Marketing on Facebook: Groups vs Pages

There’s a long-standing debate over whether Facebook Groups or Facebook Pages make better marketing tools for businesses. Technically speaking, Groups were meant for organisations, interest groups and groups of friends, i.e. groups of Facebook users, while Pages were meant for brands and businesses. But who ever used things as they were meant, eh?

Here are some pretty comprehensive comparisons between Groups and Pages:

Why facebook communities can work for your brand by Claudia Lim

What’s the difference between a facebook fan page and a facebook group

Facebook group vs facebook fan page – what’s better

With Facebook’s latest update to Pages, things get even more confusing, because now, Brand Pages are like User Profiles – brands can post twitter-like status updates on their Pages, and these status updates get broadcast on their fans’ newsfeeds (apparently). Although with the latest revision to the Facebook homepage, I’ve yet to see status updates from brands appear in the new twitter-like newsfeed.

So what’s a Facebook marketeer to do?

Well, as far as I can tell, it really comes down to these key differences:

Groups give you:

1. Viral invitations – your group members can invite their friends to join the group with the “invite people to join” link on the group page. This isn’t so for pages.

2. Openness of community – a group is really an open community around a particular interest area, in which the group members participate freely and help to create content for or add content to the group.

Pages give you:

1. Broadcast announcements – in the form of broadcasting your status updates to your fans’ newsfeeds (supposedly). So every time you have an announcement to make on your Facebook Page, all your fans get to know about it automatically.

2. Control over your presence – Page owners have more control over their Pages (like user profiles), deciding what apps to put on them and how they should appear. With Groups, you get the standard apps and the standard layout. A lot of the content on a Page is also focused on what you want to tell or show your fans.

I guess it depends on what you want to use your presence on Facebook for. If you want to create an inclusive community around your product, service or subject area, and let users contribute to the content of the community, then go with a Group. If you want more control over your presence on Facebook and use it to make regular announcements directly to users, then go with a Page.

But don’t forget that viral invitations (letting your group members invite their friends to join) can be quite powerful in growing a Group on Facebook, and there’s no easy way to enable that for a Page at the moment. So if you need to ramp up a community quickly, just start a group and ask your friends to invite their friends.

Finally, check out this link if you need to migrate your Group to a Page.

UPDATE: Oops! Looks like Facebook isn’t doing any more conversions from Groups to Pages. From Facebook’s Help page:

We’re no longer able to convert Facebook Groups into Pages. You’re welcome to create a Page and notify your Group members that you’ll be using the Page instead of the Group going forward. If your Group has too many members to send them a message, we unfortunately aren’t able to provide you with any other solutions for how you might contact them about this change.

Please check out our Facebook groups for Zinerepublic and Shoplette to see how we get on with them. And if you’d like to help us out, please invite your friends to join them too!

P.S.: Perhaps this calls for us to set up a Group and a Page as an experiment, and see which works out better.

Talk to us: Facebook Groups vs Page – What do you think?

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