Last week Nick O’Neil, the founder of one of the top three blogs regarding Facebook (at least, according to me), posted an interesting article, called “Facebook Groups Vs Pages: The Definitive Guide”.
No doubt a lot of people can’t figure out which of both to use, especially since Facebook alters the features every now and then.
Here is an overview of Nick’s insightful blog post, some thoughts and my own conclusion.
Facebook Groups: three advantages
First let’s look at some features where groups have an advantage over pages. There are three administrative features of groups that don’t work on pages:
• Mass-messaging: You can send a message directly from the group to members. This is a cool feature. If you have your local soccer team in a group and want to send them the invites to the next game, for instance. A marketer may also think that it’s a great feature to send direct messages, but be aware that, if the group gets more than 5,000 members, this feature disappears (although this might soon be over as you can read here).
• Membership restriction: This actually only makes sense for a small group. It’s a cool thing if you want to use the Facebook platform for a small closed group of people working on a project, or if you are going to make a Small World with membership restriction. A lot of clubs could use groups with this feature.
• Event inbox messaging: This is actually the feature that I, as a Page fan, miss the most. The problem for Page administrators is that the viral feature of an event, ends up in the users’ Pages updates instead of the inbox.
Facebook Pages: engagement metrics, vanity URLs and more
There are lots of features only working for pages, which makes it advantageous to use pages for businesses. Some of the more important are:
• Stream publishing: Publishing directly to a user’s feed is probably one of the most important features, and here I have a little disagreement with Nick. He points out that it’s exactly the same for pages and groups. In my opinion – not true! A page publishes to all the fan’s feed, whereas in a group, the administrator of the group is the sender of the messages to the users feed. Therefore, the publishing is personal, and if you are not friends with the administrator, you will not get that update in your feed.
• Support for applications: You have a much larger design freedom of a page, and if you do it right, you can almost turn a page into a user-interactive micro site.
• Engagement metrics: You have access to all the insights of your efforts to get engaged with fans. This is a must if you work professionally with Facebook.
• Vanity URL and promotional widget: Vanity URL refers to the possibility of having a short URL with your name in it, as for instance www.facebook.com/Mindjumpers. Again two features you need if you work with Facebook for your business, you need to make your efforts visible outside Facebook, and here the vanity url is an especially important feature.
My advice: go for Facebook Pages
If you want to use Facebook for your business you have to use a page, and you also need to learn how to use the different features, so that you get the most out of your effort.
I strongly recommend you to take a look at http://allfacebook.com to get valuable knowledge and insights on how to get the most out of Facebook.
Jonas Klit Nielsen is co-founder and Managing Partner of Mindjumpers, a Copenhagen based social media agency. Jonas works with various companies developing strategies for implementing and creating value through the use of social media. As a blogger it’s his aim to share the strategic insights and thoughts, generated through his agency’s work. You can connect with Jonas on Twitter here.
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