We all know that social media is a powerful channel for marketing and outreach. It is a particularly efficient channel since you can do an entire promotional campaign without investing anything into advertising.
For nonprofits with a limited marketing budget, this is a particularly attractive option.
Facebook reigns as the king in this space. Over 1 billion people use Facebook every day! More likely than not, you are one of them. Therefore, most of us are familiar with Facebook for personal use. You sign up, you set up a profile page, and you are good to go.
However, creating a presence on Facebook for an organization requires a whole different playbook. For organizations, Facebook requires you to make a choice: do you set up a page or a group?
Many people get paralyzed by this choice. Not to worry, it is actually a fairly straightforward decision. The choice depends on the answer for this question: >what is your objective?
Pages and groups are fundamentally different. As such, they serve different functions and cater to different objectives.
What is a Facebook Page?
Pages are similar to personal profiles on Facebook. But instead of it being a profile about you personally, a Page is a profile for your organization as a public entity. Once you have your page set, you post updates similar to how you would post updates to your personal profile.
Also similar to your personal profile, people may comment on your updates. Instead of being your “friends”, people follows your page by “liking” your page. Once they’ve liked your page, your posts will show up on their Facebook news feeds.
As you may have noticed in your personal use, not every post will show up on people’s news feed all the time. Facebook uses an algorithm to ensure that everyone’s news feed is always showcasing the most relevant updates.
You can improve your odds by improving the engagement level of your content. Facebook offers Insights to help you with content optimization.
Since pages thrive on updates, as the page owner, you would need a robust content schedule. Similar to personal profiles, you will use a Facebook Page to share news, updates, and announcements about your organization.
For personal profile pages, only your friends will see your updates. Facebook Pages are intended for public figures or organization, and, therefore, are accessible by the public at all time.
What is a Facebook Group?
Groups are something entirely different. While Pages are essentially profile pages maintained and updated by the administrators, Facebook Groups are maintained by the community.
The administrators can set up a Group to have open membership, membership upon approval, or membership by invitation only. Once someone becomes a member of that group, they can start posting to that group. Posts will show up in members’ news feeds.
Group administrators’ role is to moderate the members’ posts and to enforce the rules as needed, not just to create content. Facebook Groups are meant to connect your followers to each other.
Groups are best if you have a lot of expertise within your community, and you would like to provide a forum for your community to connect.
Page vs Group
Whether to start a Facebook Page or a Facebook Group depends on what you’re trying to achieve.
- Do you want to use Facebook to make announcements and updates about your organization?
- Do you want to primarily produce your own content and post updates?
- Do you want to establish an official, public presence for your organization?
If so, you may want to start a Facebook Page.
- Do you have a community who is yearning for a place to connect with each other, to have discussions with each other?
- Do you want your facebook to be mostly populated by member content?
- Do you want to establish a friendly image of your organization to your supporters?
If so, you may want to start a Facebook Group.
In either case, getting your nonprofit active on Facebook will put your name out there and offer your supporters a chance to engage with your cause and gain awareness about your newest initiatives. So get started creating your nonprofit’s account, and get ready to see your supporters become your social media ambassadors.