Comparing Facebook profiles vs. groups vs. pages

My former classmate and good friend Julie Saraceno and I met up for coffee at Starbucks the other day to discuss the benefits and drawbacks of using Facebook profiles vs. groups vs. pages. In our line of marketing and communications work, we often field inquiries from groups at our organizations wanting to have a Facebook presence. Some want to create profiles to interact as an organization, due to perceived benefits, while others have a difficult time distinguishing between the purpose of a group and a page. So, we created this little table to help compare the three options. It is by no means exhaustive, and certainly, if you have any feedback, we welcome it! Hopefully you can use it to your advantage too.

Facebook Profile Facebook Group Facebook Page
Intent Individual Specific topic or group; internal Public presence; external
Applications / Plug-ins End-user of applications / plug-ins No application / plug-in support Can deploy applications / plug-ins
Personalized URL Yes No Yes
Host Discussion Forums No Yes No
Private Messaging Message up to 20 friends at one time Message all members to their inbox Can send mass or targeted updates to fans but not delivered to their regular inbox
Status Updates Yes No Yes
Friends Can find and request friends Can invite friends to become group members Users can suggest to their friends that they “like” the page
Friends lists Yes (100 max, 1,000 users/list) No No
Privacy Options Fully customizable Can be public or private group Can restrict age limit of users who interact/see page
Statistics Can manually see friend statistics by viewing profiles of friends (based on privacy settings); can manually see comments/likes No group statistics available except total number of members; can manually see comments/likes Statistics on fan demographics (age, gender, location, etc.) and media consumption, page views, interaction, etc.
Events Can create and invite friends to events; can be public or private Can create and automatically invite all group members to events; can be public or private Can create and post events to wall but not auto invite all fans; admins can invite friends; event is public
Customized Tabs Can not have customized tabs Can not have customized tabs Can have customized tabs and set landing tabs for non-fans
Promotion/Ads Can not promote profile via social ads Can not promote group via social ads Can promote page via social ads
Photos/Videos Can post photos and videos; can tag your friends Can post photos and videos; users can tag friends Can post photos and videos; users can tag friends
Relationships Best for personal relationships with other users Best for short-term relationships with members Best for long-term relationships with constituents
Indexing/Search Available to unregistered users based on privacy settings; not fully indexed Not available to unregistered users Available to unregistered users; information is indexed and can be found in search engines

Update: 10-20-2010 | Here’s a great post that covers more features: Facebook Page or Group

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