At Above Benchmark we have thoroughly researched how best to promote our brand on social media. We attended marketing conferences, read books, even joined peer sharing groups to increase our understanding of how best to communicate on the most popular social network, Facebook. If we do say so ourselves, we were doing a fine job of it. We enjoyed interacting with our Mystery Shoppers and clients, sharing our wins (and our struggles), updating them with news and articles, offering talking points, and generally increasing brand awareness. Then, without discussion or explanation, Facebook shut down our business page, as well as several other Australian Mystery Shopping Providers’ pages.
We are offended and saddened by the decision, but not surprised. The Mystery Shopping Industry is perhaps the most misunderstood in the field of market research; either it’s lauded as a “get paid to shop” scheme by news shows or blasted as being a scam. A while ago, we published a blog article about the Mystery Shopping industry suffering from a poor reputation due to scammers and unethical providers. The poor reputation of the industry was a driving force in why our founder, Jen Wells, joined the Mystery Shopping Professionals Association in the Asia-Pacific division. More recently Jen was asked to represent Australia on the Marketing Committee, a position she happily accepted.
This decision by Facebook to unpublish our page because of unfair industry connotations is too harsh a penalty to pay. It censors us and affects our bottom line. We understand that Facebook Inc. are scrambling to improve their own image after suffering hit after hit to its reputation. Shutting down the page of an honest company is not the way to do it. However, we have learned from this. Promoting your business on a free platform should be viewed as a risky endeavour because they can change the rules at their own fickle discretion. We would advise our clients to diversify their social media marketing, not depending on Facebook alone for their brand message.
This is such an exciting time for us at Above Benchmark. We are partnering with new clients, improving our systems, celebrating our Team’s milestones, and many more great moments. It’s disappointing not being able to share these with our followers on Facebook. We also miss not being able to support our clients’ business pages, as we pride ourselves on being amongst their biggest advocates.
For now, we will keep hitting “refresh” on our business page and hope that Facebook sees sense and republishes it. If you want to check, here’s the link. If we’re published, we’d love to connect. In the meantime, follow us on Instagram, Twitter and Linkedin. Although most interaction with our followers took place on Facebook, we have always been active on these other platforms.