Many businesses new to social media are fortunate in that they can learn from the lessons and mistakes of others and use the latest developments by Facebook for themselves. For example, a business setting up on Facebook now would start with a Business Page and it is relatively easy to get local or expert help. Indeed Yell.com offers such a service. But a quick trawl through a number of Facebook business sites in you area would reveal a wide variation in the quality and standard of existing sites compared to the latest and best practice. Many Facebook sites are OK functionally, but looking old and tired. Some are neglected with no recent posts or new photographs or video content, but the dead give away of an older, poor site, is a business that is still collecting “Friends” on a Personal Profile (now called a Timeline) instead of “Likes” on Business Fan Page. As a business user of Facebook, populating a Business Page is an absolute minimum for almost every type of business. So if you are still using a Personal Profile (Timeline) – Jump in and make that change!
Although Facebook may seem like part of the furniture on many PCs, laptops and mobile phones, it has only been marketed by Facebook itself as business tool for less than two years. Prior to this, those businesses that were prescient enough to jump into social media early often used their own personal profile for business purposes and many collected business “Friends”. While this is great for businesses where the owner is a personality – for example, a personal life coach or an author, for most standard businesses, it is more appropriate to use a Facebook Business Page where Fans can “Like” your business, rather than become friends. One of the most obvious reasons to make this change is that Personal profiles have a limit of 5,000 friends, whereas Facebook Business Pages have no limit. In addition, Facebook Business Pages can have multiple administrators, which makes it easy to share responsibility for posting Facebook content and dealing with responses, (perhaps with a third party), as well as being able to receive useful statistics on site visitors.
But what if you are a standard business or non-profit organisation that set up some time ago and have several thousand Friends already? Well the good news is that you can convert from a Facebook Personal Profile to a Facebook Business Page without loosing your Friends and content providing you follow a few simple steps:
- Advise your current Facebook friends that your profile site will change to a Business Page. Reassure your “friends” they will still be associated with you, but as fans that will “Like” your Page and explain the reasons why you need to change. It is best to do this with a small campaign that you post on your profile page – not just once, but several times over a period of 2-4 weeks
- Consider and create the imagery and logos that you will use to brand your new Business Page, this can be a copy of your main website. You can have this produced by your local graphic artist or perhaps use the services of an online graphic artist.
- Most important – Back up all of your current content including photographs and wall comments
Fortunately, Facebook very kindly provides some assistance to help with this transition. See this link for information: http://www.facebook.com/help/?page=18830.
When Facebook first introduced Business Pages, some businesses decided to make the change almost immediately and there were many reports of a slow transition and even lost data. Since then, I can report that things have improved enormously. The transition is very smooth. Once the transition process has finished, check that your Facebook “friends” have indeed been converted to Facebook fans. (The site will tell you how many “Likes” you have) Then check that Facebook “Like” button has appeared. For some reason this can take a while, but be patient. After this, it is time to introduce your new graphic imagery and then follow the process to reload your original photographs and wall posts.
All being well, you should now have a basic but functioning Facebook Business Page. At this point you can introduce new specific pages and other applications and widgets to tailor your Facebook Business Page for your specific audience.
Now you have a new Facebook Business Page up and running, perhaps with multiple administrators providing content, there is absolutely no reason not to keep your site up to date with new posts and photographic and video content. And if you do simply this, you can be sure that you are ahead of 90% of the competing businesses in your area. Don’t take my word for it – check them out and weep gently…