Facebook Profile, Facebook Group or Facebook Page?

There are three possible options for creating a presence on Facebook, and despite their different purposes and methods, a lot of people still get confused as to which they should be using, whether for their personal or business activities.  Here’s hoping to alleviate some of this confusion with sound advice:

Facebook Profiles

To do anything on Facebook, you need to create a personal profile.  This is about you as an individual, and you have to create it by using your name and date of birth, even if you never intend to use it personally and use it only as a platform to develop Pages and Groups.  You should NOT create a personal profile for your business, campaign or organization: Facebook Help states that:

Facebook profiles are meant to represent a single individual. Organizations of any type are not permitted to maintain an account under the name of their organization. We have created Facebook Pages to allow organizations to have a presence on Facebook. These Pages are distinct presences, separate from user profiles, and optimized for an organization’s needs to communicate, distribute information/content, engage their fans, and capture new audiences virally through their fan’s recommendations to their friends. Facebook Pages are designed to be a media rich, valuable presence for any artist, business or brand.

If you create a profile for your business, your account may be disabled for violating our Terms of Use

Once you have created your personal profile and can log in to Facebook, you can create other presences within the platform such as Groups or Pages.  But, what’s the difference, and which should you go for?

Facebook Pages

Facebook Pages are for businesses, public figures or specific organizations/entities, to create an authentic public presence.  Think of it as an extension or alternative to your regular website.  Like any site it is indexable by google, and visible to anyone by default (although you can reserve certain content for people who opt to ‘Like’ your page).  Anyone on Facebook can connect with a page by liking it, and then interact and receive news from them.

Facebook Pages are about authenticity, and must represent a genuine entity from a credible perspective – only the official owner or representative of a business, public figure or organization, should create a page.  Page administrators have access to a raft of useful functionality, such as visitor insights and statistics, advertising opportunities, and the ability to post to their user’s news feed.  They can also obtain a ‘vanity’ (ie non-ugly) URL to promote externally.  Here is an example of a thriving page, administered by a UK-based research recruitment agency, which is used to send out information about events to their users and to share testimonials and feedback

Facebook Groups

Facebook Groups are a pre-cursor of Pages, and frankly date from an era before Facebook as marketing and profit oriented as it is today.  They are still very useful however, although they serve a different purpose to Pages (or Profiles).  Groups are for sharing – common interests, campaigns, specialist discussions… anyone can create a group, to share anything they like.  For example, if you are a fan of the group Florence and the Machine you can like their official Page here, but you can also join any of myriad fan groups (such as this one) to discuss different aspects of their discography, lyrics, touring, etc.  Groups can be huge, such as those discussing international recording artistes, or tiny, such as one formed as a noticeboard for parents of a local pre-school to share birthday and playdate news.  Groups can be open to all, or closed membership, or even totally secret (such as for planning a surprise celebration).

So, if you’ve gone about things the wrong way, what can you do?  If you have created a group or worse still a personal profile to represent your brand or product, you need to change that to a Page to improve your credibility with your customer base, and also to avoid Facebook enforcing their Terms of Service and arbitrarily closing you down.  Facebook can help with this, as can a Social Media consultant, and there are ways to migrate existing ‘friends’ into your new likes/fans.

If you need help reviewing your Facebook presence and overall Social Media strategy, get in touch with Casslar Consulting for support today.

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