If you don’t know about Facebook’s auto-generated pages, you should definitely search for your business page on Facebook to see what comes up…because chances are, other users are finding their way to unofficial accounts and can potentially distort information about you.
How to search for your pages on Facebook the right way:
- Begin by typing your business name in the search bar on top (it doesn’t matter if your account has graph search or not) but ignore the suggested matches. Do not press the return key. Instead, click on the very bottom where it says “Find all pages named ________”
- On the next screen, you’ll see a list of every page with the phrase you searched for, including a few variations. For many of these pages, you’ll see a flag icon or a map pointer. These are pages that are automatically generated on Facebook. Most are from users trying to “check in” but who don’t find your official page, so Facebook creates a new one for them. If you have a Wikipedia page, Facebook will also create a “topic” page about you that can’t be claimed. It can be edited, if you edit the Wikipedia page itself.
- Click on any of the pages to begin editing. If you have several results, I would recommend creating a spreadsheet with the URL’s in question so that you can keep track of these pages.
How to edit or remove duplicate Facebook pages:
When you open one of the duplicate pages, it will look something like this:
Chances are, there will be no photograph and some of the information will be incorrect. You will, however, notice that there is usually some kind of connection with followers: people have liked or checked-in to the place. This alone should be reason enough to want to claim all of these duplicate pages.
As you notice, you can click the “Edit” button. Often times, you’ll have an option that says “Find Duplicates” on the bottom of the pop-up screen. Begin by typing the name of your official page. If it comes up, you can merge the two pages and absorb the fake page’s followers. That’s the easy way. Unfortunately, sometimes Facebook won’t find your official page or will not allow you to merge the two pages. Either way, I would recommend claiming the page.
How to Claim a Duplicate or Unofficial Facebook Page:
Click on wheel icon in the top right corner of the page. In the drop down menu, click on “Is this your business?”
When you claim that it is indeed your business, Facebook will ask to verify your information. Click on the box that says “I am an official representative of…” and then click continue.
Next, the screen will come up with one of two options. Either it will want to call you at the phone number listed on the page, or you’ll get a screen that asks for more detailed information about the business itself. If the phone number is correct, you can have that automated dialer call you with a pin number that you enter. That will grant you access as admin right away. If the phone number is incorrect and you say that it is the wrong number (or if there is no phone number listed), you’ll get this screen:
Enter all of your business information. If you had many search results, you’ll get tired of typing your information over and over again…so create a word document with the basic information. That way, you can just copy and paste each of these fields. If your business has multiple locations, chances are, you’ll be doing this for a while.
After you enter the business information, you’ll be on the final screen:
They will ask to verify your identity based on your business email address or documentation (such as employee ID or utility bill with your name/the business name on it). Your company email must be added to your Facebook profile first. Facebook only allows you to select form email addresses connected to your Facebook user account.
Of course, this is a long and tedious process, so why bother?
5 Reasons Why You Should Claim or Remove Duplicate Pages:
- Multiple pages fragment your brand. The more options, the more confusing it is to the user searching for your page. If you gain control, you can also “unpublish” a page so that it doesn’t appear in public search results.
- You can absorb more followers/engagement by controlling everything attached to your brand (or direct them to the official page).
- Anyone with your @BusinessNameHere has the potential to claim your business and begin editing it/using it for their purposes. This is especially important for colleges or any business that extends its email to customers. You’ll want to claim pages before others do!
- Often, these auto-generated pages have bad information: incorrect addresses or phone numbers, outdated information. You don’t want bad information out there about your business.
- Removing duplicate pages will allow your main page to be more highly ranked in search results.
It might take up quite a bit of time, but it is important to do routine maintenance on your brand. Just as you wouldn’t want a phone book to have a wrong phone number or address about your business, you wouldn’t want a bad Facebook page out there. ANd let’s face it: how often do you use the internet to search for something compared with a phone book?