U-C WEBS' founder Nardo KuitertBy Nardo Kuitert, U-C WEBS
[Published in The Wellington Advertiser, September 2011 for the Centre Wellington Chamber of Commerce]

Facebook keeps on growing and many businesses have started using Facebook to promote their products, services and businesses. But some have taken a risky approach to this, often without knowing it: they have created a Facebook profile page for their business…

You will know of some businesses that have done this; just check your Facebook wall and look for one of your friends who “is now friends with”… a business or organization. Problem with this is that profile pages are only meant for an individual person, according to Facebook’s Terms Of Service. So you are not allowed to create a (second) profile page for marketing purposes, whether it is under an alias or business name – both are not a real person. And Facebook has started to crack down on profile pages that are not in line with their Terms Of Service, and has started removing them. In other words: you could lose your business’ profile page if you continue to run it.

So what are you to do? Businesses and organizations should create a Page instead; also known as a Facebook Fanpage. But what about all the work that you have put into your business’ profile page? You may have collected a nice group of friends for your business that you can communicate with on Facebook. It may very well have turned into the lifeline of your business… you don’t want to throw that out the window!

Luckily Facebook recognizes that and offers a tool to help you migrate your friends over to your new Facebook Page, and converts them into “likes”. This means that people who “like” you will receive your updates on their Facebook wall, just like your friends do. You can find more information about migrating your profile picture and friends over to a Facebook Fan Page on https://www.facebook.com/pages/create.php?migrate. Just be aware that only the profile picture will be moved over, and your business’ friends will be converted into likes – nothing else will be moved over. So before you begin your migration you should save all other information from your profile page (conversations, media, etc.). More about downloading your profile information can be found here: http://www.facebook.com/help/?page=18830.

So switching from a business’ Facebook profile page (with friends) to a Facebook Fan Page (with likes) is the way to go. You will not risk losing your account altogether if Facebook gets to your account during their clean-up actions. And you can broaden your reach; a profile page “only” allows for 5,000 friends, but you r Page can have millions of likes (fans)!

Added benefit is that a Fan Page can be “pimped”: you can add all kinds of great features that can help you market your business. This includes featuring videos, email opt-in boxes or all kinds of branded content. Or: providing “hidden” content (like a video or a report) that only appears after people have liked you (a way to gain more likes); a similar tactic has been around for years to get people to opt-in to email newsletters in exchange for a free goodie. You can basically turn your Facebook Fan Page into a full-fledged website!

For more information: contact your Webmaster, or contact Centre Wellington Chamber of Commerce Director Nardo Kuitert at nardo@ucwebs.com or 519-787-7612.