Many businesses and brands have a hard time deciding whether a Facebook post or a Facebook group is best for them. Pages are great for two-way communication between a business and its customers, while groups allow equal communication between all members and fans. On July 19, Facebook helped alleviate the page versus group debate by announcing a new feature that combines the two: Groups for Pages.

Groups for Pages allows the 70 million existing Facebook Pages for businesses, brands, newspapers, and more to link a fan group directly to their page. Facebook has described the feature as a way to create super fan clubs where fans can interact with one another and the businesses they care about. A business page can create its own official group or link its page with an existing group to make it official.

So what is the point of this new feature? According to Facebook Chief Product Officer Chris Cox, Groups for Pages allows fans “to be a part of the day-to-day discussion of the decisions inside the walls of an organization they care about, and more importantly to connect with everyone else who felt the same way.”

The new feature is essentially a great way for businesses to create a community-centered around their brand or product. Groups for Pages will allow fans to establish a stronger connection with the brands they love through active participation and more meaningful discussions with the brands and their representatives. Fans will feel like a member of the organization rather than just a fan.

Before the feature’s rollout on July 19, Facebook quietly tested Groups for Pages this past spring. During the test, The Washington Post saw success with a group called PostThis — from The Washington Post. In the group, WaPo reporters discuss their stories and the process behind them with fans. Cox described the group as “a digital version of letters to the editor, but with ongoing real-time discussions.”

Building a strong online community is vital for businesses in the age of social media, and this feature will only strengthen the bond between organizations and their fans. By facilitating discussions with and between fans, businesses can both strengthen existing social relationships and build new ones.

In June, Facebook changed its mission statement. It now reads: “to bring the world closer together.” Groups for Pages is an example of the social media platform attempting to do just that by bridging the gap between organizations and their fans. If you’re looking to take your organization’s social community to the next level, Groups for Pages is the right step for you.

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