Should You Use Facebook Groups or Pages?

I get this question a lot from Right Here Interactive customers and many people I come across on a day-to-day basis.  The question is pretty simple…. Should I use Facebook Groups or Pages to promote my business?

The short answer is, that depends on what you are trying to accomplish, but the answer is often Pages….

There is a lot of discussion and some misunderstanding about the difference between Facebook “Groups” and “Pages.”  Here is some insight into that.  In short Groups and Pages serve different purposes on Facebook. Groups are meant to foster group discussion around a particular topic area while Pages allow entities such as public figures and organizations to broadcast information to their fans.

Facebook Pages

Pages are designed specifically for brands, artists, musicians etc. who are trying to get exposure.  There are actually several different types of pages based on what you are (again a band is different than a business, etc.).  For the most part Facebook Pages allow you to set up an area that is publicly viewable, search engine friendly (they can be indexed by the search engines) and in recent months it becoming clear that Facebook is promoting and emphasizing Pages more than Groups.

The great part about Facebook Pages is the potential viral loop you can create on an on-going basis.  Individuals with accounts on Facebook can become “Fans” of your Page (or more specifically what you page is promoting).  Pages are easily searched for in the Facebook search feature and if they get enough fans can be indexed by the search engines.

When someone becomes a fan, your Page’s Wall updates get fed to your fans own walls.  This is double exposure; your fans see your Page updates on their wall and the Fan’s friends also can see the updates and in one click, become a Fan too.  More fans equal more fans.

You can create a Page at: http://www.facebook.com/pages/create.php.

Facebook Groups

Groups are great for promoting and exchanging ideas.  Groups follow a similar model to what we commonly think of not-for-profit groups or non-profit charities where there are “officers” and “members.”  This is in no way to say that you need to be a nonprofit.  Quite the contrary, anyone can create a group.  Groups on facebook also have “Admins” who have certain technical rights over the group.  The person who creates the group is automatically an Admin.  Within a Group, an Admin can create one or many other Admins, Officers and can approve membership (if the group is closed).

Groups can be open, closed or secret.  Open Groups: Anyone can join and invite others to join. Group info and content can be viewed by anyone and may be indexed by search engines.  Closed Groups: Admins must approve requests for new members to join. Anyone can see the group description, but only members can see the Wall, discussion board, and photos.  Secret Groups: The group will not appear in search results or in the profiles of its members. Membership is by invitation only, and only members can see the group information and content.

From there, a Group can choose whether certain elements of the groups are available or not.  For example, Group Discussions, News, Events, Posting Links (hyper linking), Photos, Videos, etc. Groups have a lot of control over their content.

While a group update doesn’t appear on the Wall of their members, it does have the ability to send up to 5,000 emails to members of the group.  This is a great way to drive repeat group visitation and participation.

Bottom Line

Now that you’ve read a little bit about the differentiation between Groups and Pages, you can take the next step and analyze what your objectives are.  Once you have those stated, you should be able to determine which works best for you.

Oh yes, please:

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