Many wineries using Facebook have Personal Accounts that should be Business Pages. We kept seeing this and being asked about this issue. So we decided to write this blog post and help you out. But first a disclaimer, and it’s a biggie!
Stop, look both ways and listen
Changing a personal account to a page could be a real Facebook page disaster. The more we researched, the more we saw the problems with converting personal pages and merging business pages. Although the process is reasonably clear the stories we hear are nightmarish.
We suggest you have a clear Plan B, probably a technical expert who can take over if it all turns to custard. Indeed perhaps contract a Facebook expert to do this for you. Be ready for everything to go wrong.
So if you want to convert, here’s the process. Sincerely, good luck.
Why change a Personal Profile to a Business Page?
In August 2012 Facebook reported the existence of more than 83 million fake and duplicate accounts, and the chief security officer was quoted by CNN saying “on Facebook we have a really large commitment to finding and disabling false accounts”.
Back then Facebook had already begun disabling noncompliant accounts that fell into one of three categories:
a) duplicate accounts
b) misclassified accounts
c) undesirable accounts
In Facebook’s words “Maintaining a personal account for anything other than an individual person is a violation of Facebook’s Statement of Rights and Responsibilities. If you don’t convert your noncompliant account to a Page, you risk permanently losing access to the account and all of its content.”
If your winery has a Personal Account (an Account is where users click ‘Add Friend’) on Facebook you really should change it to a Business Page (a Page is where users click ‘Like’). If you don’t, Facebook may delete it at any time because it is a ‘noncompliant account’. Although we have not heard of many companies having had their profile deleted, Facebook could at anytime do this.
You’d hope Facebook would have made this an easy process for businesses to complete but they haven’t and as a result there are a lot of confused and disgruntled people out there. Thus this blog post! To decrease the fearful ‘unknown’ factors in the process we have trialed it successfully with some new pages we created specially. However to get success we had to wait a considerable time, and had to submit the same data repeatedly to finally complete the process. Some people have none of these problems, not the case with our experiment, and others have more problems of increasing severity. One thing we can say is that it is a path for the brave!
Firstly back up and check to see what has been saved before you take any step that cannot be returned from. Secondly we remember the clear Plan B, probably a technical expert who can take over if it all turns to custard. Thirdly we suggest perseverance, nerves of steel and great patience. And yes we almost decided not to post this information but when you keep seeing wineries having the same issue you need to have a response no matter how qualified that response is. Hopefully Facebook will make this a much better process in the future.
The good news is that the benefits of having a Business Page are many. You will have access to:
- Facebook Advertising (and get your posts past EdgeRank)
- Facebook Offers
- Facebook Insights
- Facebook Tabs (where you can show more of your brand, collect fan photos, run contests etc.)
Beyond appearing professional, you will also be able to:
- Set Age Restrictions (essential for alcohol related businesses)
- Assign Admin Roles to different people
- Schedule your posts
- Connect to Facebook Places
- Have unlimited fans (ie Private Accounts are limited whereas Business Pages are not)
- Set country specifications
- Ask your friends to become fans of your Page
Below we outline in detail the official way to convert to a Business Page through Facebook. We consider it also viable to do it by communicating as best you can with your ‘friends’ over a time frame, asking your friends to ‘like’ your Business Page (if you have already created one), or letting them know that you will be converting to a Business Page and that they need to check to see that they have been carried over as fans. When you have given them enough warning, shut down your noncompliant Personal Account. Remember EdgeRank will eat into your posts, perhaps you could direct message each fan through Facebook if you have the time! …Otherwise…
The Official Process
The Three Scenarios
A. Your business has a Personal account you want to change to a new Business Page
B. Your business has a Personal Account and a Business Page you want to merge
C. Your business has Personal Accounts, Business Pages and/or Place pages that you want to merge into one Business Page.
Scenario A: How to convert your business’ Personal Account to a Business Page
1. Download a copy of your Facebook Data
First log in to your business’ Facebook Personal Account.
- Select “Account Settings” from account menu at the top right of your Facebook page.
- Click “Download a copy of your Facebook data”
- Photos and videos you have shared on Facebook will be archived, but not those posted by ‘friends’. Your wall posts, messages and chat conversations will be archived, as will be your friends’ names and some of their email addresses (only friends who allow it in their privacy settings will download). Your archive will not include other people’s personal info or comments you’ve made on other people’s posts.
- Click “Start My Archive” This is what the download page looks like:
It took us almost two hours to complete the archiving process although we had only two photos uploaded and one friend in our test account. We are unsure what causes it to take a long time but be prepared to wait many hours.
We recommend you do this on the computer you normally use to access Facebook for the business. Also we recommend you wait until the archive is totally finished before you convert at step 3 (ie. you have downloaded and opened the files to check what has been included and what is not backed up). Note, during this time it appears that the personal account remains active and responsive.
Here is a list of data that is included in a data archive. You also have the option of a more detailed ‘expanded archive’.
Here’s the link for Facebook’s description on how to do it.
2. Appoint a new person as Admin for any Groups you manage.
- Go to the Page your business’ Personal Account manages and click “Edit Page” in the Admin Panel at the top of your page.
- Click “Admin Roles”
- Click “Add Another Admin”
- Specify their email address and make them the “Manager”
You really need to do this before you convert your personal account to a business Page because if you are the only admin of a group, once you convert the “old you” will cease to exist, which would leave these groups lacking administrators.
3. Convert your Personal Profile to a Business Page
This is it. Fingers and toes crossed. Just so you know some of the worst case scenarios some businesses claim that they lost half or even all of their fans in the process, others said it took days for the process to complete and have all of their fans transferred to Page ‘likes’. Because people usually post comments like this when they are really worried and then don’t update that comment it is difficult on forums to see if the person was able to fix their issue.
Warning: If you have not backed up your Personal Account this is your last chance, as converting your page will convert your ‘friends’ into Page ‘likes’ and your profile photo will be carried across but that is all. Once the conversion is complete your business’ old Personal account and all of its entries will be deleted.
In Facebook’s words:
When you convert your personal account to a Page, some things will be automatically transferred for you:
- All your confirmed friends and followers will be converted to people who like your new Page
- Your current profile picture will become your Page’s picture
- Your username will become your Page’s username
- You’ll remain the admin of any Facebook Pages you managed
You won’t remain the admin of any groups or apps you managed from your personal account so be sure to add new admins before converting. Also, content on your timeline (ex. photo albums, profile information, etc.) won’t be transferred to your Page. Make sure you download any important content before you begin converting. Facebook info.
We created a special Personal Account and converted it into a Business Page to show you screen shots so as to minimize scary unknown parts of the process you face. The categories we chose suit a winery/vineyard well.
- Choose the type of Page that best suits your business
- Select which sub-category your business best fits into.
- Fill in winery details of name, address, postal-code, phone number, agree to Facebook’s terms and click ‘Get Started’
- Confirm migration
Here’s the link that will get you started: https://www.facebook.com/pages/create.php?migrate
Here are screen snapshots of the process for you to look over before starting:
1. You will be prompted to choose a page type that best represents your business
- Local Business or Place
- Company, Organization or Institution
- Brand or Product
- Artist, Band or Public Figure
- Cause or Community
We recommend that if you have a Shop / Cellar Door / Restaurant, that you list your business as a ‘Local Business or Place’ as this allows you to show your address, hours of operation and phone number on the timeline “home” page. Some wine businesses list themselves as a ‘Brand or Product’. It seems that it is possible to change these details on your Facebook Page later.
We chose “Local business or place”.
2. Select which sub-category your winery best fits
We selected the sub-category of ‘Local Business’
As you fill in name, address etc, you are able to alter the name. If however you try to change it to one too different from that of your Personal Account Facebook will not let you do it. See example snapshot of how we un-successfully tried changing ‘Tamara Wine’ to ‘Tamara Winery and Tasting Room’. It is therefore essential you change the name of the account to what you want before you reach this point.
Click ‘Get Started’
3. Confirm migration. Providing you have archived, downloaded and checked your data now it is time to enter your password to confirm the beginning of the migration process.
Note do this on the computer you normally use for Facebook. If you receive this error message, try and try and try again. Leave it for 12 hours, 24 hours and try again. Although we were using the same computer used for the Facebook account we received this message numerous times and waited for over 12 hours before it finally accepted our migration request.
Facebook seems to have issues that we hope they are working on. Our guess is you will be lucky if you are able to get through this migration process without receiving any error messages!
4. Set up your new Business Page
- Profile Photo
- Enable Ads
Good News: when you see the box ‘Set Up [your business’ name]’, you are almost complete!
You must do 4-1 at this point but 4-2 and 4-3 can be skipped and done later.
1. Select your Business Page ‘profile photo’. Facebook will automatically select your Personal Account’s profile photo. You have the option to use this, or to upload a new one, or import from a website. When you have done this, click ‘Next’.
2. Fill in ‘About’ details for your business. We recommend you use your main search key words i.e. your winery name, wine types, varietals, region, cellar door, tasting room etc. Add your website, twitter page etc.
You will be prompted to choose another category that best fits your business from a drop down menu. Here are some wine related examples of what you could select:
We chose ‘Winery & Vineyard’.
Check ‘Yes’ if your page represents a real establishment, business or venue. Note: It seems that this information can be adjusted on your Page’s ‘About’ page at a later date.
3. Add a credit card to enable advertising now or do it later by clicking ‘Skip’.
Congratulations you will now be presented with your newly converted Business Page.
It is now that you will be able to see your page live, and it will show how many fans ‘like’ your page. Hopefully they were all transferred across. If they were not, contact Facebook at the following links:
Profile to Business Page Migration Appeal
Report an Issue with Facebook Pages
Your new Business Page will look something like this:
Your ‘About’ page will look something like this with a number of adjustable options:
4. Assign Admin to the New Page. This is the same as step 2 of this scenario however you are assigning a new administer to this newly created Business Page this time..
Lastly, let your fans know you are now an official Business Page. With that announcement perhaps a competition or an offer would be a good way to increase fan activity on your page.
Scenario B: Your business has a Personal Account and a Business Page you want to merge
We recommend before you begin the official process below that you spend a little time trying to manually move your fans from your Personal Account over to your Business Page. Setting a time frame and posting regularly that you will be closing the Personal Account page and inviting ‘friends’ to ‘like’ your Business Page, using a competition to drive fans to your Business Page are good ways to switch across active fans. You may also want to assign your business’ Personal Account as the Business Page Admin Manager, you will then see a list of the Personal Account’s ‘friends’ that you can invite to ‘like’ the Page. In the time frame you specify perhaps writing direct messages to each ‘friend’ requesting they ‘like’ the Business Page and that the Personal Account will shut down on such and such a date is another time good strategy.
Perform steps 1 and 2 of Scenario A, i.e.
1. Download a copy of your Facebook Data
2. Appoint a new person as Admin for any Groups you manage
The third step in Scenario B is this:
3. Change your name and address.
You need to make both your address and profile name the same as those of your already established Business Page because once you have converted from Personal Profile to Business Page, Facebook will allow you to Merge the two duplicate Business pages, but only if it is really clear that they are the representing the same thing.
- Go to Account Settings, by your name click on “Edit” and change it to exactly the same as your current Business Page.
- Click on “Edit Profile” under you name and profile photo. It will take you to your “About” page. Click on “Edit” contact information and make sure your address is exactly the same as you current Business Page.
4. Convert your Personal Account to a Business Page
As above in Scenario A
5. Assign Admin to the new Business Page.
As above in Scenario A
Note: it may take some time to complete the conversion. We recommend you wait until all ‘friends’ have been converted to Business Page ‘likes’ before you do step 6 below.
6. Merge Duplicate Business Pages As you had previously created a Business Page as well as the Personal Profile you just converted, then you will now have two Business Pages. The good news is Facebook allows you to Merge Business Pages that are clearly representing the same business. Facebook however only allows you to merge the Page with the fewer likes into the Page with the most likes. This means that if for example you had been putting more effort into the previously created Business Page but it has fewer ‘likes’ than the newly created one, then it will merge into the other more liked Page, and all entries it had will be wiped. It will carry across your ‘likes’ and check-ins, but everything else including photos, wall posts, its username will be deleted. We do not believe you can undo this process so proceed with care.
Here’s the link to Facebook’s instructions for merging duplicate pages:
- Use Facebook as yourself, not as your Page
- Go to the Page that was the most likes
- From the top of your Page, click ‘Edit Page’
- From the drop down menu, select ‘Update info’
- Click on ‘Resources’ in the left sidebar
- Click ‘Request to merge duplicate Pages’ link
- Select the pages you want to merge from the drop down menu
Note: If you are merging Pages with a location, they must have the same address to be eligible for merging.
Facebook says “Merging Pages combines all your likes and check-ins, but all other content from the Page with fewer likes, such as wall posts, photos and its username, will be permanently deleted. Content on the Page with more likes will remain unchanged, except for the addition of likes and check-ins added from the Page with fewer likes. The Page with fewer likes will be removed from Facebook and you will not be able to unmerge it.”
Of course you will be able to post using the ‘schedule or backdate your post’ option to insert photos etc that you lose in this process but think are important to have on the Timeline.
Here’s a snapshot of what you are looking for in steps 5 and 6:
Here’s a snapshot of step 7:
Note, many businesses find that during the process of merging Pages Facebook pauses and reports an error. However it also seems that most are able to complete the process by trying again and again. For some it worked by using Facebook at low usage times, waiting a day or 24 hours, and others just persevered and got there in the end.
Scenario C: You have personal profiles, business pages and/or place pages that you want to merge into one business page
Perform steps 1 to 6 above but in Step 6 you have more Pages to merge.
There may be Pages for your business on Facebook that you are not managing. We recommend you do a search for your business name on Facebook and see if there are any. If you find one and it is not managed by anyone yet you can request to claim it by clicking the settings cog at the top right of the page. Once you have claimed it, you can then merge it into your Business Page (if it is smaller). If the page is being managed by someone other than an official representative of your business you should report it here: Claiming & Merging Duplicate Pages.
Some other blog posts that might help:
- How to Convert a Facebook Profile to a Business Page
- Convert a Facebook Profile to a Business Page without Losing Friends
If you have problems your first port of call is going to be Facebook, and if (when?) they don’t help try hiring a technical expert on elance.com, odesk.com or guru.com. But most of all be ready to start again.
Stop Sign photo courtesy of ladybeames.