How to switch from Facebook groups to pages

When I first came on to Back on My Feet at the start of 2010, our Facebook presence was off.

We had a Facebook account — officially named “Backon MyFeet” to fit naming restrictions and even then against the social network’s terms of use allowing accounts for only individuals.

The vanity URL facebook.com/backonmyfeet, of course, had already been reserved for that account. What’s more, we had three Facebook groups for our two chapters (Philadelphia and Baltimore) and one for Washington D.C., where we were expanding to that March. All three had different style — i.e. a hyphen between organization and chapter name — and different utility.

We needed a change.

(We’re mostly assuming here that a Facebook Page is probably what you want, but compare them with Facebook groups and get more about that fight with Mashable here.)

While other work was warranted, I’ve found that one of my first objectives is a task that lots of groups, organizations and people have had to complete: transitioning Facebook groups to Facebook pages.

To transition fully from groups to pages:

  • First, I made the opposing Facebook pages live and encouraged people to go.
  • I sent one Facebook message out to group members encouraging them to transition.
  • For a month, I’d leave the top message on those groups linking to the new corresponding Facebook page.
  • I sent one final message out to group members encouraging them to transition, with a link.
  • I made the groups private so no new members could find or join.
  • I finally deleted the groups, though still the numbers in each of the groups were larger than their corresponding Facebook pages. Simply, having both for too long was confusing.

At the time of deletion:

  • our “Back on My Feet Philly” group had 1,000 members
  • our “Back on My Feet – Baltimore” group had 426 members
  • our “Back on My Feet – Washington, DC” group had 213 members
  • our “Back on My Feet 20in24 Challenge presented by Nike” group had 179 members

Goals that still need to be met:

  • A focus needs to be made in transitioning out of the Facebook account, which still gets a flow of friend requests, messages and activity.
  • We ought to move on tighter vanity URLs for all of our Facebook pages, an obvious first step that I stalled on because some were used by the groups.
  • We never settled a discussion on how much flexibility and individuality we would give each chapter for branding and voice.
  • Because of responsibilities, I failed to maintain as much conversation on Facebook as I’d like to see.