April 24, 2023
You and your employees likely already use Facebook in your personal lives, so it’s natural to assume it may be a good platform for your company to create a community with customers. If you're considering using a Facebook group for this purpose instead of a customer community, it's important to understand the key differences between the two. While a Facebook group can be a useful tool for small businesses to engage with customers and build a sense of community, there are several reasons why it may not be the best solution for your company.
A Facebook group is not a dedicated platform for customer engagement. While it can be a convenient way to communicate with customers, if you want to get the most benefit out of your customer engagement, the features of a dedicated customer community platform may be a better choice.
For example, a community platform can offer consistent branding, your rules, and personalized content recommendations to help increase engagement and build a stronger sense of community. Beyond that, your employees and customers must have a personal Facebook profile to participate in your community; some people aren't interested in having one.
Facebook groups are free, but there's a trade-off for that. To use Facebook groups, you must agree to their terms of service, and you have no control over those terms. With your own dedicated platform, you create your own terms.
While you can set a group to be "closed" or "secret," the fact remains that Facebook is a public social media platform. This means your customers must be Facebook users to join your group, and some may not want to use the platform. Other customers may hesitate to share personal information or ask sensitive questions publicly.
Customer communities give your company much more control and ownership of your brand, data, and security and more robust functionality to present information and navigation to organize complexity in your company.
If you use a Facebook group for your customer community, it will look and feel like Facebook. It’s convenient and familiar, which is good, but it won’t look like you, which may not be desirable. On Facebook, you aren’t presenting your brand as boldly as you might be able to do with a dedicated platform.
Facebook's algorithms can also be unpredictable. The way that content is displayed in Facebook groups is determined by complex algorithms that are constantly changing. This means that some group members may not see your posts, and engagement can be difficult to predict. Additionally, Facebook's terms of service can change anytime, meaning that you may lose access to your group or be subject to unexpected restrictions.
Conversely, the customer community platform is designed specifically for customer engagement. These platforms are designed to facilitate conversations and collaboration between customers, and to provide a range of features that can help to improve engagement and loyalty. They're also highly customizable, so you can tailor the platform to suit your business's and your customers' needs.
On Facebook, according to their terms, you do still own your data, but that doesn’t mean they'll make it easy for you to export it off their platform should you want to. It also doesn’t protect you from them changing how they display data or removing the service altogether.
With your own community, you can adjust security and other policies to match your company's needs.
In conclusion, There are many reasons why Facebook Groups are a reasonable choice for some small businesses. There are topics you need to think through and be ok with, like privacy, data ownership, and branding.
If you’re not ok with them you should look toward a more robust solution where you can have those benefits. That’s where we come in.