NOTE: This is a follow up to my recent blog about the differences between a friend page and a fan page.
It happens for many reasons: You hired someone to handle your social media who didn’t know what they were doing and they set up your business as a “friend account” on Facebook. Or, maybe you were just getting started on Facebook and weren’t sure what you were doing, so you set up your business as a friend account. Or maybe you did it intentionally, because it’s easier to build a fan base and interact on Facebook as a person (SHAME ON YOU!). Regardless of the reason, after reading my last blog about the differences between a friend page and fan page, you know you need to change your business over to a fan page. But how do you do this?
The good news is it can be done! The bad news is that Facebook does not make it very easy. Unfortunately, there is not a magic button you can hit that will convert your personal profile to a fan page (at least, not yet). So basically, you have to start from scratch (sorry). Here are my tips/steps for starting the transition. It’s a long process but it’s totally worth it- you just need to commit to seeing it through until the end before you get started.
- Step one: Create the fan page (If you haven’t already). Visit www.facebook.com/pages
- Step two: Start transferring any pictures and posts from your friend account to your fan account. Post all your updates to both pages at the same time (a tool like HootSuite or TweetDeck will be your friend!). Include the URL to your new fan page on your old friend page. (HINT: Create a custom URL to make it easier). Post updates to your friends asking them to switch over and send a direct message to all of your friends asking them to like your new fan page.
- Step three: Set a hard cutoff date that you will no longer actively maintain the friend account. This date can be a month from now, or even 3 months from now- depending on how many friends you have and how long you think you’ll need to transfer them over to your fan page.
- Step four: Depending on how many “friends” you have, look to see if you can determine who has liked the new page and who hasn’t (GREAT job for an intern). Send those who haven’t a personal message asking them to switch over (you can do that- you’re still a “person” in Facebook world for now!). Continue to post updates to both accounts.
- Step five: Determine how many people have switched over. If most have, begin to remove friends from your old account. Post a final reminder asking friends who haven’t switched over to your fan page to “like” the new one.
- Step six: Shut down the friend account. Remove all your friends so they no longer have the ability to interact with you or tag you in posts/photos. Remove your logo so it is not easily identified as your company page in search results. Under information/about, post a message explaining to potential friends that this account is no longer active. Provide a link to the new fan page.
This is a long, tedious process. But once you’re complete, you’ll end up with an active fan page and an inactive friend account. You can decide to keep it open, for administrative purposes over your fan page (see my blog for when this is appropriate), but make sure you make it clear that the account will not accept friend requests and is not actively managed.
Let me know if you try this and it works for you. Better yet, let me know if something DIDN’T work for you! I’d love to hear stories from other social media folks about this process and how it has worked for their business.
Best of luck to you in your conversion to a fan page! I know it’s a long process, but the benefits of a fan page for a business outweigh the time you’ll spend on this process. Best of all, you’ll be in compliance with Facebook’s terms and conditions, and your business will look like a “Facebook Expert!”
Etiquette rule: Once you’ve completed the migration, DON’T start using your inactive friend account to send annoying messages to followers of your fan page. It’s rude, uncalled for, and will probably cause a decent amount of fans to unfollow you.
~Christina Torri, Social Media Coordinator for Mindscape at Hanon McKendry