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Facebook Group vs. Facebook Page: What’s Better for Your Brand?

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Facebook Group vs. Facebook Page: Deciding Which to Use for Your Brand

Social media has changed our world forever.

It’s put us in contact with people faster than ever before, regardless of their location. It has also given people and businesses a way to connect that was previously unimaginable.

Direct feedback, customer communication, praise, complaints, reviews – social media offers a way to obtain it all. And all of it pretty easily.

But using the features of social media correctly and effectively is much different than simply using social media.

We know it’s no longer a mystery whether or not brands should be on Facebook (and other social media platforms deemed useful to them). The value the social media heavyweight brings, along with other platforms like it, is something you cannot ignore.

The benefits will surely work in a business’ favor when done the right way.

But, with all of Facebook’s features – and new ones constantly emerging–it can be a challenge to decide exactly which tools to adopt for your brand.

Differences Between Facebook Groups & Brand Pages

Facebook offers a variety of features and tools that are helpful to marketers, as well as everyday humans simply looking for information.

Messenger, Videos, Live, Marketplace… Facebook has come to offer a myriad of tools to simplify and/or entertain the lives of all who use it.

But it’s one of its first features – Groups – and what it perhaps indirectly helped spawn – Pages – that have really helped the growth and success of the platform. These features also helped build the success of many of the brands who have used them to their advantage.

The difference between Groups and Pages is more connected to whom brand stakeholders are trying to communicate with through them.

A team leader for a company trying to communicate with his or her coworkers is going to have a much more success communicating via a Facebook Group than he or she would on a brand Page.

On the other hand, if those stakeholders wanted to communicate with current, past, and potential customers of the brand, it would get the most value from doing so through a Page.

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The biggest reason for this — and the biggest difference between the two options — is built within the intended audience of the messaging, as well as the goals the brand is trying to achieve.

Reasons to Use a Facebook Brand Page

Facebook Pages, unlike Groups, didn’t launch until 2007. Pages offer brands and celebrities a more far-reaching version of the social media application that once was only meant for individuals to connect with.

Pages have evolved like much of the platform has (i.e., first called “Facebook Pages for Business”) and have been the lifeblood behind the advertising climate throughout the social network.

When they launched in November 2007, Pages represented “a completely new way of advertising online,” according to Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg.

And he was not wrong.

The bigger story within the creation of the Pages feature being created was the launching of Facebook Ads. Facebook Ads became a reality – then success – since so many businesses adopted the idea of the brand page and leveraging it and its content with ads.

But the entire movement created an advertising platform unlike anything else on the web, most closely resembling that of Google paid search ads, but with more-defined audience targeting and a lower price.

Even without using the ad platform, a brand page gives businesses the ability to talk directly to their following – and hopefully to some of those individuals intended to become a part of it.

Brands have the chance to send specific messaging to the people that matter most to them: their customers.

Add the power (and affordability, at least in its current state for most markets) of paid advertising to drive engagement and raise brand awareness, and it’s easy to see that boosting Page content is helpful for businesses of all sizes.

And today, more and more brands are utilizing that combined approach of paid and organic social media marketing to create far-reaching Facebook success.

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The key for a Facebook Page’s success with its messaging is, again, the intended audience.

A brand won’t have nearly as much success communicating with “the outside world” using a Facebook Group as it would a Page.

So, then, why would a business need a Facebook Group, and how does it differ from a Page?

Reasons to Use a Facebook Group

Groups, which have been around since as early as 2006, were created as a means to communicate and collaborate in an environment that was only to the public when it was intended to be.

This is why different types of Groups have existed since their inception.

For more than a decade, Facebook has offered open, closed, and secret groups.

Open Groups let anyone join and invite, and the content posted and discussed is public.

Closed Groups need approval for new people to be added, and the content is not public.

And Secret Groups are completely hidden from Facebook search (and traditional search), and people need to be invited to be added.

Facebook recently announced its updating its Groups, though.

It will be dropping the Secret, Closed, and Public group privacy setting to simply be:

  • Public and visible in search (formerly Public)
  • Private and visible in search (formerly Closed)
  • Private and hidden in search (formerly Secret)

Despite the naming changes, the utilization of Groups isn’t changing, nor is the intended goal of the group(s).

Each of those group privacy settings offers something unique with the same goal: collaboration with easy communication.

Groups were a lot popular (and useful) before cell phones allowed us to group text as easily as we do today.

But that doesn’t mean Groups aren’t still useful.

They offer the chance for brands to communicate directly with their team members, staff, partners, and, yes, even customers – but the messaging is always going to be much different (at least when it’s done correctly).

Again, keeping in mind the intended goal(s) and target audience, Groups are a great way to not just communicate internally, but they also allow businesses to illustrate expertise and to further support a brand.

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For instance, starting and administering a Facebook Group for brand loyalists where they can communicate information about products and services is a great way to beef up brand loyalty and general education.

With the same regard, starting or joining a non-branded community group where people can share ideas and insight is a great way to support the brand as well as build authority and visibility while illustrating expertise.

Groups definitely have their place in the overall social media strategy for brands. It’s just important to use them correctly and avoid being an annoying human billboard that floods out (and ruins) groups and the power of messaging within them.

Deciding Which Facebook Tool Is Right for Your Brand

Most often, a business is going to want to have a Facebook Page that represents its brand.

It’s become an impressionable part of a company’s identity – sort of a 1A of its website – and often the first place a customer or potential customer turns for answers, advice, guidance, and even sales.

But there is certainly a place for Groups, too. It’s just critical to use them both correctly and not to dilute either of their messaging by being too salesy.

Remember, throughout the web, brands’ No. 1 priority should be to educate their customers and potential customers.

And brands can, and should, do that with both Facebook Pages and Groups. Just keep the messaging clear and consistent with the vehicle being used, and never forget target audience and intended goal.

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NEWS

Google December Product Reviews Update Affects More Than English Language Sites? via @sejournal, @martinibuster

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Google’s Product Reviews update was announced to be rolling out to the English language. No mention was made as to if or when it would roll out to other languages. Mueller answered a question as to whether it is rolling out to other languages.

Google December 2021 Product Reviews Update

On December 1, 2021, Google announced on Twitter that a Product Review update would be rolling out that would focus on English language web pages.

The focus of the update was for improving the quality of reviews shown in Google search, specifically targeting review sites.

A Googler tweeted a description of the kinds of sites that would be targeted for demotion in the search rankings:

“Mainly relevant to sites that post articles reviewing products.

Think of sites like “best TVs under $200″.com.

Goal is to improve the quality and usefulness of reviews we show users.”

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Google also published a blog post with more guidance on the product review update that introduced two new best practices that Google’s algorithm would be looking for.

The first best practice was a requirement of evidence that a product was actually handled and reviewed.

The second best practice was to provide links to more than one place that a user could purchase the product.

The Twitter announcement stated that it was rolling out to English language websites. The blog post did not mention what languages it was rolling out to nor did the blog post specify that the product review update was limited to the English language.

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Google’s Mueller Thinking About Product Reviews Update

Screenshot of Google's John Mueller trying to recall if December Product Review Update affects more than the English language

Screenshot of Google's John Mueller trying to recall if December Product Review Update affects more than the English language

Product Review Update Targets More Languages?

The person asking the question was rightly under the impression that the product review update only affected English language search results.

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But he asserted that he was seeing search volatility in the German language that appears to be related to Google’s December 2021 Product Review Update.

This is his question:

“I was seeing some movements in German search as well.

So I was wondering if there could also be an effect on websites in other languages by this product reviews update… because we had lots of movement and volatility in the last weeks.

…My question is, is it possible that the product reviews update affects other sites as well?”

John Mueller answered:

“I don’t know… like other languages?

My assumption was this was global and and across all languages.

But I don’t know what we announced in the blog post specifically.

But usually we try to push the engineering team to make a decision on that so that we can document it properly in the blog post.

I don’t know if that happened with the product reviews update. I don’t recall the complete blog post.

But it’s… from my point of view it seems like something that we could be doing in multiple languages and wouldn’t be tied to English.

And even if it were English initially, it feels like something that is relevant across the board, and we should try to find ways to roll that out to other languages over time as well.

So I’m not particularly surprised that you see changes in Germany.

But I also don’t know what we actually announced with regards to the locations and languages that are involved.”

Does Product Reviews Update Affect More Languages?

While the tweeted announcement specified that the product reviews update was limited to the English language the official blog post did not mention any such limitations.

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Google’s John Mueller offered his opinion that the product reviews update is something that Google could do in multiple languages.

One must wonder if the tweet was meant to communicate that the update was rolling out first in English and subsequently to other languages.

It’s unclear if the product reviews update was rolled out globally to more languages. Hopefully Google will clarify this soon.

Citations

Google Blog Post About Product Reviews Update

Product reviews update and your site

Google’s New Product Reviews Guidelines

Write high quality product reviews

John Mueller Discusses If Product Reviews Update Is Global

Watch Mueller answer the question at the 14:00 Minute Mark

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Survey says: Amazon, Google more trusted with your personal data than Apple is

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survey-says:-amazon,-google-more-trusted-with-your-personal-data-than-apple-is-–-phonearena
 

MacRumors reveals that more people feel better with their personal data in the hands of Amazon and Google than Apple’s. Companies that the public really doesn’t trust when it comes to their personal data include Facebook, TikTok, and Instagram.

The survey asked over 1,000 internet users in the U.S. how much they trusted certain companies such as Facebook, TikTok, Instagram, WhatsApp, YouTube, Google, Microsoft, Apple, and Amazon to handle their user data and browsing activity responsibly.

Amazon and Google are considered by survey respondents to be more trustworthy than Apple

Those surveyed were asked whether they trusted these firms with their personal data “a great deal,” “a good amount,” “not much,” or “not at all.” Respondents could also answer that they had no opinion about a particular company. 18% of those polled said that they trust Apple “a great deal” which topped the 14% received by Google and Amazon.

However, 39% said that they trust Amazon  by “a good amount” with Google picking up 34% of the votes in that same category. Only 26% of those answering said that they trust Apple by “a good amount.” The first two responses, “a great deal” and “a good amount,” are considered positive replies for a company. “Not much” and “not at all” are considered negative responses.

By adding up the scores in the positive categories,

Apple tallied a score of 44% (18% said it trusted Apple with its personal data “a great deal” while 26% said it trusted Apple “a good amount”). But that placed the tech giant third after Amazon’s 53% and Google’s 48%. After Apple, Microsoft finished fourth with 43%, YouTube (which is owned by Google) was fifth with 35%, and Facebook was sixth at 20%.

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Rounding out the remainder of the nine firms in the survey, Instagram placed seventh with a positive score of 19%, WhatsApp was eighth with a score of 15%, and TikTok was last at 12%.

Looking at the scoring for the two negative responses (“not much,” or “not at all”), Facebook had a combined negative score of 72% making it the least trusted company in the survey. TikTok was next at 63% with Instagram following at 60%. WhatsApp and YouTube were both in the middle of the pact at 53% followed next by Google and Microsoft at 47% and 42% respectively. Apple and Amazon each had the lowest combined negative scores at 40% each.

74% of those surveyed called targeted online ads invasive

The survey also found that a whopping 82% of respondents found targeted online ads annoying and 74% called them invasive. Just 27% found such ads helpful. This response doesn’t exactly track the 62% of iOS users who have used Apple’s App Tracking Transparency feature to opt-out of being tracked while browsing websites and using apps. The tracking allows third-party firms to send users targeted ads online which is something that they cannot do to users who have opted out.

The 38% of iOS users who decided not to opt out of being tracked might have done so because they find it convenient to receive targeted ads about a certain product that they looked up online. But is ATT actually doing anything?

Marketing strategy consultant Eric Seufert said last summer, “Anyone opting out of tracking right now is basically having the same level of data collected as they were before. Apple hasn’t actually deterred the behavior that they have called out as being so reprehensible, so they are kind of complicit in it happening.”

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The Financial Times says that iPhone users are being lumped together by certain behaviors instead of unique ID numbers in order to send targeted ads. Facebook chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg says that the company is working to rebuild its ad infrastructure “using more aggregate or anonymized data.”

Aggregated data is a collection of individual data that is used to create high-level data. Anonymized data is data that removes any information that can be used to identify the people in a group.

When consumers were asked how often do they think that their phones or other tech devices are listening in to them in ways that they didn’t agree to, 72% answered “very often” or “somewhat often.” 28% responded by saying “rarely” or “never.”

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Google’s John Mueller on Brand Mentions via @sejournal, @martinibuster

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Google’s John Mueller was asked if “brand mentions” helped with SEO and rankings. John Mueller explained, in detail, how brand mentions are not anything used at Google.

What’s A Brand Mention?

A brand mention is when one website mentions another website. There is an idea in the SEO community that when a website mentions another website’s domain name or URL that Google will see this and count it the same as a link.

Brand Mentions are also known as an implied link. Much was written about this ten years ago after a Google patent that mentions “implied links” surfaced.

There has never been a solid review of why the idea of “brand mentions” has nothing to do with this patent, but I’ll provide a shortened version later in this article.

John Mueller Discussing Brand Mentions

John Mueller Brand Mentions

John Mueller Brand Mentions

Do Brand Mentions Help With Rankings?

The person asking the question wanted to know about brand mentions for the purpose of ranking. The person asking the question has good reason to ask it because the idea of “brand mentions” has never been definitively reviewed.

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The person asked the question:

“Do brand mentions without a link help with SEO rankings?”

Google Does Not Use Brand Mentions

Google’s John Mueller answered that Google does not use the “brand mentions” for any link related purpose.

Mueller explained:

“From my point of view, I don’t think we use those at all for things like PageRank or understanding the link graph of a website.

And just a plain mention is sometimes kind of tricky to figure out anyway.”

That part about it being tricky is interesting.

He didn’t elaborate on why it’s tricky until later in the video where he says it’s hard to understand the subjective context of a website mentioning another website.

Brand Mentions Are Useful For Building Awareness

Mueller next says that brand mentions may be useful for helping to get the word out about a site, which is about building popularity.

Mueller continued:

“But it can be something that makes people aware of your brand, and from that point of view, could be something where indirectly you might have some kind of an effect from that in that they search for your brand and then …obviously, if they’re searching for your brand then hopefully they find you right away and then they can go to your website.

And if they like what they see there, then again, they can go off and recommend that to other people as well.”

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“Brand Mentions” Are Problematic

Later on at the 58 minute mark another person brings the topic back up and asks how Google could handle spam sites that are mentioning a brand in a negative way.

The person said that one can disavow links but one cannot disavow a “brand mention.”

Mueller agreed and said that’s one of things that makes brand mentions difficult to use for ranking purposes.

John Mueller explained:

“Kind of understanding the almost the subjective context of the mention is really hard.

Is it like a positive mention or a negative mention?

Is it a sarcastic positive mention or a sarcastic negative mention? How can you even tell?

And all of that, together with the fact that there are lots of spammy sites out there and sometimes they just spin content, sometimes they’re malicious with regards to the content that they create…

All of that, I think, makes it really hard to say we can just use that as the same as a link.

…It’s just, I think, too confusing to use as a clear signal.”

Where “Brand Mentions” Come From

The idea of “brand mentions” has bounced around for over ten years.

There were no research papers or patents to support it. “Brand mentions” is literally an idea that someone invented out of thin air.

However the “brand mention” idea took off in 2012 when a patent surfaced that seemed to confirm the idea of brand mentions.

There’s a whole long story to this so I’m just going to condense it.

There’s a patent from 2012 that was misinterpreted in several different ways because most people at the time, myself included, did not read the entire patent from beginning to end.

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The patent itself is about ranking web pages.

The structure of most Google patents consist of introductory paragraphs that discuss what the patent is about and those paragraphs are followed by pages of in-depth description of the details.

The introductory paragraphs that explain what it’s about states:

“Methods, systems, and apparatus, including computer programs… for ranking search results.”

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Pretty much nobody read that beginning part of the patent.

Everyone focused on a single paragraph in the middle of the patent (page 9 out of 16 pages).

In that paragraph there is a mention of something called “implied links.”

The word “implied” is only mentioned four times in the entire patent and all four times are contained within that single paragraph.

So when this patent was discovered, the SEO industry focused on that single paragraph as proof that Google uses brand mentions.

In order to understand what an “implied link” is, you have to scroll all the way back up to the opening paragraphs where the Google patent authors describe something called a “reference query” that is not a link but is nevertheless used for ranking purposes just like a link.

What Is A Reference Query?

A reference query is a search query that contains a reference to a URL or a domain name.

The patent states:

“A reference query for a particular group of resources can be a previously submitted search query that has been categorized as referring to a resource in the particular group of resources.”

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Elsewhere the patent provides a more specific explanation:

“A query can be classified as referring to a particular resource if the query includes a term that is recognized by the system as referring to the particular resource.

…search queries including the term “example.com” can be classified as referring to that home page.”

The summary of the patent, which comes at the beginning of the document, states that it’s about establishing which links to a website are independent and also counting reference queries and with that information creating a “modification factor” which is used to rank web pages.

“…determining, for each of the plurality of groups of resources, a respective count of reference queries; determining, for each of the plurality of groups of resources, a respective group-specific modification factor, wherein the group-specific modification factor for each group is based on the count of independent links and the count of reference queries for the group;”

The entire patent largely rests on those two very important factors, a count of independent inbound links and the count of reference queries. The phrases reference query and reference queries are used 39 times in the patent.

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As noted above, the reference query is used for ranking purposes like a link, but it’s not a link.

The patent states:

“An implied link is a reference to a target resource…”

It’s clear that in this patent, when it mentions the implied link, it’s talking about reference queries, which as explained above simply means when people search using keywords and the domain name of a website.

Idea of Brand Mentions Is False

The whole idea of “brand mentions” became a part of SEO belief systems because of how that patent was misinterpreted.

But now you have the facts and know why “brand mentions” is not real thing.

Plus John Mueller confirmed it.

“Brand mentions” is something completely random that someone in the SEO community invented out of thin air.

Citations

Ranking Search Results Patent

Watch John Mueller discuss “brand mentions” at 44:10 Minute Mark and the brand Mentions second part begins at the 58:12 minute mark

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