Facebook Pages vs Groups by #Tripawds: Liveblog notes from conference session

Here is another BlogPaws Liveblog session. This session is Facebook Pages vs Groups: Maximizing Reach and Engagement with your Facebook Fans.

Note: This post originally appeared as a liveblog post on DOGthusiast.com. I wrote these liveblog notes at BlogPaws Conference 2014, an event for professional pet bloggers. The following is a cleaned up (slightly edited) version of the notes from this session.

Presented by Jim Nelson, Tripawds.com

You can find the presentation slides here on Tripawds.com.

Also be sure to follow the Tripawds Facebook page.

Overview of presentation

  • Facebook pages and groups.
  • Why would you create a page or a group.
  • Privacy settings for both.
  • Content – not just what you share on a regular basis. But how to set it up before published.
  • How to use photos in different ways.
  • Management tips, broad overviews that works for tripods.
  • Insights
  • Boosting posts – so you spend money wisely.

Understanding Facebook semantics

Understand semantics: understand the difference between sites, pages, groups, and your personal FB profile.

  • Profiles: Everyone has one, and it’s intended for personal use. Friends.
  • Pages: Intended for businesses, brands, orgs. Fans.
  • Group: Have members.

What are Facebook pages

  • Pages are all about business. Anyone can like it, and there is no privacy.
  • You can customize it – a custom profile picture, so you are posting as your brand. Custom cover photo on a page, and put a lot of info in the About section. Maintain it just like your own personal profile.
  • Create events, offers, and milestones for your brand, and many apps for engagement. This is what it’s all about.

About Facebook Groups

  • Groups are for common interests or community. There is a group for *everything*. Everyone is interested in Pages and reach, but don’t underestimate the power of groups.
  • Every member of a group will get a notification if they have it turned on. They will see everything you have to see.
  • And they have a lot of privacy options.
  • Customize with a header image, but you don’t have a profile pic.
  • You can’t use FB as a group, like you can as a Page.
  • A page cannot join a group, but they can post in groups. No apps in groups, but you can create docs, and download files.

Why create a Page or a Group

  • If it’s to make money, you are in the wrong session.
  • It’s about marketing, not sales. It’s where you make friends that follow you and like you as your brand. Not make sales.
  • If you are promoting a brand, do it on a page.
  • If you want to announce offers, sales, etc. – on a page.
  • If you are sharing content from your feeds, etc – on a page.
  • Content from your store, ebooks, and so on – on a page.
  • Grow your audience on a page.
  • If you are developing a community around a common interest – group.
  • Facilitate a discussion so other people can chat amongst themselves – group.
  • If no other groups in your niche, start it and people will follow.

Do your homework first:

  • FB is becoming a search engine of sorts – type in your niche, and see the other pages and groups around that topic. You can see who the admins are in groups.
  • There is always room for #2 in what you do.
  • Might want to get on board with another group – not a competitor, an ambassador.

Create a new Facebook Group

Have some things in place in a group before you start spreading the words
When you create it there are some detailed privacy options. Three main ones are Open, Closed, Secret.

  • Open: Anyone can join, see the group, who is in the group, and the actual posts in the group without being a member.
  • Closed: See it, and who is a member, but have to be a member to see the content.
  • Secret: Not indexed, no searching, can’t see who is in it, have to know someone and be invited.

In a group, you post as yourself, and they can find out who the admin is. Everyone in the group will get notifications, have to be on to get updated.

Facebook Page privacy and capabilities

  • A page cannot share to a page. Your page can share from other pages. But when you use as a page, you cannot share on another page. As a page. Yes.
  • Privacy on a page
  • You can restrict country and age, you can filter out words, and you can unpublish the page. You can turn on a profanity filtered.
  • You can disable the ability to message you, or tag you. Suggest leaving it open.

Setting up content for a new Facebook page

  • The short description will appear under the image (old layout) or in the sidebar (new layout). Make sure the URL is in this description – make sure your visitors have a way to get to your website. Make sure the short desc includes your website. And make sure it is not cut off!
  • So have this is who you are, and this is your website.
  • Create a posting policy in your group.
  • Create a mission statement.
  • Products: fill it with links to your products.
  • Make sure you claim your URL once you get enough followers.

Setting up content for a group

  • Groups can quickly go astray, so make sure that you set up a posting policy. Want to be able to moderate or kick out members that don’t follow it.
  • Click the gear icon in the group > Edit Group Settings.
  • Select privacy items, like whether people have to have posts approved.
  • Put contact info in it, about your website, and create a posting policy.
  • Point members to it regularly – want to get it in there. Groups will lead astray and go off topic and become a time suck. Keep on topic by setting up the group.

Learning about Apps

  • Apps – add functionality to your page, and add extra engagement points.
  • There are apps for everything – auto share to a blog using an RSS app.
  • Multiple pages within your page.
  • Host contests.
  • Newsletter signups
  • Thousands of game for some reason, if it’s relevant to your audience.
  • Share your Pinterest, Instagram etc. Rafflecopter has a contest one.
  • Example: Ruffwear’s Page. Has the new Timeline layout. Checking out the My Dog Is My #mydogismy campaign tab on the FB page.
  • People love to see their pet shared on pages.
  • Tripawds apps: Used primarily to drive traffic to their websites, and build their list. Fan gated welcome page. Used to feature content from their featured blogs.

Social media success formula. #@$ Use social media to build your list, and that is how you make your money. Share your content from your blog in a list and hit your followers with it regularly.
Tripawds has the Mailchimp signup as an app on their page.
Go to the App Center in Facebook, and search for what you need – and a ton of results will come up.
radableBits, Thunderpenny, Mailchip – Tripawds use these.
Can you rearrange the order of apps?
If you expand all your apps from a page, you can edit the apps from that view.

Click the pencil and choose “Swap Position With” and choose the app that you want to swap the position, and it will swap those two apps.

All about Fangating

Fangating: Like one set of content, and when they like it, show them like something else.
Gives the user incentive to like the page, and then they can see Fan Only content.

Tab for liking the page – you can give them something as a result (chapter, coupon, etc).How to fan gate:

  • Make a shortlink (bit.ly, etc) – make a short link for the specific tab.
  • WooBox can be used for this – allows you to create two sets of content: pages within the page, if you will.
  • Someone who has already liked the page can get a coupon, or download something.
  • A non-fan will display an incentive – once they like the page, then they get the content.
  • This is fangating.

Send out a short link (bit.ly) directly to the fangated tab.

When you edit the tab, it says “link to this tab” – copy the URL, go to bit.ly and give it a custom URL, and share that one in your tweets and FB posts so people land on the tab instead of the timeline.

Adding files to your Facebook Groups

  • Groups do not have apps.
  • You can upload files to groups that users can download: pdf, doc, els, coupons, and so on.
  • Any member can upload these files, and edit them.
  • Every group should create a Resources doc – it includes websites, and other info about what you do.
  • Doc creator and admin can delete the document, but users can only edit it. Good idea to create backups because of this.
  • In the group cover photo, remind people about the files. Add occasional posts that are reminders about notifications and the Files tab.
  • Files tab can download the files but not edit them.
  • If you are selling anything – you don’t want to sell it on Facebook, but you want to show people where they can find your things.

The Hive Mentality on Facebook

  • Facebook is a collective. Hive mentality. And they never leave.
  • Everyone else is fighting for attention.
  • WHAT, WHEN, and HOW to share.
  • Engage with Fans where they are.
  • No one will be your friend if you just want to sell things. If you engage them, and build a relationship, give your users a tool to follow them – such as your newsletter.
  • You are never going to reach all of your fans. You can boost your post or fave ads, or grow it organically.
  • Engage with them, give them content that you know that the fans are going to love.

Increasing your engagement on Facebook

Means you can reach more users. Whatever worked last week won’t work this week.

  1. People like photos better than most other things. Going to get more comments and likes. More engagement.  Photo albums are even more engaging. PEople go in and see more photos.
  2. Shorter updates. Avoid “see more”. Less than 200 characters and you will see more characters. Most is less than 70 characters.
  3. Emoticons – people love the smiley – 33% more shares, and 57% more like.  Use (y) for thumb.
  4. Ask questions. Ask your fans, and they have to leave a comment to answer it. 100% more comments if you ask them questions. Keep it short, closed, short answer.
  5. Contests. 35% will like a page just for the contest.
  6. Love to click on offers. Use Facebook Offers, and they can claim the offer through the emails.
  7. Focus on your writing. Action words, headline writing skills really matter. Like a tweet, your perfect post is an attention grabbing headlines. Action words, and focus on writing a good headline. Take online courses to understand what it takes to make a good headline.

What NOT to share on your page

  1. Recent changes to edge rank – penalizing pages that like bait. Do not ask users to like, share, or comment.
  2. Don’t share photos that entice photos to like.
  3. Frequently recirculated content. If it’s already out there, go share from elsewhere, don’t get the original and post it again. Facebook wants you to do something new.
  4. Spammy links. They are determining spam if someone doesn’t click the link, like the link. People need to like it, and if they don’t, Facebook will consider it spammy.
  5. Don’t entice people to do things. Be careful with the language you use in photo contests, the posts you share, and so on.

Planning and scheduling content

  • Plan your Conversational Calendar – a content calendar for your social effort.
  • Consider frequency – how many times per day. It really matters how often.. it’s a fine line between annoying and informative. The average lifespan of a post on Facebook is 3 hours, so go ahead and repeat them. If you have a certain thing you want to do, but reword and relink to avoid “spammy”. Facebook favors fresh content.
  • Test, look at your insights, and repeat what works.
  • Target your posts, so if you have a specific thing you want to share, target that group.
  • Schedule your posts on Facebook throughout the day (click the Clock icon instead of “Post”). This means you can post on Facebook and set them up for the whole month. Then share intermittently stuff that people send to your page. There must be something “shareable” from your user – they must have posted a photo or video, and then you can share it to your timeline.
  • Review your performance using Insights.
  • Boost posts.

Using content on Facebook

  1. Create a custom profile picture to identify
  2. Custom cover photo (all: profile, page, group).
  3. Make photos more engaging. Make them recognizable at every page.

Profile pictures

  • If your logo doesn’t fit at the size – then use the graphic identifier. You can see an example of this on the Stylish Canine page. http://facebook.com/StylishCanine. It’s a branding image.
  • If you change your profile picture option, be consistent!
  • You can use the profile pic as a teaser of something you are launching – a creative way to bring a campaign into the profile picture.

Cover photos

  • Make a good first impression, and do not leave it blank.
  • You can use it to promote products. Use something that fit your overall brand image.
  • Make sure you change timeline promos right after the event ends.
  • Make it personal, photos of you, your pets, your fans.
  • Pay attention to size, and positioning (think about the profile pic), and think about the mobile app.

Photo updates.

If you share a link, it will bring in an image. But even better, create a photo update, and include link in the description – but a risk people won’t follow the link though.
Ask a question about it, or say “Caption this”.
File relative cartoons, or create your own meme photos.

Using Facebook Insights

Use insights to see if people are posting to your page, the apps that are being used, and individual posts/content.

You can also see when your followers are online.

People: demographics – people who you have actually reached, and those engaging with you (where, age, and so on).


How many people see your stuff.


How they interact with your stuff.

How to expand reach without boosting posts

  • You are going to reach your most engaged fans. So you need *good* likes. It’s better to have 100 people who are always engaging with you than 10,000 likes of people who don’t engage.
  • How to do organically – engage with them. Like them back. If they post on your page, like and comment on it.
  • Post frequently, and post engaging fans.
  • Be genuine and sincere – it is about *them*, so their friends might like them too.

If you Boost Posts

  • Formula: If you pay $5 every 10 days, you will see natural reach grow on all of your posts, not just your boosted posts.
  • NEVER promote the page. Ever.
  • Anywhere on a post select the audience. Only select friends of your page, and your friends. It’s the low hanging fruit. Select the minimum amount, and then boost it. Something that’s already doing well.
  • Regular unprompted posts will reach more people organically. Do it every 10 days, only $15/month.
  • After 30 days, starting to see natural organic growth.
  • Check your insights to see what types of content do best – photos, videos, offers.
  • Tripawds have noticed that offers have done best. And a video did pretty well too. It will depend on your audience, so test. Try posts that are already doing well.

DO NOT Promote to page – look at the “Facebook Fraud Exposed” by Veritasium (http://vimeo.com/86358084). Just watch the video to see how the click farm countries are the ones that are clicking the likes are coming from people who never engage the page. And this will suppress your reach.

Insights: how do you know what works

Being genuine and real is better than any money you can throw at a post.


Author Jen deHaan

Jen deHaan is a freelance graphic and web designer, fascinated with great layout and usability. She has been working in the software industry since 2001, and has held positions with Macromedia, Adobe, and Motorola in the Silicon Valley area near San Francisco. Jen has written and contributed to over 20 print publications on web design that have been published by Peachpit, Adobe Press, and Wiley. She now lives on a farm with her family and dogs in central Vancouver Island, Canada.

More posts by Jen deHaan

Join the discussion 4 Comments

  • Adam says:

    Have you seen Derek Mueller’s “Facebook Fraud’ video Jen? I’d highly recommend you watch it as I’ve basically come to the conclusion that FB advertising is a huge waste of money.

    • Jen says:

      Hey Adam!
      Sure have! I even link to it near the end of the post 🙂


      • Adam says:

        Lol, Sorry! Yeah, I thought that was an eye opening video. I’ve seen a lot of complaints regarding FB marketing within the last few years. Medium to small businesses feel like money they spent was a waste and they can’t get any good engagement without paying. A lot of them are moving to Tumblr, Pinterest, etc.

        We personally have had good luck with expanding reach with Twitter. We may not get as many clicks but we find long term engagement is better. Now I just need to master email marketing.

        • Jen says:

          Yeah – it was my biggest eye opener too. I had done some very small test runs prior to seeing the video (one $20 ad, and a $5 boost), and noticed odd results… then saw the video and it all made sense. That said, Tripawds has had good luck with the same thing. What I seem to notice is that pages who have been around prior to the algorithm changes seem to continue to have decent engagement, but new pages have a tough time ever getting started. I\’ve, personally, given up for the most part. I\’ve had terrific engagement off of Instagram, so naturally it freaks me out what might happen there considering Facebook runs it too. So I enjoy the IG platform on a personal level, and if it leads to anything I consider it gravy. I also have great results from Twitter (not advertising, that was a bust, but organically), but haven\’t had much of a chance to dive into Pinterest in an organized way. Now that I\’ve largely abandoned FB, I think it\’s time to give it an honest go. Oh, and yeah… email marketing. That too 🙂

Leave a Reply