Many businesses have attempted to open up Facebook business pages and mistakenly assigned their business a personal page. Others had pages started for them by well-meaning but uninformed friends or relatives, ending up with pages not in the best interest of their business. Facebook further complicates the situation by automatically setting up starter pages for businesses to claim and many people will like the page assuming it comes from you. The end result can be a complex problem of multiple pages for your business, your fans scattered among the pages and none of the pages working effectively for your business.
It takes patience to solve this problem. It is possible to be tied up in this “gordian knot” of a mess for hours and even days while you try to search out the solution. The mythical story of the Gordian Knot promises great riches to the person that can loosen and untie the knot. It was said that Alexander solved the knot while others failed because he used the bold, decisive action of slicing the knot in half with his sword.
Sorry to say that in this case solving the problem generally doesn’t have a “sword solution.” My first impulse is to pick up the phone to talk to a real person but Facebook is such a big machine it is virtually impossible to reach a human being to offer real “carbon-based” assistance. However, Facebook has created some guidance that with some persistence on your part may help.
Here is my best advice based on helping several clients solve this knotty problem:
Personal Pages as Business Pages
If your business started with a personal page format and treated it as a business page prior to the introduction of Facebook pages for business, you probably have a following that you don’t want to lose. The best thing that you can do is message on the page for a few weeks, alerting your fans that you are migrating to a new page on a certain date. Encourage your fans to like your new page and be sure to share the url of the target Facebook page. To create some excitement conduct a simple Facebook page contest to entice your fans to move over. At the end of your time period – kill the personal page. Be sure you have a good strategy for engaging, informing and entertaining your new fans on your business page.
Multiple Business Pages
Facebook has created a process for merging pages so that you don’t lose fans from either page. However, there a few things that you need to decide.First, you want to decide which page you want to keep. Next, you need to be sure that if you are the one coordinating this merger that you have administrative access on all the pages in question.
Know that from Facebook’s perspective they want to know that you are not hijacking pages that aren’t truly yours or your responsibility. The page names have to be the same or very similar and business addresses need to be the same. In one case, my client had a page with an address from a previous location, we were able to simply go into the edit page and change the address before we initiated the merger with Facebook.
Be prepared for the fact that Facebook does not implement these merger requests immediately, and repeated failed attempts on your part may result in you losing all your pages. READ THEIR INSTRUCTIONS CAREFULLY. In two recent projects to merge pages it was 3 to 4 days before being notified of a successful merger. And, don’t even think about re-sending because you don’t think Facebook got your message. The notification comes to the email account that you used to set-up your personal page, so be prepared to monitor that account.
To summarize, do your homework by carefully reading the instructions from Facebook; approach the page you want to keep as a premium outpost for your business; plan on updating it to make it appealing to your new fans; review and update the settings and page information; make a plan to consistently message on the page you want to keep; plan the migration.
Good Luck and Goodbye Gordian Knot!