Facebook Group or Fan Page – Which is Best For Your Business?

By on May 23, 2011

You’ve probably noticed that a lot of social media experts are either fans of the fan page, or advocates of the Facebook group feature. There are a lot of great arguments for both – but once again we believe that people are getting stuck on semantics.

If you only have time to set up and run one – then that’s a great reason not to use both. But beyond that, we just can’t understand why experts are making businesses choose.

They’re both excellent, and have a lot of benefits for your business. So instead of taking a particular side on this one, we’re just going to lay out why they are great. Then you can see which one really does suit your business best.

The Facebook Fan Page

Traffic of course! A Facebook fan page is important if you want search engine traffic and outside parties visiting and joining your community. You don’t have to be a fan to see a fan page, but you do have to be a group member to view a group!

Valuable Analytics! Facebook group activity can’t be tracked, but any activity on your fan page is easily stored for later analysis. This is an essential part of your social media campaign. Without a way to track, monitor or analyse your Facebook page, you’ll never be able to improve, change or see where you’re going wrong.

Long Term Community! People are less likely to ‘unlike’ your Facebook fan page, but groups can get tiresome because of the constant updates. Your community can’t solely exist as a group, so you need your fan page first – as the core of your community.

Additional Features! Facebook fan pages allow you to add apps, brand graphics and information for greater interactivity. You can’t put a shopfront in a group for example. While you can share photos and other media on groups, this is mainly for instant or purpose-driven communication – not for general marketing and community upkeep.

The Facebook Group Feature

Personalized Communication! Because you can gather smaller communities of people together with the group function, it makes interaction a lot easier. It also means people in that particular interest group are more likely to respond. Think of it as a small chat group, of people that want to share in private.

Bulk Emails For Marketing! One of the nicest features of groups, is that you can now send personalized bulk emails to everyone in your ‘group’ community, all at once. This certainly makes contacting or informing different segments of your community a lot less stressful. Simply group them together, and send batch emails with one little click.

Easier Relationship Building! When a new fan joins your page, add them to a group and get talking. It’s one of the easiest ways to connect initially with someone new in your community. If they don’t want that personal contact – all they have to do is opt-out of the group.

So you see, you really need a fan page, but you should also have several groups going at once. One feeds the other, and both help you create a stimulating environment for your community members. Start with a fan page, then test the waters with a brand new group!

What do you like best about the Facebook fan page/group features? Which do you use most often? We’d like to know, below!

About John Souza

John Souza is founder and chief strategist of SMMU and Social Media Impact, and is a bestselling business author. He won the 2011 Tech Marketing Awards ‘Social Media Marketer of the Year’ and most recently the About.com Reader’s Choice Award for Best Online Education Site. John has appeared on The Michael Gerber Show, and his business has been honored at the Mashable Awards, Forbes Business Awards and The Stevie Awards.
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