Convert Facebook Profile to Page (Risks vs Benefits & How To)
If you are one of the many businesses, bands and politicians who setup a Facebook profile instead of a facebook page when you decided to get “social media” to promote yourself, then you might want to look at Facebook’s migration feature which converts your facebook profile into a page.
Convert Facebook Profile to Page #FAIL
But before I provide the link, I want you to make sure you know exactly what you are getting yourself into because there has been many-a-horror-story from others who have clicked the famous migration tool which has been in effect since early this year (2011).
It is designed specifically for businesses who didn’t actually want a profile in the first place but didn’t realize what they were doing. It’s against Facebook’s rules to have a business as a profile, so you are taking a risk just by having it, and facebook has created this migration tool just for these people (not for normal people who want to convert their profile into a Fan page, and you’ll see why soon).
Facebook Profile Migration Risks
- If you have setup a vanity url, you may (and probably will) lose it.
If your profile has a Facebook username (Facebook.com/username), and you convert your facebook profile into a facebook fan page, you may lose the vanity url. There have been people who have done this, and the vanity name has become available after approximately 10 days and they were able to re-register it, but it’s very high-risk especially if you have already got promotional material, tv/radio ads, and business cards promoting the url – think of those types of implications if yours is one that doesn’t come back or if you don’t grab it before someone else does!
- You lose all your content
Yep, although you can download your Facebook data to back it up, there is no way to “import” it back in. All your photos, status updates, videos, comments – nothing except your connections will be migrated across to the page.
- You lose your friends
For those with close friends, you will need to create a new personal profile and re-request the friendship. Everyone will be converted into “Fans” on your fan page, but won’t continue to be your friend. That means you no longer have access to their wall, cannot contact or chat with them anymore, you will no longer be reminded about their upcoming birthdays, they can’t poke you, etc. You can’t see their photos anymore – nothing.
- You can’t migrate to an existing page
If you had a profile, and already have a business fan page, and you wanted to convert your profile into your existing facebook fan page, that feature is not available. You will have 2 fan pages.
- You risk access to all your current groups, games and pages
You lose all access to all the groups, pages, games and facebook applications you were using.
- You can’t re-register with the same mobile number or email
When you go to create a new profile, Facebook won’t let you use the same mobile number or email address
- You lose any applications you created
If you created any applications under your Facebook profile, you will lose the connection to be able to edit them again.
Facebook Fan Page Benefits
The new tool is intended to help brands, local business, organizations or public figures create a new Facebook page while still bringing their friends (ie, fans) along with them. If you never intended to have a profile to begin with, and you are using your Facebook profile as a business, you are missing out on some great benefits of having a fan page and should consider the risks and work out whether the following benefits are worth the merge:
- Facebook Pages are indexed by search engines.
So if you want to be more “Googleable”, converting to a Facebook Page is definitely a step in the right direction.
- Your business profile won’t get banned.
You are already breaking the rules by having a business name on your Facebook profile, they created this tool specifically for you – if you are a business, running a Facebook profile “as a business”, then you are breaking Facebook’s terms & conditions and are at risk of losing your account altogether.
- You can have unlimited Fans.
Unlike a Facebook profile which can only have a maximum of 5,000 friends.
- You have access to Insights.
Something businesses find very useful is the pages can give you analytical data about your fans, so you’ll know more demographics about the type of people who fan you and insights into views on your status updates, etc.
Here’s what I would do (unless the risks outweighed the benefits)
- If it were me running a Facebook profile with a business name.. if I had just started out or only had a few hundred people, I would change my name now, to my personal name or the name of the manager and create a brand new Facebook page for the business and contact each person and tell them manually about the Facebook page and the reason why you changed your name (you are educating them as well and it also gives you another way to “connect” and network with your fans). Read Michiel’s suggestion here.
- If I had more than a few hundred fans, then I would probably risk all the bad things above and convert to a Facebook page, backing up all my data just in case and knowing that I will lose everything – UNLESS I had a vanity url, or had more to lose, then I would be super-scared to do it – terrified, actually I think I’d be shaking if I decided to click it – it really is just so risky and the horror stories so far just make you wonder what the heck Facebook is doing.
The biggest risk I believe is the loss of the vanity url and applications (as well as annoying/confusing your real friends and family by re-requesting friendship)
I understand the risks, and I still want to proceed with the Facebook Profile to Page conversion… how do I do it?
- If you are using facebook profiles for business and you’ve read through and understood all the risks, and you still want to convert your business profile into a business fan page, make sure you scroll up and read all the risks again.. and that you’ve definitely backed up everything first, and then, only after you are 100% sure.. click the link for the facebook profile to page migration here.
- Here is Facebook’s “Help” page on Bugs & Known issues with Facebook Business Pages.
- Here is Facebook’s “Official Help” page entitled “How do I convert my profile to a Page?”
- You can download a copy of your Facebook data from your settings page (https://www.facebook.com/settings)
- The Action Migration Page is here.
- If you did it, and now you want to reverse it, Facebook has a page setup for an appeal – Profile to Business Page Migration Appeal
Note Facebook’s warning about the appeal process: Profile to business Page migrations are meant for profiles that do not represent a person. If you have accidentally migrated your profile to a Page, you can submit your request for a reversal. Please keep in mind that we will remove your business Page if your profile is restored. We may reject any appeals that we deem to be inappropriate. Further, we may not reply to all submitted appeals.
Facebook Horror-Story Links
Here are some links to some horror stories of people who had profiles that converted them into pages (read all the comments)
- @Mashable – You can Now Convert Your Facebook Profile to a Facebook Page
- @Mashable – Facebook Profile Migrations: A Cautionary Tale
- @MichielGaasterland – The risks of automatically converting your Facebook Profile to Facebook Page
- @MichielGaasterland – How to convert your friends from a Personal Facebook Profile to a Facebook Fan Page
Remember, you were warned.. make sure you are 100% sure before you click that button and consider very heavily the suggestion of doing it the manual way, i.e. “asking” your friends to like your new page and changing your name of your business profile into a personal profile, rather than just merging it into a facebook page.