Anders Orsander
April 14, 2015

Do you connect with Pages or People?

Think of a post from a Facebook Page and think about why you interacted with it. I was given this task in preparation for a social media workshop. Looking through my profile I realised I don’t interact with pages a lot. I like a bunch of them, admin a couple. I interact with people, both their own posts and shared posts from pages.

As a page admin, I see the decreasing interaction. It’s a trend that started in 2012. I thought about how I interact with pages. If I share a post from a page it’s most likely already shared from a page by one of my friends. I’m more active in groups, where I connect with other people. Unlike the page, a group doesn’t post anything, the people do. I’m also active in a number of communities on Google Plus. Just like Facebook groups, they connect people.

Connecting on Pages is quite hard. If you post on the page it’s not visible in the page stream. If you comment on a page post the agenda is already set by the page admins. There’s nothing wrong in this, but it’s less social than groups and communities. On a page you have to click to display comments. You have to click to display posts by fans to the page. It’s valid to ask: Have Facebook Pages become megaphones for the page itself rather than a social hub for connecting with people?

Pages have developed to give the pages itself more exposure. Not that long ago you could sort the newsfeed to show most recent posts, posts by page or posts by fans.

How about you? Do you interact with pages? Are you active in groups?

The Strength of Groups and Communities

laptop computer with social network on screenA Facebook group doesn’t post anything. A Google Plus Community doesn’t post anything. The members do. Even the admins post as persons. This is a strength they have over Facebook Pages (where we speak of fans). Members are more equal compared to the hierarchy on a Facebook page. Posts by the page get much more exposure than posts by fans. In the groups, all members post on equal terms. It’s in groups that I have quality conversations, free from memes and cute cats.

The difference between groups, communities and fan pages is found in the meaning of the words.

  • fan, abbreviation of fanatic = “A person filled with excessive and single-minded zeal”
  • group, “A number of people that work together or share certain beliefs”
  • community, “The condition of sharing or having certain attitudes and interests in common”

(From OED)

I don’t think many of us want to be fans in the way it’s described above. Groups and communities are about sharing and belonging. Groups and communities are much more in line with the idea of social media. It’s about relations and sharing, rather than one way broadcasting with social features.

Facebook Groups also have the benefit of their own app. For now Pages are a part of the main Facebook app for fans. The Pages Manager app gives admin options on the go from your mobile phone. For now groups can be accessed both from the Facebook app and Groups. This was the case with Messenger until messages migrated to the Messenger app. This allows for more specific features and if that happens with Groups it could give them an edge.

The Strength of Facebook Pages

Let’s take a look at the strengths of a Facebook page. The potential audience is huge. A report from March says there are more than 1.4 billion monthly users on Facebook (source: Statista). Through a Facebook page, you have targeting options down to a single city. You can target a specific language. For a global page this is great, as you can adapt your posts to fit a specific audience.

Building an engaged audience is a key to the success of the page. The flush Facebook did of inactive accounts during March is a good thing, since you got rid of dead weight. Here are some ideas of how to engage with your fans. It’s all about making the page more personal, to build more quality interaction and engagement.

  • Make sure the inbox is active. It provides a simple way to have one one one messaging without leaving the page. Building relations through the inbox can earn you a dedicated groups of people, sharing, liking and commenting on your page. You can also move the relation from the Facebook page to your owned media.
  • Like and respond to reviews.
  • Be active on the Posts to Page, where your fans post to you.
  • Make sure you sign posts with your name, to allow fans to know who they are communicating with.
  • Share posts on your own profile. A recent post on my local parish page got half of the engagement on the shared post.

For me the task I was given made me reflect upon how I use Facebook. I’d love to hear your reflections. How do you use Pages and Groups? What can we learn from it in our marketing efforts?

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Anders is a Digital Marketing Officer at United Bible Societies. He specializes in building personal connections and relations in social media. His experience covers the local perspective in his parish and the global, being part of the global mission team at United Bible Societies. Anders experience of social media began in the mid 90s on chat forums and guestbooks.

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