By: Ryan Miller
Many businesses entering Facebook for the first time have erroneously set-up a personal profile for their business rather than a Fanpage. Having a business established using a personal profile can hamper your ability to interact with your clients, but more importantly this is violation of Facebook’s Statement of Rights and Responsibilities. This violation can cause you to permanently lose access to your account and all the hard work that has been put into it. If your business currently uses the personal profile, it is time to get it transferred to an official Business Page.
First, let’s confirm that your business is using a personal profile:
A very easy way to tell is if your page has the option to “add friend” at the top and if your business has information such as where it lives and when it was born.
You may be asking what the difference between a personal profile and a Business Page is, and how this can affect your business’ success on Facebook. The primary reason is your ability to interact with your clients who are looking to become connected to you. Historically, if you have a personal profile that client would have to “friend” you and then await your friend request before being able to follow your status updates. While the newer “subscribe” feature has alleviated that somewhat, there is still a delay as they await to become your friend. Secondly a personal profile can only have up to 5,000 friends, which would severely limit a larger company from growing, while a Business Page has no limitation on the number of fans it can have.
There are two ways that you can go about establishing your new Business Page, either by creating a new Fanpage from scratch and building it up or converting your current personal profile to a Business Page.
Creating a Fanpage from Scratch
Using the currently existing personal profile, go to Create a Page, select Local Business or Place, and follow the process for making your new business.
Once your new Fanpage is created, you can go back to your original profile and add a link to your new business profile alerting people that new updates will occur on that page from there on out. You can also invite the business’ “friends” to join the Fanpage.
Once the new Fanpage is established you can go back and retroactively change the business’ profile information to someone human, preferably someone directly associated with the business such as the owner, so that the profile is within Facebook’s user terms.
This option is recommended for businesses that may not have a lot of fans/friends or have put much time and effort into establishing their page and want a “do over”. Using this option would also retain a personal profile that you could use to create additional Fanpages in the future, as the conversion process (which will be discussed next) will permanently delete this personal profile.
Converting a Personal Profile to a Business Profile
For companies that have invested a lot of time into building up a personal profile for their business, Facebook has the option of converting your personal profile into a Business Page. However before beginning this process, which will delete the personal profile as the Business Page is created, there are some very important first steps that you’ll want to take.
First, you’ll want to download and make a back-up copy of your personal profile, as not all of the data will survive the conversion such as wall posts, photo albums and profile information. Content that will be part of this download includes personal profile information, photos, videos, wall posts, messages sent and received, and status updates.
Next, make a note to all of your personal profile’s fans that you are going through this conversion process so they understand they are going to change from “friends” to “fans”.
Now, it is time to go through the conversion process! Remember that this conversion is *permanent* and there is no easy way to get the old personal profile back once its changed into a page. If you do not like what your page looks like after the conversion, there is an appeal process to get your old personal profile back, but there is no guarantee it will be honored so move forward only if you are 100% sure this is what you want to do.
Whether you go through with the conversion or create a new Fanpage from scratch, establishing a Business Page, in addition to staying within Facebook’s terms, will allow you to more directly engage with your client base. You will be able to add “like” buttons to your website, properly fill in location data so that potential clients can find your business and give yourself the ability to create customized tabs make your page more enticing and to further your business’ goals. Good luck with your new Fanpage!