Early February I wrote a post on how you can manually transfer your Facebook friends from your Personal Profile to your Business Page. A little bit later Facebook made it possible to move (convert, transfer or migrate) your friends to ‘Likes’ automatically.
After that post I was flooded with questions from people who all seemed to be experiencing difficulties and bugs while completing this conversion process.
The biggest problem most people seemed to have was with the so called ‘vanity url’. When your personal Profile already has a custom made (vanity) url, it doesn’t automatically get transferred over to the new Page. After making the switch, your previous vanity url becomes a ‘page not found’.
People then had trouble creating the vanity url through the normal procedure. They actually needed to contact Facebook to do the change manually for them. If you have that same problem, try contacting Facebook through the username infringement form. Facebook has actually made this happen for some people.
But the problem with Facebook is still that they have more customers then they can handle. There’s no 24 hour reponse promise or anything like that. And the ‘Profile to Page’ help center, hardly contains any useful info either.
And that can be quite risky, especially because I have also heard from people who had their convertion to a Page fail. Yikes! Their friends were not converted to a Page and they then had to go through Facebook customer support to try and get it sorted.
Look before you leap
Other things you need to take into consideration before you migrate your Personal Profile to Business Page are e.g.:
- You can’t go back, the migration from Profile to Page can’t be undone
- You loose access to some personal data from your friends (e.g. birthdays)
- You loose access to their wall
- Outstanding friend requests don’t get converted
- You loose your Profile wall content, and can’t migrate it to your Page wall post content (to back up your Facebook content first go to Account Settings > Download your information > Download)
- You can’t contact (or chat with) your friends anymore
- You can’t convert your friends to an existing Page.
Weighing the pros and cons
Eventually you are gonna have to bite the bullit: you need a Page for your business rather than a Profile. The main reason is that a personal Profile used for business is simply against Facebook Terms & Conditions. You run the risk of Facebook pulling the plug on your Profile.
But it ain’t all bad, A Facebook Page actually does have benefits compared to a Profile for instance: access to Insights (analytical data), no limitations in the number of fans you build (Profiles are max 5.000 friends), use of apps and ads, interaction with other Pages, etc.
The Facebook tool that let’s you migrate your friends automatically is most beneficial for people who have loads of friends. If you have 2.000, 3.000 or even 5.000 friends it is hard to resist not converting them automatically.
But when you have less than say 1.000 friends, it might be worth considering doing your move manually. You can then use your existing Personal Profile functionality to drive your friends to action and get them to ‘Like’ your new Page.
A plea for going manual
Wether you choose to convert your Profile to Page manually or automatically, your new fans are only useful to you when they are engaged. So, you’re gonna need to develop a plan. Get great content flowing. Give people free stuff. Offer sneak previews, etc. Or try different ideas such as the ones mentioned in any of these 106 blog posts on “How To Build Fans On Facebook”.
When you decide to do your move manually, you can follow the steps in this blog post. In this scenario, you first create your new Page and then start up your communications towards your friends and get them to ‘Like’ your new Page.
The benefits are that your friends have then chosen themselves to ‘Like’ your new Page. Also, they are coming into a live Page that already has some great content in it. You have the chance to straight away position your Page in people’s heads properly and drive people them to action as well.
When you decide to convert automatically, your friends might never know that they have been converted to a ‘Like’. They might never see your Page postings because people might not notice them in their already large newsstreams with updates from friends, groups, causes and other Pages.
Also, when you convert manually, you will still have your old Profile. This allows you to keep communication open with your friends and think of things to get them to ‘Like’ your new Page.
One last tip
If you decide to use any competitions or give-aways to trigger your friends to ‘Like’ your Page, note that this is against Facebook Terms & Conditions. So, I would advice you to only do this as a last resort. And when you do, make sure you put in your Profile that you are currently converting friends from Profile to Page. Also mention a date for your Profile to shut down. Facebook might cut you some slack when they read that message.
Good luck with manually or automatically transferring your friends from Profile to Page!