The need to leverage social media for business is a no-brainer at this point, but a company's effectiveness on Facebook can be hampered if the account isn't set up properly.

Here are four reasons why your business should be set up as a Page, rather than a standard profile.


Facebook Says So

According to Facebook's terms of service, "Profiles represent individuals and must be held under an individual name, while Pages allow an organization, business, celebrity, or band to maintain a professional presence on Facebook." If your business' profile gets shut down by Facebook for violating this rule, your friends list will vanish with it.


Pages Offer Analytics and Like Widgets

Two really crucial advantages of administering a Page are user analytics and easily-embeddable Like buttons and widgets.

With the recently overhauled Facebook Insights, you can view all kinds of useful data about user activity on your page, including how many likes and comments you received each day, demographic break-downs and much more. This data can be really useful for understanding the characteristics of your customer base, and knowing which wall posts get the best reaction. This data is not available to individual profiles.

Another thing profiles don't offer is the means to embed a Like button and other Open Graph plugins into your own site. This is a major setback for businesses hoping to grow their audience on Facebook.


Pages Can Have Unlimited Fans.

On Facebook, individual profiles are limited to 5,000 friends, whereas Pages can have unlimited fans (or likes). Once your profile friend list reaches 5,000, Facebook will encourage you to set up a Page, but doesn't offer a tool to convert your profile to a Page. For that, you're on your own.


Converting a Profile to a Page is a Nightmare

If you already set up your business on Facebook with a profile, converting "friends" to "fans" is no simple process. The only way to switch them over is to politely ask the friends to do it themselves. This can be accomplished either via status update or by sending them all a message explaining the change and linking them to your new Page.

A third option would be to use Facebook's formal Page recommendation tool to suggest that friends Like your new page. However, this option doesn't give you the opportunity to type a custom message explaining why you're asking them to do it.

When converting friends to fans, it's important to clearly articulate to users why you're asking them to like your business, because in their mind they're already connected to it via Facebook and shouldn't need to take any further action. You'll need to include a concise and friendly note to your users explaining that you're switching from a profile to a Page to better serve them and ask them to click the like button to stay connected.

Whichever approach you take, there's no guarantee that each and every one of your friends will end up clicking on your Page's like button, and repeatedly following up to remind them to do so can annoy users.

At some point, you'll have to decide if you're going to delete the original profile, keep it semi-hidden via privacy settings or just let it sit there. Maintaining two different presences on Facebook can be confusing for your users, and thanks to Facebook's friend recommendation feature, your long-abandoned profile will continue to pop up when friends of friends log in, and the requests will keep rolling in.