Facebook is testing a new module for pages called ‘Pages to Watch’.  The feature allows a page to ‘watch’  up to 5 other pages to monitor how other pages of interest are doing.  The module will suddenly appear in the bottom center of your admin panel where the insights box used to be.

The Pages to Watch module now appears where your Insights box used to be in the admin panel.

The Pages to Watch module now appears where your Insights box used to be in the admin panel.

I always have a little healthy skepticism when any social media platform releases new features so I decided to test it out on two of my clients that know each other and I know wouldn’t mind.  Ryan Family Amusements is a bowling and arcade company with several locations on Cape Cod that has been around for many years.  Their page has been gaining a good amount of new followers and has a nice audience of current customers.   Cape Cod Inflatable Park is a very unique company also on Cape Cod. They are an amusement park full of inflatables for children to play on. The company has recently doubled their space with water inflatables and is gaining press and fans at a strong pace as people hear about them via word of mouth and social media. They are definitely in a growth mode both as a business and as a Faceobok page.  It seems to make sense that they are two companies that may naturally ‘watch’ each other.

I’ve decided to have Ryan Family Amusements ‘watch’ Cape Cod Inflatable Park.  When you click the green ‘add pages’ button (see above) a box pops up where you can search for pages to follow.

Searching for pages to watch in the new Pages to Watch module on Facebook

Searching for Pages to Watch in the new Facebook module

So far, so good.  Thinking from my client’s perspective I can see how this could be a useful feature.  When consulting with clients, the two conversations I have most often are around how the client feels a competitor is doing (in regards to what they, the client is or isn’t doing or what they they want for themselves on social media), and reassuring the client that they can come up with relevant content on a regular basis.  I often advise my clients to find and ‘like’ a similar company in a completely different geography that has little chance of being a true competitor (online shopping has reduced the relevance of this concept a bit but it still works for most in theory). This allows them to see the types of things similar companies are posting and get ideas for content and photos without feeling like they are copying a direct competitor.

 

What you see on a Page to Watch on Facebook

Here’s what you see after you’ve added a Page to Watch on Facebook

The image above is what you see on your admin panel after you’ve added a page to watch.  It just tells you how many new likes a page has that week.  Sure this is useful information. I can definitely see how Facebook wants to use it to create a competitive environment. The hope would be that Ryan Family Amusements sees that Cape Cod Inflatable Park has 32 new likes and would decide to run an ad to get more likes too.  It could happen, probably not week to week but over time if a page admin were to actually track the numbers and see an overall trend it may make one of my clients more apt to run an ad.  What would make that even more likely would be if the follower saw that a followee had run an ad on Facebook during that time!

Here’s the problem I have with this tool though; you may have already heard, but it’s a major deterrent in my mind.  The page you watch gets notified you’re watching them!  Bummer.  Big time bummer.  Probably big enough to keep most of my small and midsized clients from watching the pages they most likely want to watch…..aka their LOCAL competition.

Facebook notification telling a page they are being watched

Facebook sends a notification to a page that they are being watched. Bummer!

Ok so if you think this through from Facebook’s perspective, they want the followee to know. Facebook wants to create competition. Facebook wants the followee to become the follower and reciprocate. Facebook wants both companies to find their competitive nature and perhaps purchase an ad here or there to one up each other.  Eh, I get it. But most businesses aren’t Coke & Pepsi or Amex & Visa.  Most companies, especially small and midsized, do not have the budget, time or inclination to ‘one up the Joneses’.  Most businesses (certainly the ones I work with on a regular basis) will not want their competition knowing they’ve just started watching them.  I’ll say it again, bummer.

It is important to note that Facebook is just testing this feature, who knows what will happen upon full roll out, if it gets fully rolled out to all users.  Unfortunately I don’t see myself using it the way Facebook intended.  I see it being used more as a bookmark of sorts.  It’s right there center stage in your admin panel.  It’s a great reminder for businesses to actually go visit other pages and see what others are doing, without having to ‘like’ those businesses.  Many of my clients are wearing lots of hats and are in a real crunch for time.  With the Pages to Watch module, they now have a constant reminder of five pages they should be looking at on a regular basis.

So tell us what you think, will you use the Pages to Watch module from Facebook if it’s pushed to your page?  If so, how will you use it? We’d love to get your feedback, tell us your thoughts in the comments section or connect with us via Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.