Facebook Launching Corporate-Local Parent-Child Places Structure for Businesses With Multiple Locations

Documents detailing an upcoming change to Facebook Pages and Places have been found by our German sister site, AllFacebook.de . We’ve now confirmed with Facebook that this week it will launch a limited private test of tools permitting a new parent-child management structure for Places that will allow corporations to administrate all the Places pages of the local instances of their business. On corporate parent Pages, an in-house “Locations” app will automatically display nearby branches and allow users to search for local branches by zip code, and child Places will feature a link back to their corporate Page.

Giants from foodservice, retail, insurance and other industries are already setting up Places for each of their branches to facilitiate local marketing and encourage checkins using the clumsier old system. Facebook’s new parent-child structure will make this process simpler and more systematized, which could lead more corporations to buy Facebook ads for their local branches.

Facebook tells us “We’re testing new ways for businesses with more than one location to develop a localized presence on Facebook. The tools launching this week…make it easier for businesses to begin to localize their voice at scale.”

The way Facebook’s location-based service originally worked made it difficult for corporations that needed to set up multiple Places, whether in the dozens or the thousands. Places, separate from Pages, had to be set up or claimed and then clumsily merged with Pages. Facebook has since streamlined this process, giving checkin functionality to any Page that lists a street address.

A corporation’s Page and all its local branch Places still couldn’t be connected on the backend of Facebook’s admin system, though. This meant that if a corporation wanted to push a branding or slogan change to all its Pages, or manage regulatory compliance, a single corporate representative had to be individually granted admin privileges to every Place.  Even then, changes had to be pushed one Page at a time.

Third-party Page management products such as Hearsay Social launched to specifically handle the corporate-local problem. This seemed like a lucrative business as corporations such as State Farm and 24 Hour Fitness were spending a lot on Facebook marketing, and the solution seemed more complicated than something Facebook would design a native product for. However, close relationships that Facebook has forged with corporations through its inside ad sales teams have now led it to address the corporate-local Page management issue.

Parent-Child Admin System and Pages API Changes

Facebook will offer a parent-child Page set up tool to a limited set of businesses that have a corporate-local structure.  Once the connections between parent and child Pages are arranged, parent Pages will include a Locations tab in their Edit Page admin interface navigation menu.

The Locations admin interface will display a list of all children Places, including the store ID, address, Like count, and checkin count of each. This will make it simple for a corporation to monitor the performance of its child Places. Admins will be able to search for a specific child Place by store ID, and make the Locations Page tab application visible to users or hide it.

When using Facebook as the parent Page, admins will have full admin control over the children Places, meaning they can go in and edit a Place page’s info, post or moderate content, change settings, and install tab applications. This means corporations will be able to swiftly address threats to their branding by deleting the posts of local branch admins or fans, as well as coordinate marketing campaigns such as the installation of a new sweepstakes app. Child Place admins won’t be able to remove admin privileges from parent admins.