Decoding What Works For Brands: Facebook Groups or Pages

 

Brands definitely "like" Facebook, but do they understand the difference between Groups and Pages?

Ever since Facebook offered us the opportunity to create ‘pages’ and then presented it to all and sundry, a rush of brands have adopted the concept as their de-facto home. But have you ever wondered why that is?

One of the main aims of maintaining a presence on a social platform such as Facebook is to keep fans and followers engaged with the brand. Social media gurus regularly prescribe the extensive use of conversation, for brands to maintain healthy two-way relationship with their consumers. But are pages really the best way to keep a conversation going? A while back, we’d see quite a few goateed, bespectacled, social media people roll their eyes when they heard of someone starting a group for their commercial presence and cried out in anguish – “brands should be on Pages, not Groups; don’t you see?”

True, quite true, however, we do not believe Pages propagate and encourage conversations, and thereby engagement, as much as ‘Groups’ do. To begin with, when a fan posts a message on a page, a single notification is sent to the page admin and the poster’s activity is updated on their wall. Others on the same page, for whom the post may be relevant, aren’t notified of the new post and hence posts on Pages rarely elicit the kind of response they might have received if posted within a Group. A Group, quite unlike a page, notifies all users, both by email as well as standard Facebook notifications, unless explicitly toned down or turned off. This means, every user within a group has an opportunity to respond to every message posted in a group, leading to a very high conversation density, which in turn contributes to a high rate of user engagement.

What about reports and insights, you wonder? Valid point. Facebook has stuffed pages with demographic data, engagement tools and so on in the form of Page Insights. These help page administrators plan their content, observe what works, what doesn’t and repeat successes through the data driven recognition of engagement patterns. All of these are not available on Groups. The good news is, you don’t need them on groups. Given the nature of pages and the inherent difficulty in creating and maintaining conversations on them, a page administrator requires those tools to do any sort of a decent job of keeping things going. A group administrator on the other hand, can visually identify patterns and very easily keep things on track, in a highly engaging fashion, without the use of tools such as Page Insights.

How do we measure demographics and keep our audience targeted, you protest? That’s a valid point too. Remember however, that Page Insights are only a tool to view and monitor demographics. The tool doesn’t do anything to actually maintain or shape the demographic profile of your page. At best one could say, what a Page admin knows about his demographic profile, a Group admin suspects. It’s still possible to keep your group targeted without the use of Insights. If you’re advertising the group, create ads aimed at your target profile through not only the use of Facebook user data matching, but also through the ads visuals and language. Within the group, encourage conversations that have a higher probability of appealing to your target group. If you’re creating giveaways or asking questions, ensure relevance to your target group through the creative framing of statements. Sure, it isn’t as easy as we’re making it sound, but with a little practice, you should see very high levels of engagement, very soon.

 

Written by Sid Khullar for Image Management.

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