Facebook Pages Are One Type of Online Community

Though a social network, Facebook deserves a place of its own on a list of online communities. Many businesses are now inviting customers to Like them on Facebook fan page. Friends and family see those Likes, which are linked, and follow them to the fan pages from which they originated. Once there, they may be inclined to Like the page as well.

These individual Likes soon become a community of participants. Because any page updates appear on the Facebook user’s status page, members don’t even have to log into a separate website to participate.

Facebook pages, also known as Facebook fan pages, are a breeze to set up and maintain. These communities are among the simplest to maintain because they require only a few updates, and members abide by Facebook’s rules. Heavy moderation isn’t needed, and your biggest issue is spam, which is easy to remove.

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Unlike forums where members hold many different conversations at the same time, your Facebook members don’t want to receive Facebook updates from brands in their statuses all day. Otherwise, a member’s own Facebook status page is nothing but brand updates.

One to three daily conversation starters spread out throughout the day is a good rule, but don’t forget to come back and respond to members who comment after your updates. When you post too many status updates on your Facebook page, members get tired of seeing nothing but you on their status pages or newsfeeds and “unlike” so they’re better able to see updates from friends and family.

The amount of updates you post on the social networks is a key difference between a forum, which members can visit at their leisure and update as often as they like, and a Facebook or Twitter stream, where members hope to see a variety of updates from all their friends and not just a barrage from a single brand.

Facebook pages aren’t to be confused with Facebook groups. The pages are made-up updates from you on behalf of the brand and comments from fans who wish to receive updates from brands or celebrities in their Facebook statuses. Facebook groups, on the other hand, are discussions created mostly by individuals who wish to talk about a particular topic.

For example, a Facebook group called “Community Manager, Advocate and Evangelist” features discussion topics of interest to community managers. Though there are some public groups, most are private and require that members opt in to participate. Instead of clicking the Like button as you would a fan page, members join the group as they would join a club.

Brands can create discussion groups on Facebook. However, most companies find that it’s easier and more conducive to their business to create a fan page where they can drop one or two discussion topics in a day over more deep discussion groups. Most people who join Facebook brand pages aren’t necessarily there for a deep conversation; they simply want to show support for the brand.

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