It’s understandable why people don’t want to make the switch from a profile to a fan page. After all, it takes time to build up all those FaceBook friends.
However, according to FaceBook’s terms of service, “Profiles represent individuals and must be held under an individual name, while Pages allow for an organization, business, celebrity, or band to maintain a professional presence on Facebook.”
In fact, if you have your business functioning under a profile rather than a fan page, Facebook can shut it down, and all of your “friends” will literally disappear. (Trust me! This happened to one of my clients who insisted on using a Facebook Profile page rather than Fan page)
But, there are some advantages to having a FaceBook Page, instead of a profile. One is access to Facebook’s analytic tool, FaceBook Insights. With a FaceBook page, you will also have access to the latest promotional tools, such as “Like” buttons. You’ll also have the ability for unlimited growth (unlike a FaceBook profile that is limited to 5,000 friends.)
Another important advantage: Google likes FaceBook. While Facebook profiles are hidden behind passwords, fan pages can be set up to be viewable by everyone – including search engines like Google. This means, every post you make to your fan page can be indexed by search engines and boost your overall ranking.
Need more incentive to make the switch? In March 2011, Google changed its algorithm to give even more weight to social authority and online reputation. Now the number of “likes” a company has directly impacts its overall Google ranking.
Unfortunately, there is not easy way to convert your existing profile into a fan page. This means you will have to do it manually: ask each one of your FaceBook friends to “like” your new page. You can do this by using the automatic tool that FaceBook provides you while you are setting up your FaceBook Page, or, better yet, you can draft a personal message explaining the benefits of joining your new page. Its also a good idea to post a message at the top of your profile with a link to your new Fan page, encouraging users to “like” it and explaining all the great information and discussions they will be able to participate in for joining
Another way to get fans to “like” your new page is by setting up a FaceBook ad. You can target the Facebook Ad that promotes your new fan page to anyone on FaceBook by geographic location, occupation, interested, ages and other key attributes. But keep in mind the more general you make your ad, the more expensive it will be. OR, you can simply create an ad that will only appear to your existing FaceBook profile friends. As your friends begin to “like” your new page, other friends will see that in their news feed which brings more credibility to your ad.
Some companies like 1-800-Flowers actually bribes customers to “like” their FaceBook Page by offering immediate discount codes. When coupon codes and sweepstakes don’t make sense for your business, try offering information. B2B companies can encourage “likes” by giving away a white paper or access to some research or article written by one of your company thought-leaders. Offer value to your users.
Have you recently started a FaceBook Fan Page?
Share your experiences, tips and comments here.
Or join the new AEC Fan Page, set up for the Design and Construction professionals to discuss Interactive Marketing Strategies.
Look for more tips on in my upcoming book “Social Media in Action” due out in Fall 2011.