The shift is on. And it’s time for you to embrace it.
I’m talking about Profiles versus Pages on Facebook. I know, I know. You’re all scared. But the longer you wait, the longer it will take you to catch up to everyone else.
Pages actually outperform Profiles when it comes to engagement. Plus, if you’re a news personality using a Profile to promote your professional brand or show, you’re violating Facebook’s TOS and actually could be banned.
“Profiles (timelines) must represent an individual. Users aren’t permitted to maintain an account under the name of their organization, or use personal accounts to advertise or promote themselves professionally.”
The best practice encouraged by Facebook is to use a Page for these kinds of personalities. Share Rocket honors Facebook’s TOS and only surfaces limited data for the Facebook Profiles we’re tracking.
“We’re really encouraging journalists to leverage Pages for their social presence,” said Shannon Mattingly, who works as the Strategic Partner Manager at Facebook where she helps celebrities, politicians and other public personalities connect with their social audience. “The benefits are significant.”
Across the US, less than 15% of the journalists we track are still using Profiles, and that number is quickly shrinking especially among broadcasters. In the top 20 markets, roughly 8 percent of broadcasters are still using Profiles. Newspaper personalities lag behind in conversion, and for some prominent newspaper brands, as many as 40% of newspaper journalists still use Profiles — some private Profiles — on Facebook. That might help to explain why we’ve yet to see a newspaper win at social in a major market.
The good news is that using a Page provides far more advantages such as insights, the ability to add multiple administrators, and there are no limits to the number of people who can “Like” your Page.
I know, I know. You’re still scared. That’s why one of our broadcast clients used a “Facts not Fear” campaign to convince their journalists that the impending move to pages from profiles was nothing to be wary of. We helped them develop the talking points. And to curb your fear, we’re sharing the same info with you. Here’s what you need to know before converting those Profiles into Pages.
Benefits of using a Page
A Facebook Profile is for non-commercial use and is intended to be used by an individual to connect with friends. Profiles are limited to 5,000 friends, but do allow unlimited followers. A Facebook Page is intended to promote a business, brand or personality. Profiles are great for privacy while allowing interaction with “friends” — real friends. If you’re a news personality looking to connect with your audience, pages provides you with a set of features that profiles don’t. Here are the most beneficial:
- You can have unlimited fans/Page likes
- You can gain audience through “Pages to Watch” and “Pages You May Like”
- You have access to Page Insights which include metrics around growing your fan count, engagement and reach
- You can manage notifications and messages and even schedule posts
- You can have multiple people manage a Page
- You can tag other Pages in posts and photos, as well as profiles that are fans of your Page
- You can utilize features like Q&A and ranked comments to engage with fans
- You can ban users when they post or comment on your Page or posts/photos
- You can boost Page posts (which is becoming very important for news organizations)
Facebook also provides two mobile apps that you can only take advantage of for Pages.
The Facebook Mentions app helps influencers discover and join conversations that are trending on Facebook. The coolest feature allows you to conduct Q&As with your fans directly from your mobile device. It also provides — dare I say it? — a Twitter-like trending list and allows you to “follow” trending topics or stories. It’s currently available only on iOS.
And don’t forget the Facebook Pages Manager app, which allows you to manage up to 50 Pages from your smartphone or tablet. You can check Page activity, share with your audience and see insights. It’s available on iOS and Android.
What are the downsides?
The only true downside to conversion is the loss of content history. You can download and archive the content offline, but Facebook’s conversion process doesn’t allow you to migrate your content to the new Page. You also lose the ability to “chat” with your “friends” via messenger. But the benefits far out weigh that.
Start over or convert?
Now that you’re convinced that using a Page is superior to a Profile, you have two options:
- Create a new Page (you’ll be starting from scratch to build your audience, etc.)
- Convert your existing Profile to a Page (you can transfer your existing fans and followers)
Most people choose to to convert their existing Profile. But remember that you would no longer have a personal profile. If you want a private profile to use with friends and family, you’ll need to create a new one. For most news personalities who have built a sizable audience, it’s preferable to convert to a page to avoid losing your existing audience.
Let’s walk through the process. Facebook actually makes it very simple.
When you convert your profile into a page, Facebook will transfer your current profile picture, and add your friends and followers as people who like your page. Your account username will become the username for your page and the name if your profile will become your Page’s name. Facebook recommends creating a new Page if you want a different name for your Page.
Before actually making the conversion, you’ll want to save any other information (photos, videos, messages) that you want to save. No other information or things you’ve shared will be moved over to your new Page. But luckily, Facebook makes it easy for you to download your info.
Ok, let’s do it!
When you’re ready to convert your personal account to a Facebook Page:
- Go to Facebook’s Profile to Page Migration
- Click to choose a category for your Page. For station or show pages, select “Company, organization or institution”. For individuals, select “Artist, Band or Public Figure.”
Select a more specific category from the drop down menu and fill out the required information. For stations, select “Media/News/Publishing” as your category. Individuals should choose between “Journalist” or “News personality” as your category.
- Click Get Started and follow the on-screen instructions
That’s it! Easy, right? If you need more detail, you can read about the process here on Facebook.
Good luck with the switch.