Last month, Facebook announced a couple of new features for Facebook Page admins on the Timeline. First, they announced the long awaited “Save Drafts,” which allows you to plan a post within the Timeline and save it to finish later. I personally love this feature when I’m running to a meeting, but have an idea for something to share with our fans. Saves a lot of time and energy for when I want to return to the post after the meeting!
The next feature Facebook introduced I am a little more hesitant about: Backdating Posts.
Backdating posts is similar to scheduling your posts for the future. However, instead of posting for a future date, your post will be nestled in your Timeline at the past date of your choosing.
My concerns for this feature are for the ways it may be used. Giving Page admins the option to go back and post what they meant to post a few days, weeks, months, or years ago leaves a lot of room for shady behavior.
In an attempt to look on the bright side, I polled Pagemodo’s Facebook page followers about how they thought they would use the feature:
I thoroughly enjoyed your responses! They raised the same concerns as I had:
1. “Backdating I can’t figure a use for that. Other than to allow edit or replacement of older posts.”
This goes back to my unease over what businesses may try to hide in a previous post. We already have the “Edit” function on Facebook which can help with typos or simple mistakes; so why the need for this extra feature that could lead to something less ethical?
2. “What is the difference in a back-dated post and adding a milestone to your history?”
Again, Facebook already provides a solution for posting about previous events or special moments for your company with “Milestones.” You are able to add new photos or photos you already posted to Milestones to make it very similar to a post. Why do we need the Backdate solution to make it a more inconspicuous past post?
I did my best to research the other uses for this feature to understand the logic behind its release. But, after seeing Marketing In Color’s blog post which stated “It can cover your behind if you forgot a major holiday, national event, or employee’s birthday,” I started losing hope for a respectable answer.
It wasn’t until I read on Facebook’s Help Community about Backdating that I found a single solution that could be an ethical way to use the feature. That solution was when converting a Facebook account from a Profile Page to a Business Page.
It makes sense to export your highly engaged posts to help build a business page filled with rich and valuable content. This way, people will instantly feel compelled to become fans or continue being a fan of the business. This is especially true for agencies that have made this decision for their clients, and want to prove that the shift is a positive choice for them.
Therefore, I caution you on how you decide to use this Backdating feature.
It all boils down to ethics.
Before using Backdating Posts, ask yourself if you are making an ethical decision to use the feature. Are you being fair to your fans? Are you being fair to your colleagues and others associated to your company or organization?
If you have hesitated answering these questions, it may be wise to not use backdating as the solution to your problem. Try highlighting the sale or holiday or moment you missed through Milestones to acknowledge the event, but not dupe your fans into thinking they just “missed” that post; or try brainstorming a new way to spin the post for the present or future!
Just because Facebook has provided this tempting opportunity doesn’t mean that you are in the clear to use it for just any old purpose. Be thoughtful, ask yourself if you’re using the functionality in the way it was intended, and consider taking responsibility for your slip-up if you just forgot to post something important at a particular time.
Can you think of other (ethical!) reasons to use backdating?
Share with us in the comments!
About the Author: Deanna Zaucha is the Content Marketing Coordinator for Webs and Pagemodo, and also manages our social media presence. She can be found on a dance floor, or on her iPhone keeping up with trends in marketing and tech. Get more from Deanna on Pagemodo’s Blog and Twitter.