Pros and Cons of Facebook Groups vs Pages

facebook group vs facebook page

In my previous post I mentioned that the Artists for Japan fundraising initiative switched from a facebook group to a fan page. Now you may be asking yourself what the difference is between a group and a page and why we would risk losing our following by moving. At the time of the move the group had well over 700 members! Well, we weighed our options and the pros of using a facebook page happened to outweigh the disadvantages.

Let’s compare facebook groups to facebook pages from our experience:

Facebook Group

Facebook Group

Pros:

  • In a group all members can directly add their friends to the group using a link in the right side bar. The group grew in leaps and bounds as each new member added their friends who they thought would like to donate art or bid on the art. It’s possible that our cause may not have gone viral as quickly if we had not used a group to start it out. In just 10 days we grew to over 700 members!
  • On a group wall the post with the most current comment appears at the top. When you go to a group wall, you are always in the thick of the action. It’s easy to see where the conversations are happening. It was fun to see some of the bidding wars and this group feature allowed us to watch the action as it happened. Without this feature we may not have been aware of much of the activity happening on the wall.
  • When you belong to a group you can add the group to your left side bar on your home page which makes it very easy to access. No searching around to find the group.

Cons:

  • When you join a group you are automatically ‘signed up’ for email notifications for all posts and comments. This can be very overwhelming, especially when the group is growing in leaps and bounds and you aren’t sure how to turn off the emails. PS if this ever happens to you, it’s easy to remedy, just go to the group page, click the ‘edit settings’ button on the top right, and you can choose which if any emails are sent to you.
  • In a group all members can directly add their friends to the group using a link in the right side bar.This means that people can be added to the group without even knowing anything about it. If they aren’t sure why they are added, there’s a possibility that it could feel like spam.
  • Since the posts are constantly changing order (the post with the most current comment appears at the top) it is hard to keep track of posts and find the auction items when needed
  • It’s hard to find the group if you aren’t already a member
  • There are no links for the Photos so you have to click on a photo and then scroll from there
  • On a group the admins can only comment as themselves so it is difficult to show official posts
  • it’s difficult to share photos because there is no share link (you have to manually copy and paste the URL from your browser)
  • the share button for the group is at the very bottom of a group wall so you have to scroll down, waaaaay down, to find it

These points are only gathered from my personal and recent experiences and are not intended to give a full overview of facebook groups. To read more about how groups work and find out if a group is right for you, read this informative article (including a video) from Mashable.com: New Facebook Groups.

Facebook Page

Facebook Page Banner

Pros:

  • Pages are public and easier to promote.
  • You can set up a short URL for your page such as ours: http://facebook.com/artistsforjapan
  • You can create photo albums
  • You can toggle from Top Posts to Recent Posts
  • There are quick links in the left side bar for Info, Photos, Notes, Events
  • Admins can comment as the page profile or as their personal profile thus distinguishing official wall posts from personal ones
  • With new pages you can now receive notifications for page activity!
  • Non-admins will NOT receive emails. Yahoo! (and for the admins of a page it is easy to turn off notifications, just go to edit page and click on Your Settings
  • When you login as a page admin, you can spread the love and create awareness for your page by
    • ‘liking’ other pages as your page profile
    • comment on other facebook pages as your page profile
  • There is a share link for every photo so it’s easier to post the art for auction on your personal profile
  • You can make a profile banner for a Page (you just can’t control the order of the pics like you can on your personal profile)

Cons:

  • It will take longer to get established since the page will grow organically as people must opt in manually by clicking the ‘like’ button
  • Facebook took away the ‘suggest to friends’ link on pages, so it’s not as easy as it used to be to promote a facebook page

I’d love to hear your thoughts. These observations are from my experience only, so please let me know what your experience has been and if you have anything to add. Thanks!

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Filed under: Marketing, Tips.

7 Responses to “Pros and Cons of Facebook Groups vs Pages”

  1. Frithjof says:

    Artists For Japan was my first bigger Group project> Because it grew so quick I found it hard to keep up.
    There are more options to customize Pages and it’s easier to present in a easy to use manner.

    Both options offer the possibility to connect with others without sharing your personal information.

    Thanks Kendra! I hope you don’t mind if I share your blog post on my Facebook page
    Frithjof

    • Kendra says:

      Hi Frithjof! Thanks for replying and I agree that it was hard to keep up. All of the organizers such as yourself amazed me with the auction, especially at the end when it was part live and you had to update all the online entries. Wow!

      Thanks for adding to my post and I would be honoured if you shared it on your page. Thank you!
      Kendra

  2. Teresa says:

    Excellent post! Thank you for summarizing this experience succinctly! These are important differences that are good to know before launching a new campaign.

    I, for one, found there was just too much noise on the group and opted out within the first day. I’ve never much liked being signed up for anything without my consent. :-)

    Off to like the new Page right now…

    Hugs and butterflies,
    ~Teresa~

    • Kendra says:

      Hi Theresa, Thanks for commenting!

      I have to admit that I actually left the group the first day too. I was wondering where all those emails were coming from and I didn’t know how I ended up on the group, so I ‘un-joined’ myself (even though that’s not a word).

      The next day I realised what the group was actually about and I asked to rejoin, I edited my settings so that I wouldn’t receive any emails, and I uploaded a piece of art for the auction.

      I’m really happy that the group has moved to a page now. It’s a lot more user friendly and appropriate for what we are trying to achieve.

      Thanks for ‘liking’ the new page! You rock! :)

      Kendra

  3. Sea says:

    I don’t think either is a perfect option and unfortunately you need to make a choice when you don’t really know the facts. If you switch from one to another you can’t just take your friends or fans with you, or at least I haven’t found a way. But then I just found an online shop on Facebook and I didn’t think that was possible either.

    It remains to be seen if a page can create the same excitement as a group and we will find that out during the next auction closing May 2nd.

    This article has lifted the fog a little and for that I’m exceedingly grateful. I’m still thinking it is better to do it the way you did, starting with a group and then switching to a page when you have a good base. So you maybe you did right without understanding that you were.

    I would like to know if there is a way to allow people to see photos and yet prevent them from downloading them in either a group or a page because as artists and writers copyright is important and if people freely download your work it is taking money straight out of your pocket and food off the table.

    Unfortunately the operators of Facebook make decisions based on what makes them the most $ and gets the largest market share not what is convenient for the user. I suppose you can’t blame them for that.

    • Kendra says:

      Thanks for commenting, and you have a lot of good points.

      I agree that it’s very difficult to choose and even when you read the definition of what each feature does it’s really hard to know exactly how it behaves until you are using it. It’s too bad that it’s not easier to bring your friends or fans with you, that’s for sure, but I suppose that would cause it’s own kind of confusion too.

      I don’t think we’ll see the same kind of growth or frenzy on the page that we did with the group (at first), but I think that the page will have other advantages such as a higher quality audience, and what I mean by that is that each person on the page chose to be there and has an interest in what we are doing as opposed to hundreds of people who were added to our group by one of their friends. And when people are interested, they will promote our page on their profile, blogs, websites, and in the news. It will really grow as the word gets out.

      No, there isn’t a way to prevent people from downloading your photos from your group or page. In my opinion, the best thing you can do is to upload small (ie 400x600px) low quality images that are just nice enough to look good on screen, but they turn to pixelated mush if you try to enlarge it or print it out.

      The good news is that facebook automatically optimizes your photos for web use so (as long as you don’t click the higher quality button when uploading) then your uploaded pictures will be at screen resolution.

      I think that the benefits of having your pictures online far outweigh the risk that someone might download them. You can get a lot more exposure from facebook that you can from a photo album at your art studio. :)

      Here are some articles on this issue:

      “The Good and Bad of Facebook’s Photography Service”
      by Virtual Photography
      http://virtualphotographystudio.com/photographyblog/2010/03/the-good-and-bad-of-facebook%E2%80%99s-photography-service/

      “The Problem with Stealing” by Robert Genn
      http://clicks.robertgenn.com/problem-with-stealing.php

      “Signing your Work” by Robert Genn, Quote from Jennifer Bellinger:
      “For copyright protection purposes signing the front makes it easily visible to would-be copyists”
      http://clicks.robertgenn.com/html/archive.php?clickback=sign-artwork.html&id=596

      “How to Use Facebook to Promote your Photography Business” (can also be applied to art)
      by Virtual Photography
      http://virtualphotographystudio.com/photographyblog/2010/04/how-to-use-facebook-to-promote-your-photography-business/

      Kendra

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