Facebook Group or Facebook Page? Time to decide... now.

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Facebook Decision

There's an issue people raise constantly in my seminars and workshops, in a conversation that usually goes something like this:

Them: "Should we have a Facebook Group or a Facebook Page?"

Me: "Well, Facebook wants you to use Pages for organizational profiles, and Groups for small group collaboration..."

Them: "You see, we've had a Facebook Group for a few years now, and it does really well. Will Facebook convert it to a Page for us?"

Me: "Funny thing: when they introduced Pages, they told people they'd take requests to convert existing Groups. But after keeping a lot of folks on a waiting list for months, they abruptly announced they wouldn't switch any more Groups."

Them: "So what do we do?"

Me: "Well, either live with your Group - and its shortcomings - or create a new Page, and post messages to your Group's members, asking them to Like the Page. Some will come over; a lot probably won't. You can also maintain both simultaneously for a while, but that can be a lot more work, and you're diluting participation."

Them: "Geez, those choices kind of suck."

Me: "Yes. Yes, they do."

Well, for those who haven't jumped to Pages yet, Facebook is now arguably making the situation a little easier: you're about to be pushed.

Facebook is "archiving" Groups created under their old process, and converting them to the new-style group feature. They'll port over your content... but your group's members will all be kicked out:

Keep in mind that the new groups format was designed to help you share with the small groups of people in your life. If you’ve been using your old group to promote your business, we recommend you create a Page instead. Learn more about the differences between groups and Pages.

(By the way, there is no FAQ to explain Facebook's rationale in capitalizing "Pages" but not "groups".)

So my advice to pretty much everyone now is to start a Page as their organization's Facebook presence. And if you've been relying on a Group until now, this is the time to start gently prodding your members to move over to the new Page:

  • Message your Group's members (yes, Facebook uses "message" as a verb). Let them know you'll be wrapping things up on the Group, and direct them to the address of the Page.
  • Post similar messages...
    • to your Group's wall
    • in any active discussions.
    • in the Description field for your Group's "Info" tab
  • Send a follow-up message every week or so.
  • As soon as you have enough Likes on your new Page, be sure to claim a username for it.

And, of course, promote your new Page on your organization's blog. (Social Signal's is right hereAnd my cartoon's is here. See how easy that was?)


Robyn McIntyre says

June 7, 2011 - 11:44am

Wow. Good information. Not surprised there's no FAQ for what the thinking was at FB - sometimes I think the decisions there are made primarily on intuition and impulse. Luckily we have people like you and John Haydon to keep us informed.

Rob Cottingham says

June 8, 2011 - 4:42pm

Thanks, Robyn! Being mentioned in the same breath as John is pretty much the best thing that's happened today. :)

Carolyn WInter says

June 16, 2011 - 8:58am

Hi Rob - thanks sooooo much for this great explanation. I must admit I find the whole FB confusing but this at least helps. I gather I should keep a personal account and then start a page for my online business related connections.

I may just have the strength to look at this again!

Totally love your cartoons.

All the best,


Brittany at Sprout Social says

July 1, 2011 - 1:55pm

Great explanation! I know it's confusing for a lot of business owners to figure out the difference between a Facebook group and a page, but once they make the leap, they'll really be able to grow their Facebook following!

To get your fans to move from the group to the page, I always think it's nice to offer a little incentive - like a coupon for a free sample or $5 off their next purchase. They'll be more likely to make the move and stick around to see all of your engaging posts!

John Murphy says

July 18, 2011 - 4:29pm

I have always used Pages instead of Groups. It's way less complicated than Facebook Group. I think Groups are the right option when you are seriously trying to build a community within Facebook boundaries, whereas Pages are an awesome marketing tool that can create pull into another web property. One thing is sure, this will indeed increase you company's following.

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Sandeep says

August 11, 2011 - 5:03am

Thanks for lot for this information. I know it becomes quite difficult to manage both Group and page at the same time. For a single organization, you can have a single update to do on facebook and it is I think not a good idea to post both on fan page and group as well. I have created both but it is difficult to manage and  I think in near future I will keep the one only.

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