Convert Facebook Profile to Page (Risks vs Benefits & How To)

with 21 Comments IN Marketing & Wordpress

Convert facebook profile into facebook business fan page
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)

Good luck!

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.

Penny (PennyButler.com)
Penny (PennyButler.com)

Who are we? What are we doing here? What is the meaning of life? Penny is a truth-seeker, ever-questioning, ever-learning, ever-researching, ever delving further and deeper down the rabbit hole. This site is a legacy of sorts, a place to collect thoughts, notes, book summaries, whilst providing a searchable archive to easily lookup and reference.

21 Comments

  1. Touche. Great arguments. Keep up the amazing work.

  2. Teo says:

    Hi,

    I have a question maybe you can help me :) Pleeeeease , pretty please :)

    . I migrated from my personal account to a new official facebook page. I had more that 5000 friends on my personal account, so I expected that I would have more than 5000 Likes on my newly migrated page.

    after I migrated from account to page, at first I had only 230 friends…then after 3 minutes I had only 494 friends! And then it stopped! I thought it would take longer for my friends to transform into likes but nothing has changed for more than an hour. I would really like to have my, more that 5000, friends as fans on my page.

    Does it take longer for facebook to transform my friends into likes in my facebook page.

    I would love an answer! I’m a bit panicked!

    1. Penny Butler says:

      Sorry Teo, I wish I could but I haven’t migrated any of them myself, due to the reasons I specified.. it’s just too risky .. but maybe someone else who finds this post can help you or you can try the mashable link that I mentioned above too to see if any of those can help too. Sorry.. good luck :(

    2. Annie says:

      Hi there,

      I have the same questions, as I have been waiting for TWO WEEKS for the 5000 friends to turn into likes :(… I just don’t know if there is any hope for this… Did your friends show up eventually?
      Oh, and one more thing for the people thinking about taking this step: in the backup file you download there is no list with your friends’ details!!! You just cannot contact them anymore once you migrate and they don’t show up as likes!

  3. I had almost 5000 friends, that’s why I migrated. However, now my page has only 322 likes. I downloaded my info beforehand, but it actually didn’t have my friend list. I didn’t realize this until it was too late. I know have completely lost about 4-5 years worth of work. I would not recommend this “migration.” I decided to ask for a reversal, but I’ve not heard anything from Facebook for about 24 hours. Maybe that doesn’t seem long, but I just published a book, and I’m stuck in limbo and I lost my vanity URL. Was this “migration” an April Fools Prank?

  4. johannes says:

    Only 400 of the 5000 friends converted to likes. Any ways to fix this yet?

  5. Ryan says:

    Yeah totally agree with you there. Was considering converting one of my website client’s facebook profile (which they are using as fan page) to a new Facebook page but the cons far outweigh the pros and the loss of data is just unforgiveable for just getting friends converted to likes. I say just make a new page and run the page and profile in tandem whilst slowly migrating attention and patrionage (likes) to the facebook page. When satisfied that the profile has run it’s course deactivate it or delete it.

    Hopefully facebook pulls their finger out of their bottom soon and makes a worthwhile conversion system….but don’t hold your breath!

  6. Hayley says:

    I converted a profile to a business page for a client and the username did not transfer over like Facebook said it would. I even tested it out on a different profile and it worked. This username is very valuable to the client and I would love any advice on how to get it back. And yes I know, it probably never should have been done in the first place. I trusted what Facebook said and am now regretting it.

    1. Penny Butler says:

      Yeah this is a common problem with the conversion :( The username will become “available” again within a couple of weeks, and you just have to make sure you are the first to “claim” it as soon as it is released :(

  7. Nan says:

    Hello, this is Nan (not my real name).

    I have problems converting my profile to a page.

    When I created a page, no page came next.

    If I access the Pages Getting started page an error occurred:

    Sorry, something went wrong.

    We’re working on getting this fixed as soon as we can.

    Can someone help me?

  8. harj says:

    I have recently converted my profile to a page to turn my friends into likes for advertising purposes. However now i have set up a sponsored story to target the friends of likes however the targeted audience is only showing 20 people. I have over 700 likes. Please help as the only reason i converted to a page was for likes and so i could advertise to the people they are friends with. Please help

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  11. kacey says:

    I converted the profile page into a fan page but non of my 1600 friends turned into fans? Does this take time? Now im stuck a fan page with 0 fans and all of my friends are lost.

    Any suggestions?

    1. Penny Butler says:

      omg Kacey, that is so scary! There is hope though – I did go through all those hundreds of comments (from the @mashable links above) before I wrote this post, and there was a couple of comments from people who had the same problem as you are having now and there were others that replied to them saying that it did take time for them, so hopefully it goes through ok for you.

      I hope you downloaded a backup so that you at least have everyone’s details just in case you have to invite them back manually. Hold on and we all have our fingers crossed for you.. and if it doesn’t work, you can still try the migration reversal . I know that probably doesn’t give you much comfort right now, but at least they have that as an option, even if their wording is a little scary.

      I think I might just suggest that noone ever do this because I can just imagine how you must be feeling right now, and if facebook has stuffed it up and doesn’t convert friends to fans 100% of the time, then we definitely need to recommend that NOONE ever does this.

      Please come back and let us know the outcome so we can warn or reassure others who may be considering doing this or who are going through the waiting period that you are.

      Good luck Kacey :(

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