Which One for your Business or Organization
The Definitive Answer: It Depends
With several overlapping features, Facebook’s Pages, groups and profiles leave many users confused.
Marketers are agreed that Facebook remains an important and vital tool in their social media marketing efforts yet remain confused as to how to effectively employ it. As their are two main networking channels in Facebook (creating or joining a Facebook group or page) it’s important to know the difference and what would work best for you.
Both have similar features but it’s their differences that will determine which is best for you. You can host discussions and forums on both, and exchange videos and images publicly. So far so good. When it comes to messaging all members, pages only do this via updates, while groups let you private message members – an important distinction. Perhaps the most important difference is that pages allow for visitor statistics (via page insights) while groups do not.
Facebook Pages enable public figures, businesses, organizations and other entities to create an authentic and public presence on Facebook. Unlike your profile, Facebook Pages are visible to everyone on the internet by default. You, and every person on Facebook, can connect with these Pages by becoming a fan and then receive their updates in your News Feed and interact with them.
Authenticity is at the core of Facebook. Just as profiles should represent real people and real names, so too should Pages for entities. Only the official representatives of a public figure, business or organization should create a Facebook Page.
For example, I am an avid watcher of the American TV show “Lost” on ABC. By connecting with the official Facebook Page for “Lost”, I can keep up on the latest episodes and other information directly from the people behind it. 1
If you’re looking to promote your company or raise brand awareness, you’ll want to create a Facebook Page. You can share promotions, offer specials, make announcements and essentially, build a central fan base.
When it comes to pages they are easier to use, update and customize, offering more options for posting events, photos and links. This makes it a good choice for those wanting to frequently add to or update their page. Think of a page as more of a personal profile, allowing you to create a banner and personalize the page. The big downfall of a page is that it requires a Facebook marketing tool (read: it costs money) to get it out there. This is why it’s seen as taking longer to promote a page. That being said there are more options to promote a page if you want to kick down.
While Pages were designed to be the official profiles for entities, such as celebrities, brands or businesses, Facebook Groups are the place for small group communication and for people to share their common interests and express their opinion. Groups allow people to come together around a common cause, issue or activity to organize, express objectives, discuss issues, post photos and share related content. 2
Groups are great for connecting peers (everybody is an equal), collaborators, co-workers or people with a shared interest. Facebook Group Members can be in a totally “Private/Secret” environment or very public.
Like with Pages, new posts by a group are included in the News Feeds of its members and members can interact and share with one another from the group.
Say that you and your friends have a favorite celebrity or cause you want to rally around, but you are not the official representative of either. You can either become a fan of the official Facebook page for the celebrity or cause and show your support there or create your own group on Facebook around the common interest.
For example, just as I’m a fan of the official Page for the show “Lost,” I am also a member of groups created by other fans like myself. The “Lost” groups offer a way to interact with a community of people and discuss the latest theories around what is happening on the show—from what the “smoke monster is” to how it will all end.
Groups are, well, like it says – group of like-minded individuals – people engaged in a specific group because they share common interests or shared objectives. Groups can communicate easily with other members or to the entire group in a variety of ways – and yes, you can inbox everyone in the group. It’s more personal, and personal connections are easier to forge because of the more intimate or shared nature of the group. The cons of the group option is that you will always be playing to a much smaller audience, there are no insights to track and there’s no options for customizing or personalizing as you might a page.
Which Way to Casbah
So – which one’s for you? Depends on your needs. If you’re needing to directly interact with your members – make them aware of events or other calls-to-action – then a group is a good choice. If you’re looking to establish or promote a brand you might want to consider a page. Think of it this way – who are you? – what organization are you most like? Find them on Facebook – do they have a group or a page? That might help you decide.
The Pros and Cons of Pages and Groups
|Pages are easier to update and represent better options for brands who frequently add new material
|Pages are harder to grow organically and usually require a Facebook marketing tool and spending (money $) to give it a boost
|Pages look more like a personal profile, allows you to hone your messaging to match the social context of the site and engage at higher levels
|It typically takes a lot longer to promote a page, even though it’s easier to promote per options and functions
|Pages have customizable URLs allowing you to promote the page to Fans directly
|Conversations are more difficult to manage, especially between fans
|More options for posting photos, events, various links, etc.
|Everything’s more transparent and exposed with a page, so you have to monitor things more closely
|Page owners can distinguish their content from other content and make it stand out
|Pages allow you to create a banner and personalize the page more to your business goals
|Groups can communicate seamlessly with all members via chat, email, wall posts, messages, and even create a shared document
|Unlike pages, groups do not allow you to add on any additional applications for promotions or aesthetics
|Groups are allowed to promote and event. Pages are not allowed to promote
|For business purposes, it’s harder to keep track of what you’re doing in a group, because Facebook Insights is not available in this format
|Groups tend to display a higher degree of personality and even personalization, since they’re often created to be personal presences rather than brand presences
|The lack of a vanity URL makes it hard to fully customize and personalize a group
|Making common connections is much easier through a group setting, particularly for businesses searching for contacts
|In a group you’re always going to be playing to a much narrower audience
|Groups are very difficult for other people to find unless they’re already part of a group or have a friend who joins
Guy Brooksbank has worn a lot of hats the past couple of decades – as a photographer, professional musician, international educator and writer. The past 6 years were spent teaching photography and filmmaking in Dubai where they garnered dozens of awards both nationally and internationally.
Guy is currently based in Portland and provides not only masterful photography and video for businesses but important digital image strategies for small businesses and non-profits worldwide