So you’re thinking of establishing more of a presence for your brand or business on Facebook using a Facebook Page or a Group?  I really like what Seni Thomas says in this post, about making Pages more than just another branded product space.  Read this first, then have a glance through my summary thoughts below:

Pro’s of Facebook Pages

  • Search engine friendly. They get indexed and are therefore available to everyone on the web, not just Facebook members.
  • Can add a much wider variety of media, including video, pics, as well as the usual discussion forum, wall, etc.
  • Facebook want you to use these so they give you nice tools for measuring traffic (once you’ve got more than 10 fans).

Con’s of Facebook Pages

  • Activity of fans (which is what your page members are called) is less visible than group activity. It doesn’t show up in the feeds… but it does show the logo and the link and says “I’m A Fan Of…” in the person’s personal profile.
  • You can’t bulk message fans.
  • Psychological reason – I’ve been reading a lot of the forums on this and many people say that they find the word ‘fan’ a little strong.  They want to show they support something, it seems to be more acceptable to say you’re a ‘member’ of a group than a fan of something.

Facebook Groups

Facebook groups can be created by anyone.  You can include a display picture, description, contact information, photos and videos, a discussion board and a wall.

Pro’s of Facebook Groups

  • Can bulk message (up to 1,200) members and the communication goes straight to the inbox.
  • Because groups have an email address, it allows for two-way flow of communication – from your members to you as well as bulk messages out.
  • All activity goes out in the feeds which makes it very viral.
  • When joining a group, it’s got a ‘tick the friends you want to tell’ feature which I think makes it very viral.  Pages only have a pop up box that’s open ended which doesn’t work as well.

Con’s of Facebook Groups

  • There’s minimum opportunity for customisation.  You can’t add apps.  So groups can sometimes look and feel a little dull.
  • Groups are only visible to Facebook members.

Whichever option you choose, be prepared to spend a lot of time working the content to make sure that the space you create isn’t dull.  Think about it – if you click on a group or page and the last bit of activity was a post on the wall back in February 2008, then you’re not likely to stick around!  It takes time, planning, and diligence to work compelling content into your Facebook campaign.  You’ve got to work hard to encourage people to interact with the features.

Overall in my opinion, in most cases there’s no harm in having in both.  I think groups are more viral because they’re more visible in feeds, so they’re good for getting the numbers and for quick sign ups.  Pages are better for long term profiling of your business on Facebook.  They can carry more design elements and so give a better visual representation of your business.

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