In one corner, Facebook Fan Pages, the newbie; has a powerful right-hand hook in creating long term relationships with the crowd. In the other corner, Facebook Groups, the elder one of the two; is well known and is quick on its feet when getting the crowd actively involved in different topics. The bell is about to ring, so take your places and let the battle of the two begin. Not sure at this point, in the viral marketing battle, as to which one is the most effective way to get noticed online? You are not alone. It can sometimes be daunting and confusing in figuring out which is the better choice when launching your brand on Facebook. First, lets take a look at the major differences between the two before diving into the hits and misses of each, to make a more informative decision that best suits what you are trying to accomplish. Let the battle begin...
The Major Differences
The Newbie: Facebook Fan Pages
Facebook Fan Pages were created for official representatives of a particular brand, company etc. They are to be used as the official profiles of businesses and other entities which allows a way of sharing information, like, the latest promotions, products, etc. through status updates. In doing this, it creates longer-lasting relationships between the business and their clients and a larger community based feel. Creators of fan pages, address their fans using bulk updates. This can be an effective way in sharing information with all of the fans, quickly and as a whole. There are no limitations as to how many can be sent or to whom they can be sent to. Status and bulk updates, are great ways to communicate with fans and to make the fan page more interactive and engaging. The creator is also able to appoint administrators to the page which gives them the ability to change and edit where regular members cannot. Fan Pages are automatically set to "public," when first created, which lessens the control over who can or cannot participate. Since they are publicly visible; they can be indexed by search engines. From this, non-Facebook members are able to see the fan page, allowing more exposure.
The Elder: Facebook Groups
Facebook Groups were created for those who want to rally around a particular brand, company, etc. They are to be used more for discussions about particular topics, like, common interests, opinions, causes etc. Creators of groups have more control over who they want to join by choosing which network they want the group to belong to. For example: Public (access to everyone), Private (invites only), etc. this gives a more “Club” like feel. The creator can also appoint administrators, who can then add or remove members and edit the page. Officers can be appointed as well, but in becoming an officer, does not create more privileges then that of a regular member. It only changes the title and displays it on the groups page. Groups can send their information to members using bulk emails. This is a great way to reach all members at the same time and can entice them to participate more within the group. There is a limit to this however, bulk emails can only be sent to 5000 members. After reaching 5000, the ability to send bulk emails is no longer an option which can be discouraging to those who do not want to limit themselves to only 5000 members. Groups are only visible to those on Facebook and thus cannot be seen by the public (outside of Facebook) nor can they be indexed by search engines which gives less exposure.
The easiest way to distinguish their differences is in using this example: If you are a fan of a particular television show like, "The Office", you have the option of joining "The Office" Fan Page that was created by an official representative of that show and not by you (unless you are the official representative) OR you can create one like "The Office" Group to express your love of the show and in wanting to meet others who also enjoy "The Office".
Now let the battle continue...
Facebook Fan Pages vs. Facebook Groups: Hits and Misses
(Click Table For Larger View)
Both are well suited in gaining online presence and in connecting with others, but which one do you use or think is the better one of the two? In now seeing this battle play out, Do you think they are competitors? Or are they to be used for different reasons? If they are competitors, who do you think won the Viral Marketing Battle: Facebook Fan Pages or Facebook Groups?