Many clubs and indeed classic car related businesses already have a Facebook presence, but many still do not. For those of you that do, did you consider the two types before you settled on the one that you’re using? There are pros and cons to each, and in this article, we discuss the two options and hope that it will inform everyone so that you can take the path that is appropriate to the direction you want to take your club or business.
Selecting the correct Facebook platform, a page or a group, is something that should be taken seriously. Social media serves two purposes for each of us.
- To grow and develop a community. This could be a fan base for business or an enthusiast base for clubs
- To market your organisation to increase the number of followers and improve your business – whether that be club membership or business sales.
Social media is the online version of “word of mouth” advertising.
The Facebook Page
Many organisations will have set themselves up with a Facebook page because it is familiar, it has many of the features of the Facebook profile that we use for ourselves. The Facebook Page is the embodiment of the business or club rather than the individuals behind it. Because the Facebook Page was developed for promoting organisations, it comes with additional benefits. The most significant of which is Facebook Insights. Once you have amassed 30 likes to your page, which for clubs would be extremely easy, Insights is activated.
Insights give you access to Facebook analytics on your page and the posts that you make. Including how many times they’ve been shared, liked and seen – of course, ‘seen’ in this context is something that Facebook call “Reach”, it is more about how many times Facebook has presented your post to people’s newsfeed. These people may not have noticed it, or may have casually read it, but it is a measure of how far your posts are being distributed.
Insights also give you information on the “Engagement” of your posts, this is of higher significance than Reach and gives you information on how many times your post has been clicked, liked, commented on, or shared. This is a real interaction that you are having with your audience.
The analytics come with handy graphical displays that show how your Reach and Engagement have changed over time and therefore allowing you to adjust how you use your page and extend your reach.
Interactions with others
The other difference with a Facebook Page is how people interact with you.
For postings, your page is split into two sections. The main section on the right-hand side consists of all your posts and any replies that others wish to make to your posts – but only you can start a new topic. So in essence, all posts are broadcasts from the Page to your followers, and all discussions with your followers are in the context of the initiating post.
If anyone else wishes to create a new post on your page, their comments are placed in the left sidebar quite low down and out of sight as can be seen from this image. If interaction with your visitors is what you are looking for, then maybe a Facebook Page isn’t what you need.
How do people see what you’ve posted?
Your posts to your Facebook Page should appear on your follower’s news feed. I say ‘should’ because we are at the mercy of the Facebook news feed algorithm. Facebook is a very successful company and needs to make money. With Facebook Pages, they have a paid for service to ‘Promote Pages’ to be seen by wider audiences, and as the Page is aimed at businesses there could be some down sides.
That said, if your followers like/comment on your posts, then these actions should be broadcast on their friends notifications.
The Facebook Group is aimed at collaboration and building communities on Facebook.
The only people allowed to post to a Group are personal profiles. So if you’ve got a Facebook Page for your club, you cannot post to a Group as that Page.
By allowing any member of the Group to post new topics or reply to an existing topic allows full interaction by everyone. The benefit of this is interaction is that it helps to create and develop a community of like-minded people.
Public, Closed and Secret Groups
Facebook has three varieties of the Facebook Group, but determining which one is right for you needs careful consideration. You need to determine what your overall strategy is and why you may or may not wish the content of the discussions to be kept private.
Everyone still has to request to join a Public Group and until your request has been accepted by a member of that Group, you cannot post.
Apart from that restriction, everyone can find your group and see all discussions within the group. The ability to allow everyone to see the discussion, opens up the club to the world, and people who have a similar interest will be far more inclined to ask to join because they’ve already had a taster of what goes on.
A very positive aspect of the Public Group is that non-members can see information in their newsfeeds about the Group – for instance if a friend posts to the Group. This improves the ‘word of mouth’ outreach to people who may have previously not known of your existence.
The Closed Group is very similar to the Public Group except:
- Only current members of the Closed Group can see the discussion
- Only current members will receive Group notifications in their newsfeeds.
Closing the Group in this way prevents the outreach to non-Group members through notification on their newsfeeds from their friends. It hinders ‘word of mouth’ advertising. Once a non-Group member finds your Group, there is less of a reason to ask to join because they cannot see what goes on behind the doors of the Closed Group.
The Secret Group by its very nature cannot be found in a Facebook search. Members must be invited by current members and only members can see the discussions taking place.
Creating a Secret Group is therefore usually done for a specific purpose. For example, clubs could use a Secret Group for members of the Events Committee to collaborate in planning a major show.
The classic car club by its very nature is a club for the members and a community of interest and enthusiasm for our cars. It makes perfect sense to have a Facebook Group as part of your social media strategy.
When deciding on Public or Closed, bear in mind that you are creating this on social media. Everyone has exactly the same right to create a group of their own in direct ‘competition’ with you, and a Closed Group puts up a barrier that could sway others to go towards someone else’s Public Group first. They might also see it that the Group is closed to club members only – something that should be avoided.
We believe that there are huge benefits in the Public Group approach that is open to viewing by everyone. Allowing others to see the activities, the help and support given to each other will help them make the decision that they want to belong. Once they are within your Facebook Group, it is just another small step in their journey towards joining your club.
But what about the Facebook Page? We have already seen above how the Page is the social embodiment of the organisation, has built-in analytics and is a broadcast mechanism for announcing club news. We believe that for the classic car club, a Facebook Page is an important asset because it gives a voice to the club on social media
So in short – have both! If you only have the time for one, create a Facebook Group, but if you can do it, have both.