Facebook Pages vs. Groups: Pros and Cons

sms-blog.jpg

I've spent a lot of time recently working on my social media presence and learning how to do it like the pros do. You may have noticed the new look of this page. I've also claimed the crossfitrob.com and imrobjackson.com domains, which will help align my handles across the various platforms I use. I'm far from an expert on the subject of social media and marketing, but I have learned a lot of the things that will yield results, and a few of the things that do NOT (Pro tip: As much as you want your friends to love your product/service as much as you do, if that's ALL you ever post about, you'll find yourself down a friend or two). I've increased my Instagram followers by roughly 20%. My likes have tripled and comments have increased ten-fold. I'm seeing similar results on my Facebook and Twitter profiles as well. Because I'm a firm believer in paying it forward and sharing best practices, I've created a new series, entitled 'Social Media Saturdays.' Each Saturday, I will share a tip or lesson I've learned that will help you up your social media game. It may focus on one particular platform, like today's post does, or it could apply across several of them. If there is a topic you'd like to read about, please let me know in the comments and I'll do my best to include it in a future post. Introductions aside, let's dive into the first topic!

Facebook Pages

According to Facebook itself, Facebook Pages act and behave much in the same way your personal Facebook profile does. A user may choose to 'like' your page, and doing so will allow your posts to display on their feed. You post great, engaging content on your page, and your users will see it, like/share/comment on it, and your brand will benefit as a result. Of course, this is based on the assumption that the algorithm utilized by Facebook to prioritize posts will deem your content relevant enough to display on your fans' feeds. As pages are intended for public figures, celebrities, and brands, they are publicly viewable, even to those who have not 'liked' the page.

Facebook Groups

In contrast to a page, a Facebook Group is often a closed-loop community that requires the user join the group before they can see and interact with the content posted therein. In some cases, administrators may require that they or a designated moderator approve any admissions to the group page, or even that membership be granted by invitation only. In a group, members can typically post their own content in addition to that which is shared by the group owner.

Choosing a Platform: Why I Would Create a Page

Selecting a platform to use comes down to determining your intended use of the space. Pages are perfect if you plan to generate and share your own content regularly, run promotions, contests, or giveaways, or if your primary goal is simply to get your brand in front of as many eyes as possible. A page will be the easiest way to do that.

Page Pros:

-Public, and does not require admin/moderator to approve applications for membership or monitor and moderate member posts and discussions.

-Content is easier for users to share with their own networks.

-Page URLs can be customized to provide an easy way to promote the page outside of Facebook

-Pages offer more opportunity for personalization (customized banners, photos and albums, events, etc.)

Page Cons:

-Pages are still subject to comments from users, and as such will still require at least a cursory effort to moderate the posts shared by your page.

-Because fans primarily communicate with each other via comments on your content, it can be more difficult to efficiently moderate conversations between them.

-Pages can be harder to market in their beginning stages, and you may find yourself purchasing a Facebook ad or running additional incentives and promotions just to grow your fan base.

Choosing a Platform: Why I Would Create a Group

If rather, you're looking to create a shared community for your current and prospective clients or customers to engage not only with you, but with each other as well, a group may be a more tailored channel for your needs. The ability to filter membership allows you to restrict the conversation only to those you choose, whether it be potential buyers, confirmed buyers, or fellow entrepreneurs within the same industry/niche. For those of you in direct sales, a group can be your 'V.I.P' destination where users can get the first peek at your business' newest deals and products.

Group Pros:

-Member engagement is much greater, and gathering market data and feedback from them can be as simple as creating a poll or shared document for users to share their thoughts.

-Groups tend to read as more personal or warm to users, as you engage mostly as a representative of the brand, “behind the curtain” so to speak, rather than speaking as the brand itself.

-Groups offer greater opportunity to build networking connections with other businesses and individuals. If your goal is not just to sell your product or service, but to engage with other vendors, business owners, or entrepreneurs, a group is a great tool to do it.

Group Cons:

-Groups allow less opportunities for personalization and customization for promotional or aesthetic purposes (banners, custom URL, etc).

-Groups by nature will limit your audience, reducing the overall number of eyeballs that see your content. You are able to create the community you want, but the trade-off comes in an overall reduced reach.

-Groups can be more difficult to find unless a user is invited or referred by someone in their network. Unless your group has an INCREDIBLY unique name, Facebook search is likely to pull up several different groups with similar identical names, and sifting through them to find YOUR page can be daunting for the user.

-The Facebook Insights tool is not available for groups, leaving you without it's ability to provide information on post performance, reach, and engagement.

----------------------------------------------------------

In general, most business opt for a page as their vessel of choice on Facebook. The customization, business tools, and broader reach (ultimately) are too much to ignore. One thing I do urge you not to do is to get TOO invested in Facebook as the only presence your business has on social media. Facebook is great, and there's no denying that it is the pinnacle of the social media platforms, but it is best utilized in either form as part of a comprehensive social media strategy across multiple platforms of engagement.

Speaking of a comprehensive social media strategy...

I'm happy to announce that I will be rolling out my FIRST group social media training in October of this year! If you are a new brand, or an established brand that has yet to see the kind of results you'd like from your social media presence, then THIS will be the course for you! We will focus on establishing and promoting your brand online, while using on Facebook and Instagram as our platforms. We'll go over identifying and speaking to your target audience, creating a profile that will draw people in, and creating content that people will LOVE! Best of all, this course is totally FREE! You pay absolutely nothing to get your social media game off and running. To be added to the course roster, leave a comment below with your name and e-mail address. When the program is available for download, I will notify you by e-mail. See you there!