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No April Fools: Businesses on Facebook Get A Do-Over…but Is It Worth It?

Many businesses started their Facebook marketing journey on the wrong foot.  Instead of starting a business page, they used their personal profile to promote their business. From the beginning, Facebook didn’t merely discourage this but it explicitly forbade it in their terms and conditions.  Nevertheless many businesses ignored the warning.  Quite a few got caught and had their accounts suspended.  Others ignored the warnings and tempted fate.  Dumping 4,000 to 5,000 friends and starting over with zero fans or “likes” seemed like bad business.

This week Facebook threw out an olive branch to all the businesses who still use a personal profile as their business page.  You may now convert your personal user profile to an official business Page, turning all your friends into fans with a few keystrokes.  You can do this at: “Profile To Business Page Migration” tool.

But this gift from Facebook comes with several strings attached.  Before making the conversion, a business should still consider and evaluate the consequences.  According to Facebook,

When you convert your profile to a Page, some content will be automatically transferred for you:

  • All your confirmed friends will be converted to people who like your new Page.
  • Your profile pictures will be migrated to your new Page.

However, all other content on your profile (i.e., photo albums, profile information, wall posts, comments, etc.) will not be transferred.  Essentially you will start your new business page with “likes” but no content. For several restaurants that I know who have accumulated close to the maximum 5,000 friends and hundreds of photos, the loss is significant. Without the conversation, what’s left?

Of course, these businesses really don’t have much choice: by sticking with the profile as their business page, they risk losing the wall, photos and friends.  So while the migration tool has its benefits, it isn’t all wine and roses.

Ultimately I believe every business will need a Facebook business page.  Whether you start one from scratch or convert your personal profile doesn’t really matter. The value of a Facebook page is that is a public page, searchable by Google, Bing, Yahoo and other search engines. A business page is like a free website, a virtual storefront where 600 million people visit on a regular basis. The path you choose to create the page at this point isn’t as important as starting the page and initiating the conversation with your customers.

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