Facebook for Business - Pages or Groups
by Jo Shaer, on November 10, 2011
Whilst discussing using Facebook for business, a client asked me recently whether they would be better off having a Facebook Page or a Facebook Group.
The problem is that, since the recent changes in Edgerank, it has become more and more difficult for small businesses to communicate with their likers or fans through Facebook Pages. Edgerank means that the more fans you have and the more status updates you make, the more those fans must interact with those status updates for the algorithm to deem your content worthy of inclusion in the newsfeeds of your fans as a recent story or in their ticker.
Put in non-Geeky terms this means that if you don't regularly like or comment on posts on a Page that you have previously liked, you will no longer see status updates from that page. Love it or lose it...!
With the disappearance of updates, the only way to engage with your fans is through the Page's wall but if your fans don't come to the wall because they are not encouraged to do so by tempting snippets in their newsfeed, then there can be no interaction. It doesn't matter how good or exciting you make your content, no one is going to see it.
After that, the only way that you can tell your fans about any special offers or competitions is by running a Facebook Ad or Sponsored Stories campaign - both of which cost money.
However, if you have a Group, then you can communicate with those people who are in your Group because any status updates are not affected by Edgerank and will appear in their notifications because they have shown an interest. But, more than that, they can physically choose whether or not to receive notifications so you know that they will receive updates from the group if you decide to talk about a specific event or special offer. This is what encourages many of the owners of Business Pages to think that they might be better off by inviting their likers to join an open group from which they can keep them informed on a regular basis of special offers and events.
Groups were designed to be the place to allow people to come together around a common cause, interest, activity or issue so that they could share photos and opinions. You can add photos and run polls as well as adding documents which can be edited by the group.
But the main problem with Groups is that they lack the same social reach in that posts made on the group wall will not appear on their own walls as they will if they actually interact with a page. However, they will appear in their newsfeeds so their friends can also see what's happening if they are monitoring those carefully.
Why You Still Need a Facebook Business Page
I would definitely advise that you should still set up your Facebook Business Page because of the SEO factor - Facebook Pages get indexed by the search engines, Facebook Groups don't.
Also, you can check in to a Facebook Page via your mobile Facebook app on a smartphone - an activity which shows in your newsfeed and those of your friends - but you cannot check in to a Group.
You may not be able to communicate with personal profiles but you can put yourself about and leave comments on other business pages which is a good way to get noticed by their fans
How To Use Facebook Groups For Business
But, I would also say that if you have a specific product or area of concern, then you could set up a Facebook Group as well - providing you have a personal profile. Admins of Facebook Pages which have been set up using a Business Account do not have the functionality to set up Facebook Groups.
For example, a martial arts club could set up a general group about martial arts or a personal trainer could set up a page dedicated to healthy living and eating. However, I would not recommend setting up your business on a Facebook Group as this is likely to contravene Facebook's terms and conditions.
The admin could then go down the list of likes on their Facebook Page and invite each one individually to join the new Facebook Group by entering the name in the 'Add Friends to Group' box - see the image at the top of this post to locate this on your Group.
Whilst they could not use one of the auto posting facilities to post direct to the wall, they could make regular status updates with a link referring back to their blog to encourage people to go visit. Those blogs might well have a title which referred to a special offer or event. However, you cannot create an event from a Facebook group - this can only be done from a Personal Profile or a Facebook Page.
So, there you have it, a way to make the most of Facebook for Business - which has to be by using Pages AND Groups.
Find out how to use Facebook Secret Groups to provide a meeting place and forum for employees or patients.
Welcome to Facebook - a UK guide to using Facebook for business