Personal Branding Strategy – Facebook Fan Pages vs Groups

posted on September 19, 2009 / IN Facebook / Personal Branding / 2 Comments

FacebookFanPageWhen working with clients I teach a four-step process for using the internet and social media to gain increased visibility for their brand. The first step is to “Create” content and add it to your hub (website) and other sites connected to your hub. The second step is to “Connect” all of the content you have created and create accounts on social networks so you can connect with “Fans”, “Friends” and “Followers.” The third step called “Promote” focuses on your promotion and marketing strategy. The fourth step is “Automation” and involves configuring social media tools in such a way as to put parts of your social media marketing plan on auto pilot, saving you time and money.

One of the most powerful tools you can use to “Promote” your brand is Facebook. A question I often hear almost as often as, “Why should I care about social media?”, is the question: “Should I create a Fan Page or a Group on Facebook?”

The decision to use a Fan Page or a Group is based on many factors. The following differences should help you decide which platform is the best for you as you promote your brand on Facebook.

  1. Both Groups and Fan Pages do not have a limit and can grow to become very large.
  2. Groups are focused on creating a community where people can share and exchange information. Fan Pages are built around a brand identity. Fans are encouraged to engage in conversations around the brand, its messages and unique promise of value.
  3. You can host Facebook applications on Fan Pages but not with groups. Applications can enhance the fan’s experience while interacting with the brand.
  4. Facebook Fan Pages are considered the next step up from groups for business entities. Though they do not allow as much interaction as groups, they work in a similar way to personal profiles and include mini-feeds that list items that are new with the page.
  5. Recently Facebook started allowing Fan Page Admins to add Flash or HTML to their pages (well actually you can add FBML which is Facebook’s version of HTML.)
  6. Pages are listed more prominently on a person’s profile. Your page logo and name will appear in your fan’s profiles. Within groups only the group name appears in the profile. This helps support viral marketing because one of the powerful ways to attract new fans is when someone clicks to browse their friend’s profile.
  7. Within Groups, members can invite friends to join but with Fan Pages, fans have to “Share” your page with their friends. This does take a little more effort.
  8. Unlike with Groups, Fan Pages are visible to unregistered people on the web and are thus indexed and will show up in search engine results such as Google.
  9. With Fan Pages, you gain access to visitor statistics know as ”Page insights”. Insights will give you a post quality score to measure how engaging your content is as well as track your new fans and when they joined.
  10. Fan Pages are generally better for long-term relationships with your fans and building awareness for your brand, while Groups are generally better for hosting active discussions where people interact around a specific topic or cause.
  11. With Groups, any action you take is an extension of you personally and this is reflected by the fact that Facebook stamps those actions with your personal profile identity. Alternately, Pages are given their own identity and any content create is stamped as coming from the Page itself, so that content isn’t linked to your personal profile.
  12. Both Groups and Pages allow you to create related Events. These event updates show up in the user’s upcoming events page on the sidebar if they have RSVP’d.
  13. Ads can be purchased to promote either groups or Pages. Currently, only Pages can leverage the power of social ads that publicize the connection between a Fan Page and its Fans (specific users).

The Bottom Line:
Groups are great for organizing a group of people on a smaller scale for a focused effort such as a cause or project. Pages work better for brands, public figures, celebrities, bands, and businesses that want to interact with their fans, prospects or customers without connecting with them using their personal account, which can cause them to quickly exceed Facebook’s 5,000 friend cap.

By Lethia Owens

Lethia Owens is Branding and Market Domination Strategist. She has earned the Certified Speaking Professional (CSP) designation which is the highest designation awarded by the National Speaking Association. She is ranked #8 among the top 30 brand gurus in the world and she has completed a 6-country tour for her best selling book Your Brand Influence: The Art and Science of Building an Influential Personal Brand. Lethia’s message of reinvention, courage and self-empowerment has inspired audiences on Fox, CBS and NBC affiliate networks.

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    • Kirsten Lewis
      Posted on January 22, 201012:14 pm

      This is so great! I am often trying to explain this to people you did a great job summarizing 😉

      • lethiaowens
        Posted on January 22, 20105:35 pm

        Thanks Kristen. Another point that could be added here is the fact that Group messages sent to members appear in the Messages folder of Facebook and Fan Page messages sent to Fans appear in the Updates folder which is not really ideal. We'll see how long it will take Facebook to address this.

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