Facebook is on a roll, recently crossing over 400 million users. Marketers want a piece of that action, so it’s no surprise that Facebook Pages for businesses are hot right now, too. It seems like a Facebook Page is a must-have for most marketers.

But before you start accumulating hundreds or even thousands of fans, it’s important to think about who will have access to the page as a representative of your brand. It’s also important to understand how Facebook sets up the administrative controls for these pages. It seems like a fairly insignificant thing to consider, but if your page is set up incorrectly, you could end up losing control or having the page deleted completely. All that work and all those fans … gone with one click.

Did an intern set up your page? A marketing agency? That might not be the best idea, because the person who originally sets up the page will always have access to it. Even if that intern leaves or you decide to use a different agency, they’ll still have admin access to the page … and you can’t take it away.

Instead, here’s one example how you might want to set up your pages to ensure that you’re maintaining at least some level of control over the page:

Let’s say you want a page for your company and each of your multiple products or brands. Let’s also assume that each individual brand has its own marketing manager who may or may not be located at the main office. Here’s one simple plan of action:

  • Each page (one for the company and each brand that needs its own presence) should be created by someone at the main office, preferably someone who is going to be around for a while, such as a marketing director.
  • Things happen, so it’s probably a good idea to have a second person at the main office as a “back up admin.”
  • Once the page is set up, then (and only then) you can grant admin access to that offsite marketing manager, the marketing intern, that marketing agency you’ve been working with, or even customer advocates/evangelists/whatever you want to call them.

This is the ideal scenario, but it won’t always be the case. Just because someone else sets up the page, it doesn’t mean you should delete it and start over, especially if they’ve already built any kind of substantial fan base. Just understand that you’ll need to keep that page creator on your good side. In general, it’s best to stay ahead of your team and your fans. Get out there and claim your presence, or someone else will.

Facebook does offer “business accounts” for companies, but according to their terms of service, these are only applicable if you don’t have a personal profile. Facebook wants to see one account per person — if you already have a personal account, that’s the account they want you to use to administer any of your Fan Pages. I would expect (at least I hope) that Facebook will continue to improve their tools for businesses, and I hope this is one issue they address. If Facebook changes how the Page admin process works, I’ll definitely keep you posted.

I’m not suggesting this is the only way to go about this, but I get questions about this issue a lot … and most people’s eyes get pretty big when they start to understand the potential consequences of a Facebook Page that’s not set up properly. Taking the time to do it right the first time will save you a lot of time and grief down the road.

Did I miss something? Do you have a better suggestion? How are you addressing Facebook Pages for your organization?

Update: As of June, 2010, Facebook now allows the original creator of a business page to be removed as an administrator by any other of the administrators of that page. This is a small but helpful change, especially for companies working with a outside marketing agency.

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