Facebook is a great tool for reaching audiences—whether as a business, a blogger, an individual, or an organization. In fact, anyone with a Facebook profile can create a page or a group. But how do you know which one is right for you?
Let’s take a look at the basics of Facebook pages and groups, the differences between the two, and how to choose which one you should use.
What Is a Facebook Page?
A Facebook page is basically a non-personal profile page—such as a profile for a company, brand, organization, or website. You can also have Facebook pages for public figures such as politicians and celebrities. Pages differ from a typical Facebook profile in that they can be run by multiple people, they can be followed or liked by anyone on Facebook, and their posts can be monetized and promoted.
Some of the main features of Facebook pages include:
- Profile information on a brand or company, including a description, contact information, location, and operating hours.
- Posts that can be promoted or boosted with money.
- Analytics tab that tracks follower engagement and post reach.
- An optional reviews feature.
- Messaging functionality which followers can use to talk to the page’s admins.
- Verification functionality to confirm the legitimacy of a page (similar to Twitter’s verified status).
- Posts by the page are prioritized on the landing/homepage.
- Community/follower posts can be accessed via the Community Tab.
- Groups can be linked to the page.
What Is a Facebook Group?
A Facebook group acts as a hub for discussion and sharing information with people who share an interest, location, or other common trait. For example, there are groups for people who work in the design industry, groups for people in the same neighborhood, and groups for people interested in AI technology.
As is the case with pages, you need a Facebook profile to create a group. However, unlike with pages, your personal profile will be visible to group members and you will be listed as an administrator.
Some of the main features of Facebook groups include:
- Basic group info, such as a group description.
- The ability to set group rules.
- Moderating tools for admin.
- Optional short surveys for people requesting to join the group.
- A built-in events calendar for the group.
The Differences Between a Facebook Page and Group
Most of the differences between a Facebook page and group are in their purpose, their privacy controls, and their analytics.
A Facebook page’s purpose is to connect with an audience. As such, it prioritizes the voice and posts of the page. It is not a one-way discussion, since users can still engage with posts. But the page takes the lead—it has control over what appears. Followers have a much more passive role and mainly comment on or react to posts. Community posts are not prioritized and appear in a tab separate to the page’s main tab.
However, a Facebook group exists for discussion and interaction between members. As such, posts from all members can be seen in a group’s main tab.
In terms of access and privacy controls, a page is always public. The only restrictions that can be added are who can post on your community page, who can tag your page, and whether to restrict your page to certain countries. But if you don’t want a page to be viewed publicly, you either have to unpublish it or delete your Facebook page.
On the other hand, groups have multiple levels of privacy. A group can be public (anyone can view and join), subject to admin approval of member requests, or invite-only. This makes them suitable for large communities, but also tiny groups such as a family. Secret or invite-only groups don’t even show up in search results. This is great for people with concerns about your privacy on Facebook.
Finally, analytics are the other main difference. Facebook pages give administrators insights into their audience demographics, post reach, audience engagement, and other analytics.
Groups don’t have any of these analytics features. Only basic information like the member list and a recent activity summary are available.
Facebook Page vs. Group: Pros and Cons
Both Facebook groups and pages have their own set of advantages and disadvantages. This makes them unsuitable for certain situations. We’ve summarized the pros and cons of each, as well as the scenarios that they are best utilized below.
Facebook Pages: Advantages and Disadvantages
Most of the advantages of Facebook pages lies in their marketability, centralized control, and extended reach. For example, you can boost posts so that they appear on the feeds of users who have never interacted with the page before. Furthermore, a page’s admins control what appears on the main feed, so you don’t have to worry about spam or unrelated posts.
Other advantages of Facebook pages include:
- You can promote posts through Facebook’s advertising platform.
- Your ads can be targeted towards certain demographics.
- Facebook does not publicly link admin profiles to the page unless admins manually link themselves.
- You get analytics for your page that become more detailed as your follower count grows.
- You can schedule upcoming posts to publish automatically.
If your goal is promoting a certain brand, Facebook pages have the best tools to achieve this. You can also track your page likes versus followers, since users can now unfollow posts on Facebook.
A few disadvantages of Facebook pages include:
- Pages are public and visible to everyone by default, so they’re not suitable for private use.
- It is easy for users to set up pages which impersonate your brand or company, therefore it may become necessary to go through the verification process.
- Admin inactivity means that your page’s feed will become inactive.
Furthermore, even if you increase your following, your posts may have a limited reach as Facebook wants to incentivize page owners to pay to boost posts.
Who Should Use A Facebook Page?
Pages aren’t very effective for those wanting to create a close-knit network or community. Rather, they are more suitable for those looking to promote a specific company, brand, or organization.
Public figures can also have their own page. Things that a celebrity may share on their Facebook page versus their personal Facebook profile are very different. So, in this situation, a page is somewhere they can promote their message while keeping their personal profile private.
A few other scenarios where you would use a Facebook page include:
- A brand or company promoting their product.
- A website that wants to share content with a Facebook audience.
- A politician who wants to share updates with their voters.
- An organization or non-profit group that wants to share news and announcements with an audience.
Facebook Groups: Advantages and Disadvantages
The main advantages of Facebook groups are the ability to facilitate discussion in a community and privacy controls. However, this comes with a trade-off of the ability to monetize posts or amplify the group’s reach.
Advantages of Facebook groups include:
- More control over the privacy of members and posts.
- The ability to set a code of conduct or certain rules.
- You can kick and ban users who break the rules.
In terms of keeping a group active, the role of the admin isn’t as burdensome as it is when it comes to pages. If you need to be away from your computer for a few days, group discussion can easily continue without you (unless all posts require your approval).
However, Facebook groups aren’t very useful if you want to create ads or sponsored posts. You could technically get a business to sponsor your group, but the insights advertisers usually want to see aren’t available.
Other disadvantages of Facebook groups include:
- Limited reach and limited monetization of content.
- As groups grow larger, moderation may become more difficult.
- Administrators’ personal Facebook profiles are publicly available for members to see.
Furthermore, moderating group discussion can take up a significant chunk of time in some cases. The larger a group becomes, the more you have to moderate. This is especially true for groups which involve discussing more sensitive topics, such as politics or religion. Discussion in these groups can often devolve into online fights and may require administrative intervention.
Who Should Use Facebook Groups?
Groups are best for cases where discussion is the main focus. A group wouldn’t really help you promote your tech business, but a Facebook group for entrepreneurs could help link you to industry peers.
Groups are also great if you want to create a support network. There are a variety of groups on Facebook that help people with issues like chronic pain, mental illness, and rare diseases. In fact, these types of accessible support groups are one of the most positive impacts of social media.
A few other scenarios where a group is useful include:
- Linking members of a neighborhood together to share news, updates, and questions.
- Linking people with a common purpose or interest
- Sharing updates and information in a central hub for people with a personal link, such as family members, friends, or members of the same organizations.
Scenarios That Could Use Both a Facebook Page and Group
There are a few scenarios which could call for both a Facebook page and a group, but these are much rarer. To link a page and a group, you need to be an admin of both. Linking a page to groups is most effective when you want to link a brand to a relevant interest group or community.
For example, an animal shelter may link their page to a group for pet adoptions within a certain region. This way, they can gain an audience and a following for their page posts, but also crowdsource information from group participants.
Meanwhile, a brand such as a TV show may link to a group of their fans. For example, HBO’s Game of Thrones page could choose to link to discussion groups for Game of Thrones fans if they wanted to.
If you run the kind of website that would benefit from user forums, a group can be an easy way to integrate community discussion.
Keeping Your Facebook Pages and Groups Secure
Now that you know the ins-and-outs of Facebook pages and groups, as well as their differences, you should make sure you know how to keep them secure.
With great admin control comes great responsibility. When hackers access your account, they compromise any groups or pages you manage as well. Make sure to read our guide on what to do if your Facebook account is hacked.