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Dealing with Facebook Place Pages with Bad Reviews and Unflattering Pictures

Tuesday, December 11th, 2018

Someone writes a negative review of a business on social media. It might be by a customer or a purported current or former employee. The targeted business wants it taken down.

Using the law usually isn’t a cost-effective option here, if it’s even an option at all. But, in the case of negative reviews on Facebook, online housekeeping could achieve the reputation-protection goal.

Highly visible reviews often show up on Facebook “place pages.” You can corral these place pages into your business’s official Facebook page. In doing so, you can make the reviews hard to find or maybe disappear.

There are three kinds of Facebook pages relevant here: official pages, location pages, and place pages.

An official page is established by a business itself on Facebook. A location page is a separate Facebook page established by the business for one of its locations.

If a business has multiple locations, it can have a primary page and a page for each location. CarMax does this.

Place pages are not created by the business itself. They are created by Facebook users who “check in” at the business on Facebook, to share their location with friends. A place page is created only if the business does not have as official page with the same physical address as the check-in.

Creating a place page allows people to post something about a business when there is no appropriate official Facebook page for that business location.

For example, a user might be at a restaurant without a Facebook page for that location. The user might want to post a picture of the food or a complaint about the service.

On a place page, reviews and photos are featured prominently. Once someone starts a place page, others can add reviews and photos. Place pages are magnets for unflattering pictures and negative reviews. It’s like Yelp.

Place pages sometimes are created by purported current or former employees either looking to gripe or who post (often inappropriate) workplace pictures. They create place pages for locations where customers are not served, such as a headquarters or operations centers.

As a business owner, what should you do about place pages?

Search your business on Facebook to see if there are any place pages. Many businesses have them and don’t realize it.

If you find one, decide whether it’s getting enough attention to make dealing with it worthwhile. You won’t be able to see page analytics without taking control of the page but look at the number of posts, likes, and check-ins.

If you decide to take action, you have a few options.

The simplest option is to claim the place page. There is a link at the top asking “is this your business?” Click that link and fill in information verifying your relationship to the place.

That will turn the place page into an official page for your business. You then can post an official avatar, banner picture, and regular Facebook posts, and fill out the section about your business. Doing so will push any reviews previously on the place page to a special tab on the new official page called “community.” Many Facebook users don’t visit the “community” tab.

If your business already has an official Facebook page, you can merge that place page into your official Facebook page. If you do so, reviews from that place page will carry over to the “community” tab on your official Facebook page.

Based upon my research, there might be an advanced option that would make the negative reviews from the place page disappear: Adopt the place page through the “is this your business?” function. That turns it into an official Facebook page. Then merge that official Facebook page into another official Facebook page your business has. My understanding is reviews from the place page won’t carry through that merger. No guarantees there.

Ultimately, while you may hate Facebook, the way to control what is on it is to participate. Have an official Facebook page, along with location pages for each location. Consider even having location pages for locations that are not retail outlets so you can control what purported current and former employees post.

After that, your task is reputation management. If a customer posts and negative review, respond to it on Facebook positively and with concern. Show the public you care.

Written on December 11, 2018

by John B. Farmer

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