Musings on an Age Old New Media Riddle: Facebook Groups or Fan Pages?

A few weeks ago I was at a dinner where I admitted to working in social media to a gentleman at my table. He was a businessman “experimenting” with different social media strategies for his company, and one of his first questions upon hearing about my occupation was “What’s the difference between a Facebook group and a Facebook page?”

The initial response in my head was, “There’s a difference?”

Technically there’s supposed to be. Pages are for promoting a person, product, or business, while groups are supposed to be for discussion. But I know I’ve seen people use groups to promote things before, even after the introduction of fan pages, and I can also verify that many people, including myself use fan pages for discussion. Actually, I am far more likely to use fan pages for discussion than groups.

Why? Well, for one updates from pages make it into my newsfeed which means I don’t have to go looking for them. But, perhaps more importantly, to quote the second thought that ran through my head that night, “Who still uses groups for anything serious?” Seriously?

Yes, I belong some joke fan pages and ones for childhood TV shows I haven’t cared to watch in nearly a decade such as Doug and Power Rangers (okay, they’re just not on TV anymore so I tend not to think about them as much). And yes, I belong to group pages for products I use everyday, such as Avast. But generally speaking, when I look through what I’m a fan of and what groups I’m a part of, I notice that the former tend to be more business related (Mashable, Lextech Global Services, Lextech Labs), while the latter tend to consist of jokes and vestigial features from my days as a college student.

Now, is this true for everyone? Probably not. Can a business have a successful group page or an unsuccessful fan page? Definitely. But I do think the differences I described above are increasingly becoming the norm.

Oh, and another option is you just combine your company’s Facebook presence with that of it’s CEO like we did.

Check out Rich’s page here.

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