The showdown… Facebook Pages vs. Facebook Groups.

One day long ago, Manchester FoE set up a Facebook group. The Queens and Kings of MFoE discussed moving to a page one day, but we didn’t. The end.

…or is it? I reopened the debate at MFoE a few months ago, and decided to wait, as new FB groups were launched in October-ish. The new groups turned out to be a lot like the old ones really. Most of the posts out there on the interweb conclude that Groups are better for teamwork, Pages are better for organiations, like this good one from the PR firm Saxum. I agree wholeheartedly, but for our group to decide, I was tasked with making a side by side comparison of the two.

Group

Page

How users find out about a post

A notification in the top nav bar. This notification can be turned off (and may not even be turned on by default). Users must click on the link to see what the post is.If users have notifications turned off the only way they can see an update is by a small number on the left hand panel, which may not even be visible (see below). Users get to see the post in their main news feed. This shows popular posts at the top, so users may not see it if it has not been popular. However if it is shown, the post appears on the front page without users needing to click through to another page.

Visibility

Visible on the left hand side in the middle of the page. If users are in several groups they may need to click “more” to see it.Non-members have to be logged in and have to search in the top search bar to find it so they can become members. Visible on the left hand side about ¾ of the way down. If users are in several groups may need to click “more” to see it.Pages also appear in Google search – users don’t need to be logged into Facebook to see our posts, group info, pictures, documents, etc.

Media/Documents

Pictures, videos and documents can be added by default. Various plugins can be added, so Flickr pictures and YouTube videos can be uploaded automatically, file sharing, PDFs, PayPal (so could possibly sell membership on Facebook?), and more…

Privacy

All users must be approved to use a group, and any admins can approve this. Anyone can post to the group wall or send a message. People can be blocked by admins if they are abusive.  You can make groups private so only members can see information but we have it set to open, so any logged in user can see it.Once people become members, they can see all previous posts.Members can see a list of all the other people who are members of the group. People who are not fans cannot see members’ posts. Once people become fans, they can see all previous posts.Fans cannot see who else is a fan of the page.Users can be blacklisted so they cannot comment or post, and there is also a swearing filter which can be set to different levels.

Other

MFoE is already running group with 200+ members. Moving over to a Page may lose some people.People can have a group chat while in the group which can be initiated by any member (whether that is desirable with 200+ members I don’t know…!) Can add links to other like-minded pages, e.g. National Friends of the Earth, Young FoE, Unicorn, etc.Possible to advertise the page with Facebook adverts.Options to upload a spreadsheet of email addresses which will send an invite to them.

Usage information

None Shows how many people click which links and become fans and at what time

Integration

Not well supported. Posts to a group must be from an individual user, so automatic updates (say from WordPress or Twitter) must be an update from “Joe Bloggs” as opposed to being from MFoE. Potentially the group can be updated by email but this didn’t seem to work when I tested it. Very well supported. Many WordPress plugins allow integration out of the box, with various different purposes. People can become a “Fan” of the Facebook page without even visiting the page by clicking a Like button on the website. It can also mean the page can be auto updated from WordPress / Twitter, 2-way discussions and comments between the website and Facebook, and much more.

Branding

None. Customisable page to look how you want it to (although this requires some effort)You can also ‘login’ as MFoE, so when you post an article you are posting it as MFoE, not as yourself.

Administration

Can block/allow users in the group, notifications of posts by email or at the top of Facebook. Notifications of new fans and posts, options about which posts are displayed to users by default, can be hidden at any time, can create a custom Facebook url, and more.

 

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