Here is a Black Friday scenario that could happen to you.
You heard about Facebook being the latest and greatest, how Facebook performs miracles for businesses, how you are missing out on the new revolution if you don’t do your Facebook page now… And other such good stuff.
You know where your best interest lies, you don’t need to be told 13 times, and you already have a Facebook account. So you go ahead and start touting your business on your personal page. Easy does it.
You actively spread the word, getting friends and customers to “Like” your page. Your personal profile page.
Soon enough, you build a list of 400+ friends, everything’s cool and rosy, looking good. You see your friends list growing to 1,000 and why not more, and you are confident your sales will follow.
And then one Friday morning, you try to log in to your Facebook account, and you can’t. Everything’s gone. You don’t exist anymore. No page, no friends, no Wall, no timeline, no nothing. Nada. Zip.
Elvis has left the building.
You haven’t been punked. You have been nuked.
Your page is gone, your friends are gone, your painstakingly built community is gone. You ceased to exist, you have been terminated, you are a zero.
An unlikely scenario?
Ha-ha. Ha-ha-ha. Sorry but… very likely.
As Facebook puts it: “…maintaining a profile (timeline) for anything other than an individual person is a violation of Facebook’s Statement of Rights and Responsibilities. If you don’t convert your profile (timeline) to a Page, you risk permanently losing access to the profile (timeline) and all of your content.” [Emphasis added.]
They warned you, but you paid no heed.
Well, not exactly. In reality, you only made an error and just like 80% of your fellow netizens you never cared to read the Terms of Service. And of course you never cared to read Facebook’s e-mails telling you they changed their Terms of Service.
Who reads the iTunes™ license agreement when purchasing music?
But Facebook needs to keep their database in good order and avoid a whole lot of troubles with unscrupulous marketers: so they clearly separate ‘personal’ from ‘business’. And it’s your responsibility to know this.
Avoiding the worse: better safe than sorry
Facebook is actually quite friendly, and they understood that their user community was mostly comprised of people who didn’t know any better.
So they made it easy for you to convert your “profile-gone-business” into a genuine business page (or Fan Page) before it’s too late and the hammer drops. They show you how to proceed here: http://www.facebook.com/help/?page=18918.
They give you step-by-step instructions, relatively easy to follow. They even offer you to rate these instructions, so they can improve them if you are left unhappy.
Act before the poop hits the fan
When should you proceed with this conversion? ASAP.
Your Fan Page is a bit of an asset ot your business. Well, almost… But I will cover this in another article.
Genuine asset or not, a community of friends and fans who are willing to be advertised to every time you post something about your business is a valuable marketing channel. You want to protect it. Act now.
When will you be found out?
Facebook has internal controls programmed into their platform. They monitor any sudden increase in your number of friends for instance. They also monitor if you send out too many friend requests over a short period of time.
And oftentimes, they will temporarily block a feature on your account to let you know that you are under surveillance. It’s not the ‘Thought Police’, but it’s policing their community. They do have to protect their network and their community against genuine threats.
A sudden increase in the number of your friends is most likely harmless. But Facebook has to check that it’s not the result of some scam. If they would not check and you were harmed by a real scammer, you would cry foul play and criticize Facebook for not taking the necessary steps to police their community. Ergo, they check the usual suspects.
One fine day, they will check your profile and its 400+ friends. They will see your profile has mutated into a Fan Page (business page). They will drop the hammer.
It’s not “IF”, it’s “WHEN”.
So they do you a favor and ask you to participate in the effort. Today.
Be cool and participate. Respect their Terms of Service.
Or one Friday morning you will open the door of your business… and find the floor has been emptied during the night.
Again, the link to the conversion procedure is: http://www.facebook.com/help/?page=18918.
To your unmitigated success,