About Facebook: Businesses Making Switch from Profile to Fan Pages

By Wilkerson, April | THE JOURNAL RECORD, March 30, 2011 | Go to article overview

About Facebook: Businesses Making Switch from Profile to Fan Pages


Wilkerson, April, THE JOURNAL RECORD


Organizations and businesses that use Facebook for marketing and outreach are switching their mantra from "be our friend" to "like us."

But the change isn't happening without some worry.

Since Facebook enhanced its fan page option earlier this month and more clearly specified that profile pages are for individuals only, organizations and businesses have been scrambling to make the switch to fan pages. But encouraging thousands of Facebook friends to migrate to a similar page is easier said than done.

"I've posted pictures of babies holding signs saying, 'Please like our new fan page,'" said Amy Spielberger, public relations coordinator at Infant Crisis Services Inc. in Oklahoma City. "I don't want to lose any of our friends because they've all been so supportive. I think it will take a little bit of time."

Social media sites like Facebook are crucial to many nonprofit organizations and small businesses, which may have few other means or funds for getting their word out. Spielberger uses Facebook to post donation or volunteer needs at Infant Crisis Services, and the response is usually swift, she said. Losing that option would mean a loss of a major communication tool. The organization has 2,500 friends on its original profile page, and 400 have migrated to the new fan site, so she's biding her time and sending out messages and tweets about followers liking the new page.

Facebook also offers good reasons for a business or organization to switch from a profile to a fan page. Mike Koehler, chief strategist for Smirk New Media in Oklahoma City, said fan pages can have unlimited followers, but profiles are capped at 5,000 friends. The newly upgraded fan pages also offer real-time analytics that can be especially helpful, he said. That data allows the administrator to see how many impressions each post is getting, how many people are clicking on a link and how many are sharing the information, among other tools. That gives businesses and organizations a window into the effectiveness of their content, he said.

"Fan pages have always been around, but it's not always been clear the difference between fan and profile pages," Koehler said. "As Facebook has become more transparent and business-savvy themselves, they're explaining to people where they want to land businesses as opposed to profile pages."

Spielberger said she's particularly glad for the demographic information the new fan page offers. So far, 75 percent of Infant Crisis Services' fans are women and most are from Oklahoma City, although some are from other states and countries, she said. …

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