The Great Debate: Facebook Fan Pages vs. Groups

October 27, 2009·

With the new re-vamp and new look of Facebook groups, I’m getting this question… a lot: “What’s the difference between a Facebook Group and a Facebook Fan page and why should I use one or the other?” (Many groups have been around for a long time and can no longer be changed into a Fan page… making this a royal pain in the butt for some users. Especially those users in the Guinness Book-1,000,000,000-users-or-something-like-that-group on Facebook). I, personally, prefer Fan pages.

Im on Facebook, too!
I'm on Facebook, too!

Here’s the lowdown/breakdown/411:

FAN PAGES:

  • ALLOW for custom usernames above 25 fans
  • Are BETTER for building a long-term relationship with users and allow for an easier connection
  • CAN send updates to an unlimited amount of users/fans (no set number)
  • CAN create, manage, and publish events
  • CAN send updates to Twitter
  • CAN import blog posts and write notes
  • CAN create an advertisement on Facebook for Fan page
  • All updates, likes, photos, videos, etc. ARE published on Fan’s news and mini feed
  • Easier to put in search
  • You CAN customize/code tabs on Fan pages to better suit your needs

GROUPS:

  • Have ugly URL’s – they don’t allow for a custom URL
  • CAN create, manage, and publish events
  • CAN’T advertise group through Facebook
  • Are BETTER suited for fostering a quick, active discussion, or a cause (they’re not set-up for a really active long-term connection with users)
  • DON’T have note/blog capability
  • CAN’T send updates to Twitter
  • Updates DON’T appear on the news and mini feed of users
  • CAN bulk-invite users (which is harder for pages to do… pages can only “suggest” to users)
  • DOESN’T show up in search engines

Ultimately, in my honest opinion, it’s a matter of comparing red apples with green apples. They’re similar, yet they are still very different. I believe a Fan page really helps to foster a positive connection with users and a particular brand, idea, person, or campaign. Groups don’t foster this type of interaction and atmosphere. I advise you to look at some groups you are a part of and then look at some pages you are a Fan of, what is the difference that you see? Do you see more interaction on the Fan pages or within the group? Let me know what you think.

BTW: Here are some great Facebook Fan Pages (both large and small) that I think are really doing what works and engaging their audience (and I am definitely part of that audience, but regardless, what they are doing is still totally awesome):

  1. Livestrong
  2. Chipotle
  3. Lilly Pulitzer
  4. The Onion
  5. Richmond.com

I hope that helps. At least for now, until Facebook decides to change their layout again… 😉

All for now.