Facebook Business Pages Vs. Fan Pages
By Tom Gresham
Facebook business pages are a category of Facebook fan page, so they are not distinctly different things. All Facebook business pages are fan pages, but fan pages include pages for non-business entities as well as some individuals, too. Fan pages have the name because Facebook individual profile users can choose to be fans of the pages, meaning the users will view updates to the fan pages in their feeds.
Other Fan Pages
In addition to the fan pages that promote businesses, other fan pages are based around topics, community groups, nonprofit organizations, specific causes, artists or bands, ideas and public figures such as politicians, celebrities and athletes. When someone launches a new fan page -- whether a business page or a non-business page -- they must agree to Facebook pages policies. If the page is an official page for an entity, the page administrator must be an authorized representative of the entity.
Community User-Generated Pages
Some Facebook community pages, which are a kind of fan page, can be confused with Facebook business pages. Facebook business pages are official pages that a business manages. Community pages, however, are pages that users themselves create around an idea or a topic, and are unofficial pages. Community pages are sometimes built around a business or brand, and some can be mistaken for official outlets by some Facebook users who visit the pages.
Community Auto-Generated Pages
Facebook also has automatically generated community pages that it builds around ideas or topics. These pages don't have administrators the way other fan pages do. Much of the posted content gets grabbed from sites around the Internet, including from within the postings found on other Facebook pages, according to Social Media Examiner. These auto-generated pages tend to have much smaller numbers of fans than official business pages.
Facebook offers businesses a useful way to establish a social-media home and to interact with customers. Facebook business pages are managed by businesses with a focus on their brands, so the content that the administrator posts on the pages is geared toward supporting that brand. Content that might hurt the brand or that doesn't align with the company's messages can be kept off the page. Community pages, in contrast, are outside the control of the businesses that are their topics. A business might have multiple fan pages that do not support the brand and that might, in fact, have negative content about the business.
Tom Gresham is a freelance writer and public relations specialist who has been writing professionally since 1999. His articles have appeared in "The Washington Post," "Virginia Magazine," "Vermont Magazine," "Adirondack Life" and the "Southern Arts Journal," among other publications. He graduated from the University of Virginia.