As a small business owner did you mistakenly create a personal Facebook profile for your company when you meant to create a Brand page? Or maybe you created a personal profile before Brand pages even existed and now you’re missing out on the new functionality? Fear not, Facebook wants to help you switch over and they’ve released the Business Page Migration Tool to help you do it.
It’s worth pointing out that this isn’t a totally altruistic gesture on Facebook’s part. Using a personal profile as a brand is actually a violation of Facebook’s terms of service (TOS), and they’d like to remind you they can hijack your page for doing it and remove your whole identity.
First, why should you care?
Well, other than the fact that Facebook can remove your page for violating its TOS, as a small business owner you want to get yourself set up with an official Brand page. Brand pages are better suited for local marketing because they allow anyone to “like” you (no approving friends), there’s no maximum on how popular you can get, and they offer SMBs more robust media and promotion offerings. The fact is, Brand pages are simply the better option. By not using them and sticking to a personal profile, you limit your brand’s ability to really reach out and engage customers.
So, how do you make the switch?
With Facebook’s new Profile Migration Tool. To start the process, click the link and follow the instructions that appear on screen to begin the process. Do be careful, though, because it doesn’t appear there’s any way to undo whatever you changes you make. So proceed with caution.
In the migration, all of your current friends will be switched over to fans, and your profile pics will be added to the new Brand page. Everything, else, however will not make the journey with you. That’s right, all of your other photos, wall content, profile information, applications and everything else you’ve created on Facebook with the account will not be moved over. To prevent the information from being lost, Facebook recommends users download their information before kicking off the process. Otherwise, once it’s gone, it’s gone.
So, should I do this right now?
Well, maybe not. There have been reports from Jeffrey Zeldman, Mashable, and others about some major migration hiccups occurring as part of the process. For example, users have complained about losing custom URLs (which they then can’t get back because they’re “taken” by the old account), disappearing apps, not being able to access Facebook help and other great annoyances.
My advice? Give it a week or two before you attempt the migration process, and do so only after you’ve made sure to back up all of your content.
Though a little wonky right now, this migration is really important for small business owners not yet moved over to Facebook Brand pages. Creating a Brand page will offer you much more functionality and will help you better promote your business to customers. Hopefully Facebook will quickly get the kinks worked out and small business owners can be on their way to engaging with customers better than ever.