Many businesses have Facebook pages created to communicate with their customers, friends and family.
The best practice for creating a new Facebook fan page for a business is to create the page with the best possible name to begin with – and to stick with it. Ideally, businesses can use their own business name and brand in order to optimize for search engines and to reduce customer confusion. Facebook hard-codes the URL and the name of the profile once it has been created.
However, there are sometimes circumstances that might require a name change. If the business name changes, or marketing and branding is changed corporation-wide, the current Facebook Page will ultimately need to be deleted and a new Page created.
Changing the Name on a Facebook Fan Page for a Business
There are a few things that companies can do to maintain the bulk of their fan base, and to communicate the switch to a new Facebook Page successfully. The following steps have been designed to clarify the communication flow, and to ensure that business fans know what to do to keep in touch.
- Create the new page with the updated name. Brand it clearly with photos, video and status updates.
- Post concurrent messages to both the current page, and the new page for a week or two to establish continuity in the account.
- Set the date when the company will go “officially” to the other page. (Monday, or the first of a month is ideal).
- Start communicating to existing fans. Use a blog post, or the very first Facebook post to explain why the Facebook fan page name will be changed.
- Communicate the deadline as early as possible: “As of X date, we are moving our Facebook page! Be sure to fan our new page at “Business XYZ” to stay up to date with the latest happenings!” (Typing the @ symbol before the new page name in the status will show a drop-down box where the new page will appear for a direct link to be created for fans to click!)
- Continue to post useful, fun and informative posts to both sites, and on the old page, repeat the reminder once every 5 posts until the week before the move. (Don’t post anything about the old Facebook page on the new site.)
- Post exciting things on the new site, and direct fans there from the old page to encourage them to check it out. (See example screenshot below.)
- The week before the move, repeat the reminder with a link to the new page once every 2-3 posts, or once each day (depending on post frequency).
- Consider reaching out via an email blast or other non-Facebook method to ensure the move is clearly communicated across channels.
- On the day of the move – Make a big deal! Throw a party! Make it official! Be certain that fans know to switch to the other page!
- Create a text-only page using a tool such as FBML Static pages with information surrounding the move, and a link to the new page. After the page has been moved officially, change the settings to show this tab automatically to visitors, rather than the Wall.
- Leave the wall posts directing fans to the new page in place for a few weeks. Approximately one month after the Move to a new Facebook page, delete the old page.
Deleting the Old Facebook Fan Pages for a Business
To delete the page on Facebook, click on “Edit Page” just below the profile image. Select “Delete Page” from the links below the Page title at the top of the next screen.
It can be frightening to delete a Facebook page. There may be a sense of lost fans, as well as wasted work and time. If as many active and engaged fans as possible have been migrated to the new site, the consequences of not deleting the old page far outweigh this loss.
If the old page is not deleted, users searching for a particular business fan page will likely find two fan pages in the results page. As you can tell from the search results page, there is no way for a Facebook user to tell which page is which. At best, they will try clicking on one. At worst, they will give up the search and go back to chatting with friends.
The business has a 50% chance of retaining the user who clicks. If the user clicks on the new, current and active page, then he or she may click to “like” that business. However, if the user clicks the old, inactive page he or she might give up the hunt. He or she may not take the time to figure out that the other page is more active and current.
Another scenario where that old page can be detrimental is in the case of search engine search results. Many companies are discovering that their Facebook Fan Pages are more search-friendly than their company websites. For this reason, getting the correct page to appear in online searches is of the utmost importance.
Deleting the old page keeps the search results clear. Only the new, current, active page should appear for customers and potential Facebook connections!