Q: I want to set up FB for my business, Chef Bambino. Should I set up a group or a new user?
There are three different types of pages on FB – the Profile, the Fan Page, and the Group. According to FB rules, Profiles are only for people, not businesses, organizations or other entities. I see this rule broken often, sometimes by people who do so unknowingly. Businesses that do this may be perceived as amateur, and run the risk of getting kicked off Facebook.
For your business, I would definitely create a Fan Page. This is like your business’s homepage on FB, and you would be the administrator through your personal Profile. Businesses are able to assign multiple admins if they want to. Your Page will have a wall and whichever other features you select. People can become fans of your business, and your posts will show up in their streams. If they like or comment on something, then the post will be repeated out to their friends.
One big benefit to your customers of becoming a ‘fan’ of your business rather than a ‘friend’ is that they can become your fans without opening their personal accounts to you. In your case, you may be friends with many of your fans as well, but many businesses don’t have quite as personal a relationship with their customers as you do. I might think twice about becoming a ‘friend’ of a business if it meant they could see all my personal posts.
One major drawback of a fan page is that they don’t have notifications. This means that if someone comments or posts on your business’s wall, you won’t receive an email letting you know. Same thing if someone new becomes a fan or ‘likes’ a post. There are two ways to deal with this that I know of. One is to ‘like’ or comment on your own posts so you will then get notified through your personal Profile. The normal way that I suppose FB expects is for you to just visit your page all the time to check.
You can create a Group in addition to your fan page. You may name it after your business, or you may name it for a related theme that people are likely to engage in discussion for, such as cooking with kids. Again, the problem is that you don’t get notifications from groups. The groups haven’t been very useful to me so far because you don’t get notifications, and wall posts don’t even show up in members’ streams. From what I’ve seen, the only way people engage is if they visit the group on their own to see what’s up, or if you send them a private message to come join an immediate conversation. Also, it seems you can only comment on the last entry, more like it’s single a forum discussion, rather than comment on any post.
Groups and Pages each have their benefits. In a group, you can send a private message to members, which you can’t do on a Fan Page. You can also choose to have groups open, private (membership on approval), or secret (not seen by anyone unless they are invited). Someone needs to be logged into FB to see a Group page, even an open one, while a FB Fan Page is visible without being logged in and gets indexed by search engines. On a Fan Page, you can invite all members to an event, although I believe you need to click on each one individually for some reason. Although I’ve read you can’t invite group members to events, that must have changed because groups do have events now.
Here’s an article with an on-going discussion of Pages vs. Groups. http://www.searchenginejournal.com/facebook-group-vs-facebook-fan-page-whats-better/7761/. The original article is over a year old, but the discussion is current.
If you’re not sure how to create a Fan Page, you can go to mine at https://www.facebook.com/SatinWebSolutions/ and look for the link at the bottom of the left column that says, “Create a Page for My Business.”
Let me know how it goes!