Facebook Marketing: Are You Breaking the Rules?

Getting a Facebook friend request from a business always makes me scratch my head! It makes me wonder why a business would do that?

Did you know that it’s against Facebook terms to use a business name in a personal profile?

According to Facebook:

“Profiles (timelines) represent individuals and must be held under an individual name, while Pages allow an organization, business, celebrity, or band to maintain a professional presence on Facebook”.

This means that if you’ve been using a personal profile for your business (especially those using their business names instead of their own personal names), you run the risk of having your Facebook account shut down and often without any warning.

The suggested way to market your business on Facebook is to have a business Page. There are many benefits to having a Facebook Business Page versus a personal profile.

  • A profile has a limit of 5000 friends (including liked pages). A page has no limits!
  • A Business Page is visible to search engines like Google, helping create more visibility for your business.
  • Pages offer analytic tools. Insights will allow you to measure your effectiveness and fan engagement on Facebook. This also helps you understand and improve your marketing efforts.
  • You can add different applications to your Page to increase further engagement. You can use them to run contests, include opt-in forms, events, etc.
  • Pages are public, so anyone can follow you and don’t require accepting friend requests like a personal profile.
  • Pages allow for different people to be added as administrators so you can have several people helping you manage your Business Page.
  • Pages have different social plugins which allows you to embed a Like button and other Open Graph plugins into your own website.

OK, so you didn’t know and made a mistake when you created your Facebook account …now what?  You want to convert to a business Page instead of using a personal profile, you have 2 options.

Option One

Start a Business Page from scratch

You’ll need to invite your friends from your personal profile to go “Like” your Page. You can send your friends private messages to explain your move and announce it on your wall slowly migrating everyone to your Business Page. This might work well if you don’t have a large number of friends.

If the name of your profile is the name of your business, you should change it to your real name to keep with Facebook terms.

PROS: If you’ve mixed your personal and business on the same profile which means you have your friends, family, personal pictures, etc. This option might be better for you since you don’t lose your personal profile, pictures, posts and don’t need to close your account.

CONS: This might be a lengthy process and not all your friends will take the time to transfer to your Business Page. Also keep in mind that if you had set your personal vanity URL with your business name in it, you probably won’t be able to use it again for your business page.

Option Two

Convert your personal Profile into a business Page

If you don’t mind losing your profile history assuming you’ve used it mainly for business, this option might be ideal for you. Being able to convert your friends into Likes automatically is a real benefit. It might be a good idea to backup your data from your profile before converting. Facebook will also make your account’s username the Facebook web address for your Page when you convert.

As well, if you admin any Groups you should appoint a new group admin to any groups you manage. The account you’re converting will lose these admin rights during the conversion process.

PROS: You convert all your friends into Likes automatically. It’s a fast process. This is best for people with a high number of friends.

CONS: Your content doesn’t move over, only connections and you lose all your personal profile content, posts, comments and pictures. You’ll probably have to use a different email address if you need to create a new personal profile.

If for some reason, you realised that you made a mistake and want to revert back to a personal profile, you can “try” contacting Facebook using the Profile to Business Page Migration Appeal here: https://www.facebook.com/help/contact_us.php?id=189265951117017

Here are the instructions from Facebook on how to convert your Profile to a Page.

Whichever approach you take, there’s no guarantee that your friends will follow you to your new Page. From what I’ve read, converting your profile can also have some issues so be ready for the unexpected.

But lets face it, having a Business Page is the proper way to market your business on Facebook not only because of the added features and benefits but especially if you consider Facebook terms and the risks you’re taking by conducting your business using a personal profile. The longer you wait, the more difficult it will be for you to switch to a business Page.

Do me a favor, whenever you get a friend request from a business…share this article with them!

Image: Nutdanai Apikhomboonwaroot / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Genevieve Lachance is a web marketing consultant who has a passion for social media and technology based in Montreal, Canada. Read More About Me »