Are you using a facebook business page to promote your business or are your facebook marketing efforts limited to a group page? I have noticed quite a few entrepreneurs and small businesses are still utilizing groups pages as their sole means of communication with their customers/clients on Facebook.
Yes group pages may seem easier to set up, maybe all your business colleagues are still using them or maybe you have just grown accustomed to them, hence hesitant to try something new; especially when you may be unsure of any additional benefits to switching.
This post outlines some of the major reasons why its time to make the transition to a Facebook business page.
1. Custom (Vanity) URLs
In the online world (domain) visibility – the ease with which potential customers find your product/service/resource – is vital to your survival.
Once the page has accrued 25 or more likers/ fans, facebook allows a company to have a vanity url. Prior to this initiative a company would have a nondescript url similar. Now vanity urls allow addressess such as this http://www.facebook.com/pixldinc , which serves as a great promotional tool and can be added to your business cards, email and other online signatures or can be placed on your flyers and other promotional materials.
Branded Urls are not available to groups. No matter the size of your following you’re stuck with a lengthy difficult to remember url such as Firefox:
2. Search Engine Love
Business pages are indexed by Google and included in online searches. Daily status updates to your page also counts as content updates. These add to the value of your SEO objectives and promote the online visibility of your company.
Group pages, however, are not indexed. They can only be viewed via Facebook searches and are not accessible in an online search once logged out of Facebook.
Facebook makes it super easy to promote your Business page with widgets. These widgets including badges and boxes can be placed on your website, blog and other online properties.
They are visible to everyone, not only your fans and allows for interaction with your Business page, via ‘liking’ the page or its content.
4. Social Ads
In addition to traditional marketing efforts Social ads are a very economical method to grow your facebook Business page’s fan/member base. It allows for very targeted marketing; differentiating by location, demographics, education and even likes & interests.
Pricing is flexible, making it ideal for small business budgets and it is simple to setup by clicking the prompt to create an Ad on various locations of your Business page.
This option is unavailable to Group Pages at this time.
Who has time or the inclination to check numerous group pages for updates, especially when the option is now neatly hidden within your profile options. I honestly don’t. Plus, messages can easily be ignored or deleted in receivers’ inboxes.
With Business pages, however, members are non-intrusively kept abreast with news and updates. Page updates are posted to fans’ newsfeeds, and are visible not only to the page fans but, potentially, also to the fans’ networks.
Group page updates are not made available to the Newsfeed.
6. Photo Albums
Business pages allows for grouping of photos into different albums and allows for the creation of an unlimited number of albums. Photos can therefore be sorted by theme etc.
The album functionality is, however, not available on groups and photos can only be added to the group gallery with the most recent being placed at the start of the gallery.
Facebook has recently updated its Fan page analytics. The insights provide data on fan activity including: Daily and monthly fan activity, the source of your fans, where your fans are joining your page whether via your blog or website or other external sources. Other insights include demographics and media consumption.
Access to this data is invaluable for your Business page as it assists in tweaking page content in order to better connect with your fans.This feature is not available on the group pages.
8. Custom Applications
We are visual creatures by nature and it is therefore more likely to convert page visitors into fans with a visually captivating Business page.
Using FBML, the facebook-specific design code, and other resources Business pages can be customized to reflect the Brand, hold additional information and host custom applications including blog, twitter and flickr feeds.
Group pages are unable to be customized effectively, hence less of a business tool.
From the above, it is quite evident that Business pages are a better option to market your business on Facebook. Have you made the transition to Fan/ Business pages as yet? In what other ways do Business pages trump group pages in your experience?