pr strategy… Facebook Group v. Fan Pages–Never build a group page by Janet Krenn

Go to any professional development seminar and the first thing you’ll hear is, “You can’t ignore social media. Get your company on Facebook.”

Yes do, but for pete’s sake, never build a Facebook Group Page! If you’re looking to build a Facebook presence for your company, use a Fan Page. Looking to build a presence for an association–Fan Page. Facebook presence for your church group or club–Fan Page.

If your company, association, or club is already using a Facebook Group Page, kill it and relaunch as a Facebook Fan Page. That’s what your New Pros Section did this week, and although only time will tell how well it meets our members’ needs, I’m betting the additional functionality will make us better connected than our previous page. In case you’re ever charged with building a Facebook presence, I thought I’d share with you some of the improved functions that only a Facebook Fan Page can provide–Oh, and if you haven’t already, Become a Fan of New Pros!

Fan Pages Send Updates to Members’ Homepages

How well would you keep up with your friends on Facebook if their updates never made it to your homepage? I bet not very well, and unfortunately, no part of a Facebook Group Page will make it to your members’ homepages. Events, wall postings, and discussions will all go unheeded unless you send your members a message. It takes away from time you could be spending developing new and better content. Fan Pages work just like Personal Pages. If you update events, the wall, or any other part of the Fan Page, it will make its way to your fan’s homepage. This means you can save the “message members” function for big announcements that need a little extra attention.

Fan Pages Can Receive RSS Feeds

When you’re working on a multi-layered social media campaign, you could be looking at 4 different networking sites and let’s face it–you need to streamline. A Facebook Fan Page can receive an RSS feed and automatically post new content to your wall as it becomes available. This could be a great tool for promoting a blog or another on-going effort, without having to manually update your Facebook Page everytime.

Fan Pages Allow Apps

Okay, confession time, in the previous paragraph when I said Fan Pages can receive RSS, I was referring specifically to the “Notes” application. But your app options don’t stop there on a Facebook Fan Page. Any box, application, or function you can put on a Personal Page, you can put on a Fan Page. Or if you have the budget, you can higher a developer to build a unique app to spruce up your page and build that coveted brand identity.

Fan Pages Help You Integrate Facebook to Other Online Venues

You may have noticed that in the sidebar of this blog, we have a new Facebook widgit. When you launch a Fan Page, you get the code for this nifty little box. You can add the code to your website, your blog, anywhere that runs javascript, and it visitors to your other online venues can become your Facebook fan just like that!

Fan Pages are User-Friendly

Your wall is the most important part of any Facebook page, but only the Fan Page keeps the wall at the top of the page, where it belongs. Group Pages bury the most frequently updated parts of the page: Discussions are under layers of static text, the wall ends up at the bottom of the page, and events are tucked away in a sidebar. If you want the newest information you post to show at the top of your Facebook page, you need a Fan Page.

Fan Pages Have Analytics

If you need to show your higher ups, or yourself, that your Facebook efforts are successful, know that only Fan Pages provide analytics. A few simple clicks and you can check out fan demographics, page visits, multimedia views and more. You can even export your data into an excel file or a comma separated variables list.

Fan Pages Have It All

Okay, not really! But I’ve found the functionality of a Fan Page to be shockingly superior to that of a Group Page. If you’re considering building a Facebook presence for your group, go for the Fan Page and never look back!

JANET KRENN is the Communications Co-Chair of the New Pros Section. She wants you to know that the opinions expressed in this post are that of her own, and should not be assumed to be the opinions of PRSA or the New Pros Section, although she suspects that they hate Facebook Group Pages as much as she does. Oh, and Janet’s always looking for new contributors to the New Pros Blog. Email janetqs(a) if you’re interested in contributing.