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We all know that Facebook is a fantastic tool when it comes to networking and marketing your business online. Many public figures, organizations, and businesses use Facebook to a large degree when it comes to managing their brand, engaging their audience, and developing a deeper type of relationship with the people who follow them. For entrepreneurs, two Facebook features that have proven to be highly effective are fan pages and groups. However, you might be confused about what makes them so different from each other. You might also be wondering which one you should focus on with your business.
I want to spend a few minutes with you going over the features, benefits, and drawbacks of both of these Facebook options. Hopefully, this will give you some insight into where you should focus your energy when it comes to maximizing your time on Facebook and leveraging it for your blog or business.
Facebook Fan Pages vs Groups
Facebook Fan Page
What is a Facebook Fan Page?
According to Facebook, fan pages are designed to give businesses, brands, celebrities, and organizations a platform to connect with their audiences and share stories. People can ‘like’ your fan page to receive updates in their News Feed.
How Do You Use Them?
There are numerous way that you can use a fan page for your blog or business. You can share updates about what is going on in your life or business. For example, you can share blog posts, talk about new products and services that you are offering, and much more. You can generate discussions on your page by asking questions. You can put out calls-to-action to drive traffic to your website. You can create events for your followers to join. Now that Facebook has rolled out Live Stream for fan pages, you might even be able to connect with your audience via live videos.
Benefits of a Facebook Fan Page
- Identity is Private: If you prefer to not have your real name associated with your blog or business, fan pages are definitely great for remaining anonymous. When you post to your fan page, the default option is to post as your fan page – not as yourself.
- Public: Although your identity can remain private on a fan page, the fan page itself is visible to everyone. This means that more people have the opportunity to find your fan page, which could be a great thing. Because it is public, it can also show up in search results for search engines like Google – which can be a great thing for your online visibility.
- Facebook Ads: Facebook gives you the option to promote your posts or your fan page through their advertising system. This can be a great way to really reach your target audience and get them to take action.
- Unlimited Fans: Fan pages do not currently have a limit on how many people can ‘like’ a page. So you have unlimited potential as far as reach.
- Tracking and SEO: With Page Insights, you have a great way to track your fan page’s reach and get a great deal of information about your followers, their demographics, how they respond to your content, and much more. And it doesn’t cost anything to get this information – it is simply part of running a fan page.
- Messaging: People are able to connect with you via messaging. This gives you the opportunity to connect with people on an individual basis. Your responses will be made as your fan page (so no worries about privacy).
- Apps: You also have the ability to customize your fan page by using a variety of apps that fit your needs.
Drawbacks to a Facebook Fan Page
- Public: This means that anyone can see and engage with your content, not just your target audience. Although this unlimited exposure can be great, it can also be a detriment if the wrong people come across your page. You do, however, have the option to block people who cause issues for you.
- Reach is Decreasing: Ever since Facebook changed its algorithm, many people have found that their reach is not as significant as it used to be. This means that your fan page updates are not seen by all (or most) of the people who subscribe to your page. While you do have the option to boost your posts via ads, many bloggers and business owners feel like this has severely impacted the usefulness of having a fan page.
What is a Facebook Group?
Facebook groups were designed so that people could gather together to share common interests and opinions in a forum that is smaller (and possibly more private) than a fan page.
How Do You Use Them?
Groups are a great way to really engage your audience in a more private forum. This is a great way to generate discussions around specific topics. Many bloggers and business owners also use groups as part of courses (free and paid) so that they can better serve their ‘students’.
Benefits of a Facebook Group
- Great for Discussions: If you are really intent on having discussions with your audience, groups are definitely a great way to go. Groups allow you to really generate conversations around your niche in a way that is more personalized. It also makes it easier for your audience to connect with each other.
- Get to Know Your Audience: This is a great way for you let your audience get to know you and also get to know your audience. Just by paying attention to what people share in the group, you can get a great idea about what they care about, what their problems are, what they need, and a variety of other information that you can use to better reach and serve them.
- More Privacy: With groups, you have more control over who can see the content that is shared in your group. If you don’t mind everyone being able to see it, you can leave the group privacy setting to open. However, you also have the option to make it closed or secret. When it is closed, people can search for the group, but cannot see the content or post in the group unless they are approved. Secret groups can only be viewed by people who have a link to the group, and they must be approved to engage in the group.
- Group Docs: Fan pages also have a feature that is not currently available on fan pages – group docs. While you can share pictures and videos on fan pages, you are not able to share documents, such as Word documents, Powerpoint presentations, or PDFs. You can share all of those in groups.
- Better Reach: Unless someone turns off notifications for your group, they will likely see everything that you post.
Drawbacks to a Facebook Group
- Lack of Privacy: Unlike with fan pages, there is no ‘hiding’ from your audience in groups. You will be posting from your personal profile, not as your brand.
- No Messaging: There used to be a way to send messages to people in groups, but Facebook has since eliminated that feature.
Facebook Pages vs Groups: Which is Better?
Ok, so now that we have discussed each one, you are probably wondering “Facebook pages vs Groups: which is better?” Honestly, there is no answer that will apply across the board.
For some, the wider reach, visibility, and customization of a fan page is ideal. For others, it might be better to have a smaller group that is built for generating discussions and that enables you to connect with your audience in a more intimate forum. My recommendation is to think about what you want to accomplish as part of your social media strategy and then determine which of these two options better fits your needs.
Alternatively, if you can’t ultimately decided between building Facebook pages vs groups you also have the option to utilize both and test which one is the most beneficial.
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