Facebook Fan Pages vs Facebook Groups

May 14, 2010 · 44 comments

in Facebook

Facebook Fan Pages
vs Facebook Groups

Are you maximizing your Facebook exposure? I recently realized that I wasn’t!

I saw countless businesses with pages and posts and profiles and groups and gaggles, and I didn’t have a clue where to start!

First, I’m going to share my thoughts and summary on the two types. Then  I want to share three high-quality blog posts that I found on other sites, which I thought did a awesome job clarifying things for me. Hopefully these will help you make smart choices to maximize your time.

Both Facebook Fan Page’s and Facebook Group’s are a great way to increase your exposure on Facebook. Both allow you a type of community format and interaction with your members/fans. Both can be used to syndicate content. However, even with all of those similarities, there are some substantial differences.

Facebook

Kimberly Castleberry is a fan of

Blogging Syndication Alliance (Tribe Syndication)

Facebook Fan Page

This box links to a “Facebook fan page” (ie: business page) I created to enable individuals seeking to share syndication to find me and find each other. I welcome all of you to come share your value posts with the community, and help syndicate other members there. Feel free to contact fans of the community if you are looking for a tribe to work with!

Pros:

  1. Customizable URLs (after you reach 25 fans go to http://facebook.com/username )
  2. Search Engine Indexed (increases your search engine exposure, and responds to SEO keywords)
  3. Visitor Statistics
  4. Related Event Creation & Invitation
  5. Extra Facebook Applications run on Pages just as on Profiles.
  6. Ability to import your blog feed, to help support a page activity.
  7. Best for connecting a fanbase to a source of information.
  8. Publicly visible, so users don’t need to be logged in to find them.

Cons:

  1. No ability to Direct Message (email) each fan individually, all emails go out as a “blast” to all fans at once via Updates.
  2. Generally considered the more high-maintenance of the two choices.
  3. Facebook users are still less familiar with pages, and often less likely to interact with them than with groups.

Facebook

Need Technical Help?
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Ask & Answer Questions Here!

Facebook Group

This box links to a “Facebook group” I created to allow members to ask technical questions about WordPress, Facebook & Twitter. Its a great place for members to help each other! Come help others while getting your questions answered too!

Pros:

  1. Can Email/Direct Message each member individually, direct to their inbox.
  2. Generally considered easier to set up and manage.
  3. Better structure for encouraging member-to-member interaction
  4. Best for allowing a member base to interact and develop a community without leaving Facebook.

Cons:

  1. No Customizeable URLs
  2. No Search Engine Exposure
  3. No Visitor Statistics
  4. No Related Event Creation & Invitation
  5. No ability to support external stream/rss input, all activity must be generated in the group.
  6. No access to any of the widely used Facebook applications that many use for social functions, opt-ins, etc.
  7. Not publicly visible, users must be logged in to search for them.
  8. Many consider the wording to be vague as to whether business advertising can occur on them without violating the TOS (terms of service)

Suggested Reading:

  1. Facebook Group vs Facebook Fan Page: What’s Better?

  2. Facebook Fan Pages vs. Group Pages

  3. Facebook groups vs. Facebook pages

Conclusion

For me, a Facebook Fan page, with its SEO/search-centric style and permissions for full business operations, was ideal for my Syndication functions and my personal page on Facebook. This helps me build my web presence.

The support community, which has no reason to be searchable from outside Facebook, is logically best served by a Facebook Group. However, generally speaking, due to the lack of SEO options, the lack of applications (which I depend on for good time management) and the lack of access to the fan’s wall, I have moved all of my Groups to Pages.

For my current uses, I personally have no use of a group. I consider them stalled/dead in development. That does not mean that they are not useful to someone that wishes to ignore the spam they encourage others to post on the wall (since it will not go down members news feeds) and utilize the email feature similar to an auto-responder blast.

How have you implemented Facebook Groups and Pages for your business or organization? What challenges have you had? When you leave your comments, feel free to include a link to your Page or Group to share with the community here!

Kimberly

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{ 43 comments… read them below or add one }

Gavin Mountford January 10, 2010 at 8:39 am

Hi Kimberly, just loaded up your blog in Google Chrome which I love. Only challenge with it is that some of my plugins don't work with it along with my email signature (wisestamp).

Back to the post in hand…

I've always used Groups until recently. I prefer fan pages now I'm making the switch over because they are more interactive and dynamic. In my mind, groups are static with little activity but I feel that it will definitely take people a while to switch over and get used to fan pages.

Great work on pointing out the pro's and con's for groups and pages. It will definitely help people make the decision of which one to use.
My recent post **URGENT** How To Prevent Your Facebook Account Getting Hacked…

Reply

Gavin Mountford January 10, 2010 at 8:39 am

Hi Kimberly, just loaded up your blog in Google Chrome which I love. Only challenge with it is that some of my plugins don't work with it along with my email signature (wisestamp).

Back to the post in hand…

I've always used Groups until recently. I prefer fan pages now I'm making the switch over because they are more interactive and dynamic. In my mind, groups are static with little activity but I feel that it will definitely take people a while to switch over and get used to fan pages.

Great work on pointing out the pro's and con's for groups and pages. It will definitely help people make the decision of which one to use.
My recent post **URGENT** How To Prevent Your Facebook Account Getting Hacked…

Reply

Ari Herzog January 10, 2010 at 8:05 pm

May be a issue with Chrome, for this loads fine in Firefox with no problems.
My recent post Showcase Sunday: 10 of My YouTube Favorites

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Kimberly Castleberry January 12, 2010 at 4:23 pm

@Ari Herzog,

Ari, that’s the unusual thing. He’s the second Firefox user (that I know of, there is probably more) that is finding this blog crashes his browser. Its definitely a Firefox issue, and its definitely unique to something I’m running besides my native theme. It’s going to be hard for me to troubleshoot because it’s not affecting most people. My best guess is that one of my plugins (since I ruled out most of my widgets now) is interacting with a less-than-common Firefox plugin, and making it all go BOOM. Thanks for letting me know your not having the same trouble. I’m searching for the common element here besides Firefox and my blog.

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KimberlyCastleberry January 10, 2010 at 5:49 pm

Hey Gavin, your the second person to let me know about the firefox crashing bug. I believe its a conflict between a blog plugin and a firefox plugin that majority of visitors aren't using. Would deeply appreciate your help troubleshooting it some evening when you have some time. Really appreciate the info! I appreciate you taking the effort to comment via chrome!

I suggest everyone check out your blog post in your recent post link, its incredibly valuable to helping people keep their account info safe!
My recent post Facebook Shuts down Beacon User Tracker, Donates to Settle Law Suit

Reply

Theresa Moss January 10, 2010 at 5:18 pm

Thanks, Kimberly, for clarifying the differences between pages and groups.
I see the benefit in having both, and I am so glad to have this resource to
come back to when I get mine up and running. Lots of great value here :)
My recent post Setting Goals To Be The Best “You” Possible

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KimberlyCastleberry January 10, 2010 at 5:54 pm

I'm glad you found the post helpful! I've got two more major facebook how-to's planned in the near future. One covering setting up a fan page and the other covering setting up a Welcome Tab using FBML on that fan page. I also plan to offer a service to help others with that coding, so let me know if you need a hand!
My recent post What is Social Media?

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Steve Hachey January 11, 2010 at 10:49 am

Thanks for the post Kimberly.

I do need to get a fan page up and running and
that is my goal for the month of January!

I appreciate how you presented your findings
with "pros" and "cons" Help one see the value
in both applications.

Cheers
Steve

My recent post Lessons From A Two Year Old….

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Oren Pardes January 11, 2010 at 7:25 pm

Great post – making differences clear and understandable. You deserve a big(ger) GROUP of FANS!

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Kimberly Castleberry January 11, 2010 at 8:14 pm

Thank you so much Oren, I really appreciate you stopping by and commenting. I’m honestly having a blast sharing with the community and comments keep it fun. Thanks for your compliment!

Reply

Jose Caraballo January 11, 2010 at 8:59 pm

Definitely a subject I have been having an issue with which you have helped me clear up. I appreciate the clarity and detail. Always learn something on this site! Keep up the good work!
My recent post Financial Irresponsibility Can Be Expensive

Reply

Jose Caraballo January 11, 2010 at 8:59 pm

Definitely a subject I have been having an issue with which you have helped me clear up. I appreciate the clarity and detail. Always learn something on this site! Keep up the good work!
My recent post Financial Irresponsibility Can Be Expensive

Reply

Susan Davis January 11, 2010 at 10:24 pm

Kim, your willingness to share the knowledge you learn with all of us. You are inspiring and full of information! I am so looking forward to growing our friendship and “crushing it” together!!!

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jean January 11, 2010 at 11:29 pm

Hi Kimberly,
great post as usual,
thanks for sharing this great information.

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Irene Sharon Hodes January 12, 2010 at 11:10 am

Wow, Kimberly, this clears up a lot. I don’t know how you do it, but I’m grateful. This stuff seems like it should be easy, but it isn’t so much. I just created a facebook fan page, and I think it was the right decision for me. Great post!
.-= Irene Sharon Hodes´s last blog ..Cheer Me Up? =-.

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Kimberly Castleberry January 12, 2010 at 4:22 pm

@Irene Sharon Hodes,

You’re welcome Irene. I need to do an update to this post in the next few days. I was just doing to update this post directly, but after the headache Facebook “Support” has given me, I think I’ll just make a new post. So… stay tuned!

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Beth January 12, 2010 at 3:05 pm

Hey Kimberly,

I really like, this post, the pros and cons is a great idea for people to make the choice if necessary or just to generally understand facebook a little more. I will definately doing a facebook fanpage later down the line. One more thing for the to do list.

I was also wondering if you knew whether you could get shortened facebook profile ID’s. Mine is ridiculously long, but I notice others peoples are short and sweet.

Beth

Reply

Kimberly Castleberry January 12, 2010 at 4:22 pm

@Beth,

Once your page has 25 members/fans, facebook allows you to select a shorter version. The below notes are from the facebook help page:

How can I secure a username for my Page?
If you are an administrator of a Facebook Page, you will be able to ch…
If you are an administrator of a Facebook Page, you will be able to choose your username at http://www.facebook.com/username just like a user selecting a username for their profile. There will be an interface for you to choose usernames for the Pages you administer.

Just as a note, you can not do this for groups. Groups can not get nice links. However, for both groups and pages, you can always use a subdomain of your own to point there. For example: Subdomains are set up in your domain hosting control panel and not from within wordpress.

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Clorinda Sharpsteen January 26, 2010 at 1:25 pm

I started twitter a few weeks ago, since then I’ve begun to love it. What started out as a love hate relationship it’s allowed me to network with people in my industry alot easier. News and updates happen in right away which makes for a great user experience.

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Cindy Kraft February 10, 2010 at 6:17 pm

Thanks for an informative post, Kimberly. I’m hoping you can provide me with some guidance.

My fan page on Facebook is not viewable unless you are signed into Facebook. I know it is supposed to be public. Have I missed something or might it be a bug? I’ve emailed Facebook but of course, heard nothing. Thanks for any help you can provide.

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Kimberly Castleberry May 14, 2010 at 8:21 pm

I’m guessing that is a Facebook bug. I’m assuming that it is viewable to people other than yourself when signed into Facebook?

If by chance its viewable to ONLY yourself, and only when your signed in, then you still have the page set to private. If it is, go to your page’s Edit page. Then Select “Settings”, then select the drop-down that says “Published” and set it to “Published (publicly visible)”. I’d wager a guess that you have “Unpublished (visible to no one but admins)”.

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Lindy Asimus April 20, 2010 at 8:43 pm

The Suggest To Friends link on your Fan Page – left hand side top below the main picture (Under the Edit link) allows you to individually invite people to your fan page.
.-= Lindy Asimus´s last blog ..Well I see the new "Like" has replaced "Fan" designation. What do you think of this change on Facebook business Pages? =-.

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Tracey Keefer May 14, 2010 at 7:39 pm

Kim excellent job explaining the difference between the two. Each serves it’s own purpose and I think you are right a combination of the two when used correctly is ideal!

Looking forward to your upcoming posts! You Rock as always! Shine On!

“Dream, Believe, Become…”

Reply

Kellie Hosaka May 15, 2010 at 1:52 am

This is a question which is asked so often. Thank you for laying out the pros and cons in a very simple to understand fashion. It will be very easy for everyone to decide which would be the right one for them.

Thank you again for providing such incredible value to all of us. You are such an angel. :)

Much love & gratitude,
Kellie :)
.-= Kellie Hosaka@home based business´s last blog ..What Is “Spiritual Awakening” & How Does It Relate To My Business? – pt. 2 =-.

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Sire May 17, 2010 at 7:59 am

Kim, I’m on FaceBook but I don’t have a fan or group page. After reading this post it seems that when I get around to it I’d be better off creating a fan page, once I work out how to do it that is. ;)
.-= Sire´s last blog ..Does Your Blog Provide Value To Your Readers? =-.

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Harsh Agrawal May 18, 2010 at 3:09 pm

I agree with you Kim that Fb fan pages are better than groups and specially for a blog or website they are much better. Though one thing which I will highly recommend to use RSS graffiti plugin on your pages.
I’m enjoying your articles now :)
.-= Harsh Agrawal´s last blog ..How to Choose Affiliate Program for Your Blog =-.

Reply

Kimberly Castleberry May 18, 2010 at 4:51 pm

Yes! I saw your post on RSS Graffiti but I haven’t yet got over to check it out! I actually installed that application some time ago and was playing with it this week when I saw your post! How cool is that! Facebook applications rock!
Kimberly

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Sandhan May 19, 2010 at 5:51 am

Kimberley, I wish i knew all the stuff you know about social media, blogging and all that techie stuff… How do you do it??

So many people ask me about the difference between Fan pages and Groups… as well as why you would want a “Fan” page instead of a simple profile … (what do we call FAN pages these days, BTW?)

I’d really love some help with how to covert people over from my profile to my page if you have any tips, as well as how to respond to new friends who want to join my profile while I’d like to shunt them over to the page without offending them or pressurising them either…. do you have any suggestions about pages over profiles? I’m sure you must have some insights to share with us all.. perhaps another blog post is in there. LOL
.-= Sandhan´s last blog ..The Pursuit of Happyness: Happy for No Reason =-.

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Val Wilcox May 19, 2010 at 1:26 pm

Kimberly,
Thanks for this great pro & con of both groups and fan pages. I think fan pages are the way to go for our business models.

Thanks for always sharing tips and suggestions for online marketing or blogging.
Val
.-= Val Wilcox´s last blog ..Discover Your Purpose in Life =-.

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Mary Lou Kayser May 20, 2010 at 10:05 am

Hi Kimberly,
I am still stumbling around a bit with respect to Facebook pages, how to use them to their fullest potential, etc. So I appreciate you sharing some of your experiences with the different types of Facebook pages as well as the links to other posts about this topic. You are a wealth of outstanding technical information and I really appreciate the time you put into these topics as well as your generosity!
Mary Lou
.-= Mary Lou Kayser´s last blog ..If a Cruise Ship Showed Up in Your Driveway, Would You Climb Aboard or Pretend It Wasn’t There? =-.

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Aiping Wang July 22, 2010 at 8:17 pm

One of your biggest problems right now is that you’re firmly entrenched in WHAT HAS BEEN. Some of it is wonderful for sure. However, there are some nasty bits that have you stuck. And it is really hurting you from making the money you so richly deserve.

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Nick Thain October 5, 2010 at 11:57 am

Hi Kim,

my company specialises in building, managing and monitsing Facebook Fan Pages. We have grown a network of Sport Star Facebook Fan Pages from a handful of fans to over 13m in just 10 months, now growing by 2.4m a month.

Here are a few point from me:

1. Understanding the New feed

If a company sends relevant content to their fans at the right time via the news their fan numbers can dramatically grow (organically), These posts will appear to the “fans” of your page in the Top News section. The more likes + comments you get divided by the total number of fans = User Engagement %. Anything over 2% is pretty good and your Fan Page will get lost of viral traffic.

2. The Like button

Now you can link your website and your fan page via the Like button, I one click the user can say they like a product (object as Facebook call it) and become a Fan and send a viral message in their New Feed to their friends.

Thanks,

Nick Thain
CEO
Sports New Media

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Suresh Khanal October 31, 2010 at 8:42 pm

Then, FanPage is directly beneficial. I did not notice group feature until recently – I formed a group of my most loved bloggers. One good thing is that you can add members manually and all of them are informed. Groups allow you to have more intense interaction and FanPage has more features to reap off.

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Sharon Dexter December 1, 2010 at 2:22 pm

Hi Kim,
Thanks for the great post and information. As everyone is starting to see, FaceBook isn’t just for personal use any longer. It is a tool for businesses and can be used in multiple ways via the Fanpage and Groups to engage and prompt interest. Having this type of information is great and useful for everyone who uses the social mediums to their advantage.

Thanks again –
Sharon

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Managed Hosting Services December 2, 2010 at 5:15 pm

When you put it that way, Fan Pages seem like the way to go- and to think they only started existed a year ago or so!

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Sherryl Perry February 6, 2011 at 4:17 pm

Kimberly, Facebook can be so confusing. Thanks for such an easy to understand article. I especially appreciate having the list of pros and cons. I’ve shared this on both my fan page and my personal page.
Sherryl Perry invites you to read…How Google Analytics Introduced Me to Social Media TodayMy Profile

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Ila February 24, 2011 at 3:47 pm

I never really considered the difference between a fan page and an FB group, or the pros and cons for that matter. Thanks for laying it all out, plain and simple. I think for my computer repair business, a group would be ideal.

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KEYWORD ONLY NAMES REMOVED March 22, 2011 at 5:42 am

I think the fact that you can have your own URL in a fan page makes it a winner for me. Much better in terms of SEO and getting picked up in the search results. Nice article have subscribed to the news letter.

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Kimberly Castleberry March 23, 2011 at 4:38 am

You can only “sorta” have your own url on a fan page. The URL still must begin with http://facebook.com/ and must not be in use by anyone else. This hampers the use of keyword rich URLs as well as hampers redirecting the traffic later should Facebook go away.
Kimberly

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Jeevanjacobjohn May 4, 2011 at 9:19 pm

Hey Kimberely,

First off, well done. This is an interesting analysis. I think pages are better if you trying market your blog using it. Groups can be used for blogs with 2 or more authors (that is what Justin of dragonblogger.com does).

It depends on what you are trying to ccomplish it. Anyway, thank you for the study. Never thought of it this way. Have a great day !

Jeevan Jacob John

Reply

Rebekah July 14, 2011 at 7:46 pm

Maybe business use on facebook will eventually split off into ‘fanbook’ or something like this? I know many who are turned off by the business side of facebook, and yet there are quite a few of us who use it to grow our businesses daily.

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Dantes August 5, 2011 at 6:06 pm

For me, the fan page has done pretty well in terms of google search. I’ve never actually delt with facebook groups but since the fanpage has worked wonderfully, i’ll probably just stick with it. I haven’t done any SEOing of the fanpage but maybe after reading this, i’ll think of ways to make it even more prominent. Thanx

Reply

alle December 26, 2011 at 6:03 am

I agree with you Facebook Fan page is much better then Facebook Group.You can built apps for Facebook Fan page as well.

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