Facebook offers different tools that can be used successfully as part of a company social media marketing strategy. Besides highly targeted advertising, Facebook pages and groups are two great ways of interacting with your audience. While nothing stops you from creating both a Facebook page and a Facebook group, sometimes it’s necessary to prioritize depending on the type and degree of interaction you want with your audience.
If your focus is on visibility and viral possibilities a page has more potential than a Facebook group. A page is to a company or brand what a personal profile is to a Facebook user, with the difference that users can “Like” it with a click and it will show on their feed, on their profile tab, page favourites and also search engine spiders will be able to crawl and index it. Unlike groups, anybody can visit a Facebook page without having to become a member first. Most of the contents of a group (except for the discussions) are private only to members.
If your social marketing strategy goal is to create a brand around a website, Facebook pages have more branding features than a group. A page will have a Facebook url, similar as a normal profile in the form of http://facebook.com/brandname while groups don’t, making it much easier to link to it and encourage others to become fans. Pages are also highly customizable in terms of look and feel by using widgets and facebook markup language, whereas groups are not. And lastly, while you can display information about your page such as their fans on an external website through a widget, that’s not possible for groups. On the other hand, if your Facebook group has a lot of active discussions that are crawled by search engines you may find it a great way to show your brand expertise on a niche.
While Fan Pages seem to have the upper hand when talking about traditional marketing goals such as branding and visibility, Facebook Groups have many features that allow group Admins high levels of engagement with their audience. One of the most important is, without a doubt, the fact that groups with less than 5.000 users can send mass mails to all their users with announcements, making them a very effective way of organising and promoting events. Many non profit organizations have used Facebook groups to organize fundraising events, and even Facebook developers groups use them to organise and announce their meetups.
Facebook groups and Pages can be a great asset for your social media marketing team, and while each of them has different strengths and weaknesses it’s important to keep in mind that they can coexist and complement each other. For example, a group can be used to keep lively debate about the brand, along with a fan page for branding. However, if you have to choose you’ll need to decide between focusing on branding or direct interaction with your clients.