Facebook Pages vs Facebook Groups
Should I use a Facebook Page or a Facebook Group?
This may have been a question you have asked yourself at the start of a new project, or perhaps you have created a Facebook Page without even considering a Group despite the fact it may actually be more suitable for your purposes.
This article has come about because I asked myself this very question just the other day when faced with a work brief to create some sort of social platform (preferably on Facebook) for a specific group of affiliates. I immediately thought of a Group, but agreed to draw up a table outlining the differences to bring to a meeting where we could all decide together. Coincidentally a few days later I received an email from someone I used to work with at Qantas asking the same question in relation to a personal project they were starting.
Then, a few days later, I was asked by someone to answer a Facebook Groups-related question on Quora. I am always looking for inspiration for what to write about on The Social Skinny (please send suggestions through to [email protected]!) and this was clearly a sign from the social universe that I was needed to write an article on Facebook Groups.
If you do a search on Facebook Groups you will struggle to find an up-to-date source of information, because most articles that address this topic are pre-new-Groups-launch and so contain outdated information and incorrect facts. But never fear…I am here, as always, to save the day!
PS. I’ve also previously written about how to set up a Facebook Group, which may be useful if you’re going down this route.
Yeah yeah, but what is the difference between a Facebook Page and Group?
There are HEAPS of differences between a Facebook Page and Group. A Page is meant to be more of a broadcasting platform one-to-many (though obviously you should be engaging with your fans also), whereas Groups are meant more for equal collaboration and discussion amongst a group of people who are related in some way and/or share some sort of similar interest.
If you’re a business/brand/celebrity and you want to provide updates, special offers, competitions etc to your clients (current or potential), a Page is the way to go. You want to build up your fan base as much as possible and you don’t necessarily need your fans to be engaging with each other (just you).
If you’re part of some sort of society/association/group of individuals linked in some way and you want to create a platform that facilitates a non-hierarchical discussion environment amongst a finite (manageable) number of people then you should look into creating a Group.
Before you make your decision, however, you need to keep a number of important points in mind:
- Facebook Pages (unless admin-only) are public, can be found through search, and anyone can join. You can, however, limit them to being visible in certain countries (and to some extent certain ages) only.
- Facebook Groups can be public, closed (anyone can find Group, only members see posts) or secret (nobody can find the Group unless added by a member).
- There are two ways to join Groups – a Facebook friend adds you or you ‘ask to join’ and an admin of the Group accepts your request.
- Groups don’t allow much branding at all. You get only your profile picture (a small square image), and nothing else.
- Groups don’t allow other tabs/applications. This means you couldn’t run a competition, or have a contact page, welcome page or anything like that.
- My experience is that Group posts don’t go to your newsfeed. Instead, you get a ‘notification’ that someone has posted in the group. This can be both good and bad – it’s good because people definitely won’t miss it, no matter how long after you post the content they log onto facebook. HOWEVER, sometimes when there is too much posting going on it just gets so annoying a lot of people choose to change their notification settings so that they don’t receive these anymore. As the posts aren’t fed to your Facebook newsfeed, you effectively forget about the group forever because there is nothing prompting you to visit.
- Groups allow ‘shared documents’ as well as group chat.
- Fans of a Page cannot see everyone else who is a fan. Members of a group can see other members of that group.
- Both Pages and groups can create events, post images, allow commenting/liking, restrict posts to only admins, and create polls.
Essentially, Groups are more like a private club or networking group. Pages are meant to be promoting a certain product/service/brand/celebrity.
Here’s a table I drew up that displays some of the differences:
|Purpose||Represent particular person or brand||Collaborative environment for group of people|
|Restrictions||Public or admin-only||Public, closed (visible but must request to be added) or secret (cannot be found by search or any other means)|
|Add people||No (can suggest page)||Yes – only those who are Facebook friends of Group members|
|Facebook Notifications for fans/members||Only if someone comments on/likes the post you have made or commented on.||Default: FB notifications (and potentially email) for all new wall posts (by anyone) – can be changed.|
|Posting restriction||Posting can be restricted to Page admins only or open to everyone||Posting can be restricted to Group admins only or open to everyone|
|Posts fed to newsfeed||Yes||No|
|Create shared docs||No||Yes|
|Group/Page email address||No||Yes – this means the group members have access to a group email address that when used sends content directly to the Group wall.|
|Chat||No||Yes – through chat bar|
|View other fans/members||No||Yes|
|Advertising||Yes||Yes – unless closed group|
|Vanity URL||Yes – you can choose||No – though it is a logical URL determined by Group name. Eg. www.facebook.com/groups/groupname although sometimes it may have a string of numbers at the end.|
|Indexed by search engines||Yes||Yes – but not if secret|
|Notes||Anyone can search, find and join a Page unless it is set to admin-only. Admins have the ability to delete/ban people.||Anyone who is a member can add another member. This can lead to groups getting out of control. However admins are able to delete/ban people from the group.|
So that’s about it, I hope it answers all your questions. Now the only question that remains is: will you create a Facebook Page or a Facebook Group?
Another great post, especially as I’m looking to ramp up Facebook activity. Daniel Rowles and Kelvin Newman have a great podcast on this very topic.
Is not another difference between Groups and Pages some level of statistics? We are trying to decide if we should go Group or Page, and a colleague of mine mentioned that Pages have some statistics about visitors that Groups don’t have.
Hi David – you’re correct in that Pages allow ‘insights’ which are demographic data and stats on the fans of the page, whereas Groups do not have this feature.
Really thoughtful and informative post. You took some time for this one. Thanks.
A wonderfully written and detailed comparison of facebook pages vs facebook groups. Thank you. =) I have been using the page feature, though I have been wondering if it may also be a good idea to add a group to the mix for certain features and updates and members who wish to participate and be notified. This may not increase following by a lot quickly, but it certainly couldn’t hurt. As long as you don’t spam it and keep it interesting it could at least help with your loyal and return followers.
This helped me a lot!!!!! Now, I can use this with my friends! Thanks!!!!
Tremendous things here. I’m very happy to peer your article. Thank you a lot and I’m looking ahead to contact you. Will you please drop me a mail?
Awesome article…very detailed.
I started a group page…its very easy to add members unlike fan-page, you either have to pay for likes/ fans or wait for someone to like your page, at least with groups, you can add them automatically and they get your updates…Although as you have mentioned above, a great feature of the F-Page is that you can add special tabs and other custom content or graphic pages….
Im in an MLM, so adding contest/ prizes is a great idea for top producers in my down-line as well as option form built in and content locking for new likes/fans…
Thanks for the post!
Thanks for the great post. It really helped to know the difference between groups and pages and the pros/cons from a marketing perspective.
FB does put all messages from groups into your newsfeed. Not sure how long it has been this way, but my newsfeed is cluttered with activity from all the groups I belong to. If you want to stop this, hover over a message in your newsfeed. You’ll see a drop down arrow in the top right. Click it. Click “hide”. Click “hide all stories.” Problem solved.
I got just what i wanted from your post! Thanks!
This is tad bit off of topic.. but hoping you can help. We know now that we want a group… but it’s the privacy setting that’s confusing. FB has a table that tells you about the security, however the last entry reads “who can see stories about the group on FB (like in news feeds and search” For closed it says “anyone” and for secret is says “only members”. What are “stories about the group”. This statement is contradictory to the rest of the table. We want a group that people can find, but that no one but members can see the contents of, including photos posted, posts, etc. Are these considered “stories”?
I just started a closed group for a group of peers on Marketing in our company. This basically means non-members can search for & find the group, see who are members, and also view Group Descriptions or other info on the Group. However, non-members cannot see the posts that are being shared among the members.
At the same time we run a page for the public with the purposes that Ms. Cara Pring mentioned above.
Thank you for the article. I was looking for a comprehensive list of differences to justify running two different platforms. I’ve found it here!
Loved this article — it was the clearest I have found so far (including on Facebook). I’d love your opinion on this:
I have recently gotten into a lot of FB groups about local barters, yard sales, online sales, etc. I found so many locally that I thought it would be useful to me and to others to maintain a public list of all of this type of FB groups in my area. It’s also useful because the more people know about groups, the more may participate, and the more things I may be able to buy (or have more people to sell stuff to via those groups). But I don’t know whether to have a GROUP or a PAGE. I set up both — see links at the end of this comment. GOALS: I don’t need a lot of dialog with the page’s followers, but I do want people to be able to send me info when there’s a new group to add to my list, and I do want my page’s posts to show up in their news feeds and/or their notifications (not sure which is better for me). Do you have any thoughts on using a group vs. a page for my purposes? Or is this just a dumb idea? I want to have either a page or a group — but I set up both and plan to delete one of them. Here’s the PAGE: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Yard-Sales-and-Resales-Groups-Shelby-County-TN-North-MS/334342166725373. And here’s the GROUP: https://www.facebook.com/groups/692185934205683/
This is a much better explanation than the one provided by Facebook. My question is this. We decided to go with a page so that we can gets messages. However, I really need the Files tab and can find no way to have one on a page. Will Notes serve the same function? So far, I have been unable to use the paste function on the Notes entry form. Plus, as the admin, I do not know how the page appears to a user and whether or not they see the Notes tab. Can you help?
Hi Cara !
Your article helped to decide between a Page and a Group. There are certain things i would want understand a bit better.
Can the people who have liked the Page see each other profiles… this concerns comes from colleagues who would want to Like a professional page but would not want to be on each others’ FB friend list
Can I(admin) create a SECRET group from among the member of the PUBLIC page.. this is because while i would like the world to know the achievements of a project … i would want only the collaborators of the project to share their ideas and work together without letting out secrets prematurely.
Thanks in advance really looking forward to your inputs
I co-own a Miami Dolphins Fan group that has an internet radio show, a twitter account and eventually will be adding a website. We currently have both a FB Group and an FB page, and cross=post most content to both. Do you think having both is a good idea or not? And why or why not? Also, if keeping both, would you continually cross-post everything? Thanks for your advice.
This article is very helpful! Do you know how I would covert a personal profile to a facebook group?
Thanks a lot for the information.
Yea this is so nice an explanation.
YEA THIS IS SO NICE AN EXPLANATION
Is a separate web page required to establish a Facebook Page or a Facebook group ?
I think you only have to have a Facebook Profile — be a member of FB — to create a Page or Group. You don’t have to have a website. But if you do, obviously you can post a link.
I think a few other differences are that with a group, you can post files and you can have a search bar for content. It is really annoying that you can’t do those things with a business page. We would like to offer those to members of our Romanian Genealogy Society FB page, but we set it up as a business page before we knew.