If you’re part of an organization or business, or even just an individual with a blog, chances are you know that you need a presence on Facebook. But navigating the best way to share your message on Facebook can be…overwhelming.
This guide will help you understand the two main ways of using Facebook: a page and a group. Here’s what you can expect:
- Top Tools to Use with Facebook
- What is a Facebook Page?
- What is a Facebook Business Page?
- What is a Facebook Group?
Here’s the long and short of it: if you want to share personal information, make a Facebook page. If you want to have one spot to share posts from a business or organization, make a Business Page. If you want a place that people can connect together and have discussions, create a Facebook Group.
Let’s take a look at some of the tools you can use, and then take a deeper dive into the options.
Top 4 Tools To Use With Facebook
If you’re new to Facebook, you might find yourself uncertain about how to approach it. Luckily there are tons of free and low cost tools out there to help you navigate. Here are our favorites.
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- Facebook Business Manager – Business Manager is a Facebook tool that helps you organize and manage your business. You can see all the posts from all pages that you admin, answer messages, see insights, and run ads.
- Canva – Canva is one of my personal favorite tools for social media. It’s an online design tool that has pre-created templates. It’s incredibly easy to create beautiful graphics for your social media posts.
- Fiverr Social Media Freelancers – If you simply don’t have the time and expertise to manage your Facebook presence, Fiverr is a great resource. You can hire freelancers to do social media work at a variety of price points.
- Hootsuite – If you’re managing multiple social media channels, Hootsuite is a great tool to streamline your process. It allows you to see all of your social media accounts in one place, schedule, and post.
What Is A Facebook Page?
If you currently use Facebook as an individual, you are most likely familiar with a Facebook page. This is also called your personal profile, and it’s where you share photos, status updates, videos, etc. You can use it to comment on your friends’ posts, join groups, and (this is important) create a business page or Facebook group. Your personal page is where everything starts on Facebook.
You’ll want to use a Facebook Page when…
- You want to connect with friends and family
- You want to share personal updates and opinions
- You want to join Facebook groups to comment and discuss
As with all of the Facebook options we’re going to discuss, there are pros and cons to a personal Facebook page.
- You need a personal profile to join Facebook at all. It’s a necessity.
- It’s great for staying connected on a personal level.
- This is not an appropriate place to share information or updates about a business or organization. It looks unprofessional.
- It is associated with you as an individual rather than an organization or business.
- You can’t advertise from a personal page.
What Is A Facebook Business Page?
Facebook Business Pages are similar to personal profiles on Facebook, but instead of focusing on an individual person, a Facebook Page focuses on your organization (whether it’s a business, a nonprofit, a special project, or you as a public figure) 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 follow your page by “liking” your page. Once they’ve liked your page, your posts will show up on their Facebook news feeds.
Use a Facebook Business Page when…
- You want to use Facebook to make announcements and updates about your organization
- You want to primarily produce your own content and post updates
- You want to establish an official, public presence for your organization
- You want to advertise
Let’s check out some examples.
CauseVox (hey that’s us!) uses Facebook to share information about upcoming events, share informational blogs, and run advertising campaigns.
Etsy is a popular digital marketplace, and they’ve made the most of their Facebook presence. They share products that are sold on their website, memes, and influencer blogs/videos. One of the things Etsy does incredibly well with Facebook is building a vibe: when you visit the Etsy page you know you’re being marketed to, but mostly you feel like you’re browsing a cool lifestyle blog.
Facebook Business Pages are also for public figures. Check out Markiplier’s page. He’s an incredibly popular Youtuber and influencer. As a public individual, his business page straddles the line of sharing personal updates and promoting his videos and products. It’s all carefully curated to fit within his brand.
Just as with a personal page there are pros and cons here.
- A business page is the one place you can create advertisements on Facebook
- A business page creates a professional looking space for you to share all the important information about your organization or business
- Allows you to create stories, a newer feature on Facebook that Facebook’s algorithm is prioritizing
- You can add a donate button to this page
- As you may have noticed in your personal use, not every post will show up on people’s news feed all the time. Business Pages have to work hard to show up in the feeds of their followers
- It can be difficult to build engagement through a Business Page. The only way followers can connect is by commenting
- If you don’t post regularly, your page can look unprofessional
What Is A Facebook Group?
Facebook Groups are something entirely different from pages. While Business 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 to the public, 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. This means members can share resources, events, ideas, and questions with each other.
Group administrators’ role is to moderate the members’ posts and to enforce the rules as needed, not just to create content.
Use Facebook Groups when…
- Your community has expertise and you want to give them a place to create and share their own content
- You hope to facilitate discussions between community members
- Your community wants an online space that’s for them, and you would like your organization to be the host
One great example of an organization using groups effectively is the Girl Scouts of Northern Illinois. Nancy Ramos managed the group during their Over the Edge fundraising campaign and used it to communicate with their peer-to-peer fundraisers.
Every week, she posted to a private Facebook group for fundraisers and also emailed them the content. She gave them graphics and text to share on social media, along with campaign updates and fundraising tips.
Participants in the challenge also posted their own questions, tips, stories, photos, and more, encouraging event participants to engage with one another.
For the Girl Scouts of Northern Illinois, a Facebook Group was the perfect fit to help foster a community between their event participants.
Minnesota Cosplayers is another example. This is a public group. Users share updates on their costumes, ask questions, and get advice. It’s a great example of how groups can be used when there’s a lot of community knowledge.
Pages can be for all kinds of things. There are fan pages for media, joke groups, and groups for memes. Homes for Flame Point Siamese is an example of a very specific niche interest: it’s a place for people to post available Siamese and others to look for cats to adopt.
Groups have a very different purpose than pages, so they’ll have a very different set of pros and cons.
- Anyone can post and share content: you don’t have to do all the work to create content
- It can help group members find resources, information, or items
- You can be incredibly creative: groups are a great way to explore new projects or ideas
- Anyone can post and share content: it can be a lot of work to moderate and ensure that everyone is behaving kindly, keeping on topic, and following group guidelines
- If your community isn’t engaged, the group won’t have any content
- A group won’t give you a place to advertise, share information about your organization/business, or promote events and products
The good thing about Facebook is that you’re not locked in to one choice. Feel free to experiment and try pages and groups to find what works best for you.
This post was originally published January 2016 and has been updated for accuracy and insights on June 2021.