Learn more about Facebook Groups and Pages to figure out which one best suits your needs.
Are you thinking about creating a presence on Facebook but aren't sure what kind of presence to create?
Before I explain the differences between Facebook Pages and Groups and the pros and cons of each, here's a word from our sponsor..
Back to Facebook Pages and Facebook Groups
Facebook Pages Vs. Groups
A page, a group. A group, a page. So many decisions. So little time.
First off, let me remind you that a Facebook profile is off-limits to companies and nonprofit organizations, so if you have a Profile--which means you have Friends--instead of a Page with fans or a Group with members, then you're in violation of Facebooks Terms of Service. This doesn't include, however, your own personal Facebook profile.
But should you have a Facebook Page or a Group for your company or organization? Here's a breakdown of what you get with each.
What is the Difference Between a Facebook Page and Group?
Community: If you want to build a community around your product or company and have extensive interactions with members, then choose a Group. If you're looking for a less labor-intensive option, choose a Facebook Fan Page; it’s a great way to grow an organic community but doesn't require the same intense upkeep. Bottom line: If one of your main goals is to build community, and you’re willing to devote a lot of time to that, choose a Facebook Group.
Messaging: Do you feel the need to send a message directly to members’ personal Facebook Messages? You can do this with a Facebook Group; the message also gets sent to the regular email account they’ve linked to their Facebook account. With Facebook Pages, you can send a message as an Update to Fans but it's weirdly hidden behind a link called Updates, which can be hard to see. Fans can only find it when they go into their Facebook Messages and then click on the Updates link on the left side of the page. Without clicking there, those updates—or your messages-- simply don't hit their radar. Bottom line: Choose a Facebook Group if you want to be able to send direct messages that are more likely to be read.
Invitations: Group members can easily invite other members with the invitation going straight into their Messages. Fans of Facebook Pages, however, can only Suggest a Page--which doesn’t allow for adding a personal message-- to their friends. The suggestion can also be hard to see; they only appear if the receiver clicks on or scrolls down to Page Suggestions under their Friend suggestions and Event Invitations. They do also show up in the person's regular email but tend to be a bit spammy. Bottom line: With Facebook Groups, it’s easier for those who like your Facebook presence to recommend it to friends.
Exclusivity: If you want to create exclusivity, a Group can be made private, meaning invitation only or approval needed to join. Groups can also be secret, meaning entirely invitation-only and hidden from view by anyone not in the group. Facebook Pages are meant to be a public presence so they're out there for all to see. Bottom line: If you want any degree of exclusivity or privacy, choose a Group.
Privacy: Group organizers (and officers, if you choose to add them) are viewable by all members of the group. Facebook pages allow admins to be hidden. But understand that as long as you're an admin for a Page, you cannot post to the Fan Page as yourself because it will always show up as the company or organization's brand. Bottom line: If you want to administer a presence on Facebook but do not want your identity to show up, then choose Facebook Pages.
Growth: Going for big numbers? Eventually a Group may be too hard to manage if you have thousands of members. But Facebook Pages are manageable even with tens of thousands of fans if you can build up to that level. The purpose of a Fan Page is about finding out more information, having some interaction, and showing one's support for a brand. The purpose of a Group really is for building a community where discussions are emphasized. Bottom line: As I mentioned earlier, if building a community is your goal, choose a Group.
Visibility: Another big difference between Pages and Groups is that Pages are publicly accessible by everyone, even people who are not members of Facebook. Groups can be accessed only by Facebook members. Bottom line: Pages give you greater visibility.
Statistics: Facebook Pages provide you with useful statistics on fan interactions and some key demographic data. Groups do not provide you with those behind-the-scenes statistics. Bottom line: choose Facebook Pages if you want stats.
Should You Use a Facebook Page or Group?
The Ultimate Bottom Line: If you want to build a robust community that takes time to cultivate and manage, get a Facebook Group. If you want a public presence on Facebook to act as a gateway to information and resources for your company or organization, get a Facebook Page. You can certainly have both, but keep your capacity in mind before going for more than you can handle.
That's all we have time for today.
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