The Difference Between Facebook Pages, Profiles, Groups and Community Pages - Oklahoma City Website Development
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The Difference Between Facebook Pages, Profiles, Groups and Community Pages

Everywhere I go, I hear that people are pretty confused about the differences between Facebook profiles, pages and groups, and which one is appropriate for their organization or business. This week, Facebook has rolled out yet ANOTHER type of page, the Community Page, which makes things even more confusing!

Here’s the most important distinction that you need to understand. Facebook profiles are for people. Individuals, using the site personally, like you or me (or some people set up profiles for their pets!). If you do business as a person or individual, for example, if you’re a realtor, then it would be appropriate for you to use your Facebook profile for business. But generally, Facebook profiles are for personal use. Facebook profiles ALWAYS have to represent a real person.

Facebook Pages (they refer to them as “fan pages” too) are for organizations, companies and businesses. Facebook’s official definition is:

Pages are for organizations, businesses, celebrities, and bands to broadcast great information to fans in an official, public manner. Like profiles, they can be enhanced with applications that help the entity communicate with and engage their fans, and capture new audiences virally through their fans’ recommendations to their friends.

So any organization–a football team, animal shelter, restaurant, dry cleaner’s, etc.–should always have a Facebook PAGE. (You can create a Facebook page here)

But you’ve all seen profiles that represent businesses and organizations! Well, these are in violation of Facebook’s policies. If Facebook identifies these profiles, they can and will remove them from the site.

Facebook makes it a little more difficult to set up a profile if you’re a business or company, because it requires you to have something that it recognizes as a “name,” and it requires you to select a gender.  For example, if my business is called “Emily’s Oklahoma City Lakeside Cafe” it would not recognize this as a “name” and it would not let me create a profile. So I’d have to modify my name a bit…for example, here’s one of my favorite restaurants on Facebook. It refers to the restaurant as “she” because the person setting up the site chose “female” as a gender, and had to have something that Facebook recognized as a “name,” meaning a first and last name, so she had to condense it to “MamaRoja Mexicankitchen.” So if I were still trying to set up a profile for my restaurant, I’d have to be “EmilysOklahomaCity LakesideCafe” or something clumsy like that.

These should be flags or deterrents to setting up a profile instead of a page, but people still do it.

Don’t do it. Play by the rules. It’s not worth getting your profile deleted!

The main differences between pages and profiles:

  • On a profile, someone is your “friend.” On a page, someone is your “fan.”
  • With a profile, you can send messages to one or more friends, that go directly to their inbox on Facebook. As a page, you can’t do this–you can only send updates (which not as many people see).
  • Pages and Profiles can both post status updates, links, photos, etc. that appear in their fans’/friends’ news feeds.
  • Pages cannot “add” people as friends. However, your fans can suggest your page to their own friends to become a fan.

So, where do Groups fit into all this? Groups allow for more interaction between members, sort of like a forum or message board (BBS) system. Here’s what Facebook has to say about Groups:

Groups and Pages serve different purposes on Facebook. Groups are meant to foster group discussion around a particular topic area while Pages allow entities such as public figures and organizations to broadcast information to their fans. Only the authorized representative of the entity can run a Page.

So one of your employees might set up a “group” for your organization, and that would be fine. But only an official representative of an organization can set up the official Page for that organization (or at least someone who is willing to say that they are an official rep!).

So for example, for our client the Central Oklahoma Humane Society, we have set up a Page that is their official presence on Facebook. We post events, updates and other news. But we also have groups for specific volunteers within the organization, like Trap/Neuter/Return volunteers, clinic volunteers, foster parents, etc. That way those people can talk about subjects that are specific to their areas of interest.

Ready to create a page? Click here to get started.

So what the heck is a Community Page?

This is something Facebook has just rolled out. If you’ve spent much time on Facebook, you have seen lots of “unofficial” pages. These can be for celebrities, like unofficial fan pages for the Twilight movies, or for beers or sodas or sneakers or whatever. There are also funny groups like Tim Tebow Crying (sorry, Florida fans..this is just one of my favorites) or “Can this dung beetle get more fans than Glenn Beck?“(also a favorite).

These pages are becoming really popular, some having hundreds of thousands of fans. So now you have the option to choose to be a “community page” if you are creating a new page on Facebook. Now, if you’re making a page for your organization or business or brand, there is no reason to select a community page. Your page still definitely qualifies as a regular Facebook page.

What is kind of cool about the Community Page idea, though, is that Facebook says “If it becomes very popular (attracting thousands of fans), it will be adopted and maintained by the Facebook community.” What that means is that it will become basically the same thing as a Wiki. A Wiki is a web site or page that allows anyone to contribute content, much like Wikipedia. So if you create a community page that goes extremely viral, then it could evolve into something completely new on Facebook!

Again, for your purposes with your company or organization, you don’t really need to worry about Community Pages. Hopefully this has helped you understand the differences among the different ways you can represent yourself on Facebook. What other questions do you have about Facebook that we can answer? We can help you craft a social media strategy that will bring you business!

  1. Denise07-22-10

    Thanks for this info. It really helped me figure which way to go.

    peace
    Denise

  2. Vicky09-18-10

    I have a page for my business that people “like”, but I cannot send out invitations to events. I want to be able to do that…which type of page do I create to do that?

    Thanks so much!

    • Oklahoma Media Group09-20-10

      Hi Vicky, you can create an “event” under your page. So you might have a benefit dinner, and you create that as an event. Then you can invite people (your Facebook friends or people whose email addresses you have) to the event. A person can’t “like” an event like they can “like” a page, but they can RSVP to the event, write on its wall, post pictures, and they can invite THEIR friends, which is a great way to get a lot of exposure quickly for your events. If you need help creating an event, let us know!

  3. David09-21-10

    I’m a television producer who set up a Page to showcase my work. The photo I used for the Page is different than the one on my Profile. However, when people search my Page they see the same photo as my Profile. Presentation-wise, this just looks bad.. Also- I was able to establish a URL for Profile but not my Page. Any way to fix this?

    • Oklahoma Media Group09-21-10

      Hi David, You can only establish a custom URL for your Page (such as facebook.com/yourpage) once your page has 25 “fans” or “likes.” Once you have 25 fans, you can go to facebook.com/usernames and select the URL for that page.

      As for your profile photo showing up when people search for your page, I’m not sure about that. If your page and your profile have ahte same name (your name), then if someone searches for your name, they’re going to see both results, but they shouldn’t generate the same image. Can you tell me the name of the page and I can check it out?

  4. Carol Ferraro11-12-10

    Oh man, I wish I saw this before I decided to make a group page for our little organization. I did everything wrong. I set the page up with a regular profile, then tried to change it, then set up one without my name attached, then tried to delete that one, then deactivated them. I had to write and rewrite 80 people to switch from this one to that one and so on. I won’t be surprised if NO ONE joins now. It was absolutely frustrating.
    So, I tried to start over. I thought I was makine ONE GROUP page but now when I go search the Group name, TWO COME UP!
    One is ‘GROUP’ and one is COMMUNITY. I like the way the Community one looks and it has all the info on it that I wanted on the GROUP one. Can I combine the two?
    Now I have 7 “members” in the GROUP, but 15 “likes” on the COMMUNITY. I am ready to throw in the towel (except it took me HOURS to upload hundreds of photos on the community site).
    HELP. This was supposed to be a group that I could send messages and reminders out to a bunch of music students and let them write back if they wanted to. Now when they type in the name of our group under the search – 4 different accounts appear. WHAT A MESS. Which one should I keep, the Group or the Community? Can people POST to the Community? Is the Community open to the whole world? I only want it for OUR community. I give up.

  5. Scott Davidson12-16-10

    Help! I orginally had a personal Facebook Account. I created a Facebook Page for my business. I wanted to create a http://www.facebook.com/username for my Business Page, but when I did it, it was created for my personal profile. So when I go to http://www.facebook.com/business name it takes me to my profile. How can I change this? I need the username I selected to direct me to my Business Page, not my personal page.

    Thanks for the help,
    Scott

    • Oklahoma Media Group12-16-10

      Hi Scott!
      Oh, boy. You are really in a jam here. When you went to the username page to select a name for your page, you were prompted to select a user name, which you did–but it was for your profile, not your page–as you have now discovered.

      Facebook will NOT let you change the username once you’ve selected it, unfortunately. This is a hard and fast rule.

      So here’s what I’m thinking–and I think this may be your only solution.

      You’re going to have to delete your personal profile. Can you do this? If you don’t use it much personally, then this may not be a big deal. What you need to do FIRST is make at least one other person an administrator on your page. (This way, when you delete your personal account, you’ll still have some other way to get in and control your page). Once you’ve done that, delete your facebook profile.

      You still have to have a facebook profile (be a “person” on Facebook) in order to administer a page. So NOW what you have to do is create a new personal profile. It may or may not let you use your same email address–you’ll have to give it a try and see.

      Once you have this personal profile created, you need to make yourself an admin on your page again. So have the other person (the one you made an admin on the page) login and add you as an administrator. Now you should be able to go back to facebook.com/username and select the user name for your PAGE this time.

      This is really the only way I can think of to solve this problem. it’s a complicated workaround…but I think it’s your only option.

      Give it a try, and if you need help or clarification, post here and we’ll help you some more. Please let us know if you have success!

  6. Liz01-10-11

    Thanks for this helpful blog. I’m one of a group of parents working on preparations for the all-night graduation party for our children this summer. I’d like to create something on facebook to generate interest, buzz, etc. for the kids and keep parents in the loop. Would a Group page be the way to go? I think I’ll have to do this through the school’s site so I’d like to sound intelligent when I go to talk with them about it!

  7. Joe Small01-13-11

    is there anyway to distinguish between these fan pages, community pages etc by the url.

  8. Camille02-23-11

    I am glad I am not the only one who was totally confused! I’ve been on facebook nearly since it began too! Thank you for pointing out the specifics of each type of page and what it is used for. This clears up a lot. It is especially important to remember these factors since social media is nearly an essential for companies these days. If you know how to use social media right (i.e facebook pages, profiles, twitter) then your customers should be very receptive to your company and their goal. That should create more interaction and in return up your search engine optimization results!

  9. william03-13-11

    would like to learn about facebook.thanks

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