Should You Create a Facebook Group for Your Team’s Fans?

Facebook Groups are all the rage these days. They connect people who share similar interests and allow them to discuss topics that they are passionate about. Even though they started out as a feature geared toward individuals, brands everywhere big and small, now take advantage of all the benefits Facebook Groups offer.

If you already have a Facebook page for your sports team, you might be wondering why would you want to start a group as well. Isn’t your Facebook page enough to connect with your fans?

As it turns out, both pages and groups have their own set of pros and cons. In today’s article we’ll discuss those differences, talk about how a Facebook Group can help your sports team, and whether or not you should jump on the bandwagon.

What’s the Difference Between Pages and Groups

Facebook pages act like a business or a brand’s profile. They allow you to share news and updates about your brand and reach not only your fans, but a wider audience as well. A Facebook page can also get verified for authenticity which boosts the credibility of your company. In a nutshell, a Facebook page represents your brand and everything it stands for.

The main benefit of a Facebook page is that you are in complete control over the content you post and allow to be posted on your page. It’s also easier to share different types of content, such as images, links, and videos. You can also customize the URL for your page and take advantage of Facebook Ads to promote your page.

The downside, however, is that fans cannot really interact between each other. And since your page is public, you have to carefully monitor what’s being posted.

A Facebook Group, on the other hand, is an online community of like-minded people. They can be created by fans as an unofficial fan group as is the case with Oakland Raiders:

There’s little room for raising brand awareness and the primary focus is on building relationships with your community. You have the option to make your team’s group either public, which means anyone can join; closed, where people can request an invitation to the group; or secret, which is visible to members only.

Anaheim Ducks fans have a substantial public fan group for the team where anyone can become a member.

One of the biggest perks of a group is that not only does it open a line of communication between the fans, it also allows them to directly communicate with members of your team or people closest to the team. Members of your group can talk to each other via private messages, wall posts, and chat. It’s also a lot easier to promote an event, such as an upcoming game.

When it comes to the disadvantages, Facebook Groups require more moderation than pages. The more members you have the more attentive you have to be when it comes to discussions happening in a group. In a similar fashion, promoting a group is harder than a page.

With the pros and cons out of the way, let’s discuss how a Facebook group can benefit your team.

How Can Your Team Benefit From a Facebook Group

While it is true that Facebook Groups require more attention than a Facebook page, there are a few ways that your team can benefit from having their own group.

1. A Group Offers Direct Access to Your Fans

Your team’s biggest fans would join your group in a heartbeat. Once they’re in the group, you can initiate conversations and encourage them to talk about anything and everything in regards to your team. They can talk to their idols and sometimes even a simple sentence from their favorite player can make all the difference in their lives.

You can find out a lot from your members if you pay attention to the conversations in the group. In the long run, this will help you establish a more personal relationship with your fans, and it will help you generate new ways of marketing to them.

The San Francisco 49ers have an official fan group led by team officials and fans who want to join have to request to join and wait for admin approval.

2. It Helps You Build Hype For an Upcoming Match

Considering that it is easier to promote an event within a group, creating excitement for your upcoming match is easier too. You can create an event several days in advance and invite members to discuss possible strategies and outcomes. It gives you a chance to invite them to the game and get insight into the number of fans who will be attending.

You can also take advantage of live video and feature players on your team in the days leading up to the game.

3. Polling Your Members

Using your Facebook Group to poll your fans will allow you to better your team’s image. It serves as a way to give your fans a way to feel involved in the daily life of their favorite club. While at the same time giving you valuable insight into your fans’ minds. It will also tell you exactly what doesn’t work, and what will work better.

4. Entry Level Membership

A group is a good way to test the possibility of having a paid fan club. You can gauge how many people would be interested in joining and paying a membership fee, in exchange for team merchandise and exclusive ticket prices.

Considering your Facebook Group is free, you can test and explore possible strategies that you had planned for a fan club. There is no risk involved, and it can even give you new ideas to include in a membership package.

Is a Facebook Group the Right Choice For Your Team

Deciding between a Facebook page and group is not easy. They can each add value to your team’s brand and marketing strategy. If you only want to keep fans updated with the latest happenings concerning your team, a Facebook page is a great choice. Another point in favor of pages is that you can reach a far bigger audience and there are many ways to increase the engagement on your page, even without investing into Facebook Ads.

But, if you’re looking to build a true community of your fans, then a Facebook Group should definitely be a part of your marketing strategy. Keep in mind that groups can become quite large and conversations can quickly spin out of control if there is no moderation, so you might want to consider hiring someone to help you manage your group.

Finally, it’s worth mentioning that you can always share the posts from your page in your group, and you can always use your page to promote your group and invite new people to join.

In reality, there is no rule against having both a page and a group dedicated to your team. The final decision depends on your ultimate marketing goal, and the time you can dedicate to managing them.

And if you want to take your site to the next level, don’t forget to check out our SportsPress Pro plugin. And be sure to download our reference guide for an at-a-glance comparison of Facebook pages and groups to aid in your decision-making, too. Good luck!

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