Facebook: Fan Page vs Group

“Should we create a Fan Page on Facebook or a Group?”

I have been asked this question several times by clients and thought it was time to put this into perspective.


Facebook originally started out with groups. Groups are for small group communication and for people to share common interests as well as express their opinions. Groups allow you to set join permissions to:

  • The general public
  • A specific network (such as a location, university or employer)
  • No one, aka, closed. In this case users need to request to join.
  • Secret where the administrator has to send out invites.

Groups have an administrator who manages discussions, updates, posts, etc. Administrators can also promote members to “Officers” who are nominally in charge, but do not have authority to administer the Group.

Similar to Pages, new posts within the group are visible on members profiles’ news feed.

Fan Page

Facebook launched their Fan Pages in late 2007 when they realized that people were trying to connect with brands, public figures and businesses.

Unlike a friend’s profile, these pages are visible to everyone within the online community by default. Everyone using Facebook can connect with someone’s Fan Page by “Liking” it. In other terms, you are opting in to receive this Page’s updates within your profiles’ news feed and in turn can interact and engage with the brand, public figure and/or business.

You can add as many administrators as you like. Administrators speak on behalf of the brand, public figure or business when posting status updates, replying to fans and managing the Page.

These “Likes” are visible in each person’s profile, under the “Info” tab. Facebook recently also rolled out yet another feature allowing you to see common likes you have between friends.

How do I know which one is right for me?

At the end of the day, your business needs to determine its objectives and core purpose for using Facebook before deciding which feature is right for them.

A few more things to keep in mind before making up your mind:

  • Pages are designed to host applications which in reality allow more personalization and customization where Groups cannot.
  • When you post an update to your Group, it appears to be coming from your personal profile. Whereas with Pages, the post comes from the Page itself and is not linked to you personally.
  • Facebook Pages are indexed by search engines such as Google & Bing and in turn appear in search results. While Groups do not.
  • Groups allow Administrators to send their members messages (provided they are under 5,000 members) that appear in their inbox. Page Admins can on the other hand, send updates to their fans directly through the page and these updates appear in the “Updates” section of fans’ inboxes. Pages do not have a limit on how many fans you can send to.

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