We've had this question come up a lot in recent years as people attempt to navigate the landscape of social media marketing. What is the difference between a page and a group?
We can think about this more in the context of real-life when we think about pages being like a business and a group being like a, well, group. While people might think they function in much the same way, the implications for marketing are vastly different.
" Like a friend's profile, Facebook Pages enable public figures, businesses, organizations, and other entities to create an authentic and public presence on Facebook. Unlike your profile, Facebook Pages are visible to everyone on the internet by default. You and every person on Facebook can connect with these Pages by becoming a fan and then receive their updates in your News Feed and interact with them. " Source
In short, facebook pages are 100% visible to everybody and, more importantly, indexed by google much the same way that a website is. This means that people searching the internet will be able to find your facebook page through google results. It can actually serve as a placeholder for a website if funds are tight. They contain places for all of your contact info and people don't need a facebook account in order to view the content on your public page.
Indexing: the process of adding webpages into Google search.
"While Pages were designed to be the official profiles for entities, such as celebrities, brands or businesses, Facebook Groups are the place for small group communication and for people to share their common interests and express their opinion. Groups allow people to come together around a common cause, issue or activity to organize, express objectives, discuss issues, post photos, and share related content.
When you create a group, you can decide whether to make it publicly available for anyone to join, require administrator approval for members to join or keep it private and by invitation only. Like with Pages, new posts by a group are included in the News Feeds of its members and members can interact and share with one another from the group." Source
Groups, however, do raise privacy concerns. Groups that are labeled as "Public" create a situation where people who post to the group will have their posts seen by their entire friends list. In the context of political groups, this is not always a wise decision as people can be alienated by people's private thoughts and ideas. "Private" groups are still searchable, but the content is restricted to be visible by only members of the group. This is more ideal for organizing local groups. The admins can control who enters these groups, who can post in these groups, and who gets removed from the group. However, it means that people interested in the group content must first join.
So what does this all mean for marketing? Event marketing is one of the most successful uses of public pages. When an event is created on a page, Facebook actually puts it into the events manager and indexes it in search results. This means you can reach an audience much larger than just your page followers as people share the event and even if you purchase a boost for the event.
In contrast, an event created inside of a private group cannot be shared outside of the group and is only available to the members of a group. This makes it ideal for organizing within a group structure but bad for marketing purposes.
To continue with the analogy, a Facebook page is much like the storefront of your business. People can come in and out, inquire about your services, ask for help, find out about local promotions, and talk to people who are responsible for running the business or organization.
A group is more like an employee meeting. Things discussed are not for public consumption and not available to the general public. Posts don't leave the comfort of the building unless you open it up and invite the public in. And who really wants customers at an employee meeting?