So Facebook can be pretty confusing. In a recent post, we discussed how to create a Facebook group. But did you know that there is something different called a Facebook page? If you want to get your church on Facebook, you will need to decide if you want a Facebook group or a Facebook page. Here’s to helping you decide…

What is a Facebook Page?

A Facebook Page is like a person’s Facebook profile, except it is designed for an organization, not an individual. Facebook Pages can behave like a person–connecting to and friending other people and Facebook Pages.

What is a Facebook Group?

A Facebook Group is a page organized for a common interest or organization in order to promote discussion and interaction among the group members. It looks a lot like a Facebook Page.

What’s the Difference?

According to Facebook, Pages and Groups are for two different purposes: “Groups and Pages serve different purposes on Facebook. Groups are meant to foster group discussion around a particular topic area while Pages allow entities such as public figures and organizations to broadcast information to their fans. Only the authorized representative of the entity can run a Page.”

Facebook Pages lack some of the functionality that Groups have. Most small organizations prefer Groups, since they give a better chance to grow virally and promote tight interaction. Big organizations, one with whom an individual is not likely to feel a close relationship with (think Coca Cola) are more likely to create a Facebook Page.

In two sum-it-up sentences: Facebook pages are to market an organization. Facebook groups are to promote a common interest.

Pros and Cons of a Facebook Page

PROs

  • A Facebook Page is often more welcoming than a group. “Liking” is easier than “joining a group.”
  • A Facebook Page gets indexed by search engines. In other words, if someone searches for “Your Church Name,” a user might find your church’s Facebook Page. Groups, on the other hand, aren’t indexed by search engines.
  • A Facebook Page can host applications–those creative add-ons that Facebook users often feature. Groups can’t do this.

CONs

  • Facebook pages do not allow you to send personal messages to the inboxes of group members. Instead, they allow you to send updates, which appear as the little red alerts when you log in to Facebook.
  • Because it is a “page,” it is less likely to promote interaction and fellowship. “Pages” were created primarily for businesses or celebs to gain a presence and grow their reach on social media. “Groups” were created primarily to generate interaction and discussion. Obviously, the church could use both of these…but which one is better?
  • Facebook Pages cannot host events. True, a Page can create an event and manually invite people from the Page friend list. However, a Page cannot host an event and easily invite all fans with a single click. A Facebook Group is capable of doing this. Considering that most churches are event-oriented, this could be a factor in deciding between a Page and a Group.

(Creating a page is really simple. Just click here and follow the instructions.)

Pros and Cons of a Facebook Group

PROs

  • Facebook Groups gives you tons of control over who gets to join, and how they participate and interact.
  • Facebook Groups are designed to promote a “relationship” feel, giving members a greater sense of inclusion and participation.
  • Because Facebook Groups are an extension of your personal Facebook profile, you can grow faster by directly inviting friends to join through personal messages.

CONs

  • If your Facebook Group grows larger than 5,000 people, you may no longer send personal messages to the inbox of members.
  • Facebook groups offer just a few applications–discussions, photos, videos, etc. Extras don’t work.

The final word is this–Pages are awesome. Groups are awesome. The question to ask as you decide is this: how do you primarily want to use your Facebook presence? If you conceive of your Facebook presence as a marketing tool to gain a gathering and promote a cause, a Facebook Page may be your best option. On the other hand, if you want your Facebook presence to have a closer feel and promote more fellowshipping, you may choose to create a Facebook Group.

What does your church use? Why?

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