You have a business, a website and a traditional marketing strategy. But now you have decide to give social media a try. You feel that Facebook would be a good place for you to reach many potential customers within your target audience. But when you go onto Facebook you notice that there are both fan pages and groups available for use by businesses. But how do you decide which is best for your business? In order to answer this question, you must first know what each each, what they offer and what the difference are between the two.THE FACEBOOK GROUP
Groups are ideal for those who only want or need to share information on a smaller scale. They have been around longer than fan pages and provide a closed space for small groups of people to communicate about shared interests.
Groups can be created by anyone for just about anything but the most useful groups tend to be groups that are created with small groups of people already within your network. In fact on Facebook’s Group Description page it even states that “By creating a group for each of the important parts of your life – family, teammates, coworkers – you decide who sees what you share.” Within the groups you create you can post updates, poll the members of the group and send messages to everyone all at once.
As you are probably well aware, Facebook continually changes the look, feel and functionality of its site. And with many of these changes, it seems to me that Facebook is moving more towards pages being ideal for most industries and businesses. In fact, if you have created a group in the past and it is not active enough by Facebook standards, Facebook will have a note on the group page that states that the group will soon be archived.
THE FACEBOOK PAGE
Facebook Pages are described by Facebook as
Pages are for organizations, businesses, celebrities, and bands to broadcast great information in an official, public manner to people who choose to connect with them. Similar to profiles, Pages can be enhanced with applications that help the entity communicate and engage with their audiences, and capture new audiences virally through friend recommendations, News Feed stories, Facebook events, and beyond.
According to Facebook’s Terms and Conditions, although users are allowed only one profile per individual, they are allowed to create and use multiple pages. The Create a Page module is not the easiest to find if you don’t know where to look. You may not even be able to see it from your home page as illustrated in the photograph to the above. If you have already created or joined a group you will see a little yellow flag followed by the name of the group. To find the module there is also a link at the very bottom of your profile or you can type the following URL into your browser: http://www.facebook.com/pages/create.php where you will be prompted to choose the type of page you would like to create and the category it falls into. Unlike groups, you can choose from one of six types of pages:
- Local Business or Place
- Company, Organization, or Institution
- Brand or Product
- Artist, Band or Public Figure
- Cause or Community
Once you have set up a Page within your profile, you have the ability to add other administrators to help you manage this Page. People who choose to connect to your Page won’t be able to see that you are the Page administrator nor will they have access to your personal account information. This is especially important if you use Facebook for personal use rather than for business. Pages however, may only be created and managed by official representatives of the company or organization.
Pages are more suitable for organizations and businesses as well as any entity that does not want to limit the extent of their reach within the market. Facebook Pages are similar to normal profiles in that Pages have the ability to have friends and add photos and videos. Pages also have their own wall where fans of that page can comment and post as well.
GROUPS VS. PAGES; WHICH ONE IS RIGHT FOR MY BUSINESS?
According to Facebook:
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. Only the authorized representative of the entity can run a Page.
When trying to determine which is best for your business, there are many key factors that should be considered when making your decision. Comparatively, there are some similarities and many differences between the two. Once you know the differences, you will be able to better equipped for making your decision.
- Customization: Administrators can create customized tabs for their Pages as well as decide which applications they wish to include on their Pages.
- Target Audience: Anyone with our without a Facebook profile can find your Pages. Any Facebook members can connect to a Page by clicking the “Like” button.
- Membership: There is no limit to the number of people who can like a page.
- Permissions: Anyone who “Likes” a Page can post information including photos, links and videos on the Page’s wall. Page administrators can place restrictions as to which applications they want to include on their Page and what type of information can be shared in each of these applications by other users. Page owners may also remove comments posted to Page walls at any time and also have the ability to ban specific people from posting all together if they find the users posts to be inappropriate or offensive in any way.
- Administrators: Page administrators can share posts under the Page’s name rather than from their own personal profile.
- Communications: Administrators can send updates to the fans of their page which will then post to the fan’s “updates.”
- Privacy Settings: No one can see who the Admins of a Page are nor can will they have access to your personal account information. The Page information and wall posts however, are public and generally available to everyone on Facebook.
- Sharing: Members of a page have the ability to share a page in one of four different ways; On their own wall, on a friend’s wall, in a group and via private message.
- Tracking and SEO: Page growth and activity can be tracked through the use of Page Insights. Page Insights provide administrators with information about the demographic break down of their Facebook Page fan base as well as engagement information.
- Age: Pages were launched on Facebook in 2009.
- Target Audience: Group members must either be approved by administrators or invited by other members of the group.
- Membership: When a group reaches a certain size, some features are limited.
- Messaging: Neither administrators nor group members can send private messages to all members of a group at the same time. The best way to reach all members at once is to start a discussion by posting on the group wall. When a post is made, members are notified on Facebook and by email, and they can respond with comments.
- Permissions: Groups can either be open, where anyone can join the group, Closed, where non-members can see the group, but not the posts and Secret where neither the group nor its posts can be seen by anyone other than the members of the group. Administrators can set the permission to determine how members may join the group.
- Administrators: Group administrators control the membership and content of a group as well as edit the group description and settings. They can add additional administrators to a group and can also remove or ban current members and other admins.
- Communications: In groups, members receive notifications by default when any member posts in the group. Group members can participate in chats, upload photos to shared albums, collaborate on group docs, and invite all members to group events.
- Privacy Settings: Although groups can be set up with an open setting, other privacy settings are available so group privacy can be completely controlled by administrators. In Secret and Closed groups posts are only visible to those who are members of the group. Secret groups are not searchable whereas closed groups are.
- Tracking and SEO: There is no ability to track growth and activity of groups.
- Age: Groups have been a part of Facebook since Facebook’s conception in 2004
Join the Discussion
4 comments so far.
Renee C. QuinnJuly 14, 2011 04:24 pm
MJ, You refer to a business profile and a business page. They are two different things. You can only have one profile on Facebook but as many business pages as you would like. If you are the page administrator for your page, you can find your Facebook page URL by clicking the upper right “Account” link on your page, and then click the “Use Facebook as Page” drop down link. You will then see your Facebook page URL in the address bar. The reason you cannot find it by typing in the company page, is because each page has an ID number that is unique to each page. The IPWatchdog page is http://www.facebook.com/pages/IPWatchdog-Inc/144019632342068. Hope that helps. And thank you for reading IPWatchdog.com.
Renee C. QuinnJuly 14, 2011 02:38 pm
Thank you for reading IPWatchdog and for commenting on my article. I am always happy to hear that others enjoy what I write. I like the fact that you are focusing more on sharing content. It is the best way to show expertise without sounding like a used car salesman.
I am available for consultation if you want assistance on your social media marketing initiatives. I will soon be launching my own website which will highlight all of the things I can assist with and will include testimonials and the like. Keep your eyes out for it, as we’ll be launching it very soon. In the meantime, if you’d like to chat further, please feel free to fill out the contact form and tell me a bit more about what you may potentially need assistance with!
MJJuly 14, 2011 12:38 pm
I have a personal profile and a business profile. I would like to provide our target audiences with a URL that is specific to the business page. When I try to see what it looks like, it takes me to the log-in screen instead. For example, if I have a fan page for ABC Company and I try to google that, nothing comes up…
Bob KidmanJuly 14, 2011 05:59 am
Nice easy to follow article, would be interesting to hear your thoughts on how to grow your fan base and what strategies work best.
We don’t use ‘buy’ ‘buy’ ‘buy’ tactics instead try to offer unique and interesting links and content to build a better relationship, it is however early days for us.