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08.27.2010

How to Decide Whether to Use a Facebook Page or a Facebook Group

Facebook groups and pages are both great tools for increasing a company’s exposure, but marketers are constantly faced with the question of which one to utilize. Unfortunately, there is no simple answer because every situation is different. According to an article in Search Engine Journal, pages are better suited for “long-term relationships with your fans, readers or customers” and groups are more effective for “hosting a (quick) active discussion and attracting quick attention.” Here is a simple chart detailing the major functionalities of each to help you better determine which solution will better fit your company’s needs. Applications, Custom Tabs and Widgets: Pages have the ability to host applications and customs tabs while groups do not. Tabs, applications and widgets are unique tools for the customization and branding of a fan page. Search Engine Exposure: As explained by AllFacebook.com, both pages and groups are indexed on Google and can help increase a company’s search engine optimization. However, pages tend to carry more weight because of their ability to host robust user-generated content. Messaging: Groups have the ability to send mass messages to their members’ inboxes (this function is cut off once a group exceeds 5,000 members), while pages only have the ability to send ‘update’ messages to their fans. ‘Updates’ are delivered to a separate section within the message inbox and often go unnoticed. Newsfeed exposure: For both groups and pages, wall updates appear in the newsfeed for their members or fans. Photo Albums: Groups and pages both have the ability to host images, however only pages can create individual photo albums. User Statistics/Metrics: Facebook provides a weekly email update to page administrators with engagement metrics. This service isn’t available to group administrators. Private/Closed: Pages are always open to the entire public, whether or not they are fans. Even people who do not have a Facebook account can see a company’s Page. Groups, however, are only open to Facebook users and have the option of being closed entirely or being accessible by invite only. Vanity URLs: Pages have the ability to create customized vanity URLs that reflect a company’s name in the web address (ex: www.facebook.com/LovellCommunications). Groups do not have this option. Wall: A wall is available for interacting with fans and members on both pages and in groups, and in both cases wall postings appear on a fan or member’s newsfeed. Approach the use of Facebook like any other communication initiative — examine your audience, assess your internal capabilities and establish your goals for engagement with the Facebook community. What other criteria do you take into consideration when creating a group or page for your company or clientele?

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