She’s not alone in her aversion to the social media giant. For nearly two years, “How to delete a Facebook page” has been the most-read article at BloggingBistro.com. An average of 10,000 people per month read that tutorial in hopes of extricating themselves from Facebook.
People’s frustration with Facebook often stems from setting up their account improperly. In this article, I’ll walk you through how to correctly create an account. I’ll also suggest workarounds for several common Facebook brand page conundrums.
I do not work for Facebook nor do I have any affiliation with the company, so I am not speaking in an official capacity, but rather, as a Facebook user who helps people troubleshoot issues.
The difference between a Personal Timeline and a Page
Before you do anything on Facebook, you need to understand the difference between a personal timeline (often called a personal profile) and a page.
A personal timeline – also known as a profile – is created under an individual’s name and is for posting personal, non-commercial updates to your family and friends. You can request and accept up to 5,000 “friends.” When you “friend” someone, you see each other’s updates in your respective news feeds.
Because so many personal timeline owners exceeded the 5,000 friend limit, Facebook added a “Subscribe” feature. When activated, people who are not “friends” can subscribe to updates you make publicly viewable.
How to activate “Subscribe” feature
- From your personal timeline, go to Account Settings.
- From the list in the lefthand sidebar, select Subscribers.
- Check the radio button next to “Allow Subscribers.”
You can also give subscribers the ability to post comments, and you can request that Facebook notify you (via email) when someone subscribes to your profile.
Further Reading: How to Subscribe to Facebook Updates of Non-Friends
Pages, also known as fan pages, brand pages, or business pages, are for professional use by businesses, organizations, and brands.
A page can have an unlimited amount of likes (fans). But unlike “friending” via a personal timeline, liking is not reciprocal. Your fans will see your page’s updates in their news feed, but their updates will not display on your page’s news feed.
Now, on to some common questions business professionals ask me about Facebook:
Can I create a Facebook brand page that’s not affiliated with my personal timeline?
I’ve heard horror stories about social media managers who log in to their personal Facebook account and create a brand page for their employer. When the social media manager quits or gets fired, they take the Facebook account – and thus, the employer’s page – with them; they essentially hold the page hostage.
You do not want this to happen to you! If you don’t yet have a brand page, I suggest creating a unique Facebook account for your business. Here’s how:
1. Set up an email address dedicated solely to Facebook – something like firstname.lastname@example.org.
2. Create a secure password. A strong password is at least 8 characters in length and includes a combination of upper- and lower-case letters, numerals, and symbols. Do not use the word “password” or “12345” or “ihatefacebook” as your password, unless you’d like to have your Facebook account hacked. To keep the hackers guessing, change your password every couple of months. (I know; it’s a hassle. Do it anyway.)
3. Visit https://www.facebook.com/ and create a new account. Give your account a first and last name (such as “Jane Doe”), not your company’s name.
Facebook’s Terms of Service require everyone to use their real name on their account (and you can only sign up for one Facebook account per email address).
Names can’t include:
- Symbols, numbers, unusual capitalization, repeating characters or punctuation
- Characters from multiple languages
- Titles of any kind (ex: professional, religious, etc)
- Words, phrases, or nicknames in place of a middle name
- Offensive or suggestive content of any kind
The thing that Facebook didn’t take into account here is that brand page logins are connected to a personal account. So… if you don’t want your personal account connected to your brand page in any way, you are almost forced to create an account that uses a name other than your own.
I suggest creating an account name that is close as possible to the real name of an executive in your company. Perhaps it’s your middle name and maiden name; or your nickname and last name.
4. Lock down your privacy settings. Once you’re signed up, Facebook will prompt you to add friends and do all kinds of other stuff. Ignore the prompts. Instead, click on “Account Settings” and “Privacy Settings” and customize them so they’re as private as possible.
5. Create a page. Go to https://www.facebook.com/pages/create.php and create a page for your company. There are 6 categories of pages to choose from – don’t worry about choosing the correct category to begin with, because you can always switch categories.
Do put in your correct company name, business name, brand or product name into the “name” field, as that is the permanent name Facebook assigns to your page. That name displays in large type below the large cover photo and directly to the right of your page’s profile picture. Facebook is persnickety about letting you change this name, so make sure you choose appropriately, and spell it correctly.
6. Whenever you log in to Facebook, publish updates solely to your brand page. People who like your page will not have access to the personal area of your account; the personal timeline and brand page are separate entities that merely share the same account login.
What can I do if I’ve been mistakenly publishing commercial updates to my personal timeline?
Facebook provides a way to convert a personal timeline to a brand page, but people who have tried it have told me this method doesn’t work well, so I can’t recommend it.
If you have published commercial updates to your personal timeline, you can re-publish your most significant updates and milestones to your brand page. Facebook offers the ability to backdate posts; when you do this, they will display on the appropriate date on your page’s Timeline.
Once you have re-published your most important updates, alert your “friends” that you will no longer be using your personal timeline for updates about your business. Invite them to like your page, and be sure to include the full URL to your page in the update, so it’ll display as a clickable hyperlink.
Here are two examples of updates you can customize for your own use:
We’re moving! Starting November 1, you’ll get a fresh social media tip daily at our new Blogging Bistro Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/bloggingbistro. Please visit right now and click “like” so you won’t miss a single tip!
As of November 1, this Facebook profile will be closed permanently. As in shut down. Gone with the wind. See ya later, alligator. Instead, you can find us at our Facebook page. We hope you’ll pledge your allegiance to our new Blogging Bistro page. It’s easy. Just click https://www.facebook.com/bloggingbistro. As Jack Bauer commanded in “24”: “Do it. NOW!”
Turning “friends” into “fans” (likes) is not easy. Most people I’ve talked to who have gone this route reported that one-quarter to one-third of their friends converted into fans. It’s depressing to drop from 5,000 friends to 1,250 likes (fans), but many people who make the switch are content with starting over. They tell me that many of their 5,000 so-called friends weren’t active on Facebook and never interacted personally with them. They discover that the 1,250 friends who willingly become fans are their most loyal brand advocates.
Once you’ve migrated as many friends as possible to your page, you can delete all the content, images, comments, and friends from your personal timeline. Many people even delete the Timeline cover photo and the profile image from their personal timeline, essentially turning the profile into a ghost town. I suggest leaving one update on your personal timeline (just in case anyone discovers it) that directs people and links to your brand page.
Manage your brand page efficiently
Once your brand page is set up, you can appoint multiple admins to manage it. Page admins need to have their own personal Facebook account. Once you appoint admins, they can post updates and comments to your page via your page’s persona without logging in through your company’s Facebook account. It’s an excellent way to allow others to help you manage your page without giving them your account’s password.
Further Reading: How to Assign Admin Roles to Facebook Fan Pages
Can I delete a brand page and create a new one with a duplicate name?
You can have as many brand pages as you want. However, if you attempt to give a new page the same page title (which Facebook calls a “name”) or custom username (URL/address) as the page you deleted – or of a personal timeline you set up – you may hit a dead end.
When pages or personal timelines are permanently deleted, Facebook stores the original page names and usernames for an indefinite period. During that period, that name and URL is unavailable for you or anyone else to use.
I created a brand page that’s connected to my personal account and I have added another person as a page admin. Can I delete my personal account and the brand page will stay in place so my other page admin can manage it?
Because most brand pages are tied to the Facebook account from which the page was created, deleting the Facebook account will also delete the page, regardless of how many people administer the page.
My company asked me to create a Facebook brand page. I discovered that someone else from my company already created one. No one seems to know who did it, so I do not know the login or password. If I create a new page, people will be confused about which page to “like.” Can I delete the original page?
My recommendation is to contact Facebook at this URL: https://www.facebook.com/help/contact/355708697832199 and fill out the “I’m having an issue creating a Facebook Page” form.
Give Facebook at least a week (maybe longer) to respond to your request.
Not having access to the account’s login information is a major problem. Find out whether anyone at your company is an admin of the page. If so, you should be able to get in through their admin access, which will at least give you some information to work with when you talk to the folks at Facebook.
It’s super-important to maintain access with the account through which the brand page is set up. Facebook offers these tips to help ensure that you don’t get locked out of your account:
- Add another email address to your account: This way, if you ever lose access to your login email account, you have a backup. You can add or edit your email addresses from your Account Settings page, which you can find from the Account drop-down menu at the top of any Facebook page.
- Add a security question to your account: If you forget your password and lose access to your email accounts, we can use this to help get you back into your Facebook account. Learn more.
- Make sure you and only you can access the email addresses listed on your Facebook account: We need to be able to email you if you ever need a new password. Keep in mind that anyone with access to one of the email addresses listed on your account can request a new password for your Facebook account. If you lose access to one of your extra email addresses, be sure to remove it from your Facebook account.
- Add your mobile number on your account: We can also send account information (ex: a code to reset your password) to your mobile phone. Follow the directions on the Mobile tab of your Account Settings page to add your mobile number to your account.
- Use accurate information on your account: Use your real name and date of birth on your account so we can find your timeline if you ever loose access to it. You can change your name from your Account Settings page.
Have a Facebook conundrum?
Throughout the month, I’m going to tackle your Facebook brand page questions here at BloggingBistro.com. Post your question in the comments, and then sign up to receive my latest posts via email so you’ll see my response as soon as I publish it.
Love-Hate Image courtesy of Stuart Miles FreeDigitalPhotos.net