Using Facebook Groups

You Can Use a Facebook Group Like a Private Room

A Facebook Group is a place for group communication and for people to share their common interests and express their opinion. They let people come together around a common cause, issue or activity to organize, express objectives, discuss issues, post photos and share related content.

Anybody can set up and manage their own Facebook Group, and you can even join up to 6,000 other Groups!

Note: Groups as discussed below are not the same as private group messaging used in Facebook Messenger.

Quick Facts About Facebook Groups

Here are some short tidbits on how Facebook Groups work:

  • Any Facebook user can make a Group
  • Some Groups let anyone join but others might be private
  • When joining a Group, whether private or public, your Facebook friends might see that you've joined it
  • Some Groups are secret and can't be searched for, in which case a qualifying Group member has to invite you
  • Leaving a Group will not notify the other members
  • Only the creator of the group and anyone they make an admin has the power to invite someone to a Group
  • You can create events, upload pictures/video and share files within a Group
  • Groups can be deleted by removing all the members

Facebook Pages vs Groups

Groups on Facebook have undergone changes since they were first implemented. There was a time when Groups a user was a member of would appear on their own personal page. So, if you were in a Group called “Football Fans,” everyone who could see your profile would know this about you.

Now, however, those types of open forums are known as Pages, created by companies, celebrities, and brands to engage with their audience and post interesting content. Only administrators of Pages can post to the account, while those who like the Page can comment on any posts and pictures.

Your personal profile is what you use to engage with other users of Pages and Groups.

Whenever you post something, you are posting with the name and photo of your profile.

Types of Facebook Groups

Unlike Facebook Pages that are always public, a Facebook Group doesn't have to be. If you comment or like a Page, all of your information will be available to anyone on Facebook who looks at that Page.

So, if someone were to visit the NFL on CBS Facebook Page, they could see anyone who was commenting on a photo or discussing an article. This could cause some privacy concerns, especially if you do not have a solid understanding of how to protect your personal profile.

Closed Facebook Groups

A Group can be more private than a Page since the creator has the option to make it closed. When a Group is closed, only those who have been invited to the Group can see the content and information shared within it.

An example of a Group might be team members who are working on a project together and want to communicate with one another more efficiently.

By creating a Group, the team is given a private forum to share ideas on the project and post updates, just like with a Page. Still, all information is shared only with those within the Group once it's made closed. Others will still be able to see that the Group exists and who are members, but they will not be able to see any posts or information within the closed Group unless they are invited.

Secret Facebook Groups

Even more private than the closed Group is the secret Group. This type of Group is exactly what you would expect it to be... secret. Nobody on Facebook can see a secret Group other than those in the Group.

This Group will not appear anywhere on your profile, and only those within the Group can see who the members are and what is posted. These Groups could be used if you are planning an event that you do not want somebody to know about, or if you just want a secure platform to talk with friends.

Another example might be a family who wants to share pictures and news with each other on Facebook but without other friends seeing everything.

Public Facebook Groups

The third privacy setting for a Group is public, meaning that anyone can see who is in the Group and what has been posted. Still, only members of the Group have the ability to post within it.

Tip: See this table from Facebook that shows some other details on how these privacy settings differ for each type of Facebook Group.

The Networking of Groups vs Pages

Another way Groups are different from Pages is that they work on smaller networks than the entire Facebook network. You can limit your Group to the network for your college, high school or company, as well as make it a Group for members of any network.

Also, while a Page can accumulate as many likes as possible, a group must be kept at 250 members or lower. This immediately forces Facebook Groups to be smaller than Pages.

Once inside the Group, Facebook works only slightly different than your profile. A Group does not use the timeline but rather displays posts in direct chronological order, similar to the pre-timeline manner.

Also, members of the Group can see who has seen a post, which is a unique feature for Group accounts. So, if you post a new idea for your Group’s project or publish something to your family's Facebook Group, the read receipts let you see who has viewed it.

Another difference between joining a Group and liking a Page is the number of notifications that you receive. When in a Group, you'll get notified each time someone posts, comments or likes. With a Page, however, it's just when someone likes your comment or tags you in a comment that you'll be told of it, much like with regular comments and likes on Facebook.

What Pages Have That Groups Do Not

A unique feature only offered in Pages is Page Insights. This allows the administrators of the Page to see what activity the Page has been receiving during a period of time, even in a graphical representation.

This is just one of the many ways Facebook Pages allow you to monitor the audience and how well your product or message is being received. These analytics are not offered, or needed, in Groups because they're meant to communicate with a small, select number of people rather than a wide-scale audience.