Lots of businesses errantly use a Facebook profile rather than a Facebook Page to interact with their followers, customers, and sales leads. But this isn't a good idea. Facebook profiles have a more limited set of features than Facebook Pages.
But what happens when you do make the conversion? What extra features do you get? What happens to your friend list, photos, and data? This article explains everything.
Why a Facebook Profile Is Bad for Businesses
Back in the day, many people—especially freelancers, small business owners, and self-employed workers—started to promote their business via their Facebook profile.
This was perfectly understandable. Initially, Facebook didn't offer business pages, but the business owners were keen to leverage their ever-growing social media networks.
Today, however, using a profile instead of a Page is fraught with possible issues—and that's before you consider the extra features that a Facebook Page offers.
For example, what happens if you accidentally share a personal photo with your business followers? Or, if you forget to change the visibility/privacy settings correctly for that sweet new promotion, you just put together? It could be a very unpleasant experience. At worst, it could actively harm a business's bottom line. The most critical point, however, lies in Facebook's Terms of Service.
When people stand behind their opinions and actions, our community is safer and more accountable. For this reason, you must:
- Use the same name that you use in everyday life.
- Provide accurate information about yourself.
- Create only one account (your own) and use your timeline for personal purposes only.
- Not share your password, give access to your Facebook account to others, or transfer your account to anyone else (without our permission).
Hence, if you use a profile exclusively for commercial gain, you are in breach of Facebook's terms, and risk having your profile permanently removed from the network.
Facebook Profile vs. Facebook Page: Extra Features
So, what extra features can you take advantage of if you decide to use a Facebook Page rather than a Facebook profile?
- Insights - For businesses, the most powerful new tool that's available after you convert a Facebook profile to a Page is access to the Page Insights panel.
This lets you see how many actions were taken on your Page, the number of page views you racked up, the number of new likes over a set period, your post reach, your story reach, your post engagement, your video engagement, your followers' demographics, and a whole lot more. For growing companies, it's essential data.
- Friends Limit - Facebook profiles are limited to a maximum of 5,000 friends. If you hit that limit, you will need to start shedding buddies before you can add more. For personal users, the limit will be more than enough. But for businesses, it's perfectly reasonable that they might want to exceed the 5,000 people restriction. Convert a profile to a Page to avoid the limit.
- Likes - Other Pages can like Facebook Pages, however, Facebook profiles cannot be liked by pages. Allowing other businesses to like your Page is a great way to grow your organization's credibility, reputation, and influence.
- Multiple Pages - If you're a freelancer (or are self-employed) and wear many different "hats" in your professional life, Pages are more appropriate. Remember, as per Facebook's terms, you can only have one profile tied to your real-life identity. There is no restriction on the number of Pages you can create and link to your profile.
- Page Management - Only one person can manage a Facebook profile. If you don't want to be in breach of the terms, that person needs to be the profile's rightful owner. For small and medium-sized businesses with a strong social media game, that poses a problem. Pages, on the other hand, allow for multiple managers.
- 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.
- 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.
What Happens to Your Old Facebook Profile?
The last thing we need to talk about, therefore, is what happens to all of the data that's connected to your old profile when you make the conversion.
Here's the key information you need to know about:
- After the conversion, you will have both a Facebook profile and a new Facebook Page.
- Your profile photo, cover photo, and profile name will carry over to the new Page.
- You can also automatically convert your friends, followers, and pending friend requests into followers of your new Page (if you want to). Friends will remain connected to your profile; people who only follow you will no longer follow your profile.
- You can move your photos and videos over, but the metrics will not carry over.
- If you have a verified account, you will lose the badge from your profile. It will not carry over to the new Page.
Converting a Profile vs. Creating a New Page
Assuming you accept that it's time to start using a Facebook Page for your business needs, there is one last question you need to address: Should you convert a profile or start from scratch with a new page?
There is not a single right answer. Much will depend on how much of a business following you've gathered on your profile.
For example, if you've been using your profile as a business tool for years, it makes sense to instigate the conversion. There is little point in working through the conversion process if you're just starting a new business venture. It makes more sense to start afresh.