Most people who run a club or community of some description realise that they really should have some kind of presence on Facebook. But what kind of presence? Is it a “page” you need, or a “group”? What is the difference?
Pages are for broadcasting
If your organisation has a “page”, then this is a structure with a few editors and admins behind the scenes of the page, publishing posts that are sent out to everyone who “likes” the page.
If someone wants to talk to the admins of the page, they have to send a message to the page, and then the admins may answer the message through the page. If someone who is not an editor wants to talk to other people who “like” the page, then it may not be possible, since only the page admins can publish the posts that are broadcast to people.
Pages are good for making posts that show up in peoples’ feeds, without anyone having to visit the page directly. You can also buy advertising with pages, so that your page or post will be shown to people who may not know anything about the existence of your club or community, which can be an excellent way to reach potential new members.
Pages are useful for being the official Facebook presence of a particular organisation, and for providing information to people in the club or community. They are not particularly useful for discussion or for building social ties between members of the club or community.
Groups are for discussion
If your organisation has a “group”, then this is a forum where members can talk with each other very easily. There are group admins and moderators, who can permit new members or ban troublemakers, but anyone in the group can start or contribute to discussions.
If anyone wants to post in the group, then they can do so, as long as they are a member. Some groups even allow non-members to post or to comment. Other groups may require moderators to approve a post before it becomes visible, but even so, it is easy for anyone to begin or to join a discussion.
Groups are not particularly good for showing up in members’ feeds. For people to see the discussions in a group, people usually have to visit the group directly.
Groups are useful for fostering a sense of community, belonging, and social ties within your club. They are not particularly good for broadcasting information into the great void of Facebook, and are much better suited to discussions between members.
Many clubs and communities use both a page and a group on Facebook, for achieving different goals. The page is the official representation of the organisation and is used to broadcast information and to find new members for the club. The group is used to build social ties between club members, and to facilitate discussion.
An organisation that understands the difference between pages and groups, and that uses them appropriates to achieve sensible goals, can have considerable success as a direct result of this knowledge and application. This success can be multiplied by intelligent use of a well-made website, but more on that in a future article!
If you would like some more in-depth advice on these issues, please contact me, and I would be more than happy to offer some consultation at a very reasonable rate.
Keith Farrell teaches HEMA professionally, often at international events (why not hire me to teach at your event?), and has an interest in coaching instructors to become better teachers. I teach regularly at Liverpool HEMA, and help behind the scenes with running HEMA in Glasgow at the Vanguard Centre.