The question about whether to use a Facebook group or a Facebook Page to promote your organization has been discussed endlessly and although there are clear differences, I think there is still a lot of confusion. And there will continue to be confusion, especially as Facebook continues to make updates and changes to groups and pages. There are, however, some really great posts out there that highlight some of the key differences.
The most important differences (and take-aways from the blog posts mentioned below) that will influence my decision on which to use for a new client are listed below:
- E-mailing: Groups allow you to e-mail members (up to 5,000). Pages do not allow you to e-mail fans.
- Indexing and Searchability: All tabs on Pages are indexed and publicly searchable – allowing for greater visibility. Only the main page of Groups are indexed and searchable.
- Admins: What admins do in groups shows in their personal Facebook feeds, whereas admins are behind the scenes in managing pages. The updates come from the Page itself rather than a person.
- Applications and Customization: Groups allow basic applications but Pages allow virtually hundreds and much more customization of HTML code.
Are there situations when both a Group and a Page could be used by an organization? I definitely think so but I suggest starting with one. For very large organizations, it’s important to note the 5,000 member e-mail limit for groups. Hubspot defines a Group as “A Community of People with a Common Interest” and a Page as “Represents a Brand or Entity for Which There are Fans”. When thinking about it in these terms, what would a marketer use for an association of engineers, for example? It certainly depends on the objective. If the association’s objective is to increase their membership, reach out to potential members and update current members on events and news pertaining to the association as a whole, I think a Facebook Fan Page is appropriate. If the association has subsets within it (different levels of memberships or specializations) a Facebook Group would be an ideal way for these particular members of the association to communicate and carry on discussions.
I would love to hear from anyone who has managed social media campaigns for associations on this matter.
Three Great Resources
Howard Greenstein is a national board member of Social Media Club, president of Harbrooke Group and a Social Media Strategist and Consultant. He contributed an excellent post on this very topic on Mashable called Facebook Pages vs Facebook Groups, What’s the Difference?
… Because Groups and Pages have an overlapping feature set, even senior social media marketing consultants are sometimes stumped as to what to tell their clients. And Facebook continues to make changes to how Pages function, complicating the matter even further. Read the full post.
David Robbins is one of the authors for PageOnePr.com a blog about Social Media and PR. He actually commented on Howard’s post and included a link to this insightful post:
…Just a few months ago, I would have declared a toss up between Groups and Pages in terms of their relative effectiveness for marketers looking to make an impact in the social media space. While Groups are more antiquated and less customizable than Pages, Groups allow administrators to send messages to all members, which are sent as emails. Pages, on the other hand, only allow “Updates” to be sent through Facebook itself to the homepages of fans. Read the full post.
Finally, Hubspot, leaders in educating businesses about inbound marketing, published this great table (below) that highlights the differences between Facebook Groups and Pages. This may have changed since the time it was published. I also wanted to point out that Hubspot has great examples of pages and groups – their own. See their page: www.facebook.com/Hubspot and group: www.facebook.promarketers.com
I would love comments from anyone else who has had experience using both Facebook Groups and Facebook Pages.
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