How to transition from a Facebook profile or group to a Facebook fan page

Facebook fan pages are great for getting your nonprofit’s message out and engaging with supporters. They’re built for mass communication: messages, photos, and videos you post on them will show up on people’s news feeds.

Unfortunately, a lot of organizations have set up their Facebook presences as profiles (like what individuals have, with friends as opposed to fans) or as groups (which are more discussion-oriented and not as viral as fan pages), and now they find they need to transition.

It’s not easy or quick, but here’s how you go about changing an organization’s profile or group to a fan page:

Profile

A profile is what an individual sets up when they join Facebook. Only real-life, individual people are allowed to have Facebook profiles. If your organization has a profile, you are in violation of Facebook’s Terms of Service, so it’s time to switch it over to a fan page. Here’s how:

1. Choose who will be the administrator of the organization’s fan page. Make sure that person already has their own Facebook account (not the organization’s account). Bear in mind this person can’t be removed as an administrator afterwards (or ever, as things are currently set up), so make it someone who will be working with the organization for awhile.
2. Have that person log in to Facebook, then set up a Facebook fan page for the organization. A step-by-step guide on how to do so is here.
3. Make a note of the new fan page’s web address. (I recommend copy/pasting it into Notepad or Word.)

To transition your organization profile’s friends to your new fan page, do the following:

4. Log in to your old organization’s profile.
5. Post a status message announcing your new fan page and say that all future updates will be done there. Include a link to the new fan page.
6. Go to the newly-set up fan page for your organization (with the address you noted in step 3).
7. Click “Like.”
8. Then click “Suggest to friends” on the left. A box will pop up showing you all the people you friended as your organization.
9. Click on everybody’s picture and then click “Send invitations.”
10. Eventually, when you’re confident as many people as possible have moved from the profile to the fan page, delete the profile.

Group

Facebook built the groups feature before fan pages, so a lot of organizations set up presences as discussion groups, only to find them a bit lacking. Things you post on groups, for example, don’t show up on people’s news feeds like fan page postings do.

To maximize your organization’s reach on Facebook, I recommend you transition your group over to a fan page. Here’s how you do it:

1. Choose who will be the administrator of the organization’s fan page. Make sure that person has their own Facebook account and that they are already an administrator of the organization’s group. Bear in mind this person can’t be removed as a fan page administrator afterwards (or ever, as things are currently set up), so make it someone who will be working with the organization for awhile.
2. Have that person log in to Facebook, then set up a Facebook fan page for the organization. A step-by-step guide on how to do so is here.
3. Make a note of the new fan page’s web address. (I recommend copy/pasting it into Notepad or Word.)
4. Go back to your group and post a message about the new fan page, encouraging people to become fans by clicking “Like” on the page (be sure to include the link). Tell them you will no longer be posting updates on the group.
5. Send a message to all group members with the same information, linking to the new page.
6. Eventually, when you’re confident as many people as possible have moved over, remove the group by first deleting each individual member, then, once you’re the only member left, delete the group.