Do the (almost) impossible: Take over an unofficial Facebook page
Have you taken over or bought a business that has not actively used Facebook in the past? Then you can be one of those who landed in the situation that Facebook has auto generated an official Facebook page for your business. Smart? Yes and no, it depends. You have to prepare yourself for taking over the page, which can be a long and time-consuming process, but if you succeed, it’s like getting a small bag of gold. Let us guide you through how to take over an unofficial Facebook page. Ready?! Let‘s go!
What is an unofficial Facebook page?
An unofficial Facebook page is created by Facebook if there is a lot of activity on a unique location tag over time. All postings, pictures and information are gathered based on what we already know from a typical Facebook page, but here all guests and users can upload information and propose changes that are adapted over time by Facebook AI.
Since it is only quantitative popular location tags that trigger the creation of unofficial pages, the pages often grow large with thousands of likes – and any SoMe savvy business owner knows these are worth a lot.
That’s why unofficial pages are a mess for you
Until you take ownership of the page, the auto generated page will potentially generate incorrect information and at the same time you will miss out on a lot of traffic and reviews on your real page. So if you already have another page, we still recommend that you do everything you can to get ownership of the unofficial page, and then you can either merge the two pages or delete the unofficial one.
You have to remember that if there are two sites with almost identical names and locations, it is as if you are competing against yourself. Most often it is due to the aforementioned volume of likes and comments on the unofficial page which will make this page outwardly appear as the primary page.
Take ownership and get a small bag of gold
Conversely, if you succeeded in taking ownership of the site, it can be a huge benefit that despite not having an official page before, your now potential ‘new page’ already has likes, images, reviews, etc. A lot of delicious data and consumer knowledge that you can use later in your marketing and advertising.
When we write “if you succeeded in taking ownership”, it is unfortunately not an exaggeration… It can be incredibly difficult, take a long time and lead to many frustrations.
That is why we have been allowed to share our experience as we helped Pernille and John from Det Blå Ishus take over ownership of the previously unofficial Facebook page.
Case – Det Blå Ishus in Tversted
When Pernille and John took over the popular Det Blå Ishus in Tversted in the spring of 2019, no Social Media accounts were included. The previous owner had not used it, and Pernille discovered that there is an unofficial Facebook page with over 5000 likes and 6000 followers. The site was filled with lovely memories, people like each other’s posts, and there is generally very high engagement – Ice-cream on the water’s edge of Denmark is just good content!
After Pernille had tried to take over the page for a few months, she had the help of others, she gave up and contacted us so we could help. The couple has now had the business for almost eight months without being able to actively use Facebook.
Here’s how to take ownership of an unofficial Facebook page
As you can probably see, an unofficial site looks a bit… homemade. Facebook AI finds images that fit its format or its screen in the case of text, as you can see in the profile picture which reflects the page name (named after the popular location tag). It is here at the top of the page that you can click ‘Is this your business?’ And begin the process of taking ownership. If you click, a pop-up window will open where you can upload documentation that proves that the business is yours. Facebook itself suggests it could be an energy bill, a contract, founding documents, tax documents or a local permit to run the business. You can only upload one document, so find as many possible relevant documents as you can and gather them into a PDF file. You don’t have to limit yourself to one page. The more documents, the greater the chance of you being approved.
First refusal and inside tips
It took no more than a day after I sent the bill and franchise contract with address, name, phone number, CVR and address, that I received the following message: REJECTED!
Even after I had given them what they usually ask for. So being frustrated and in search of what else we could submit, I contacted my Facebook Ad Support contact. As we are an agency with several years of consumption on Facebook, this can be done, but even if you may not have had that opportunity, do not miss out on these insider tips.
My contact tells me that we need to create a new page with the same name, address and information as on the unofficial page and then add it to our documentation. (As if you can’t have a business without Facebook? But that’s why we apply for ownership!) Well, a little bit of Iron Age Facebook logic later, l try again. I take a screenshot of the new page, make sure it has a cover photo, profile picture and the requested information.
APPROVED! What now?
BINGO! A few days later: APPROVED! and as an applicant, I had gained administrator rights to the Facebook page, which I could then pass on to the happy new owner Pernille. However, we now stood with two pages, due to the new page that I had had to create, we could do two things: Either merge the two pages or delete the new one. Since the page was only a day old, I deleted it otherwise I would have merged them so that all information would be retained.
Pernille and John can now control which listings are coming out, market their business, share inspiration and useful information, just as you should.
Still having trouble?
We have to admit that some things on Facebook may make you want to tear your hair out. It may seem unrealistic and unfair how some things are set up. Therefore, it took Pernille and John almost a whole year before they got their rights. Therefore, pass on the task and let someone with a Facebook contact help you if even after guides like this you still cannot get the rights to your page. We are happy to answer questions or sit down with you to help you get your timely ownership over an unofficial Facebook page. Contact us here
Hear how our help has been for Pernille:
Thanks a lot to Nana Kathrine Jakobsen for the big and very nice help in regards to getting administrative rights over an unofficial Facebook page. We would never have succeeded without Nana’s help. Thanks a million from a happy small business owner.
Pernille Ejstrup Larsen, Manager Det Blå Ishus Tversted