Convert Your Facebook Profile into a Business or Fan Page

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Though it hasn't been formally announced, you can now convert your Facebook profile into a Facebook page--and convert all of your "friends" into "fans."

The process is pretty simple, it seems--using the "Profile to Business Migration Tool," users can move their Facebook profiles into Facebook page territory. At the moment, only a user's profile pictures and friends will be migrated to their new page, so if you plan on using this tool it would be wise to back-up your Facebook data.

The user's friends will automatically be converted into fans, or people who "like" the page.

Of course, before you run off and convert your profile into a page, consider the drawbacks of having a business-only Facebook presence--while you're able to view the pages you own, you can't view profiles or content owned by other people. You also can't send and receive friend requests, you'll no longer show up in a "people" search, and you won't be able to write on your friends' walls or "Like" their funny status updates.

At the moment, there's also no way to convert a page back into a profile, so you'd better be sure this is what you want before you give up all of your photo albums, wall posts, and notes. You may also run into some snags--according to Jeffrey Zeldman, third party apps (Twitter, Tumblr, RSS) disappear completely, you lose your custom URL, and you may be unable to admin your own page if Facebook considers the admin to be your old (now deleted) Facebook profile. So the process appears to be a little buggy, for now.

Still, this is a pretty big deal for small business owners and other people who want to start a Facebook page without losing their friends. Inside Facebook points out that small business owners who initially planned to use their profile as promotion will be especially thrilled if they've reached Facebook's 5000 friend limit.

Anyway, I wish Facebook had had this feature a few months ago, when I started my own Facebook page. Building up a fan page from scratch is certainly more difficult than converting my 1000+ friends into fans, to say the least (hint, hint).

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