Last Tuesday, I rolled out of bed just like any other day. The birds were chirping, the coffee was fresh, and I was ready to get to my office and start beating up my to-do list. It was when I attempted to casually respond to a church member’s Facebook comment that I first noticed something a little odd: I wasn’t able to reply using our church’s Fan Page account… Strange.
Investigating the issue further, I hoped over to my personal Facebook account to log into our Fan Page and tweak the settings; I couldn’t find the Fan Page listed among any of the other pages I admin, and a small bead of sweat appeared on my brow. “No problem,” I thought to myself, as I typed in our Facebook URL to visit our page directly. Nothing… Just a redirect to my own Facebook wall as the sweat began to multiply. I quickly tried every other method I knew of to visit our Fan Page as my heart rate soared. All of our comments left as the church were gone, our Fan Page was absent from search results and I couldn’t find a trace of our 3700+ fans anywhere.
It was as if our Fan Page had never existed.
As I’m sure you can imagine by now, this is pretty much a nightmare scenario for any organization that has a loyal Facebook following; our Fan Page is no longer just neat to have… It has become a vitally important component of our daily communication strategy. It’s also a pretty shocking loss when it’s not there (especially in the build up to Easter weekend with lots of buzz in the community).
Once I realized that we had entered into a crisis scenario, the first thing I did was to hit up Google to see where the “turn my Fan Page back on” button was. Spoiler Alert! It doesn’t exist. I scoured Facebook’s support section, and the most I could find was a two line contact form to make helpful suggestions for improvement; not a good sign considering Facebook it a network that serves 500 MILLION users.
After hours of running into dead ends, I finally stumbled upon to a Fan Page (ironic, I know) for a group of 25 other organizations whose beloved Fan Page’s had also inexplicably vanished; some were gone for hours, while others sunk into the abyss months ago. Upon reading through the community suggestions, it seemed like the best route to go was to contact the Facebook Ad Sales team (in hopes that an actual human would response since they deal with money). I explained that there was no way we could run an ad for our Fan Page since it has now ceased to exist.
Twenty-four hours and thirty emails later, the situation was looking bleak. Then, like a leprechaun riding a unicorn, a cryptic reply finally arrived in my inbox explaining that my Fan Page was miraculously restored. After silently weeping tears of joy below my desk, I returned to my iMac to ask what went wrong… Surely there was something that could be done to prevent this from happening in the future. In the same succinct manner, I was told that it was merely a technical glitch on their end, and there was nothing I could’ve done to avoid it. Comforting.
Should this ever happen to your organization (and I hope it doesn’t), I hope the story above helps you resurrect your page as well. More importantly, this whole fiasco was a stark reminder of how much we’ve come to trust a simple social network with so much of our data. If you’re pouring a lot of time and effort into your Facebook presence, make sure you have backups of videos, photos and any other content that you’re serving up exclusively through their tools. You never know when disaster will strike.