In recent years, Facebook has truly come into its own as a marketing vehicle for small businesses. The platform allows SMBs and entrepreneurs to go beyond mere paid promotion and embrace a variety of marketing techniques. Two of its most powerful built-in tools are Facebook Pages and Facebook Groups. Though both can be surprisingly effective promotional options, many still don’t know the difference between the two, which one to choose or how to even use them. The following breakdown should clear up any confusion.
What Are Facebook Pages?
A Facebook Page is basically a one-to-many digital billboard used to promote a business. Admins can inform consumers of their business’s specialties, physical location, contact information and much more. Unlike user profiles or Timelines, Pages are visible to everyone on the Internet and show up in Google search results. Pages allow owners to post news stories and press releases, advertise events or sales, leverage Apps and friend potential customers. Facebook users that follow a Page can receive updates via their News Feeds.
What Are Facebook Groups?
Unlike Pages, Groups are a many-to-many forum for interacting with like-minded Facebookers. Any business owner can easily create a group and decide who should be in it via invites. As far as visibility is concerned, Groups can be secret, invite-only or open to anyone that wishes to join. If a Group member posts content, every other member will see it in their News Feeds automatically. Long story short, Groups are more about collaboration and conversation than they are about naked promotion a la Pages.
Upsides & Potential Drawbacks
The best thing about Pages is that they lend themselves to promotion whether potential consumers are on Facebook or not. It’s like a miniature landing page for your business that gets an automatic SERPs boost due to Facebook’s SEO clout. They also boast features that Groups don’t such as Promoted Posts, Apps or Tabs, vanity URLs and Insights analytics. The only problem with Pages is that it can be tough for your Page content to show up in News Feeds due to fierce competition for attention.
Unlike Pages, Groups are fairly adept at encouraging discussion among members. Since they’re centered around specific topics, Group posts are more likely to appear in the News Feeds of members. In addition, Groups allow owners to fine-tune privacy options to a greater degree. Groups also make it easier to promote events. On the flip side, Groups are less likely to generate customer leads due to their non-commercial nature. Furthermore, you can’t use Tabs or Apps with Groups and Facebook Insights are unavailable.
Optimal Uses, Tips & Tricks
Pages are best used as a sort of blog with a more social bent. They should be regularly updated with links to fresh content. Since they’re the public face of a business on Facebook, Pages should be optimized for mass appeal. Use your Pages to help move followers further along in the buying cycle by running Contests and giveaways. You can also use your Insights feedback to identify followers that might benefit from a more specific Group.
For the most part, Groups aren’t geared towards direct customer conversion. However, they can be a great way to improve your business via intelligence gathering. For instance, you could regularly poll your groups regarding their buying habits and preferences. Using direct chats in a Group setting allows businesses to better understand their audiences. Groups are also a great way to make B2B sales and forge partnerships with other businesses. Take the feedback you gather from your Groups and use it to improve your Page.
The Best of Both Worlds
Obviously, Pages and Groups on Facebook are two entirely different beasts with different strengths, weaknesses and aims. There’s no reason why you can’t use both for the good of your outfit. Rely on Pages to raise awareness and pitch to consumers directly. Meanwhile, nudge select followers towards Groups and use your interactions to streamline and improve your operation. In any event, both Facebook options can be valuable additions to your promotional toolkit when used properly.