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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Sam Hollingsworth is a native New Yorker currently leading all search efforts for Elevation Ten Thousand marketing agency as its Director of Search. Specializing in general SEO, content strategy, and social media, when Sam’s not hard at work at the agency, he can be found at one of the many thoroughbred race tracks across the country (soon to go international), enjoying the great outdoors, and/or cheering on one of his favorite sports teams.