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Facebook Profiles and Pages and Groups, oh my!

Lori Halley 30 January 2009 56 comments

If questions from our readers are any indication, there’s still a lot of confusion about the differences between Facebook’s Profiles, Fan Pages, and Groups — and which of these might best suit a nonprofit’s social-networking plan. Let’s take a closer look.

Facebook was conceived as a social network of individuals, so everything starts with the individual Profile. Every member has a Profile page, created automatically when the account is set up — it’s the basic unit of Facebook. And the two main tools available to nonprofits are Pages (or Fan Pages) and Groups. In addition, there are a number of applications of particular use for nonprofits, notably Causes and Events, but we'll leave the applications to another day and focus here on the basics.

A Facebook Profile is not a Facebook Page

As Facebook itself explains:

It’s important to understand the difference between your personal account and your Facebook Page. Your personal account is the regular user account that you log into when you sign in to Facebook, and this is the account you use to manage your Facebook Page. Your personal account profile is separate from your Facebook Page. When you edit your personal account profile or add content to it, these changes will not be reflected on your Facebook Page. Likewise, when you edit your Facebook Page, these changes will not be reflected in your personal account or your personal account profile.

An organization cannot set up a Facebook account / personal profile page. Facebook’s terms of service are clear on this point. By using Facebook, you are required to “agree not to use the Service or the Site to … register for more than one User account, register for a User account on behalf of an individual other than yourself, or register for a User account on behalf of any group or entity” among other conditions of use. Updated 02/02/10: Facebook has removed this section from its terms (Statement of Rights and Responsibilities) page since this article was first posted, although the FAQ stil makes it clear that "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." Nonprofits and for-profit organizations do have the option to create a Business Account, if they'd prefer not to have their Page tied to an administrator's personal profile, but the functionality of Business Accounts are extremely limited. See the Facebook help FAQ on Business for more information.

In general, for your nonprofit to establish a fully functioning Facebook presence, some individual in your organization will need to join and set up a personal Profile page. This person can then set up a Fan Page or Group — but behind every Page or Group there must be an individual Facebook user who’s named as its administrator.

So right there we’ve got a question that comes up time and again: What if the individual who sets up your Page or Group decides to leave your organization?

The best suggestion I’ve come across yet is simply this: Make sure you have more than one person in an administrator role. The original “admin” can invite others to share the role, as long as those others are also Facebook members.

Facebook Page or Facebook Group?

As mentioned, Pages (or Fan Pages, as they are increasingly called, to distinguish them from personal Profile pages) and Groups are the two main tools that a nonprofit can use on Facebook — so I really would like to be able to give a side-by-side comparison of the features of each.

Indeed, that’s what I had in mind when I first started drafting this post, several months ago.

But the problem with a feature-by-feature comparison of Pages and Groups is that the rules keep changing. For example, Facebook used to limit the numbers of Group members who could be bulk-messaged to 1000, but the bar has been raised — to 5000, the last time I checked. It’s hard to keep track of the fast-moving changes at Facebook.

That said, Ann Smarty (Search Engine Journal) made a good start early last October at a “pros and cons” comparison of Pages and Groups, reporting on Search Engine Journal’s own Facebook experiments — but even there, a reader was able to update her information within days of posting, with a comment “to let you know that Facebook now allows indexing of discussions with groups that are available globally within Facebook.” As a matter of fact, there are a lot of interesting insights in that comment thread, and it's well worth reading to learn about others' experiences and frustrations!

More recently, Facebook consultant Mari Smith has written a fairly extensive comparison of Pages and Groups, suggesting how each might be used. Her perspective is from the viewpoint of business, but as we know there’s often a parallel between for-profit and not-for-profit activities when it comes to communication and promotion. One point she makes, which I have not seen widely mentioned, is worth noting:

For both Groups and Pages, you do have to manually track any and all activity. There is no app or feature in Facebook that will notify you when someone has commented on your Group or Page wall, posted a link/photo/video, added to the discussion board etc.

Which is best? Mari Smith says, “My short answer is you need BOTH a Group and at least one Page. Each serves different purposes.”

Features and functions all in, I concur:  In practical terms, the biggest difference between Pages and Groups lies in the relationship they create (or attempt to create) with your constituents: Pages are for fans.  Groups are for members. We don't interact with those two groups of people in quite the same way, or they with us.

This fits with the assessment of others who study Facebook. Indeed, it’s Ann Smarty’s final point too:

  • Pages are generally better for a long-term relationships with your fans, readers or customers;
  • Groups are generally better for hosting a (quick) active discussion and attracting quick attention.

Here’s how Facebook explains the difference between Pages and Groups:

Pages can only be created to represent a real public figure, artist, brand or organization, and may only be created by an official representative of that entity. Groups can be created by any user and about any topic, as a space for users to share their opinions and interest in that subject. Pages can be customized with rich media and interactive applications to engage Page visitors. Applications can’t be added to groups.

Pages are designed to allow Page admins to maintain a personal/professional distinction on Facebook, while groups are a part of your personal Facebook experience. If you’re a group admin, your name will appear on that group, while Pages will never display their admins’ names. Additionally, when you take actions on your group, such as posting on your group’s wall, these actions will appear to come from you as an individual. However, if you post or take other actions on a Page you own, it will appear to come from the Page.

As long as a group is under 5000 members, group admins can send messages to the group members that will appear in their inboxes. If the group exceeds 5000, admins can’t send messages to all members. Page admins can send updates to fans through the Page, and these updates will appear in the “Updates” section of fans’ inboxes. There is no limit on how many fans you may send an update to, or how many total fans a Page can have. It’s also possible to restrict access to a group, so that new members have to be approved, but access to a Page can only be restricted by certain ages and locations.

For up-to-date and accurate information about what you can and cannot do with Facebook Pages and Groups, your best bet to to go right to the source — Facebook’s own help section:

The potential for exposure that Facebook can offer a nonprofit is clear — even if Facebook itself can be pretty confusing!  Being active there can help you to interact with those supporters who are already Facebook members, and to gain new supporters within that social network. It may even give your some benefit in terms of search engine placement.

But in the growing excitement about social media and social networking, it’s important to remember that no social-networking site can be a one-stop solution for a nonprofit's online outreach.

Facebook is not a total substitute for building an online community at your own website.

Think of your Page and/or Group as an interactive billboard for your nonprofit, establishing its overall presence for the audience that exists within Facebook and serving as one more point at which potential supporters can find your organization online. And ideally, your Page or Group — or both — will ultimately serve to guide Facebook fans to your own blog and/or website.

Social networking is increasingly important, but is it wise that any organization should depend completely on a third-party platform to help them connect with supporters?

Embrace the features of Facebook for what they are and what they can do, but make your website the hub of your online community. It's there, on your own turf, where you can encourage a higher level of engagement, subscriptions to your blog or email newsletter, active membership in your organization, conversions to offline actions, and the true two-way communication that leads to more lasting commitment to your cause.

Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot] Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot]

Posted by Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot]

Published Friday, 30 January 2009 at 6:23 PM


  • Is Facebook the Best Way To Connect Your Members? | MemberHub said:

    Monday, 02 February 2009 at 8:36 AM
  • Sharon Hurley Hall said:

    Saturday, 07 February 2009 at 6:51 AM

    Somehow Facebook pages had passed me by. Have you created one for yourself?

  • Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot] Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot]

    Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot] said:

    Saturday, 07 February 2009 at 5:53 PM

    I've set up several for non-profit organizations that I'm involved with, Sharon, but not one for myself as an individual -- although that is certainly an option that Facebook allows.

  • Joe said:

    Wednesday, 11 February 2009 at 10:20 AM

    I've used both FB groups and pages. I would definitely agree that groups are centered around discussion forums and other member- generated content; while pages are better for organizations who want to use FB to keep their fans updated about recent news, events, etc.

  • anthony said:

    Wednesday, 11 February 2009 at 11:30 AM

    If I have a personal profile, can I have a page that is for fans of my business?

    I have it set up that way, but didn't know if it violates TOS.

    My profile is for friends, etc. My page is to keep past and future clients up to date on what I am doing, business wise.

  • Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot] Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot]

    Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot] said:

    Wednesday, 11 February 2009 at 11:59 AM

    Anthony, that sounds like its generally in-line with allowed usage, from what you say here -- but only Facebook can answer for Facebook.

    (When it comes to questions about whether you might be violating their Terms of Service, it's always best to contact Facebook directly.)

  • John Haydon said:

    Thursday, 26 February 2009 at 4:21 AM


    Finally got to read this. Folks were asking about this in the Philanthropy.com chat we had last week:


    Thanks so much!


  • Emily Carone said:

    Thursday, 26 February 2009 at 7:53 AM

    Hi there, you can set up a business account for your organization and have that account create your page. I would NOT set up your page under a personal account if it can be avoided, because the creator is the only one who can add or remove administrators. So even if you create more than one administrator, if the creator leaves you're stuck with the admins you have. Have one person create a business account, and make that log-in information available to all team members. Since the account won't have any personal profile information, it can be shared among staff. More info can be found here- http://www.facebook.com/help.php?hq=business+account&ref=hq

  • Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot] Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot]

    Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot] said:

    Thursday, 26 February 2009 at 8:19 AM

    Thanks for mentioning this, Emily.

    Yes, a business account may very well do the trick for an organization whose main goal is to set up a Page and/or advertise on Facebook, even though a business account doesn't have the same functions as a personal account.

    As the FAQ explains:

    "An individual with a business account can view all the Pages and Social Ads that they have created, however they will not be able to view the profiles of users on the site or other content on the site that does not live on the Pages they administer. In addition, business accounts cannot be found in search and cannot send or receive friend requests."

    My feeling is that whether a business account might be the right choice for a particular nonprofit will depend on how that organization plans to use Facebook.


  • sarah said:

    Friday, 27 February 2009 at 9:40 AM

    I setup a page for Maine Greyhound Placement, and have gotten some fans.  I'm using the page to post videos and pictures of dogs up for adoption, as well as to publicize events.  However, the one drawback I have found is that any updates I make to the page do NOT show up on my fans' news feeds (like updates show up on your page when your friends update their status, post pictures, etc.). I send updates out to my fans when I've posted a bunch of new content, but I'm wondering if there's a better way to keep my fans aware of new information on my page. Any ideas?

  • Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot] Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot]

    Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot] said:

    Friday, 27 February 2009 at 10:09 AM

    Sarah, that's pretty much how a Page works, I'm afraid. But if I can make a suggestion, you might try turning your outreach strategy upside down -

    Ideally, you want people to end up at Maine Greyhound Placement website where they can learn more about the dogs and your group, and become a member, make a donation, and/or apply to adopt a dog, right? The offline action is tied to your website.

    So, rather than trying to bring people in to your Facebook page (competing with your website for attention), why not use your Page as a sort of billboard for attracting new people who happen to be on Facebook. By becoming fans, they help to promote your Page to other FB members who may not be aware of MGP yet - but everything you do on your FB Page should have the end goal of making yourself so interesting that people want to visit the website.

    Ideally, then, you'll incorporate a blog into your website - and that will give people a way to subscribe by RSS or email for your updates. If you're tied to software that won't let you have a blog for sosme reason, at least offer an email newsletter!

    The difference is, instead of you having to *push* your info out at folks by way of Facebook updates, you give those who are truly interested an option to *pull* your info in for themselves. It's pretty powerful - and meanwhile, you maintain one strong central location where people know to go for the latest information: your website, which also cuts down on the workload for updates, etc.

    Facebook works best as an "outpost" where you go to meet Facebook users on their own ground - you go there to attract their attention. The real "sell" on your cause will happen on your own turf, your blog/website, which is Information Central for your organization.

    Make sense?

  • Greg Davis said:

    Monday, 16 March 2009 at 6:59 AM

    Thank Rebecca for your insights on this often confusing topic. I have setup a Fan Page for our church and have been using it pretty much as described above regarding the intent of Fan Pages.  However, now that Facebook as changed the way Fan Pages look and how fans interact with them (becoming much more like a personal profile and incorporating wall posts into news feeds), I believe it should cut down on the temptation to setup organizations as a 'person' on FB.

    I believe this change also helps with the publicity of your Fan Page within the FB community as in addition to the updates you can still push out to your fans, your fans can generate viral attention about your Fan Page via their news feed. It would be good idea now for Fan Page admins to encourage their fans to write on the Page wall and interact with the site as this helps to give attention to your Fan Page.

  • Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot] Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot]

    Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot] said:

    Monday, 16 March 2009 at 5:01 PM

    Greg, I think you're right about the new public Pages being key to nonprofit organizations making more effective use of Facebook without having to "bend the rules" - and we're likely to see a lot more interesting and engaging nonprofit Pages as a result!

  • Brooke Browne said:

    Tuesday, 14 April 2009 at 10:23 AM

    I'd love to see this article written again, and throwing in the CAUSE app to the mix!

    We have a CAUSE page, a Fan page and groups. I have differentiated groups and defined them differently, but it's sometimes hard to figure out where to draw the line between the CAUSE and Fan pages.

    Which one do you send people to first?

    I figured out just today how to feature the CAUSE page on the left column of the fan page, however, it doesn't seem to be a 2 way street.

    Since it seems the fan page is easier to find on Facebook, I'm attempting to start people there, in hopes they join the Cause as well. But any other opinions or practices that people use would be interesting.


  • nicolas said:

    Wednesday, 13 May 2009 at 8:54 AM


    first at all, sorry for my poor english.

    I would like to know if somebody did the same mistake i did, and found a solution to it: I created a facebook page for a non profit organisation using an individual profile. Now I reached 5.000 users and I'm not allowed to go over. If I create a public profile for comunities, like the one described here: http://www.facebook.com/FacebookPages. How can I bring the "friends" of my organisation in my new page?


  • Sarah said:

    Thursday, 14 May 2009 at 5:51 AM

    I am very confused. I created a personal facebook page and then a non-profit page from there.  I then created a cause so that people could donate to the organization. I read from Brooke Browne that she figured out a way to put the cause on the left column of fan page. i would like directions on how to do that. Also, people are asking to be my friend instead of becomming a fan of the organization. this is getting very confusing. Have I set up the organization wrong?

  • Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot] Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot]

    Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot] said:

    Thursday, 14 May 2009 at 6:40 AM

    Brooke & Sarah, I'd hesitate to throw Facebook Causes in here with Facebook Profiles Pages and Groups, because Causes is rather a "different animal" and - as the questions here and on our Facebook posts suggest - figuring out how to use Facebook's various features is quite complicated enough as is! And even more so, since the recent Facebook makeover of Fan Pages that has changed a lot of the rules...

    That said, it looks like a little chat about Causes is needed to sort out some of those issues and confusions: I'll write a post on Causes shortly.

    Nick, as far as I am aware there is no way to merge a personal Profile and a nonprofit fan Page. Facebook used to manually convert a Group to a Page on request, but they don't do that any more - and since it was always against the TOS to set up a personal Profile for an organization rather than an individual person, there's still no provision to convert a Profile to a Page automatically. Sorry, I know this isn't what you want to hear, but it looks like your best bet is to set up the Page and then invite your supporters to join it.

  • JM said:

    Friday, 22 May 2009 at 5:14 PM

    Is there any way to merge personal friends with a fan page, other than asking people to become a "fan"? I have two profiles on FB and have added hundreds of business contacts to the personal profile, rather than my fan page. Any ideas? Thanks!

  • mary  said:

    Saturday, 23 May 2009 at 5:29 AM

    Can the fan page administrator look at your profile, as if he was your FACEBOOK ''Friend''?

  • Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot] Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot]

    Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot] said:

    Saturday, 23 May 2009 at 7:00 AM

    JM, sorry, no. Facebook doesn't let you merge two accounts (http://www.facebook.com/help.php?page=804) and won't convert a Group to a Page (although this used to be possible). If you're talking about blending a fan Page and a personal Profile, that would effectively turn your Fans into Friends (and vice versa), which clearly is not possible. The two are very different relationships, in terms of permissions and functions.

    When folks become Fans of your Page they do not grant you, as the Page admin, the same access to their personal Profile information as when they become Friends with you personally. So the two can't be mushed all in together as if they were the same thing.

    Make sense?

    The answer to Mary's question - "Can the fan page administrator look at your profile, as if he was your FACEBOOK 'Friend'?" - is a good example of this exact thing.

    Mary, your privacy is safe: Page admins cannot see a Fan's personal profile.

  • JM said:

    Monday, 25 May 2009 at 8:50 AM

    Thank you! I have built my circle of friends in the exact opposite manner of what I was intending... ;-) Not exactly polite at this point to invite "friends" to become fans, so I'll just have to entice them into becoming fans through exclusive offers, benefits, etc. I appreciate your info on this topic.

  • Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot] Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot]

    Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot] said:

    Monday, 25 May 2009 at 9:26 AM

    Right on, JM - best way to attract fans is by being attractive, right? :-D

  • Ginger Wheeler said:

    Sunday, 21 June 2009 at 1:45 PM

    Rebecca: Thank you for your writing on this - it has helped me a lot. But help me figure this out: I created my "personal profile facebook page" and then I created my "non-profit organization facebook page".  But when I try to edit my "non-profit organization facebook page", I keep getting back into my "personal profile facebook page" which confuses me. My other question is how to get my aol address book to be fans of my non-profit without making them my friends too.

  • Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot] Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot]

    Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot] said:

    Sunday, 21 June 2009 at 1:56 PM

    Ginger, this is one of those confusing Facebook things - your Page can't invite your personal friends to become its fans, so you can't use your personal email address book to contact people on behalf of your non-profit's fan page.

    Here's how Facebook help section explains it:

    "There is currently no invite feature for Pages that allows you to directly invite your friends to become fans of your Page. However, you may use the Share button on the bottom right hand corner of your Page to share the Page with your friends. Your friends can then easily become fans of your Page."

    Hope this helps - even though it's probably not quite the answer you were hoping for.

  • Virginia said:

    Friday, 17 July 2009 at 12:36 AM

    Just experimenting here and I set up a FaceBook page for our NPO, only it's now affiliated with my personal account. For lots of reasons, I don't want that to be the case and I don't know how to remedy the situation. When I try to change the login info, it changes it for my personal account, too, and I really don't want the other Board members to have access to my personal page. If I deactivate the page, will I be able to create a new one with the same name with a different login name/email address, etc.?  Or, will that name be unavailable forever?  Thanks so much for any help you can provide!

  • Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot] Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot]

    Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot] said:

    Friday, 17 July 2009 at 6:16 AM

    Hi, Virginia: yes, Facebook Pages do have to have a personal account associated as administrator - unless you want to set up a Business account to create your Page. The down side of that option is that a Business account doesn't have all the functionality of a personal account, so you may find it doesn't meeet all your NPO's needs. To figure out if a Business account might be a workable solution for you, see: http://www.facebook.com/help.php?page=721

    I'm not sure about whether you can create a new Page with the same name as a deactivated page - but I'll run a test later today and see what we can figure out for you.

  • Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot] Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot]

    Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot] said:

    Sunday, 19 July 2009 at 5:33 PM

    Update for you, Virginia:

    If you're talking about Facebook's new "vanity" URLs (see New on Facebook: Usernames for Custom URLs), then no, you won't be able to create a new Page with that name if you delete the existing one. I do know that if you want to change a Page name, the only way to do it is to delete your Page and recreate it. But I haven't been able to get a conclusive answer about whether you can delete a Page and then recreate it under a Business account or a different personal profile, so it sounds like your best option is to contact Facebook support for clarification on that. Best of luck with it!

  • Jessica Heilman said:

    Sunday, 19 July 2009 at 6:06 PM

    Hi There!

    You have been so informative, I have two independent profiles and would like to know if I changed the emails to the same, if that would somehow merge them into one? I would like the one my admin created to be the same as the one I created. Is there a way to merge them, by changing my settings?


  • Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot] Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot]

    Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot] said:

    Sunday, 19 July 2009 at 7:17 PM

    Hi Jessica, no, it's not possible to merge two Facebook accounts, sorry. Here's what Facebook says about it - and especially note the last sentence!

    Facebook does not allow you to merge accounts. You need to copy your profile content (e.g. photos, notes, etc.) and add it manually to your more active account. Unfortunately, there will be some things you cannot transfer such as Friends and Wall posts. Once you have moved all information onto a single account, please deactivate your old account from the 'Settings' tab of the Account page. Afterward you can add email addresses and networks to your new account from the Account page. Please note that maintaining multiple accounts is a violation of Facebook's Terms of Use.

  • Jessica Heilman said:

    Sunday, 19 July 2009 at 9:59 PM

    Thank you so much for your help! I couldn't find a straight answer anywhere. I was blocked from writing on walls because I developed a gift giving app. and sent it to too many people at one time. (From what I can conclude) The system interpreted it as "spamming", and blocked me for what they say as either "hours or days". It has been quite the upset to my network, but I hope that we can transition. I am still not sure if when they will lift the block or not. Here's hoping!

  • Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot] Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot]

    Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot] said:

    Wednesday, 22 July 2009 at 8:50 AM

    No problem, Jessica - & the best of luck to you!

  • Thomas said:

    Friday, 11 September 2009 at 2:53 AM

    A very helpful and clear description of an issue that is not well defined by FB.  Your responses to comments is also very useful. Thanks.

  • Jamie said:

    Wednesday, 23 September 2009 at 11:39 AM

    Hello! I have a question that is similar to one above, but I'm not sure if it's exactly the same thing. I know that Facebook says you can't merge accounts, but what about this situation:

    I created a fan page for my company a few months ago and it turns out that my boss did the same.  We want to keep the information from both pages but he wants to be able to only have one page with both of us as administrators.  Is there a way to move over the info from one fan page to the other and then delete one of them (without manually having to add each entry we made)?


  • Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot] Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot]

    Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot] said:

    Wednesday, 23 September 2009 at 12:12 PM

    Hi Jamie, interesting question! My initial thought was that you would have to do it manually, but I've been poking around in Facebook to see if I could come up with a better solution for you. But sad to say, no. Anything else I can come up with is an unwieldy kind of hack involving third-party applications that could be a real nightmare to tweak and maintain... I think your best bet is to take this as an opportunity to make the "official" Page for your business a truly rocking one, now that you've had some experience with Facebook Pages to give you fresh insight into how your Fans are responding to it. Sorry! :-)

  • Adrienne said:

    Wednesday, 21 October 2009 at 3:39 PM

    First of all, thank you so much for this helpful page.  I understand the differences between profiles and fan pages as I have a personal profile.  However, when I attempted to set up a fan page for the business I work for it became a profile.  I was able to set up the fan page, but still have the ability to access the profile page that I made by mistake.  Is there a way of eliminating the profile page while retaining the fan page? And if not, how can I be sure that visitors will be directed to the fan page only? Thank you!

  • Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot] Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot]

    Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot] said:

    Wednesday, 21 October 2009 at 4:10 PM

    Not 100% sure what's going on there, Adrienne... but every Page needs to have a Profile to act as admin, unless it's set up as a Business Account.

    The big question is: are you the admin of your business's fan Page, or is this new personal profile that you set up, or did you set up the whole thing as a Business Account to start with?

    If you're the Page admin, you should be able to delete the other (business) personal Profile without affecting the Page - and in fact, you should do so, as businesses are not allowed to have a Profile, that's just for individuals.

    If you have the business-personal Profile as admin of the business Page, however, you'll likely have to rebuild the Page.

    As for directing visitors: Pages are public and index by search engines; your personal Profile is normally set up to be seen only by Facebook Friends, unless you choose to set the privacy levels to share with everyone on Facebook -  and even then it can only be viewed by logged-in Facebook members.

    Confusing, isn't it?!

  • Adrienne said:

    Wednesday, 21 October 2009 at 4:32 PM

    Yes, it can be very confusing, until it's all set up.  I set up what I thought was a Business Account.  When I viewed it I realized it looked just like my personal account, and when I searched online for other like businesses I could see the difference.  I am the administrator of the Business Account and it is totally separate from my personal account.  I just want to make sure I don't have visitors accessing both the Profile and Fan Page of the Business Account.  So I must have a profile for the Business Account anyway? or not? or..?  and if not, how do I delete the personal profile on the Business Account without affecting the Fan Page?  Thank you for the help.

  • Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot] Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot]

    Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot] said:

    Wednesday, 21 October 2009 at 4:42 PM

    I think I'm understanding you correctly, Adrienne, and if so, I think you may be okay here - it's almost impossible to tell you for sure without viewing the various account pages and knowing the steps you took in setup.

    Can you just have a look at the Business Account section in Facebook Help (http://www.facebook.com/help.php?page=721) for a second, and let me know if you see anything there that looks alarming to you, in your specific situation? Especially see the 1st, 5th and 6th questions:

    * What is the difference between a business account and a personal account?  

    * What happens if I click the 'Create Your Profile' button at the top of my business account? and

    * If I turn my business account into a user profile, can that action be reverted?

    I suspect there may be some clues there for you... let me know?

  • Lindsey said:

    Saturday, 31 October 2009 at 2:00 PM

    If I have a personal facebook account, and I created a few Fan Pages for my company’s separate departments, and then I add coworkers as admins to those pages, will those Fan Pages still exist under leadership of those admins if I delete my personal account? Or will those pages be gone?

  • Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot] Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot]

    Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot] said:

    Saturday, 31 October 2009 at 2:37 PM

    If there are other admins for the Pages, there should be no problem - in theory. Some people have reported issues with this in the Facebook Q&A Help section (not that their Page disappeared, but generally that they were unable to remove themselves as an admin or unable to add other people as admins). Of course, it's hard to know from the Q&A entries exactly what steps those people took, or or tried to take...

    But in theory, you should be able to simply remove yourself as a admin and have those privileges pass to the next admin automatically. At that point, when you remove close your personal account, the Page should not be affected.

    Before you remove yourself as admin, just make good and sure that the other admin(s) do have functioning privileges... things on Facebook have been known to sometimes not work quite the way they're supposed to.

  • Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot] Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot]

    Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot] said:

    Saturday, 31 October 2009 at 2:53 PM

    I should just clarify something here, Lindsey -

    Facebook does say:

    There is currently no way to take away admin status from the creator of a Page. However, Page admins can add or remove other admins by following these steps:

    1.   Click the "Edit Page" link below the Page’s photo. .
    2.   On the right hand side, click the "Add" link in the Admin section.
    3.   Select the friend you would like to add an an admin.

    The only incidents I've come across when someone was successfully able to reassign the "ownership" of a Facebook Page to someone else was when the original creator actually "deleted" their personal FB account.

    And even then, it's not guaranteed to work right. See http://www.facebook.com/topic.php?uid=10381469571&topic=8582 for how many other people are wrestling with variations on the same question - and have been doing so for months!

    The best (safest) option, in my opinion, would be to contact Facebook directly and request that they transfer "creator" status for your company's Page to another of the admins.

  • Christine said:

    Sunday, 08 November 2009 at 4:37 AM

    Hi everyone, I have a facebook profile and I have set up the page as listed above. My problem is when I add a note to my PAGE I only want it to go to fans and groups I dont need it to go to friends et. I dont want to drive my friends mad with my lastest tasks etc. I have been looking everywhere on the net and in facebook help pages but there is no way I can seperate the settings. if they are 2 different things there should be individual settings surely, or have i read so much info my brain has gone dead. And if I join groups they go to my profile page and I want them to go to my business page. If any body has created a page and solved this problem please help me.

  • Lindsey said:

    Monday, 09 November 2009 at 10:17 AM

    Thank you Rebecca for your response.

    You said "The best (safest) option, in my opinion, would be to contact Facebook directly and request that they transfer "creator" status for your company's Page to another of the admins."

    I cannot seem to find any direct way to contact them to do this. Can you help provide me with a direct email or way to contact FB? Thanks again.

  • Melinda  said:

    Sunday, 22 November 2009 at 5:22 PM

    There is so much good information in here.  But I am still confused.  I totally thought that I set up a business account.  However, it asked me for a real name and I entered that info in.  Now, when I log in, it brings me into my personal page, "[id removed]".  This doesn't bother me in itself.  However, I have also given my "page" which is [url removed] a custom url.  [url removed]  I have added the square fb button onto my website, but when people click on it, it goes to the fb login page and NOT my actual [url removed] page.  Even when I enter facebook.com/[username] into a browser, it does not go directly  to my page.  Can you help?  [email removed]

  • Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot] Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot]

    Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot] said:

    Sunday, 22 November 2009 at 6:06 PM

    Melinda, the good news for you is that your Facebook page seems to work just fine.

    However, I've removed the links to your website and Facebook page from your comment because (a) our readers would likely not appreciate being surprised with the kind of adult content they'd find there - as I'm sure you'll understand - and (b) your Facebook problem is apparently solved, so it's a moot point anyway! :)

  • Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot] Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot]

    Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot] said:

    Sunday, 22 November 2009 at 6:26 PM

    Lindsey, you asked how to contact Facebook... here's what the Facebook Help section says:

    How do I contact Facebook?

    First, select the subject of your question from the list of topics. Then, select the appropriate contact form or answer to your question within that topic.

    That's a bit confusing, maybe but what they mean is to go to http://www.facebook.com/help.php and click on the topic that you're having a problem with. In your case, http://www.facebook.com/help.php?page=756 looks close to the mark, but you may find other contact forms in there that are more appropriate, under other subject headings.

    Hope this helps!

  • Julia said:

    Monday, 07 December 2009 at 11:05 PM

    You are the first person to make any sense out of Facebook. I consider myself fairly smart, I coded my first website in 1995 using Notepad. I create complex and integrated marketing plans for a living. I manage multiple Twitter and LinkedIn accounts for clients  but Facebook confounds me. I honestly think they couldn't possibly make it more confusing than they already have.

    I'm pretty sure I did the same thing Adrienne did: set up a business account and enter my personal contact info when prompted, thereby converting it to a personal account. Sure wish they had a warning on that page or something to ensure we understood what was happening. I really did try to go through their help pages but my god, they really need a copy writer who speaks human.

    So, yes, leading up to question if you're still game: If I delete this business turned personal account and attempt to reset it up, will I be able to get the same name?

    Oh wait.....now I'm really confused. I just did a search, logged into my REAL personal account that I want to KEEP and searched for my company name and found the site I'd just set up. AND it's a fan page. My god what HAVE I done? How can I be sure I didn't totally create the wrong thing? How can I be sure it's not a personal account with a fan page?

    Many many thanks!

  • Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot] Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot]

    Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot] said:

    Tuesday, 08 December 2009 at 2:46 PM

    Hi Julia,

    From what you describe, it does sound like your personal account is linked to (admin of) the fan Page you just set up. This is not the end of the world, however... unless you were setting up the Page for a client and need to be totally at arm's length from it?

    edited to add: You can tell what Pages are associated with your personal account by logging into Facebook and visiting http://www.facebook.com/business/dashboard/ - if the Page you just created is there, it's associated with your personal account. If not, then you're "in Business" :-)

    If you scroll up a bit to my reply to Emily Carone, you'll see I'm rather in favour of a full-fledged Page as opposed to a Business account/Page, because it has oodles more functionality. Business accounts are really intended to be a jumping-off point for purchasing ad space on Facebook.

    I don't know whether, if you delete the Page, you can set it up again with the same name - there's a possibility that "used" names might go on hold of some sort - but if I were you I would not be inclined to take the risk. (Perhaps someone else has tried the delete-and-set-up-again route and can share firsthand experience on this.)

    And don't worry, it's not just you! Facebook can be confusing, if you want to do anything more elaborate than open a personal account to stay in touch with friends.


  • Christopher said:

    Friday, 11 December 2009 at 8:35 AM

    Hi, I would like more fans, can you suggest my page to your friends? My page is here: http://www.facebook.com/cmjphotography

    If you would like to know more about me, visit my about page on http://www.cjeschke.com/ Also, I am not commenting on here for backlinks, I really just want more fans...

  • Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot] Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot]

    Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot] said:

    Friday, 11 December 2009 at 3:09 PM

    Christopher, hello. While I understand that you're excited about having made a Facebook Page and you want to show it off to people, it's important to understand that there's no real benefit to you in leaving random blog comments just asking for Facebook fans. After all, a "fan" is someone who is excited about your work and wants to keep track of what you're up to, and to show you their support - right? So, the way to earn fans, as you're a photographer, is to connect with other photographers and people who enjoy photography. Share your knowledge of and passion for photography. Set up a profile on a social network dedicated to photography - Flickr would probably work best, since you could showcase your work and there's also a social element. To start with, you might look for Flickr groups that reflect your specific interests, join up, and get into real conversation with the people there. The only way to get fans is to earn them, in other words. Good luck!

  • Dee Dee Williams said:

    Friday, 29 January 2010 at 5:18 AM

    trying to do a simple Fan Page for a local organization.

    unfortunately a organization profile was the creator of the fan page. we now understand we have to delete that profile.

    when we tried to delete the organization profile the fan page disappeared.

    do we have to start all over with creating the fan page with an active profile?

    how can we reassign creator rights to an admin.  if there is an email address or support form, please help us with finding that link. thanks

  • Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot] Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot]

    Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot] said:

    Friday, 29 January 2010 at 5:47 AM

    Hi Dee Dee, I'm seeing a fan page at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Honeoye-Falls-Mendon-Chamber-of-Commerce/264932164330 - that's your org, right? I'm not clear on the problem but happy to help if I can - could you take another shot at explaining it?

  • Laura said:

    Tuesday, 02 February 2010 at 7:50 AM

    Hello Rebecca,

    I have been going through your previous responses and haven't quite found my scenario and am hoping you can help. I work for a larger company and there are two of us in charge of editing web content/social media. We currently have a profile, but under the business name, which I am now understanding is not allowed by the terms of FB.

    Connected to this personal business name profile, we do have a page with it. It is in its basic form and we don't mind if we have to start over again.

    But... how do we go about just getting a business page? I understand it has to be linked to a personal account, but we both have our own "home" accounts and cannot setup an additional business one, can we?

  • Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot] Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot]

    Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot] said:

    Tuesday, 02 February 2010 at 8:34 AM

    Good news, Laura:  

    Facebook has changed its terms of use (Statement of Rights and Responsibilities) since this article was written, and quietly removed that section about not setting up profiles "on behalf of a group or entity" - so as far as I can tell, you should be in the clear.

    If you do want to set up a simple Business page (Business account) not associated with any personal profile at all, however, you easily can do so. (To get started, make sure you're logged out of your personal account and visit http://www.facebook.com/advertising/.) Do be aware that Business accounts have very limited capabilities, compared to regular/Personal accounts. Have a look at http://www.facebook.com/help/?ref=pf#/help/?faq=12320 for more information.

    Hope this helps!

  • Annie Lynsen said:

    Monday, 15 February 2010 at 5:12 AM

    This is a really helpful post. I've noticed a lot of companies and nonprofits waffling between whether to focus attention on Facebook Groups or Pages, or ones that started with a Group before Pages were an option and are just continuing along that path. Generally, I have a more favorable opinion of Pages, because as a user I don't tend to see group updates in my feed or notifications, so I forget they exist!

  • George Grattan said:

    Monday, 15 March 2010 at 12:54 PM


    Great job with this blog.

    Do you know whether Facebook has also changed the rules at all about not having two profiles registered to the same name (but different emails) when one is used solely for the purposes of being an Admin of a non-profit Fan Page and the other is the user's personal (non-professional) Facebook account? That's the situation I'm in: had a personal Facebook page for some time on my own, then had to register as an Admin on the Page I manage for work using the same name (since they do not allow fake names, understandably). I've got separate emails and log-ins for these accounts, but it looks like I might still be technically in violation of their TOS? Is there now an easy/legit way to change my Professional account Admin name? Don't want to put either account at risk--but don't want to risk them cross-pollinating, either.

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