Have you ever gotten a Facebook friend request from something other than a person? I have… several times… recently. There are countless businesses operating in Facebook as user profiles rather than pages. In the early days, those enterprising business owners that could see serious potential in Facebook had no option but to launch a profile for their business. Over the years the connections have brought success, so there is little motivation to change a good thing. Lots of small business owners have only had time and energy to learn their way around a profile, so they stick with what they know and understand when it comes to their Facebook presence. Whatever the reason may have been to launch a business profile, there are 4 very huge reasons to make the switch to a business page.
Reason #1: You are in violation of the Facebook user agreement and run the risk of losing access to all of your hard work.
Here it is as stated on the Facebook Help page:
Maintaining a personal account for anything other than an individual person is a violation of Facebook’s Statement of Rights and Responsibilities. If you don’t convert your noncompliant account to a Page, you risk permanently losing access to the account and all of its content.
Exact wording from the Statement of Rights and Responsibilities:
Registration and Account Security
Facebook users provide their real names and information, and we need your help to keep it that way. Here are some commitments you make to us relating to registering and maintaining the security of your account:
- You will not provide any false personal information on Facebook, or create an account for anyone other than yourself without permission.
- You will not create more than one personal account.
- If we disable your account, you will not create another one without our permission.
- You will not use your personal timeline primarily for your own commercial gain, and will use a Facebook Page for such purposes.
- You will not transfer your account (including any Page or application you administer) to anyone without first getting our written permission.
- If you select a username or similar identifier for your account or Page, we reserve the right to remove or reclaim it if we believe it is appropriate (such as when a trademark owner complains about a username that does not closely relate to a user’s actual name).
Facebook does have a way to convert a profile to a page, enabling you to keep your user name and connections and not start again from scratch. If this first reason is enough for you, scroll down to the bottom of the post for all the links and info you need to start converting to a business page.
Reason #2: You have no way of tracking your effectiveness on a profile.
How many people like your business is only the beginning. To get the most out of the time and effort you put into Facebook, you need to be able to determine the makeup of your fan base, their consumption habits, and how well your message propagates beyond the people you are directly connected to. Since Pages are designed for business use, they come with tons of data not available to a user profile. The page “Insights” provide up to date information about what kind of interaction and reach each post on the page timeline generated. Insights will break down your fan base by gender, age, location, and how they came to land on your page. This kind of data enables you to stop shooting in the dark and serve up content that keeps your business connections buzzing.
Reason #3: Your profile has no access to advertising and promotion.
Facebook’s billion users is a huge draw for any business looking to expand their customer base. But reaching the right people at the right time is tricky. A user profile is designed for personal one on one relationships and was never intended to reach large groups of people. The most powerful tool offered by Facebook for reaching it’s vast user base is advertising and promotion. That tool is only available to business pages. If you want to reach Facebook users that you do not already have some connection to, you need to break free of the profile and get access to the business promotional tools.
Reason #4: You will miss out on Graph Search opportunities.
Facebook search will fundamentally change the way users navigate the topics and connections that interest them most. Soon users will be able to search for restaurants their friends like. But if you are interacting with your Facebook connections as a “friend” with a user profile rather than a restaurant with a business page, you could wind up pointing your friends to other restaurants rather than their friends pointing them back to your business. So long as you operate you business on Facebook as a user profile, your business will be defined by search as a friend. In order for new people to discover your business via Graph Search, you need your business on a page that people can “like.”
So, how do you convert your profile to a business page?
Here is the basic info from Facebook Help:
When you convert your personal account to a Facebook Page, we’ll transfer your current profile picture and add all your friends and subscribers as people who like your Page. Your account’s username will become the username for your Page, and the name associated with your personal account will become your Page’s name. If you want your Page to have a different name, consider creating a new one.
No other content will be carried over to your new Page, so be sure to save any important content before beginning the conversion:
- Download your timeline information. You can download a file that contains all of your sent and received messages and all of the photos and videos you’ve uploaded to Facebook.
- Appoint a new group admin to any groups you manage. You’ll be unable to manage groups once the conversion begins.
When you’re ready, start converting your personal account to a Facebook Page.