Many social media experts advise all organizations regardless of size or type to start with a business page. I disagree! If you own a small business with a small marketing budget, if you are new to facebook, if your business relies on your personal brand, if you hold many events, or if you run a non-profit, a business page might not be for you.
Facebook Groups are “for members of groups to connect, share and even collaborate on a given topic or idea”. The biggest features of groups are the ability to limit membership to specific consumers and the messaging feature.
Facebook Pages “allow entities such as public figures and organizations to broadcast information to their fans.” Facebook has steadily been increasing the ability for businesses and other organizations to interact and engage with consumers using this platform.
Personal profiles are designed for individuals they “represent individuals and must be held under an individual name”.
The causes application is a tool non-profit organizations can use to interact with their constituents. This powerful platform allows non-profits to solicit donations, signatures for petitions, and raise awareness about their cause.
As you are deciding where to focus your marketing efforts, check out the information below and take a moment to think about what features would be most beneficial to your organization and where you want to focus your efforts. If you are a non-profit and your primary goal is to raise awareness, a business and causes page might be your best option. If you are a real estate agent, and your goal is to use facebook to meet and keep up with contacts a personal page would the best choice. If you manage a business and are looking to expand quickly consider opening a business page and utilizing its marketing features. Still unsure? New Media Builder can work with you to determine your objectives and develop a social media plan built around your needs. Contact us to help you get started!
Let’s review the pros and cons of the different profile types to find what format might work best for your organization:
1. Search Engine Optimization
Facebook business pages are the best in terms of search engine optimization. Both pages and groups are visible to unregistered users and therefore indexed by search engines like Google. This will make it possible for more customers to find you online.
One important factor to consider when choosing Facebook platforms is the method of invitation for soliciting friends, fans, or supporters. Facebook profile users are able to send a friend request these are more often confirmed than any other invitation. Invitations to become a fan or member of a Group of Business Page are sent as requests. Many people receive several of these requests a day and they are often ignored. The cause application will send a message and a request to the user which can be further specified as a general, donation, or petition request.
3. Stream Publishing
One of the most powerful features of Business Pages is stream publishing. This allows these pages’ updates to appear in fans newsfeed. Administrators also have access to post insights displaying the number of views for each post. These insights are only available with Business Pages.
4. Targeted Streaming
Another benefit of both the business page and profile page is the ability to target your posts to a specific audience. Profile pages allow you to determine which friends list your posts will be visible to. Business pages allow you greater targeting capabilities allowing you to stream posts based on language or location.
One great option available for non-profit organizations is the Causes application. Individuals can create pages for the organization of their choice. This application makes it very easy to set fundraising, membership, or signature goals to encourage participation amongst members. An added feature is the birthday request tool enabling members to request a donation to their cause in honor of their birthday from their friends and family.
One major drawback of business page accounts is that they are unable to send mass messages. Personal profiles allow you to send messages to friends or friend lists, groups allow mass messaging up to 5,000 members, and the causes application allows messaging through their petition/donation requests feature.
Insights is a really powerful tool only available to business page administrators. This provides demographic information on fans, details on the number of view, likes, and comments on posts. The causes application also provides limited demographic information on users and donations provided.
For those looking to determine whether or not groups or Pages will more effectively serve their needs, we’ve decided to highlight the various features that the two products have and how they differ from one another. After reading through this guide you should be able to make a decision about which product will best serve you.
9. Vanity URLs
Only profile accounts and business pages enable the creation of vanity URLs or shortened URL links. This enables easier sharing and promotion of your page. For example, instead of sending people to facebook.com/skj3027923/in23723/3729 you could simply tell them to facebook.com/yourbusiness.
Groups and facebook pages can purchase promotional ads. However, business pages are able to utilize social ads that promote the connection between a Page and a specific user. This will show the viewer which of their friends is also already a fan of the business which has been shown to be more effective.
11. Posting Privacy
Business pages allow administrators posting privacy concealing the identity of individuals updating the page. Groups, profiles, and cause pages will display the names of group administrators. As well, any posts or messages sent from these organizations will display as being sent from an individual rather than from the company.
12. Limited Growth
Profiles are limited to 5,000 fans while business pages and cause pages can have unlimited member. Groups can have unlimited members, but features such as messaging are limited after the 5,000th member.
Facebook’s Terms and Conditions limit the use of profile and group pages. Friending and Messaging are reserved for personal use only and may not be used for business promotions. Many small businesses ignore these restrictions to utilize these privileges. However, these businesses risk being kicked off of Facebook, losing all of their content and contacts. Membership Restrictions
14. Restricted Membership
Facebook groups are the only formats which allow administrators to restrict access. Groups can be open (accessible to everyone), closed (searchable but members must be approved before joining), or secret (unsearchable and accessible by invitations only).
Business pages, like profiles, allow users to take advantage of applications. This enables infinite customization options for your business page. You can create custom tabs, custom landing pages, and more.