A Step-by-Step Guide for Small Businesses
Many small businesses, when they first decide to pursue a social media strategy for their company, decide to create a Facebook page for their business. Often, when setting up their business on Facebook, they do so by creating a “personal profile” for their business instead of creating a dedicated “business page.”
Why businesses choose to do this varies from case to case, but typically boils down to one of two reasons:
- The person creating the profile didn’t realize that there was a difference between “personal” and “business” pages
- The person creating the profile felt overwhelmed and created a “personal” page because it felt easier
Unfortunately, creating a personal profile for your business instead of a business page is a problem for a number of reasons. The most important of which are:
- Friend Limit: Personal Facebook profiles have a maximum friend limit of 5,000 contacts. This means that if your business was built as a personal profile, then you can only connect to 5,000 people before you either need to start unfriending people or otherwise stop growing your social media presence. By comparison, Facebook Business Pages have no limit for ‘“likes” or “followers,” allowing you to connect with as many people as makes sense for your business.
- Forced Deletions: Facebook has begun cracking down on business pages that are built on personal profiles, sometimes forcing deletion. The reason? Businesses built on personal profiles are essentially businesses masquerading as people, which breaks all kinds of rules in Facebook’s User Agreement (and is also just bad form for social media). They are completely in their right to delete pages that break their rules because it damages the Facebook ecosystem.
- Missing Business Statistics: Business pages on Facebook have access to a number of valuable business stats that help you gauge things like audience engagement, reach, and more.
- No Ability for Ads: If you would like to create Facebook Ads to help promote your business, you can only do so if your business is built on a business page. Personal profiles lack the ability to create ads.
So, if you are a small business just getting ready to join social media, do yourself a favor and do it the right way: Just create a Facebook Business Page.
But chances are, if you’re reading this article, it’s because you have already built your business’s Facebook presence on a personal profile and you are looking for guidance to fixing things. Luckily, you can convert your existing page to a business page fairly easily. The exact steps that you take will depend on one key question: Do you only have a personal page for your business, or do you have both a personal page and a business page already?
If you only have a personal page for your business…
Then you are in luck, because this is the easier way to fix things! All you need to do is convert the personal profile into a business page, which you can do by following the steps below:
1. Download Your Facebook Information (Optional)
Unfortunately, when you convert a personal profile into a business page, you are likely to lose some information. Though your friends will carry over (they’ll be converted into “Likes”), as well as your general information and most (if not all) of your photos and videos, your individual posts will not carry over—it will be lost in the process of conversion.
That means that if you ever want to look back and recreate your posts, you’ll need a record to reflect on. You can get this record by following Facebook’s instructions to do so. Once you have requested the information, you’ll receive your file as an email attachment after it has been processed (likely at least a few minutes later, depending on how much information has to be saved).
2. Make Sure Any Groups or Pages You Manage Have Other Admins
If your business’s personal profile currently acts as an administrator (admin) for any other Facebook pages or groups, then it is very important that you make sure there are other (active) admins for those pages.
When you convert your profile into a business page, the profile may cease to exist (although Facebook says that it shouldn’t, they have in the past). If the profile managed other groups or pages and was the only admin, then those pages may end up adminless. Which is definitely not good.
So before going any further, navigate to any pages or groups that you are currently an admin on and add a new admin:
- Click on “Settings” in the upper right hand corner of the page
- Click on “Page Roles” halfway down the left-hand column
- Under “Assign a New Page Role,” select the drop-down and choose “Admin.” Then type the person’s name and click “Add.”
- They will receive a notification alerting them that they have been added and, if necessary, should accept the invitation
3. Follow Facebook’s Steps to Convert Your Page
To begin the process of converting your personal profile into a business page, click here.
According to Facebook, the conversion process will:
- Leave you with both a personal profile and a business page
- Allow you to transfer your profile picture, cover photo, account information, and photos/videos from your personal profile to your business page
- Allow you to choose which friend to carry over from your personal profile to your business profile.
First you will choose up to three categories for your business page. The first category that you select will appear in your business information, so make sure you choose the correct tag.
Then you will choose which friends should be carried over from the personal profile to your business page. Though you can simply choose “Select All,” now would be a good opportunity to scroll through your current friends and deselect any that you don’t think should be linked to your business page—for example, old acquaintances or competitors.
You will then be able to choose which of your Videos, Photos, and Photo Albums you would like to carry over from your personal page to the business page. (This option is available for up to 14 days after the conversion is complete.)
And then all you need to do is review the information and click “Create Page.”
4. Delete the Old Personal Profile
Once you are sure that your business’s personal profile has been converted into a business page and that your friends have been converted into likes, you will want to assign a new admin to the business page. This admin should be your actual individual personal profile or the personal profile of someone else. The admin should NOT be the personal profile for your business page from which it was just created.
Then, to prevent confusion amongst your current and new followers, you should delete the old personal profile that your business was originally built on. This way, any new followers will go to your true business page, and you will only need to manage a single audience/page.
If you were to keep the personal profile active, then new customers could in theory still connect with it, which would not be good for your customers or your business.
If you have both a personal page and business page for your business…
Sometimes, small business owners will begin their Facebook efforts by creating a personal page for their business. Then, as they grow, they will realize that they should have a business page instead, and they create one. But because they don’t want to lose their existing customer/contacts/followers, they will keep both the personal profile and business page active.
Ultimately, that’s pretty confusing for your customers, who may find themselves wondering which page is the right page for them to follow. And it’s definitely not the easiest for you, since you’re now managing two pages for your business. Is there a fix?
Yes! But it’s a little complicated.
Unfortunately, Facebook does not allow you to merge a personal profile with and existing business page. If they did, this would be easy as pie. Instead, what you need to do is: Convert your personal profile into new business page, and then merge the two business pages. To do that, just follow the steps below:
1. Follow Steps 1 Through 4 Above
The first thing that you’ll need to do is convert your business’s personal profile into a new business page. So follow the steps as outlined above:
- Download a copy of your Facebook data (if wanted)
- Make sure any pages or groups you are an admin for have other admins assigned
- Follow Facebook’s steps to convert your personal profile into a business page
But before doing this, make sure that the new business page has a name, physical address, and contact information (email, phone number) that is identical to the existing business page. This is a signal that Facebook uses to ensure that pages should, indeed, be merged, so it is important.
2. Merge the New Business Page with Your Existing Business Page
You can only merge the business page with fewer likes into the business page with more likes. This means that if you would like to keep your current (already existing) Facebook business page a s the parent page, you will need to ensure that the new business page that you just created has fewer likes. If you find that the new page somehow has more likes, you should comb through the contacts and delete some until the new page has fewer likes than the existing page.
Then, click here to begin the merge process. You will be redirected to a page that lists all of your Facebook Business pages, alongside the number of likes that each one has.
Once the page loads, simply select the two pages that you would like to merge and click “Request Merge.” Facebook will then tell you which of the two pages will become the parent page—if it is not the page that you want to become the parent page, click “cancel” and try again.
Facebook will then review your request to merge the pages, a process that may take anywhere from three to seven business days. Once the merge is complete, you should receive a notification from Facebook by email and in your notifications tab indicating that the process has completed.
So what exactly happens when the pages merge? Anyone who has liked either page will be carried over to the updated business page, which should instantly increase the reach of your business page (score!). The page that you keep (the original business page) will remain unchanged minus the addition of new likes; the other page will be deleted and removed from Facebook.
3. Delete the Old Personal Page
Like in Step 4 above, in order to prevent confusion amongst your current and new followers, you should delete the old personal profile that your business was originally built on. This way, any new followers will go to your true business page, and you will only need to manage a single audience/page.
The Bottom Line
Though it may seem like a bit of a complicating process to convert your business’s personal profile into a business page, it is actually very straightforward and simple. Facebook has done a great job of simplifying the matter for its users, and you can always cancel if you get overwhelmed or confused, and come back to it later.
Ultimately, if your business’s Facebook presence is built on a personal profile, converting it into a business page is in the best interest for both your business and your customers.