Facebook Groups vs. Facebook Pages – Which Is Best?

Which is better: a Facebook Page or a Facebook Group? This is a question I get asked regularly. I promised my peeps I’d write a blog post about this topic, so here ya go:

My short answer is you need BOTH a Group and at least one Page. Each serves different purposes.

image Facebook Groups

USES:

Special interests, causes, masterminds, study groups, beta testers, book reader groups (e.g. long before you publish your book, build up a tribe of peeps interested in your subject, give them sample chapters, get feedback on the content and cover, request testimonials, etc).

PROS:

  1. You can message ALL group members - up to 5000 members – and your message lands right in their inbox.
  2. All group activities go out into the feeds: wall posts, posted items, discussion threads, photos uploaded, and videos uploaded. This provides tremendous viral visibility, as I call it. You’ll want to highly encourage your group members to interact with all the features.
  3. Groups tend to be more informal and based around interests, so you can create better “stickiness” (members keep coming back) especially with regular email messages (I recommend keeping email content short, concise and max 2-3 times per week though – otherwise people will leave your group).
  4. Anyone can start a Facebook group around any topic. (Mostly this is a good thing, but… um, sometimes not! ;) )
  5. You can take advantage of any of the three different types of Groups for different purposes: Open (anyone can join), Closed (the group owner/admins have to approve all members), Secret (only the members and invitees know the group even exists).
  6. Groups are great ways to segment Facebook members and find your target demographic to expand your network. (I recommend participating in your top 2-3 favorite groups regularly, get to know some of the members and take some conversations private. Make friend requests when appropriate. Don’t go crazy with your links on other people’s groups).

CONS:

  1. Once you reach the 5000 emailing threshold, you’ll no longer be able to message everyone in your group.
  2. There’s minimal customization in groups and you can’t add apps.
  3. If you no longer want your group to be live, it can be tricky to delete. However, good news – you can migrate all Group members into your Page. See screenshot below, accessible on the Facebook Pages help area.

image

image Facebook Pages

USES:

SEO, SEO, SEO – did I say SEO? (Search Engine Optimization). lol. Seriously, your Facebook PAGE is specifically to represent your business and gets indexed by Google. In fact, Facebook recently released way more pages into the indexing system by allowing public search listings of member profiles to display a sampling of what Pages they are a fan of. What this means is that those people with Facebook Pages may see an additional increase in ranking.

Facebook currently has an Alexa ranking of 5: meaning it is the 5th most trafficked site in the world.

Pages can only be created to represent a real public figure, artist, brand or organization, and may only be created by an official representative of that entity.

PROS:

  1. Your page gets indexed so more people can find you outside of Facebook.
  2. You can have multiple pages (possibly unlimited!) – great news for that SEO.
  3. As and when you reach the 5000 friend limit on your personal Profile, you have your fan Page to stay connected with more people.
  4. You can have unlimited fans.
  5. You can message all fans… though see Cons below.
  6. You can add rich media and most all apps.
  7. I recommend placing an opt-in box above the fold using an app like ProfileHTML.
  8. You can work on your Page behind the scenes building out content, then publish it.

CONS:

  1. Little activity goes into the profile news feeds. The most visibility is when (a) new people become a fan and (b) fans upload a photo or video to your fan page (therefore you want to encourage your fans to do so!)
  2. When you send messages to all fans, it goes out as an “Update” which is in a separate section of Facebook, not the main email Inbox. This means fewer people may see your messages.

For both Groups and Pages, you do have to manually track any and all activity. There is no app or feature in Facebook that will notify you when someone has commented on your Group or Page wall, posted a link/photo/video, added to the discussion board etc. If you know a Facebook app developer – there’s a big hole here for this type of notification app!

Also, for both Groups and Pages, once you create the title, it’s the only field that cannot be changed.

You can create a Page using this form, or create a group here.

So there you have it – be sure to create BOTH your Group(s) and Page(s) for maximum visibility on Facebook!

I’d love to know your experience and/or questions on Groups/Pages – please add your comment below. And if I missed any pros or cons, let me know!

  • http://www.BigIdeasGuy.com Lou Bortone

    Very cool pen promo, Mari! Someone is going to be very busy stuffing envelopes!

  • http://www.mobilemarketingprofits.com Kim Dushinski

    Mari:
    Thanks for laying this out so clearly. I now know exactly what to do with my Facebook page and have an idea for a Facebook group. You are so helpful and giving and I appreciate every single tip =:)

  • http://www.rahnconsulting.com Patti

    Divine Timing! I was just speaking to a client about getting more exposure on FB with pages and groups. She’s a bit hesitant of social networking and how it integrates into business. Your articles, thoughts and ideas help me tremendously in my biz!
    ? ? ? Your Insight!

  • http://www.frompassiontoprofit.com Coach Davender

    Mari – Great summary. I’m new to FB (as of this summer) however it is a fascinating medium to connect with like-minded people who I would not normally connect with. Thanks for the distinction between Groups and Pages. Now to put it to work!

  • Jayson

    Awesome! Thanks for the detailed descriptions Mari! Once again, you rock!

  • Pingback: Facebook Applications - Your Brand, LLC Forums

  • michele price

    Mari

    You rule. I love how much I have learned from you.

    We are so excited to have you on our radio show mon dec 1 at 12 est.

  • Brian Campbell

    Thanks for the great information Mari! I’ve been asked this question dozens of times as well. Thanks for providing the resource!
    Aloha ~ Brian Campbell

  • Ollie Relfe

    I’d agree about the need for an app to track activity. I’m just starting out on FB, it must be real a headache for you popular peeps to get a life! lol

    Btw, you became my #1 resource for FB! Kudos to you for making it on my xmas card list! :)

  • http://www.vivavisibilityblog.com Nancy Marmolejo, Visibility Expert

    Mari:
    You just gave me a much needed kick in the pants to update my fan page! Thanks for sharing your info… and how do you make those cool screen shots?

  • Carol Deckert

    Mari, once again, you are a lifesaver! I could not quite ever understand WHY I would need a fan page but now it is crystal clear to me. Thanks so much for being here, with such great explanations, helping all of us (especially me) learn how to get the most from our FaceBook Networking. You truly are the Facebook Queen. During this time of Thanksgiving, just want you to know I’m thankful for the opportunity to call you my friend!

    Happy Thanksgiving tto you and your family.

    Happy Netweaving,
    Carol Deckert
    Netweaving/Networking Coach

    Carol Deckert’s last blog post.. Thanksgiving: A Time for Love and Gratitude and a Time for Reflection

  • Stefan Halley

    I use both for my site. I use the group to do a daily giveaway exclusive to Facebook members and then I use the page to help promote the giveaway and my site.

  • drake

    Mari,

    I think there is an important correction to your comments on groups. Activities like wall posts do not go into the feeds of group members. I have experienced this directly, and via FB help. It’s a bummer because group members don’t get prompted unless messaged directly.

  • WebSuccessDiva Social Media

    This is such a great post, with tons of insight! Thanks so much :-)

  • Pingback: Week in Review: Social Media, Blog Marketing, and More : Web Success Diva Social Internet Marketing

  • jackie

    Thanks so much for introducing me to Facebook Groups! I thought they were just annoying things that would create APAM. Didn’t realize they could actually benefit business! Just wondering if it’s possible to have a professional site that is mixed with my already personal FB account.

    jackie’s last blog post.. Tears of Joy!

  • http://www.muscleheart.com Clint Piatelli

    Very informative. Thank you.

  • http://www.infoesource.com ocha

    Interesting to know. Though I am on FB, I don’t use it much but will have to investigate.
    InfoESource.com

  • Pingback: Facebook groups vs. pages - which is best? | Mari Smith « GaryNielson.com

  • http://www.yourwriterforhire.com Lisa Rothstein

    I love this post, really helps us know which is for what. I am setting up pages for clients and everyone I know now!

  • http://twitter.com/davidthomas David Thomas

    Mari,

    I was in your session in Ross Goldberg’s Internet Marketing Masters seminar today…Fantastic content! You definitely can teach useful concepts for using Facebook for business better than anyone else I’ve ever heard. Keep up the great work.

    David Thomas’s last blog post.. davidthomas: Just got back from working out w/my boy @jonthomas44. Now ready to get back to @RossGoldberg seminar at 6pm. I think Mari Smith is up next.

  • http://www.liveheartcentered.com Coach Laura

    After reading this blog posting I understand much more about facebook pages and how it give you visibility as opposed to the groups. However, since my group is relatively small and private, I think the group (Heart Centered Woman at http://www.LiveHeartCentered.com) will work well for my current goals. Your information is invaluable. Thanks. Mari.

  • Susan Whitehead

    Thanks for the good explanation of the difference between Groups and Pages…wasn’t sure which was best for my biz, but now I know! keep up the great content! Luv ya!

  • Carrie Kerpen

    FABULOUS! I prefer pages myself, but groups are an important component to any strategy on Facebook. Also, groups are great for networking. Aligning yourself with admins of relevent groups to your business allows for them to help promote you when the time is right!

    Carrie Kerpen’s last blog post.. Branded Applications Are NOT the Social Media Solution.

  • ShriNagesh

    Great Timing Mari,

    I’m in the process of improvising my facebook network and without a hitch, I landed here and found this great post. This post clears up a lot of questions I had. Heading to put your tips to use. Thanks once again.

    Smiles,
    Shri :)

  • Matt

    Great post but I have a question. You say, “All group activities go out into the feeds: wall posts, posted items, discussion threads, photos uploaded, and videos uploaded. This provides tremendous viral visibility, as I call it.”

    I’m the “owner” of my group and have made wall posts, event updates, posted photos, etc. Those items don’t seem to be published on the feeds of group members.

    Am I doing something wrong?

  • dsm

    Very informative post, actually makes me want to go out and buy your book. I am new to facebook but have a broad technology background, just reading our post incourages me to build a strategy around marketing on FB.

  • http://www.NetworkingEffectively.com Scott Bradley

    Mari, Thanks for talking about this. I am glad once my Real Estate Investing Network can be converted into a page after it hits over 5K members. I am at 3400+ right now!

    Scott Bradley’s last blog post.. The 4 Reasons Why Building a Solid Network is Essential to Your Future Success

  • Howie

    Hello Mari,

    Iv’e thoroughly enjoyed reading your blog. I have had a rather successful experience with Facebook groups…..Iv’e grown my largest group to over 220,000+ members, with over 500 new members joining daily…..

    http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=21237201144

    I am actually writing to also see if you’d be willing to blog about it………and, some of the unique methods I have used to grow the group’s membership. Wev’e successfully used various contests to engage members and encourage return visits……something that has been difficult with the limited capabilities of the Facebook Groups platform….

    In return……I can ADD a direct clickable link to your blog, at the top of the group……

    I am arranging for another contest….It would be an honor to have you stop by the group and let me know if this would be something you’d be interested in doing……I do have statistics available, of the group’s consistent daily growth (exposure that would be gained for your blog)……

    You can contact me through the ADMIN section of that group.

    Thank you! and take care,
    Howie

    ….i think this case study may be of interest to your readers…..

  • http://www.buzzmarketingdaily.com Dave Kerpen

    Great post, mari! Really begs the question, “why not start as a group and then migrate to ap age at 5,000 members?” Hmmm

    Dave Kerpen’s last blog post.. Nine for ’09: Our New Year’s Resolutions for the Smart and Savvy Marketer

  • Jim Hickey

    Hello Mari,

    Thanks for such an informative post. Being relatively new to Facebook, you helped resolve a few questions that I had developed.

    Jim Hickey’s last blog post.. Social Media Demographics: Do They Really Matter?

  • http://www.richard-moloney.com Richard Moloney

    Marie
    As a relative newbie to social marketing I am mystified as to what a facebook page is and also what a group is. I have a blog set up at http://www.richardmoloneyblog.com and due to the holidays I have not updated it since Christmas eve but intend to do so later today. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
    Richard

  • Pingback: Week in Review: Social Media, Blog Marketing, and Internet Marketing

  • http://www.janclizerpaintings.com Jan Clizer

    just listened to your free talk on smARTist – gave me a great push to continue wading thru the maze of web 2.0….many thanks!

  • http://YourWeightLossMentor.com Juan

    Thanks for the great information Mari. You provide great value. I will be creating my Healthy Recipe page and group.
    Thank You

    Juan’s last blog post.. “Tropical Fish & Brown Rice Bake”…Healthy Recipes

  • http://www.facebook.com/pages/Cyberspace/The-Official-Real-Estate-Referral-Group/31894256547 JR Rivera

    Mari,
    Thanks for all the great content.

    After reading your article on creating Fan pages I was inspired to create one.

    I launched the page on Oct. 9th 2008 and today it already has over 11,600 fans!

    Your articles are always Great!

  • Pingback: 34 Links on How to Promote Your Small Business on Facebook « Web 2.0 For Small Biz

  • http://www.BetterHealthCenter.com Linda Basta

    Hi Mari. This was wonderful.I was wondering what a fan was. Thanks.
    PS I had already formed a GROUP, but you expanded my consept.

  • Erica

    Great information. It has definitely given me some great tips for my pages. ProfileHTML is a great tool.

    Erica’s last blog post.. How Blogging Can Help You Market Your Business

  • MarthaSBrown

    I’d like to create a professional group for two purposes: 1. networking, and 2. to promote a conference I’m organizing on the same topic. My challenge is this: I don’t want the group linked to my personal profile. What is the best way around this? Should I creat a ‘dummy’ identity? Thank you!

  • Jeff

    Great info! Everywhere else I looked only had one little tidbit of knowledge, you’ve got it all in one article.

  • Anita

    Hi, (feel rather daft asking this), but I created a page and afterwards it categorized the page as ‘other business’ instead of shop. I noticed that you could delete the page, so I started again, copying and pasting into the new page. When I was ready to delete the original page, it wouldn’t allow me. (I am the only admin) does anyone have some advice on how to delete the page? Many thanks

  • Pingback: links for 2009-05-15 « General Musings

  • Pingback: The Ultimate Guide to Facebook Marketing | Ajmeria Magic Development Home Practice

  • Zach Schock

    Does anyone have any insight into the best type of page to create for a blog?  I’m thinking the “Company, Organization, or Institution” is the best option, but I’m also considering “Brand or Product”

  • Zach Schock

    Does anyone have any insight into the best type of page to create for a blog?  I’m thinking the “Company, Organization, or Institution” is the best option, but I’m also considering “Brand or Product”

  • Pingback: The Ultimate Guide to Facebook Marketing | Let Me Reach

  • Pingback: Cómo utilizar Facebook para hacer negocios | Quásar Comunicación

  • Pingback: The Ultimate Guide to Facebook Marketing | millionwalls

  • John

    This is so outdated – should be taken down.