Facebook announced a new function last week that at first excited many of us e-consultants.
Clients who had set up their Facebook business pages as personal profiles approached us over the years asking how to change their business pages from a personal profile to an official business page. At one time that was the only way people knew how to set up their business on Facebook. Even today, it’s not so straightforward to create a business page. Many people developed their business pages as personal profiles and, over the years, acquired hundreds or thousands of “friends.”
Finally, Facebook devised a way for us to “migrate” personal profiles into business pages. Like you, I was really excited to hear this information. It meant that clients and colleagues could finally switch their business-personal-profiles over to business pages and not lose any fans.
On my Facebook business page, In Touch Promotions, I posted a link to the Facebook page where folks can begin their migration. As a comment to my post I linked a great tutorial from Facebook Forum on how to do the migration (will post the link later).
If you’re thinking of doing this right now, hold on buckaroo! Don’t click that link quite yet. There’s something you need to know first.
Once you migrate the personal page into the business page, you will lose your personal page and everything on it. Photos, posts, info, everything except: your “friends” will migrate over to become fans of the new page, and your profile picture will also migrate to the new page.
One of my business page’s loyal fans – someone who follows my page and posts to it regularly – clicked on the link to the Facebook page and migrated their personal account into their business account. They didn’t first click on the tutorial link that I had posted in my comments. The tutorial warns that you should download your information and photos before migrating. It links you to the “how to” download section in Facebook. They lost two years of photos and posts, and lost their friends. The friends did not migrate to the business page, which I still have to investigate.
I felt like I should have put the “how to download your information” link first, and then placed in the comment box the link to migrate the profile into a page. I told my Facebook friend that I would research the matter and see if there was a way to reverse the process and get their personal profile back.
As I searched, I found that, well first of all, no, it looks like you cannot get back your profile or your info, past posts or photos. But I also discovered that my FB friend was not the only victim of this. Many others had learned of the new migration functionality from Facebook posts and blogs like mine and had clicked and migrated before reading the entire tutorial, thus losing their info forever.
So before jumping into this exciting prospect of moving your friends over to a business page so that your page will have more fans, think about the consequences. Is your personal profile a business-personal-profile or is it your own personal profile page? Do you want to save any photos or posts? If so, tread lightly and follow all the directions carefully. And for all you fellow e-consultants out there: I learned a heart-wrenching lesson – at the great cost of a Facebook friend’s personal profile – to post not just the exciting news, but the necessary steps as well, and to post the important caveats first, before the exciting links. I can’t express my apologies enough for this unintended consequence of sharing exciting news with my fans.