Facebook has just made it clear that it is going to change how information about businesses is displayed. The platform has long been a favourite for small businesses, and this has meant that small businesses have seen some great returns. But the changes Facebook is planning to make are actually going to be noticeable, and the absence of the information it is going to remove about a business (yes, it’s doing it, not the businesses themselves) are pretty important, for the most part.

As of August 1st, Facebook has removed key bits of business information from a company listing. It’s going to be done to everyone.

So what is it, and what does it mean?

Facebook to make changes to business profiles

The removals

Some fields will simply be removed from business listings. These fields include:

Company overview
Businesses have a brief overview of their company and the story behind it. This has been a constant on all kinds of social media platforms, and businesses are used to filling out a quick ‘pen portrait’ of the company and where that came from

Biography
This is a little more than you might perhaps expect when qualifying the level of information used. This is where the owner of a business (and we are most definitely talking small businesses here, because large corporations wouldn’t do this) fills out info on them as human beings, the bedrock of good personal branding, the biography part of a company listing has been removed.

Affiliation
Thankfully, this is probably part of the information that most people won’t take the time to look at. No great loss here

Personal interests
Now, this is where things get a little interesting. If you genuinely feel that prospects want to know that you love making model airplanes on a Sunday evening, then this loss will bite. For the rest of us, it simply doesn’t feel as important as it might be to others.

Two schools of thought

There are two distinct camps here. One might offer up the idea that businesses can’t honestly believe that people will want to read about an entrepreneur’s personal interests, for example. And that makes sense. We mentioned that fact that CEOs of large companies will not put that stuff out there, but it’s also true that personal branding can go a little too far sometimes.

The other school of thought will counter that by saying that people often like to have context on a business. It helps them make a conscious informed buying decision, and that makes all the difference for some customers. This point of view makes a lot of sense too. It probably doesn’t harm an audience when you tell them you like going to the movies twice a month, right?

Both ideas here are sound. However, there is one reason for doing this that will immediately become clear if you think about the words ‘Cambridge Analytica’. This disaster happened last year and saw Facebook being hauled before a scrutiny investigation, asking quite difficult questions around the collection and use of data. The removal of the data fields could be a direct result of that problem, and simply be a way that Facebook is tidying up its act. That makes good sense, and it is believable.

Facebook Privacy

So what can we do?

Obviously, the first thing you can’t do is panic. It’s important to remember that Facebook itself has recently stated that the missing information could be included on a business’s page. That makes sense, and it also has the added impact of making pages more meaningful and concise.

One thing it has done though is illustrate once again that Facebook controls your business image on the platform. Sure, the brand will continue to be as transparent as possible, but it has to be said that it’s a clear demonstration of how your online presence is never really something that belongs to your business. First and foremost, Facebook is the boss.

So focus on creating a business page that is clear and concise, and gets everything across that is missing (soon) from the business listing. It’s important that you look at how to get the most out of your page, and this is as good a reason to review the page as anything else.

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