Moving from a Facebook page to a profile? Strategies to get your fans to make the change.

This is the fourth—and final—post  in a four-part series discussing the recent updates with Facebook pages, and how you can make the most of these changes and continue to make Facebook an integral part of your marketing strategy.

Switching from Facebook page to profileIf you, in light of the recent Facebook disclosures about pages and page fan reach, are considering ditching your page and using your profile as your fan home base instead, you might be faced with a pretty hefty dilemma:

How do you get your fans to make the switch?

It’s hard to get people to go from one to the other, particularly if you have hundreds (or thousands) of fans. I am tempted to tell those of you with fans that number in the high hundreds or thousands to instead focus on increasing fan interaction in order to enhance the affinity between you and your fans (and therefore increase the amount of posts each fan sees)—this will be much easier for you to do than getting hundreds and hundreds or thousands of people to make the switch to your profile.

However, if you’re set on moving over, here are a few tips on how you can do it.

  1. Announcements on your fan page. This is a no-brainer. Here’s the deal, though—they’ll have to be periodic, and constant. Not all your fans will see your first…or second…or third notification. Make sure not to spam folks with notices, but put them up every couple of days at peak Facebook usage times (usually early in the morning—think morning commute time—and in the evening—typically after dinner).
  2. Make it fun—think contests and giveaways. “The [tenth/fiftieth/hundredth] person to send me a friend request today gets a free copy of my book!” “The next 12 people to make the switch get bookmarks!” “Want to be my Fan of the Week? The sixth person to send me a friend request gets a feature on my blog!” Make it fun, make it interesting.
  3. Keep active on your fan page. If you let the page languish, then fan affinity will drop, and fewer and fewer fans will see your posts (which will make it hard for you to make the switch). Until the bulk of your fans have moved over, keep an active presence on your page.
  4. Announce it everywhere. Your blog, your Twitter page, your Google+ profile, and any other social networking sites where you have a fan base reach. The more people that know about your switch, the better.

A few things to keep in mind if you’re considering making the switch:

  1. You won’t get everyone to move over. Let’s be realistic. As much as you can harass your fans to move, not everyone will. This means you’ll lose reach, unless you plan on continuing your involvement with your Facebook page—but then, if you are, why are you making the switch in the first place?
  2. You won’t have analytics. Facebook pages have exceptional analytics (where you can track how your posts are doing, your reach, your virality, who’s liked you, any posts they’ve made on your wall)—your profile doesn’t have this. If you need that kind of data in your marketing, you’ll miss out if you switch.
  3. You’ll have to worry about privacy. If you’re worried about what your fans can and can’t see, then you’ll have to be vigilant about your privacy settings–that’s not something you need to worry about for pages, since all posts on a page are public.
  4. Your fans will still not see all of your posts. Even though people who are your friends have a greater chance of seeing what you post, all of your posts are still subject to the EdgeRank algorithm—even if you’re using your profile instead of a page. This means you’ll still need to cultivate your fans, and keep them interested enough to post on your wall, share your posts, and like what you say.
  5. You might annoy your friends with your promotional posts. You’ll be mixing business with pleasure—and this can turn pleasure into pain. Make sure not to spam your friends with things that only your fans are meant to see—luckily, you can use privacy settings to help you with that, too.

Whatever you choose, you’ll still have to work hard at keeping your fan base engaged and interested. That’s the easy part, though—just work hard at it, and it’ll come. Whatever you decide to do, get informed first! When it comes to books, knowledge is more than half the marketing battle.

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