­ficity pos­si­ble with wall posts.)

Sev­eral social media man­age­ment tools like Con­text Optional’s lever­age Facebook’s full geo-targeting capa­bil­i­ties. The Social Mar­ket­ing Suite’s robust work­flow and per­mis­sions struc­ture also allows brands to assign region-based mar­ket­ing man­agers access to spe­cific geo­graphic audi­ences within one Face­book Page, ensur­ing that the cor­rect in-market brand man­agers com­mu­ni­cate with the cor­rect audi­ence for mar­ket­ing and the cor­rect indi­vid­u­als for cus­tomer ser­vice. For exam­ple, our per­mis­sions could allow a Ger­man brand man­ager to only post con­tent to Ger­man fans on a brand’s global Page.

The ben­e­fits of a global Face­book page that we have seen for our clients include:

  • Cus­tomers know which brand Page to Like through the elim­i­na­tion of mul­ti­ple brand page clut­ter in Face­book search.
  • A sin­gle, active Face­book Page ben­e­fits organic search results.
  • Since there is no com­pe­ti­tion with other brand Pages, a cen­tral­ized Face­book pres­ence serves as a pow­er­ful communication/distribution chan­nel and effec­tively con­nects all fans.
  • Cross-channel pro­mo­tion is sim­pli­fied through a sin­gle URL for adver­tis­ing purposes.
  • Money spent on social media rein­forces a cen­tral brand Page rather than being dis­trib­uted across Pages (and fans).
  • Large fan bases cre­ate an organic snow­ball effect, lead­ing to higher per-post engage­ment rates (and there­fore higher EdgeR­ank) and greater effi­ciency in the long run.

Each brand needs to con­sider orga­ni­za­tional fac­tors when deter­min­ing its global Face­book struc­ture. But ulti­mately, as brands are mak­ing this deci­sion, we encour­age them to place the most empha­sis on which solu­tion presents the best expe­ri­ence for their fans and customers.