Much has been written about the differences between Facebook Pages and Groups. When I needed to decide which to use for a project, I looked online and found lots of sites listing the features of each, yet I felt they missed the essence of which to use in actual practice. Furthermore, much of the info online was outdated (even from Facebook itself). After doing some experimentation on my own, I decided to publish my results and conclusions here. I hope this will help you decide whether you should create a Page or Group for your organization (or both).
The Quick Answer
For those of you who don’t want to wade through the details, let me try to sum up the essence of a Facebook Page vs. a Facebook Group in as few words as possible:
Facebook Pages are ideal for public two-way communication: from you to your members and from your members to you (if you allow it), but not so much between members. They are good for companies and organizations who want to make announcements to large groups of people.
Facebook Groups allow equal communication between all members of the group: they are good for friends or enthusiasts who want to talk between themselves with no one person or organization dominating. They promote online community.
Having said this, neither is quite ideal and each has major disadvantages. In practice, I wish I could take the best of both, but we can’t, so read on to see the details.
Visitors of a Page become members simply by “liking” the Page. No interaction from you is required.
Visitors of a Group become members by “joining” the group and waiting for approval from a Group administrator. Groups can be “open”, meaning anyone can ask to join, or “closed”, meaning only people who are invited can join. (By the way, with Groups, you can “force” Friends to join by adding them yourself, whereas you can’t force anyone to “like” your Page).
There are two really huge implications of this. Groups require action from your organization before people can join, even for “open” groups. You’ll need to make sure that someone can spare the time to do this, or else you’ll have members in limbo.
Second, visitors to Groups can’t post to the Group wall until they become members (i.e., after an administrator has approved them), even in “open” groups. This makes it impossible for new visitors to immediately post on the Group wall. Let’s say someone has a question about your product or service. Are they really going to click “join”, wait for you to approve their membership, then come back and post their question? Probably not. This can be a big disadvantage of Groups, depending on what your goals are.
For this reason and others, Groups are good for long-term repeated interactions between members but lousy for immediate spontaneous interactions from the general public (i.e., non-members).
Visibility of Members’ Posts
The visibility of members’ posts is really one of the most important core differences between Pages and Groups.
As I mentioned, Pages are fine for two-way communication: Members are only notified (through a post to their newsfeed) only when the Page administrator posts, and the Page administrator is notified when anyone posts. Groups are ideal for all-way communication: everyone is notified when anyone posts.
Let’s talk about Pages a bit more. With the “Classic Pages Experience”, your posts show up on members’ newsfeeds, but visitors’ and members’ posts do not. Members don’t get any notification when other members or visitors post. Instead, members’ posts end up hidden in the page’s Community feed, not on the main wall. Thus, Pages are pretty handicapped when it comes to member-to-member communication and are not so great for promoting community among members.
With the 2022 “New Pages Experience”, even this ability is gone. Even with permissions set to allow user posting, I wasn’t able to find a way to allow users to create new posts on my Pages. In fact, the Community feed is gone! For this reason, I reverted to the “Classic Pages Experience” on a few Pages that I manage.
Not allowing user posting can be a good thing for a company or organization that wants to tightly control the message on the Page. This minimizes the effect of disgruntled visitors who post bad things. Posts can be disallowed individually or altogether if you want pure one-way communication only.
With Groups, on the other hand, any posts to the Group will be sent as an email to all members (until they get annoyed and turn this feature off), and will show up as a Notification in the top bar of the members’ Facebook pages. Thus with Groups, all members have an equal ability to communicate with everyone else in the Group.
Even if Group members shut off email notifications, they will still be informed of posts to the Group by a number flag that shows up on the “globe” icon at the top of members’ pages. If they click on it, it will show a condensed version of the post. Thus, as long as they check this area, Group members will never “miss” a post, whereas, with Pages, members can miss postings if they don’t happen to check their newsfeed after you’ve posted.
These are really the most important differences between Pages and Groups. If you want inter-member communication, go with a Group. If you don’t, go with a Page.
People who’ve “liked” you Page cannot see who else has “liked” the Page. Members of Groups, on the other hand, can see who else is in the Group and click on their profiles to learn more about other members.
Once a visitor has either “liked” your Page or “joined” your Group, what if they want to visit your Page or Group again?
With Pages, there is no easy link to your Page unless you make a post that they happen to see in their newsfeed. If you don’t post, members are unlikely to return to your Page. This is a BIG minus of Pages! You have to keep posting to maintain members’ attention.
With Groups, there is a link on the sidebar of members’ newsfeeds at all times. They can simply click on the name of the Group to see the latest happenings.
I really wish there was an easier way for people to return to Pages they’ve liked!
Here’s one really important fact that could force you to a Page: Facebook Pages will show up in Google searches. Facebook Groups will not show up in Google searches, even if they are “open”.
Groups can be self-sustaining. It is possible for you to set up a Group, add a bunch of friends to it, and have it thrive from member postings, even if you never lay a finger on it again.
This is unlikely with Pages. If you stop posting, people are unlikely to return to your Page a second time because there’s no link to get there. You might get first-time visitors through Google, but they won’t ever see a link to your page on Facebook unless you post.
If you create a Page, you can post and do other activities on Facebook as if you were the Page. For example, when you comment as the Page, a profile photo of the page will show up, not your personal profile photo. This is nice to decouple the organization from any one individual.
Furthermore, Pages can have “apps”, a feature which I honestly haven’t found a use for yet, but it’s there if you want to look into it some more.
When you post to the Group, you post as yourself. You can’t “become” the Group like you can with a Page.
Facebook has really put a damper on the visibility of posts by Pages in people’s newsfeeds. Posts to Groups, in general, will have greater visibility on members’ walls Moz SEO did a fascinating study by posting the same link on a Page and Group with the same number of members. The post on the Group got 15 times the traffic! Read the Moz SEO story here.
On the other hand, reader Alexander pointed out to me that you can’t do a paid “boost” to a Group post, and overall Group advertising is limited. I haven’t tried this myself so you might want to experiment if you want to do paid advertising on Facebook.
Pages provide you with analytics on the number of likes, shares, etc. Groups provide no analytics.
These are the core differences between Pages and Groups. As you can see, there is no clear winner; both have advantages and disadvantages.
I hope this has helped you decide which is best for your organization (or perhaps you need both, as some organizations have!) Please let me know your thoughts and experiences! – Brian
Please Leave a Question or Comment
How can I hide my name as administrator when making a post
If you’re talking about a Facebook Group (vs a Page), I don’t think there is a way to hide your status as an admin other than to create an alternate FB profile.
Thank you for posting this article. I need a little clarification and I’m sure you can help. Just a brief explanation of what I’m trying to do: I am the Assistant Chief and Training Officer for a small town fire department. I have several videos and topics that are saved on Facebook that I want to send to my guys in a private group. I have created a page (which I like better) but I am unable to share those on the page. I have also created a group that does share but I am not able to control it like the page. I just don’t want everyone and anyone posting. Am I missing something admin wise on the group settings to better control what’s posted?
Weaver Fire Department
You should be able to share videos and whatever else you want on your Page (I just did it on mine this morning). The catch is that it’s not guaranteed by any means to be shown to your Page members in their feeds. Facebook’s algorithm decides that (unless your members visit your Page directly).
I believe you can stop people in your Group from postin gby going to the group -> Members. Click the three dots to the right of each member. One of the options is “Mute Member”. See if that does the trick. You’d have to do that with every member.
Thank you for this article! It was great
Great article, very useful, thanks.
If you set a group and later leave the organisation, can you leave the group after giving another member admin status
Yes, I googled this question and found this:
Once you make someone an admin, they’ll be able to remove members or admins, add new admins and edit the group description and settings.
Can I change my group URL?
I’ve never tried – let me know if you find out! I was able to change the URL of my FB page, but that might be different.
Sounds like groups are the way to go…. but can you block people from posting or commenting on your group
Yes, as the moderator, you can Mute members or kick them off the group altogether.
Oh, just one question: what does it mean when someone follows your page vs. not follow? Is there any difference in visibility of your page? Thank you!
Anyone can see your page whether they have followed or not. Those who follow will also sometimes see your page announcements in their feeds.
Great information. Thank you!
thanks for the great article!
Great article! Thanks!
I’m glad it was useful! Thanks for your comment!
Hi Brian, I really need your advice – and after a bit of research and reading all of the excellent info you provide in this article, I think you are just the guy to provide the best advice.
which of the two options would be the best tool for reaching estranged family (for inheritance purposes) in a situation where all of whom will wish to remain estranged after the idistribution of the nheritance has been completed? i.e. I don’t want to expose my life to these individuals; nor to they want to expose theirs to me or to most of the other individuals in the extended family unit. Yet, I need to communicate with them to inform them of an inheritance and to obtain personal info which can be used by an estate lawyer for disbursements. Yes, I know this is a sad situation, in more ways than the obvious, but it is what it is and I don’t want my otherwise quiet and reclusive life to be turned upside down because i am trying to do the right thing by reaching out. I appreciate your insight – and time. Venti
Facebook isn’t really the ideal solution for this.
A Facebook Group won’t give you anonymity unless you create an alternate Facebook account.
A Facebook Page will, but there is no guarantee that people who Like the page will get your posts unless they manually navigate to it once in a while. Plus, everything you post will be public.
Can both your group and your page use the same name, or do you have to vary it slightly like, “ABC Conservancy” and “Friends of ABC Conservancy”? or can both be called “ABC Conservancy?” We want to add a page, but don’t want to over complicate it. Also, can one have a link to the other?
I’ve never tried it myself but I did find people online saying they did have a group with the same name as a page. But, even if it is possible, I would distinguish them in a subtle way just to avoid confusion.
I don’t see why one couldn’t link to the other in the “website” field.
One important thing you should add to this post is that YOU CAN’T BOOST GROUP POSTS and overall group paid advertising is limited.
Thank you for this information!
Why can’t my page highlight? Do I have to make it a group?
What do you mean by “highlight”?