The Benefits & Downfalls Facebook Groups vs. Facebook Pages

  • Facebook’s algorithm updates are making it even more difficult to connect with your audience via Facebook Page posts.
  • A Facebook Page is a public-facing page that anyone can view. It is ranked with Google Search.
  • A Facebook Group is more exclusive—you can decide whether it’s open, closed or secret. The goal is to bring together a sense of community and support around a specific topic.
  • The biggest reasons you would want a Facebook Page: You want to run Facebook ads, you want to gain greater insight into the analytics of your posts, and you want to drive traffic to your website (or take some other action).
  • The biggest reasons you would want a Facebook Group: You want to be part of a community, you want to have greater collaboration with your audience, you want to choose who is part of your community, and you want your audience to see your posts more often.

Not all Facebook Pages can be turned into Facebook Groups. Realize that Pages and Groups have different purposes and offer different opportunities.

  • A primer on Facebook Pages – 02:11
  • Insight on Facebook Groups – 03:21
  • Tips on how to invite people to a Facebook Group the right way – 04:14
  • Pros and cons of having a Facebook Page – 05:38
  • Pros and cons of having a Facebook Group – 08:40
  • A parting word about numbers – 13:23
Transcript below


Well, hello there and a really warm welcome to episode 13 of the Social Media Marketing Made Simple Podcast. I'm your host Teresa. As always, I am here and ready to share with you some great social media and marketing tips, tools and tricks. A few weeks ago, I asked my followers on Twitter to give me some suggestions about what they might want me to talk about on the podcast. Actually coming up with content can be really, really difficult.

I know that social media is a huge subject and maybe that's half the problem because there is so much I can talk about and so much that I can deep delve into that sometimes like a lot of things in business it gets completely overwhelming and you think to yourself, “I don't even know where to start.” Like I said, I went to some followers on Twitter and I asked them, “What would you like me to talk about?” One of my followers, Sam Warner, came back to me and said that she would like me to look at Facebook groups versus Facebook pages. For you, Sam, and my other listeners, that's what I'm doing this week.

Let's dive in. After another recent algorithm change and by algorithm I basically mean the set of rules that Facebook use to decide who sees your post, it's becoming even more increasingly difficult in order to get people to see your post from a Facebook page. Business owners, entrepreneurs, marketers have been left wondering is it worth doing a page at all or should I really look at moving our page over to a group.

If that's you, then don't worry, I've got you. Today I'm going to walk you through what a Facebook page is, what a Facebook group is, the main differences, and then what the benefits are of both of those things, so that at the end of this podcast you can decide whether you think you need a Facebook group or a Facebook page or both.


A primer on Facebook Pages


Let's start by quickly explaining what a Facebook page is. This is probably the thing you're most familiar with. As most businesses either have or expected to have a Facebook page, this is a public facing open page that anybody can view. If people want to engage with a page, they tend to like or follow it.

It tends to be the page owner just post out content. There's less of a discussion on a Facebook page as there might be in a Facebook group. That isn't to say that we don't have discussion on a Facebook page. It just means that the post tend to be pushed out rather than an open discussion within the page. Also, if someone other than the page owner was to post a comment or a picture or whatever to the page, then it doesn't show up in the timeline like it would on a group. Another thing to note is that your Facebook page is ranked with Google search.

If someone was to put your business name into Google, then you might appear in the search from your Facebook page rather than just your websites.


Insight on Facebook Groups


Let's have a look at what a Facebook group is. Now not all businesses have a Facebook group. In fact, probably lots of them don't have one. A group tends to be more of a community discussion. It's where people who have a common interest or a theme in something come together to discuss it. It's much more open in communication. When someone posts to the group, it appears in the timeline so that everybody else can comment on it as well. Your groups can either be open, closed or secret.

Often people put together groups to support maybe a product you might have bought or a course you might be in or something like that. It really is to bring together a sense of community and support. If I think about some of the groups that I'm in, they tend to be groups around courses that I've bought. You're in these groups so that you can ask further questions.


Tips on how to invite people to a Facebook Group the right way


When you set up a group, you can either invite people straight away. Personally I'm not a massive fan of this and actually I don't like it when I see on my own personal Facebook that I've just been put in a group. If anything, I would tend to invite people to come and join the group.

Obviously if there's a purchase required, then you're not going to just want to invite anybody. It's going to be part of that purchase. The difference really in terms of content is it's created by everybody. The group owner is obviously going to provide a level of content, but this content's going to be different to what you would put on a page for instance. This content is going to be different to what you would put on a page. Rather than just sort of pushing out information, the content you put on a group is going to be a lot more around discussion and questions and trying to get the group involved with something. Groups have really grown in popularity recently.

This is a lot to do with these constant algorithm changes that Facebook are bringing in because it is getting so difficult for people to see your actual posts if you have a page. Whereas if you're in a group, you receive notifications much more. Personally you can edit what notifications you get so you don't have to be notified every single time that someone posts in the group, but you do tend to get more notifications and definitely see more posts than you would if it was a Facebook page.


Pros and cons of having a Facebook Page


Let's have a look at the pros and cons of having a Facebook page versus a Facebook group. We're going to start with a page again.

Reason number one that you would have a Facebook page is that you can do Facebook advertising. As you know if you've listened to my podcast before or seen any of my content, I am a big advocate for the Facebook advertising tool because it's excellent. It's great at targeting people, and it's great at putting your business in front of people that may not have seen it. However, without the advertising, your Facebook page is not going to do a whole lot of stuff, but you can only advertise if you have a page. For me, that would be reason alone to have a Facebook page. You can get more insights from a page than you can from a group.

When I talk about insights, I mean the analytics that go alongside that page, the details around who's clicked on what, what type of person they are, where they are, what time they did it, whether they're male or female, which posts are most popular, all that kind of information which again from a marketing and ongoing point of view is great because you want to know things like that so you know how to maximise your page. The other good thing about a Facebook page is that you can bring in third party apps to support your page and enhance it.

For instance, you could bring in something like a Twitter feed or if you're with MailChimp, then you could have a sign up directly in the Facebook page rather than having to go over to MailChimp, which can be really helpful. The other thing that a page has that a group doesn't is the call to action button which is right under your banner photo. This call to action button can be really useful in terms of driving traffic to your website or getting people to sign up or watch a video or whatever it is that you choose you want them to do. Obviously the big downside of a Facebook page is that hardly anybody sees your posts.

As I said at the beginning, if you're not advertising, then a page can seem very frustrating. You could spend a lot of time coming up with lots of lovely content that you're posting that no one sees. That can be so disheartening and a big waste of time. Now if I'm being completely honest about how I'm using my Facebook page at the moment, we have a couple of different pages. I have the THW page and I have a Teresa page. We are using those pages not as often as we used to.

We used to produce content daily where we'd put content out every single day and now we don't put as much content out because of the fact that although I want people to go to the page and see that it's a real page and that we're active, I don't want to spend hours producing content that no one's going to see. Having a Facebook page is a bit like a catch 22. You kind of need to have one, however, it's not going to do a whole lot for you. Okay.


Pros and cons of having a Facebook Group


Now let's look at the groups. In a Facebook group, it's all about community. When I was at Social Media Marketing World this year, that was the buzz word. Everybody was talking about community.

If you can foster a sense of community around your product or brand or service, then your engagement is going to be so much better. People are going to want to buy from you and they're going to want to be part of that community. I think that comes from a few different things. People want to be heard and interacted with. We don't just want to be shouted at with marketing messages. We want to know that you're listening as a business and you take onboard what we say. That's exactly what a community and a Facebook group is able to do for you. You have a much better collaboration with your audience. You are right there with them.

Now I've probably said it before, but I've been in marketing now for almost I think 14 years. I remember doing my degree 14 years ago and having to put on focus groups and put surveys together and do telephone interviews. It was a big, big task when you wanted to do some research. Now social media has just changed that forever and it's amazing. If you want to know something, you go and ask. You go and put it in your group and you say to them, “What do you think of this or what do you think of that?” I had a client recently that couldn't decide between two logos. She put it into her Facebook group and asked people what they preferred.

It's a great way of finding out what your community wants from you and what they think of the various things that you offer. Another really good point about a group is that you can decide who can join that group or not. This can be really helpful. Obviously your page is open to the world. One thing that is a modern day issue that we now have is we have internet trolls and people who like to say not nice things on the internet for no good reason. If you have an open page, then obviously anybody can comment or get involved with that page. Whereas with a group, they can't. If you decide to have that group closed, you get to approve who comes into that group or not.

Another good thing about having a group is when someone requests to join, you can actually get them to answer specific questions. For instance, if I bought a product, so I bought a course from Jasmine Star and I'm part of her Facebook group because I bought this course. In able for me to get accepted into the group, I have to give them the email in which I used to register for the course so they could check that I should be in there. Like I said, you can manage the people in there much better. Also, if need be, you can remove people from the group and obviously they can't see the content or interact anymore.

When you create a group, you're creating a community, a following or a tribe if you like. You're encouraging people to be part of that community, to be heard, to have a conversation with. People like that. They like the idea of a group in which they are able to discuss things. Also as I said before with the algorithm changes, you are not likely to see posts that are put on a page, but if you're getting notifications from a group, you're likely to see that. One of the other lovely things about a group is it doesn't just have to be the page owner that is answering the questions or promoting the discussion. Everybody tends to come together to help each other.

For instance, I am in the Social Media Marketing Society group, which is part of Social Media Examiner. I go in that page occasionally and ask questions about has anybody done this and found this or have you used an app that does this or how do I create this. The community come together to answer those questions. In terms of the management of the page, you don't have to necessarily be the one who answers all the questions. Again in bigger groups and as they start to get bigger, you will find that other members jump in and help with answering those questions for you.

I really hope I've given you a little bit of an insight between the differences in a Facebook page and a Facebook group. I don't necessarily want you all leaving pages to open groups because not all pages can be turned into a group. If you have a page for your business, you've got to think why would someone want to join a group? What benefits can I give them? What reason would they want to be in that group? If it's just to promote your business, then the chances are that's not going to be a very engaging group, but if you have something that is supporting people, helping people, adding value, then a group might well be worth it.


A parting word about numbers


Also, as one last final point, but quite an important point, I wouldn't worry about numbers. I wouldn't think okay, I want a group and I want 5,000 people in there. In fact, some of the groups that I'm in that are really big are really unworldly. It's so hard to keep up with the content, to find a post, to communicate with people on a level because they're so, so big. Also, the notification are coming thick and fast, so I often will end up muting them or reducing the amount of notifications I see because I don't want to see them all the time.

For me, I would rather have a smaller group where everybody feels like they can be heard, everybody gets an answer, and they feel like they can get some real value from it rather than just being bombarded with content. I really hope that that's given you a good idea of the differences between a Facebook group and a Facebook page and made it a little bit clearer as to what the benefits and the downfalls are of each. Like I said, for me, the main thing is if you have a page, you can advertise. If you're going to be using Facebook, then one of the main reasons I use Facebook is for the advertising platform.

If you're not going to be advertising, then a group might be perfect for you. Anyway, until next time, have a great week and I will see you soon.