To give your business a presence on Facebook, you need to set up a Facebook Page instead of creating a Personal Facebook Profile for your business.
But what if you have already set up your business as a personal account? How can you move, transfer or convert your existing Facebook friends to your new Facebook Page?
STOP THE PRESS! NEW BLOG POST!
Here’s the bad news: there ain’t no easy way. Facebook currently does not offer an easy way to transfer your Facebook friends from your Personal Profile to your Business (or Fan) Page.
So, I’m afraid you are gonna have to do it manually. As in: ask people nicely :-/
Here are some tips and tricks on how you can start doing this:
1. First create a Fan Page & claim your vanity URL
Obviously you need to first create your Fan Page. Then you need to claim your ‘vanity url’. This way you can communicate “www.facebook.com/yourbrandname” instead of a longer, less attractive, url. This will help in converting your friends to your new Page.
In order to claim your vanity url, you first need to get 25 people to ‘Like’ your page. So, start with the people you know best. Like your mom
2. Draft a short & friendly message!
You need to clearly articulate why you are asking people to ‘Like’ your Facebook Page. Tell them why you are shutting the Personal Profile down. Tell them how much you appreciate staying in touch with them on Facebook and how your Facebook Page will better serve them!
3. Start publishing on your new Facebook Page
Make sure that the friends who convert to your Facebook Page, do not land on an empty page! Make sure it’s alive when they get there, otherwise they might not click the ‘Like’ button!
4. Change your status update
Put your well crafted message in your status update. Of course include the url of your Facebook Page.
5. Start sending messages
Now start sending your friends messages. Don’t send them all at once. Send in batches. This gives you a chance to adjust your messaging if you think the conversion rate is too low. The more personal your message is, the better. But when you have 4.000 friends, this might turn out to be tough :-/
6. Publish an image and tag your friends
Design your message into a nice image. Like a flyer. Tag all your friends. All your friends will now receive a message saying they’ve been tagged in an image. A good chance they will click and see your flyer. Put the url of your Facebook page right underneath the image.
(I usually don’t advocate tagging people who are not actually in the photo, because it’s a bit spammy. But in this case: necessity knows no law!)
7. Use the Page recommendation feature
At this point hopefully most of your friends have converted to your new Page. You can try to give the ones who haven’t done so one last push. So, go to your Facebook Page, click ‘Share’, select the friends who haven’t joined your Page yet and send them your message.
8. Create an event
At some point you need to decide if you are going to keep the original Personal Profile. You can also opt to keep it semi-hidden for a while via the privacy settings. Still, at a certain point, I recommend you delete it because having two presences on Facebook can be confusing for your users.
So, decide on a date to delete your original Personal Profile and turn it into an event. In the event you can include the url to your new Facebook Page. The event notice will sit there for a while. It’s a bit of a message in a bottle, but you have come to the end of the line.
9. Don’t worry too much about the ‘friends’ who haven’t converted to your Page
It’s not about the numbers. It’s about the people. If they haven’t converted by now, they are probably not active or they don’t care about your Page. In that case, let’s not keep bothering them till all eternity!
10. Isn’t there an easier way to do this?
Now that you have read this whole blog post, and hopefully got a good idea on how to do this the hard way – let me share a little rumour with you. In some forums and in comment sections of blog posts, some people said that Facebook helped them to transfer their friends from a Personal Profile to a Facebook Page.
But it’s hearsay. I haven’t tried it myself. I think they help you out when you are a big celebrity or something. But not when you are a mere mortal business owner or organisation. Still: not guts no glory! So, try sending FB support an email via: http://www.facebook.com/help/contact_generic.php.
Good luck with moving your Facebook friends to your new Facebook Page!