Many small business owners created Facebook profiles to reach out to users back when the social network was new on the scene, but Facebook later launched Pages, a tool specifically designed for businesses. Some people didn’t make the switch for fear of losing all the social connections they’d made, but Facebook has just introduced a tool called “Profile to Business Page Migration” that makes the move relatively painless.

Just visit Facebook’s site dedicated to the tool to get started. It’s so easy it hardly needs a guide or how-to, but there are a few things you should know.

1. Your Profile’s Friends Will Automatically Like Your New Page

This is the most important detail: Anyone you’ve befriended on Facebook using your business profile will instantly and automatically “Like” the new Page that replaces your old profile, with no input required from them.

This means you don’t have to start from scratch in building a community around your new Page even if you have hundreds or thousands of existing connections on Facebook. That’s what’s been holding a lot of businesses and brands back from making the move, so this is big news.

2. No Data Besides Profile Pictures Will Be Transferred

Facebook warns that your photo albums, updates, info, and other data will not be carried over to the new Page. Only your friend connections (now converted to Page Likes) and your profile picture will be retained.

Luckily, you don’t have to banish your data to oblivion. Facebook has provided a process by which you can download virtually all of your personal profile data to your local computer before making the switch. Use it, then upload the photos and other info back to the Page manually. It’s a pain, but it’s worth it; personal profiles are not adequate for promoting your business or brand.

Not only that, but unless your business or brand is a real, individual person, using a personal profile to represent it is against Facebook’s terms of service. Continuing to do so could lead to trouble down the road, such as suspension of the profile.

3. You Can’t Undo It

You almost certainly won’t have any reason to unless you’re a celebrity who wants to return to privacy, but once you’ve migrated a personal profile to a business page, you can never reverse that decision. You could create a new personal profile, but you’d have to start over building social connections and data again.

Have you been using a personal profile to promote your business? Has Facebook finally made it possible for you to make the transition to a Page? Share your insights in the comments.

[Image credit: Bengsoon Chuah]