Want to break free from Facebook Business Manager?

Warning light stop sign

A few weeks ago I made the mistake of clicking on an email Facebook sent me asking me to sign up to Facebook Business Manager.

I didn’t entirely know what it was but there was some vague threat made that if I didn’t change my account within the next few days I’d lose any previous data about advertising campaigns.

So I clicked it and did what Facebook told me to do – added all my pages and linked it to my personal (actually my work profile) Facebook account.

Big mistake. It turned out that Facebook Business Manager just added several additional, infuriating steps to my day to day Facebook experience.

Using my work profile, I have liked lots of pages that are likely to contain content relevant to any of the Facebook pages I manage for my organisation. Several times a day I’ll scroll through my newsfeed, liking and sharing posts on the relevant pages, as the relevant pages. This was dead easy – I’d just click ‘share’, select from a drop down menu which page I wanted to share it on, and as, and hey presto, done.

Similarly, I could easily switch between Facebook pages by choosing from a drop down menu at the top right of the page. Easy.

Once I’d signed up to Facebook Business Manager though, the pages I added disappeared from the drop down menu. To use Facebook as a page, I had to go to the page, click ‘Mange using Facebook business manager’, be taken to the Facebook Business Manager page, click back onto my page and then click confirm to say that I wanted to use Facebook as my page. Epic.

Then, if I wanted to browse my personal (work) newsfeed and like or share posts onto a page I managed, I could only select whichever page I had most recently used Facebook as. So to share relevant content to another page I’d need to go to that page, go through the process outlined above, then search for the content I’d wanted to share by going to that page’s newsfeed and searching through for it, or go directly to the page with the content I wanted. Not an easy and quick process and most of the time by the time I’d gone through all the steps I’d forgotten what it was I wanted to share!

Worst of all there didn’t seem to be an obvious way to ‘uninstall’ Facebook Business Manager, and I was a bit scared I’d ruined Facebook forever!

Imagine my relief to come across this post about how to get rid of Facebook Manager, which also reinforced the way I felt about the experience of trying to navigate the thing.

It seems the main problem Facebook Business Manager is trying to solve is not having to share log in details for pages with lots of people when there are is a team managing them. However a much better way to achieve this is how we already do it – have professional ‘personal’ Facebook accounts, which are given admin rights to Facebook pages. No shared log in required.

So, if you find yourself sucked into Facebook Business Manager and want out, here’s how you do it:

1. Create a dummy page (choose the ‘create a page’ option from within Facebook Business Manager for speed) and make this your ‘primary page’ ( to do this, go to info, settings, and hover over the pencil to change your choice).

2. Go back to the list of pages on Business Manager and go through them all, removing them from Business Manager, leaving only your dummy page (you can’t remove your dummy page from Facebook Manager, hence why you needed to make a dummy page).

3. Go onto Facebook and delete your dummy page. You are now FREE of Facebook Business Manager!  And your precious drop-down menu of pages you manage will reappear!

4. Have a celebratory cuppa and breathe a sigh of relief!

Anyone else tried out Facebook Business Manager? What did you think?

Have we really forgotten how to ‘chat’ on Twitter?

Man checks black Iphone sitting at table with laptop

Last week, Paul Stallard asked this question on his blog: Why don’t you ask questions on Twitter anymore?

It’s really resonated with me and yes, I agree, there is a definite change on Twitter in the last year or so – there is more broadcasting and less genuine conversation.

I first got hooked on Twitter about five years back, when I was expecting my second child. It was a great place to chat with other mums and mums-to-be, ask questions, offer or ask for reassurance, share experiences , or just find somebody to talk to during a 3am night feed!

I use Twitter very differently now, largely as a professional tool, and as a way of getting to know other comms professionals, learning from them and hopefully giving something of myself back. And of course it is now a massive part of what I do for a living.

I still love Twitter, it’s my first choice social network and almost every time I skim through my newsfeed (which is many times a day) I’ll find something interesting, amusing or useful. I’m forever favouriting links to blog posts or articles that I want to keep or read later.

But Paul’s right, there are a lot less questions, and a lot less genuine conversation.

I love talking to people on Twitter, and I love Twitter chats, because they are a chance to indulge in a bit of real time conversation with some fascinating people from across the world.

And since reading Paul’s post I’ve decided to take a proactive approach and post a few more questions myself – and also try to provide answers to any questions that I see (if I think I have something valuable to add, of course!)

And for those accounts we manage for our organisations, perhaps a few more questions (and answers) might just encourage a little more of the  precious engagement that we’re always seeking.

Maybe we should all try it, and bring back some of that early Twitter spirit to our timelines?

What do you think?

WhatsApp experiment shows we mustn’t be afraid to ‘fail’

A little while back I blogged about what I thought was quite an exciting trial that Shropshire Council were running, allowing residents to contact the council (and specific elected members) via WhatsApp.

It struck me as a brilliantly simple idea and I was really interested to see how their trial worked out.

The other day I did a little bit of twitter stalking to see if there was any news about the results – sure enough Lorna Perry, who was behind the trial at Shropshire, recently posted an update about how it went.

The results were – as Lorna says – a little disappointing, and a bit surprising really, I thought. Despite lots of publicity , the council leader only received eight messages during the four week trial, and the general enquiry number only seven.

Lorna puts that down partly to a certain amount of apathy in terms of contacting local councillors – and I suppose that has a part to play. Perhaps, as Lorna suggests, if the trial had taken place during a period when there was something particularly controversial going on in the area – am unpopular planning issue or something of that nature – then the uptake might have been higher – mind you perhaps the councillors who took part wouldn’t have been so keen to receive the kinds of messages that might have arrived on their mobiles!

However you’ve really got to admire the attitude that Shropshire – and it’s elected members – took on this one – a kind of “let’s just do it and see how it goes” attitude. It wasn’t going to cost anything and it might just have worked – they made it clear from the outset that if it didn’t work, it didn’t matter – no unrealistic expectations were raised, internally or externally. They kept it simple and didn’t invest either extortionate amounts of time or money on it – so they could afford to be bold and there was no major drama if it didn’t work out.

In these fast changing and austere times councils shouldn’t be afraid of trying something new – without making a huge industry out of deliberating the pros and cons – and if it doesn’t work out, be happy to say so and move on to try something new. What’s important is that we think, and act, innovatively.

Lorna does mention in her post that some of the other council services – such as those who work with parents and young people – are still interested in exploring the possibility of utilising WhatsApp, so the idea isn’t dead yet.

Well done Shropshire for trying something new. I wonder if any other councils will also give it a go – maybe to take feedback on very specific projects or proposals perhaps – and whether any will have more luck in doing so?