Facebook has made some pretty significant changes to Facebook Groups. Up until now, they’ve kind of been the step-child of Facebook, in that you had to remind group members to go back to them. They had no influence whatsoever on the Facebook News Feed of any of the members. Plus, members have had to learn the group page layout, which is different from any other portion of Facebook, in order to find anything, which sometimes caused confusion.
Well all that has changed. Facebook has been slowly launching a new layout for Facebook groups. Take a look:
Notice that new Facebook Groups look a lot more like Facebook Pages (which were recently made to look like Profiles). This is a good thing, because people won’t have to learn a new interface in order to interact within your group. Each group features a wall that shows Group updates, which will feel familiar to most Group members. Members can now share updates with the status box at the top of the group, and add photos, video and links right from that area as well. The Group layout has now adopted the tab format as well, so now people can access the discussion board and info about your group from tabs at the top, just like with Pages and Profiles.
The last tab, the +, seems to indicate that in the future you may be able to add additional tabs to your group, perhaps using other applications within Facebook. Right now if you search on any other applications, however, such as Notes or NetworkedBlogs, you get a message that says that not all Facebook Applications are supported. Its presence, however, makes me think that that functionality may be added in the future. It might be fun to add various applications to Groups. I can see how that would add a whole new dimension to Facebook Groups.
The biggest change, however, is that now you’ll see the Group activity of your friends, right on your news feed. You won’t see EVERYTHING that happens in a group in your news feed. But you will see Group Activity of your friends. Groups can now also be selected from the list on the left of your News Feed (where you choose different Friend Lists) so you can see JUST the group activity of your friends, should you choose to. My thought is that this can be a useful feature to help people find your group. If people see their friends interacting in your group, they may also be interested in joining.
So now what’s the difference between Facebook Groups and Pages? Here’s what Facebook has to say:
“Keep in mind that while Groups and Pages now look the same, they still serve different purposes. Groups are for fostering member-to-member collaboration, while Pages remain the best way to broadcast messages to your fans if you are a business, organization, public figure or other entity.”
So as a direct seller or network marketer, Groups are great places to build a community of customers, prospects, and/or team members, while a Page is a better choice to publicize information about your business. At least according to Facebook. You still want to build community through your Facebook Page, however, in my opinion. Otherwise people won’t come back. The biggest difference seems to be that Pages post all Page Updates (statuses) to the News Feed of EVERY fan of the Page. Facebook Groups post the ACTIVITY of your friends to your News Feed. Groups do not tell you about every member of the group.
And one of the advantages of the Group remains the fact that you can Message All Members, something you can’t do with Facebook Pages.
So what do you think of the new Facebook Groups? Do you think this is an improvement? Will you miss the old layout? Looking forward to reading your thoughts below!
(By the way, if you want to join my Direct Sales and Social Media with Jennifer Fong group on Facebook, just click here.)