I get asked this question quite a bit and I wrote a “definitive answer” in this post: Facebook Page or Group: The Definitive Answer. But with any line you draw in the sand (especially in Facebook’s sandbox), that answer has shifted a bit.
I definitely still think there are very good reasons to have a Page but Groups are becoming much more attractive to businesses. So let’s outline some of the good things about each vehicle for your business.
The Main Advantages of Pages
Facebook Pages have some distinct advantages over Groups for businesses and here are the top ones:
- Facebook Pages have built-in analytics. You can measure what is working.
- You can advertise Facebook Pages. Reach new, targeted audiences with Facebook ads.
- Facebook Pages are more branded as your business. Groups facilitate discussion but you are participating as your profile.
- Facebook Pages allow the installation of Apps that can help you collect e-mail addresses and leads or do things like run contests.
The Main Advantages of Groups
Groups are becoming more attractive for these reasons:
- Groups are much more visible in the News Feed. That is a good reason right there.
- Groups feel more like a community because the comments of the members are much more visible (which can also be a slight disadvantage in terms of moderating these comments).
- Groups have ways to store files and search through posts.
I’ve seen more and more businesses creating Facebook Groups for their community. Places like Chris Brogan and Rob Hatch’s “The Secret Team” or Pat Flynn’s SPI Community.
If you have a true “community” then a Facebook Group is a perfect solution.
Facebook Groups are great for truly natural groups such as networking groups, neighborhoods, or a group around a common cause. And they can be good for your own business community as a place to gather and network. But make sure you know what you are getting yourself into with a Facebook Group.
Why Not Only a Facebook Group for Your Business?
The Facebook Group is great but I think you may be missing the boat by ONLY creating a Group for your business. Facebook Ads are extremely powerful and you can only advertise your business with your ads going into the News Feed with a Page.
There also may be some privacy issues for your members. Some of your community may not want to be part of another Group where they feel like they have to see other people’s posts in their News Feed from the Group.
And then there is the moderation. Because the posts from all members of the Group are so much more visible, you must heavily moderate your Group. Either employ someone to do this for you (or rely on volunteers) or check in very regularly to your Group. If your Group is set to Public (Groups can be Public, Closed or Secret) then anyone can join and the group is subject to a higher possibility of spam. But Closed or Secret Groups require someone to allow people to join (again something to moderate).
Because Facebook Groups require more investment on your part than a Page (in my opinion), I like using them as part of a paid product. I have Facebook Groups as a bonus for two of my more expensive products, Social Media Manager School and Facebook Advertising Secrets. There, the members can interact, ask questions, and brainstorm together.
But for some businesses, a Group could yield great benefits. Groups can have higher organic growth rate than Pages because of the fact that they are more visible. For a Page to grow organically, you do need to invest time in adding great content and possibly promoting it with ads. And if a Group is done well, then it could build your business faster than a Page.
So while I’m still not ready to say a business should ONLY have a Group because a highly targeted Facebook ad can easily build your e-mail list, I think Groups are extremely valuable as long as you have a plan and a strategy for your Group.
And just because I love visuals, here is my quick reference guide of Facebook Pages vs. Groups.
How about you? What do you think about Pages vs Groups for your business? Let me know in the comments below! Make sure to visit my Facebook Page Andrea Vahl, Inc.