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Home / Social Media / Blog article: Facebook Fan Page vs Facebook Group – Which One Do I Choose?

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Facebook Fan Page vs Facebook Group – Which One Do I Choose?

October 6th, 2009 | 6 Comments | Posted in Social Media


So you think it’s time for your company to join Facebook, but having a hard time deciding between a Facebook Fan Page and a Facebook Group?  Here’s the answer:  get a Facebook Fan Page and supplement with a Facebook Group in that order.  The latter of which is optional.  There is a major difference between the two Facebook networking tools in the short term and long term.

I have had experiences with both and that is the way I learned the differences.  I started with a Facebook group through one of my sites, then realized Facebook Pages are the way to go when I started managing the Marketwire Facebook Fan Page. Luckily for me, my Facebook Group only has 20 members.

Now for what each networking tool does vs the other:

Feature

Facebook Fan Page

Facebook Group

Search engine impact

Yes – Indexed in search engines.  Although great, focus your SEO efforts on your main website and add an icon that directs to the Facebook Fan Page.

No

Ease of creation

Moderate to difficult – a Facebook Fan Page can be highly customizable with different applications offered by Facebook.  Creating is relatively simple and quick at first, but lots of user frustration comes afterwards.  An example of something I experienced (and unfortunately cannot change as stated by Facebook) is in regards to the “info” tab where default information such as telephone, fax, mission, founded, etc all vary depending on the type of business originally chosen.

Easy, quick, straight-forward

Ability to change URL structure

Yes – once you obtain 100 fans, you can change your URL via http://www.facebook.com/username

Example: before 100 fans: www.facebook.com/pages/marketwire/15047705084

After 100 fans: www.facebook.com/marketwire

No

Ability to post videos, photos, multimedia

Yes

Yes

Discussion area

Yes

Yes

Ability to send out mass messages to your members

Yes – shows up as an update on the member’s home page

Yes – shows up in the member’s Facebook inbox

Statistics

Yes – tracks pageviews, fan interaction, fan count trending, demographics, post quality, and more plus coming soon (click through rate and engagement rate)

No

Ability to add applications such as blogs, polls, etc

Yes – my personal favorite is the “networked blogs” app where you can pull your own or other blogs into your Facebook Fan Page

No

Ability to promote your site with ads

Yes

Yes

Updates/notifications to members

Yes – via a user’s newsfeed so when an update is made on a Fan Page, all your fans will get it in their newsfeed

Yes – directly to all members; does not appear on a user’s newsfeed

Better fan interaction

Personal opinion –better due to the number of different Facebook applications available and customizations you can do to a Facebook Fan Page

The perception of a Facebook Group is that it promotes better discussions primarily because updates are not sent in a user’s “newsfeed” like the Fan Page does. So overexposure is not an issue with a Group.

Creating/hosting events

Can create events, but cannot host, which means you cannot send reminders.

Yes

Privacy

No – anyone can join, but have the ability to block based on age and location

Yes – Facebook Groups can be kept closed or secret

Admin capabilities

Yes – but Admins are not made public.  When you post as an Admin, the message will appear to come from the Facebook Page

Yes – Admins are made public.  When you post as an Admin, the message will appear to come from you.  Thus, a Facebook Group becomes more personable.

Perception of users deciding between a Fan Page vs Group

A user becomes a “fan” of your Facebook Fan Page as opposed to “joining” a group.  “Becoming a fan” really means you are enthusiastic and passionate about whatever fan page you are joining, thus, there is more resistance in a person joining a Fan Page versus a Group.  A good example is joining the fan page of a company especially one they work for.

A user “joins” your Facebook Group.  Perception: user feels more inclined to be part of a “group” as opposed to simply becoming a “fan”.  Implied notion is more active participation in a Group.

Examples of when to use each

Company/brand

Hosting an event, series of webinars

If you made the same mistake as I did by creating a Facebook Group first and now realizing a Facebook Page is more suitable, then unfortunately, you will have to do what I did as there is no way to import/export members from one to the other.

  • 1st – make sure you create a Facebook Page for your company although proceed with caution especially in regards to the type of business you choose.
  • 2nd – update on your current Facebook Group (if this will no longer be active) and let them know of your intentions and what the address of the new Facebook Fan Page will be located
  • 3rd – because the Facebook Group allows mass messaging, take advantage and send a short message letting them know of the new Facebook Fan Page

Hopefully the above has given you a better sense of the differences between Facebook Fan Pages and Facebook Groups .  Based on personal experience, I don’t see a benefit in creating a Facebook Group mainly because A) it seems redundant and B) not many people are willing to join a group/fan page twice when it pertains to the same company.   The only exception in having a Facebook Group in addition to the Facebook Page is when your company is hosting an event or a series of events such as webinars.  Some might view Fan Pages and Groups as compliments but I would recommend focusing your efforts on Fan Pages and if a specific event warrants developing a group for more in depth discussions, then create a Group.

If you have additional reasons why one should choose one over the other, examples of when to use either, or if I need to add more features to compare, feel free to comment or let me know via Twitter (@shinng).

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