Facebook: Fan Page or Group?

Posted by Brad J. Ward | Posted in Facebook, Higher Education, Marketing, Recruitment, Social Media, Thoughts, Web | Posted on 02-18-2009


My good friend @HowardKang is a senior at the University of Illinois at Springfield (my alma mater!) and is currently helping the Volunteerism office get started with social media at his internship.

He recently posted Facebook: Fan Pages vs. Groups for HigherEd Offices and outlines some great pros/cons when it comes to which you should set up.

Howard says that “I believe the Fan Page should be the main hub of facebook strategies” and “fan pages show more promise in terms of overall reach.” I’ll leave the rest of the article for you to read.

We know that Facebook Fan Pages are going to change soon (hat tip to @rachelreuben!) and things such as FBML might disappear, but Howard outlines a lot of great points to consider.  Make sure you check out his article and take the time to subscribe via RSS.  He’s worth reading and offers a fresh perspective from a current college student view.

Comments posted (9)

Thanks for posting this, Brad!

I’m hoping that a great conversation develops as people continue to adapt their social media strategies. Looking forward to hear opinions and thoughts!

Great post. Two things, neither self-serving.

1 – Brad, I had you pegged (ahem) as a Hoosier. UI Springfield? Cool! Thus explaining mold-breaking…I’ve had too many people tell me “why do kids always need to go to the same 50 schools?”

2 – Howard, you have a bright future ahead. These insights are great – they’re granular but not painful to read. I assume you’re an Edward Tufte fan?

Peace out to both ya.

We chose a Facebook page for Auburn University ( http://www.auburn.edu/facebook ), which turned out to be a great investment. One of the things I liked most about pages are the custom FBML boxes. That allowed us to put any kind of custom content like links to our auburn.edu site, and a custom page profile image that links to http://www.auburn.edu. With the changes to facebook pages, I’m afraid most of that content either won’t be allowed, like FBML, or will be moved to the dreaded “boxes” tab (which I never use on my own profile).

Great discussion. Matt, you will at least be able to specify the dreaded Boxes tab as the landing tab for visitors to the page, even if FBML is not allowed….still less than perfect, but more flexible on one way.

Howard, nice article. Here’s another similar comparison with pros and cons that I looked at when consulting our student affairs office on which to create.


We were just having the whole “group vs. page” debate on Tuesday, so this is something I’m going to be sharing with a lot of others at our U.

@Dave – Thanks for your kind words! I actually didn’t know who Edward Tufte was…

@Matt – Hopefully facebook won’t move to that. They have shown that they listen to users after their Terms of Service fiasco, so if that happens I think there should be enough of a reaction for something to change. 56% of people or so said they disagreed and they changed it back promptly within a few days. The Auburn page looks great!

@isaacson – That was a good article, especially for a more specific comparison.

@DW – Glad to hear that the content could help out!

@Andy – I agree. Hopefully they will allow a lot of flexibility for the applications. There are differing opinions (I know some people who LOVE the boxes tab), but I am with you on my disdain for the boxes tab.

For those interested I’ve added my follow-up post: Creating & Promoting a Remarkable Facebook Fan Page

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