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Mariana Santiago on March 3, 2021 (last modified on March 2, 2021) • 17 minute read
Should your brand use a Facebook group or a Facebook page to optimize engagement and drive up revenue? We’ve polled a large group of experts to help you decide which of these two Facebook features is best for your business’s needs.
Take a peek at what we’ll discuss:
A Facebook page is essentially a Facebook profile for a brand, a nonprofit, a public figure, or some kind of operation that the public interacts with on a transactional level or on the fanbase level – “business” might be a more appropriate term here than “operation”, but not all organizations or beings eligible for the Facebook page treatment fall neatly into the “business” category.
Think of it like this: remember Citizens United vs. FEC, a landmark Supreme Court case heard in 2010 in which the majority of the Court decided that corporations were in fact, people? Imagine if every corporation, immediately after getting wind of that ruling, decided to head on over to Facebook.com to make themselves a Facebook profile.
However, corporations aren’t quite people – for one thing, you never hear about corporations catching a cold or getting dumped by their girlfriends! Instead of having Facebook profiles, like actual humans, corporations have Facebook pages that Facebook users can “like” instead of “adding as a friend”.
Pages are sort of like Facebook profiles: you can post videos and images to a Facebook page profile just like on a Facebook profile timeline; and fellow Facebook users can post on a page’s timeline just like they would a friend’s profile timeline – but it’s not quite a Facebook profile, just like corporations are not quite humans.
Facebook groups, on the other hand, are where the actual humans of Facebook go to congregate. Reminiscent of early to mid-2000’s forums, Facebook groups encourage discussion by allowing any group member to post to the timeline – where any other group member can comment on that post.
Facebook groups come in three varieties: secret, private, and public. Depending on how embarrassing the niche your Facebook group happens to be, you can elect to have your group’s post as visible or as hidden as those three options will allow.
Editor’s note: Need a dashboard allowing you to see how your Facebook ad efforts are affecting your community-building attempts? Download this Facebook Pages & Facebook Ads: Engagement Summary dashboard template now!
You may want to create a Facebook page for your brand if you’re looking for an outlet to make announcements regarding your business instead of a place to foster discussion about your business’s offerings and how to best take advantage of them.
If your fanbase is a little too vocal – and perhaps a tad too vulgar – consider using a Facebook page for your brand, as you’ll have tighter control as to what appears on your Facebook page than you would as to what appears in your Facebook group.
If your business offers a complicated product to consumers – the type of product that has a steep learning curve, but provides a lot of value once you master its complexities – you might want to use a Facebook group to advertise your brand.
Community and conversation are the benefits of starting a Facebook group that takes off: you’ll see people talking about your brand and reap the benefits of getting that honest feedback in real-time.
According to the data we gathered, a lot of companies use Facebook groups, and they either have their own FB group or participate in other relevant FB groups.
When we take a look at the data, we can see that business owners are somewhat divided between Facebook pages and Facebook groups.
But, when it comes to where they engage more as consumers, we can see that Facebook groups are a bit more popular.
Still confused as to whether you’d be better off starting a Facebook group or a Facebook page for your brand?
As a GIF picturing a little girl shrugging once told me, “…why not both?”
However, if you’re really hurting for time and energy, it may be better to decide between creating a branded Facebook group or a branded Facebook page and focusing your limited resources there.
Never fear: we’ve collected advice from a group of experts who’ve got opinions on whether it’s best to use a Facebook page or Facebook group to advertise your brand.
The experts who feel that Facebook groups are the way to go for brands like yours had 3 major reasons for supporting Facebook groups over Facebook pages.
Facebook groups are where large clumps of people interested in the same subject go to talk about it. Simple as that. And what’s another word for “large clumps of people interested in the same subject”? Yeah, we can shorten that phrase to a single word: community.
Noemie’s Yuvi Alpert writes, “Facebook Groups are better for brand engagement because they allow for a stronger sense of community-building.
It allows members of the group to participate in discussions and create posts while giving brands the ability to moderate what is being said on their page. You can make the group public so it is still discoverable. While Facebook pages can be useful for dispensing information, they won’t do much for your brand engagement or brand identity.
If you want people to create an emotional attachment to your company, thus making them more loyal to your brand, Facebook Groups are the way to go.”
Tiffany Lewis from More Meaningful Marketing adds, “In my opinion, Facebook Groups are a much more impactful way to drive brand engagement and engagement in general.
First, algorithms don’t heavily favor organic business pages, so advertising can help boost presence, but not necessarily engagement. With Facebook groups, you have a relevant audience who has opted in to being in your space.
You can also gate your Facebook group for emails and build a well-thought-out conversion strategy. The key here is not to get sucked into the numbers game. A solid content strategy in a group can create quick conversions in my experience.”
As a marketer, you want to create a community around your service or product – you want people to identify with your brand, to purchase from you not just because you’re the best widget-maker in town (although we’re sure you are!), but because they see themselves as the type of person who buys their widgets from your store. Customer loyalty leads to customer retention…and customer retention leads to profitable companies.
Sparkr Marketing’s Wendy Margolin writes, “Facebook groups are key to supporting your audience and getting them to engage with you and your brand. If you run a group well, you can post a question in a Facebook group and expect to get immediate engagement.
With Facebook pages, these days you mostly have to pay to play. Even the very best posts get little to no engagement without spending some ad money to ensure your audience sees it.
I recommend having a Facebook page with consistent organic and paid content. Then, you can create a group that’s affiliated with that business page.”
Mostly Blogging’s Janice Wald contributes that, “In my experience, using Facebook groups is far more effective than using Facebook Business Pages.
Getting to know people better in these groups boosts the trust value needed for people to become your customers.
In contrast, the reach of Facebook Business Pages is down, so much so people pay to boost their Page’s reach while promoting in Facebook groups is free. Also, unless you have a great many people following your page, your reach is limited. Due to the algorithm, your reach is limited as well.
However, there are always new people joining groups and new groups that start. People share each other’s posts in Facebook groups. Some Facebook groups are reciprocal. In other words, they require you to share. For all these reasons, you should promote in Facebook groups.”
Summing it all up, Andre Oentoro from Milkwhale says, “Facebook Groups. Being in a group gives brands a chance to really interact with other users. By doing so, it makes a brand seem more approachable and gives them a chance to interact with the public via comments, discussion, and reactions in an open forum.”
The best communities, of course, are engaged communities. Engagement is a huge boon to brands managing successful Facebook groups. In creating a Facebook group, these brands have created a place where the general public can engage with their product or service, where the general public can share tips and tricks for getting the most out of whatever it is that you sell, where your target market and ideal customers can help each other grow through the use of your business’s product or service.
That’s powerful marketing – and it’s all thanks to the wonders of having an engaged audience.
Bryan Philips from In Motion Marketing says, “For our industry, Facebook groups are a much more promising driver of brand engagement. This is because it can be used more as a networking tool. It’s important to have them both, but in our experience, groups lead people to pages and not the other way around.”
Editor’s note: Want a powerful dashboard that showcases how people learn about your brand on Facebook! Download this Facebook Pages dashboard template now.
Cadenizify’s TJ Kelly agrees, adding, “Facebook Groups! Social media is all about engagement.
Pages are 1-way communication that allows for some interaction from the audience, via comments. But Groups are inclusive of all members by default.
Groups build communities, and communities become customers.”
Miranda Made from the eponymous mirandamade.com notes that “Facebook Group is more effective for driving brand engagement.
First, notification is turned on by default when a person joins a Facebook group. Therefore, they are more likely to interact with your content when they first join. Hook them up with amazing value right at the beginning, and you’ll have their continued interaction from thereafter.
Moreover, Facebook makes it really hard to leave a group. You have to click on the group and find the leave button (which is hidden away). They could easily unfollow you though, but their presence is still counted towards your group members’ number.
Facebook Page has declined reach for quite a while.”
Building off of that, Lily Ugbaja from Mom Baby Heart says, “Facebook Groups are great for driving engagement, especially if you are a small business just starting out. You do not have the popularity nor renowned credibility yet that having a Facebook Page requires so it is best you start by building a community via Facebook group.
Especially if your business is niche-specific. Customers and potential customers can easily interact with you and one another while serving as personal ambassadors for your brand until it becomes recognized enough to thrive on a Facebook Page”
How often do your Facebook page’s posts show up in other Facebook users’ newsfeeds, tucked in neatly next to the posts from your third-best friend from middle school and that co-worker you never really liked?
That was a trick question. It’s nearly impossible to tell: how exactly the Facebook algorithm works and the types of content it decides to serve up isn’t exactly knowledge in the public domain. However, we can make educated guesses – and it doesn’t seem like unboosted posts made on brand Facebook pages get a whole lot of organic reach.
Kinsta’s Tom Zsomborgi says, “While having an official Facebook company page is mandatory these days, if you don’t promote it and spend a significant amount of money each month you can’t expect and results.
Facebook’s organic reach is dead since 2015 and your content doesn’t show up in the feed anymore. Pay to get eyeballs. But groups are different if you can build a loyal community and engage with the users it can have a big positive impact on your business. Facebook groups are valuable assets!”
Andrew Witts from Studio 36 Digital adds, “In my experience, Facebook groups have the edge over pages. Facebook pages, as we all know, are reaching fewer and fewer people organically, as the platform continues to grow.
Groups have of course had a similar problem, but overall, looking at both our own and client groups on Facebook, groups are the place to really interact with your customer. I think it helps that customers feel a part of a community and can get involved more easily.”
The experts who think Facebook pages have an advantage over Facebook groups seemed to also have 3 major reasons for holding this opinion.
The holy grail of social media is getting people off whatever social media platform you found them on – or more accurately, whichever social media platform THEY found YOU on – and onto your website or app, right?
That might be putting it strongly – but the point remains.
For most companies, the point of using social media is to attract social media users to their business’ products or services, most of which can be more readily purchased from the business’s website than from a business’s Facebook group.
But what if you could have a website on Facebook? Through the magic of Facebook pages, all things are possible.
Jook SMS’s Chris Prasad says, “If you want to connect to businesses and create an audience on Facebook, it’s important that you are taking part in a Facebook Page for business inquiries. Facebook Pages are 100% more effective if you’re looking to stand out from competing companies.
As a consumer, I spend more time on pages compared to groups. With pages, I am able to gain more information on the company by viewing their page.
Think of it like this, Facebook Pages are basically a website for your company. You want to have a place where customers can look and are able to find all of your products/services you have to offer. You can’t do this with groups.
Just like a website, you have to invest time into your Facebook Page. You need to make sure that it always has quality content that will interest your customers.
As a company, we are no longer taking place in Facebook Groups after seeing the amazing results from having our own page.”
You can post whatever you want on your Facebook page. While the freedom may seem overwhelming, just take a deep breath and focus: let’s think about things you can post on your Facebook page that you can’t post in a Facebook group.
The relevant answer here is “boosted posts.” That’s right – you can boost your own posts made on your Facebook page, which then transforms those posts into advertisements, but you can’t boost posts within a Facebook group.
Kristi Stoll of KidVisionairies points out that “Facebook pages are more engagement driving for our brand, mainly because it’s our page and we can post content as per our desire.
Moreover, since we’re currently growing our awareness, we need support from sponsored ads which is not possible to do with Facebook Groups. As per Facebook’s algorithm, video content is more engagement-driven especially in case of sponsored ads, and that works quite well for our brand. The reason is that most of our content revolves around “How to?” information, which is easier to understand through video as compared to descriptive content.”
Moreover, Facebook pages are just easier to manage than Facebook groups. Facebook groups require admins, moderators, and – if they’re private or secret – someone willing to monitor invites and to approve new group members (while keeping meme-posting ne’er-do-wells out of your esteemed Facebook group.) Facebook pages are simpler: someone visits your page, they see your content, the end.
ViscoSoft’s Gabriel Dungan says, “At ViscoSoft, we find that our brand gets more traction with our Facebook page. We are better able to customize the page, which helps with brand awareness.
Potential customers can quickly and easily come to our Facebook page and read what other consumers have to say about our products—without an invitation or having to ask permission to join.
Our Facebook page has worked well for us in educating consumers about the high attention to detail that goes into making our products.”
Another downside of Facebook groups is, ironically enough, the very thing that many marketers like so much about Facebook groups. It’s the noise.
When people get excited about a topic online, they’re likely to post about it. And when a large group of people – and we hope there’s a large group of people interested in your business! – start posting at the same time, it can be difficult to keep up with which posts are important, which posts are relevant, and which posts are….well, frankly, not worth reading.
The benefit of a Facebook page is that you’re the only one making announcements on it. Your brand’s spokesperson will be the only voice heard – that’s right, you’re King or Queen of the Jungle!
ExaWeb Corporation’s Patrick Garde says, “Facebook Pages because you can directly interact with your followers. In our experience, Facebook Groups can have a large community and your posts might just get ignored since there are plenty of posts on the group.”
Two of the experts surveyed pointed out that, like everything else in marketing, whether you and your business should focus your energies on growing a Facebook page or developing a Facebook group largely depends on the circumstances.
WhichLogin’s Peter Thaleikis says, “Organic engagement is harder and harder to achieve on Facebook. With each year that passed, the platform gets more aimed at paid ads.
But there are still some “hacks”, but as always the answer to what works is “it depends”.
Groups tend to work better if you have got content that works well for discussions. People engaging in (hopefully well-mannered) conversation will push your post up the members’ timelines.
On pages, announcement-style posts with asks to share and raise questions in the comments can work well.”
DotcomBlinds’ Buzz Carter chimes in, saying “This really depends on your business, if you’re in the retail or DTC world a Facebook page would be the most effective choice, but for tech and SaaS companies I’d say to opt for a Facebook group to help drive conversation and build a reputation as an industry hub of knowledge.”
Last but not least, another two experts surveyed suggested an approach to Facebook pages and Facebook groups that reminds one of the film Inception, in which Joseph Gordon-Levitt goes on an adventure in a dream within a dream within a dream.
Unfortunately, that’s all I can remember of the plot at the moment, but the point here is that layers produce results (and blockbuster films.)
Rick Wallace of Tackle Village says, “We think the best strategy is to have a Facebook page and use it to participate in relevant Facebook Groups. Make sure you contribute real value in your posts and don’t make them all controversial.
Starting a Facebook Group is an option too, but it is not for every business – if you have a product or service that lends itself to discussion, then by all means start one. But if you are selling something straightforward it is not needed and will only suffer from a lack of engagement if you established one.”
Tripepi Smith & Associates’ Jon Barilone agrees, adding “Facebook’s original intent for Pages was to give brands a way to separate themselves from regular Facebook users.
As a result, there has been a ton of development behind Pages as the main tool for brands over the years. Especially when it comes to advertising on Facebook.
Plus, if you really want to interact within a Facebook Group ‘as your Page,’ you can!”
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