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6 Pros and 6 Cons Of Using Facebook Groups To Organise An Event

When the new Facebook groups were launched it was clear that they had finally given us a groups tool that could be effective. There is huge potential for groups for research, discussion and for like-minded people to communicate in a more private way than public Facebook allows.

Recently we used Facebook groups as an organisational tool for the Bloggers International event. There are better tools out there for collaboration but Facebook worked well for us for a number of reasons. I’ve tried lots of wikis and collaboration tools in the past, many that are feature rich but Facebook was a better fit for this event.  Here’s why and my top 6 pro’s and cons.


1. Everyone is on Facebook

Facebook is a good solution for many as ‘everyone’ is on Facebook.  Our group was split across 2 countries and several counties. We all had different time constraints due to running our own businesses, children etc but we were all Facebook users.

Being on Facebook means you don’t have to log in somewhere else.  We were on Facebook anyway so checking into the group was never a problem.  If we’d had to access a stand-alone tool it is unlikely it would have been so active.  Depending on your preferences you can choose to be emailed or notified when someone posts in a group, this keeps the momentum going.  Those little red Facebook notification flags are almost irresistible.

Facebook users are familiar with the tools of Facebook so translating them into a group environment is easy.  Users don’t need to learn a whole new set of tools.

2. Documents

Not unique to Facebook but when used well within a Facebook group they are great.  Group members can collaborate on a document (we used them for a press release and for ideas of what to say for a radio appearance).

Documents are useful for conversations you will need to revisit.  They sit on the right hand side of the page so are easy to access without scrolling through past conversations and threads to find them.

3. Group Chat

The group chat feature allows you to have live instant messaging conversations with the entire group. You don’t have to be friends on Facebook to participate in these conversations and you can easily view who is available to chat on the top right hand side of the group.

This is great for co-ordinating during events as well as the planning stage.  Phone calls are expensive and not everyone has Skype or windows live messenger, using the instant messaging feature gives you real-time contact with your collaborators.  For us co-ordinating the live feed, particularly in the test stage this was in valuable.

4. Tagging

When you have a number of people in your group tagging is a great way to make sure the right people are seeing the right posts. By tagging someone in a post or comment you are drawing his or her attention to it.  This is a handy way to assign tasks.

5. Events

You can create events specifically for members of a group.  This is a great way to co-ordinate real life or virtual meetings, making it easier to know who is attending without constant back and forth emails or conversations to check.

6. Questions

To get a consensus within a group can be hard.  Conversation threads can easily span 30 comments so for specific speedy decisions the questions application helps you gauge the groups opinion quickly.


1. Not everyone is on Facebook

OK I know I said everyone was on Facebook but in reality, ‘almost’ everyone is on Facebook, there are a few who have held out.  If even one of your organising committee isn’t there then Facebook groups cannot be the solution for you.

2. You can be added to a group even if you don’t want to be

This isn’t really a con from an organisational point of view but it is by far the biggest complaint about Facebook groups.  You can be added to them without your permission and they don’t all have wholesome titles.  Once your added you start getting notifications and emails.  As the group owner you should ask people to join and make it a rule of the group that only people who have been asked in advance should be invited.

3. The mobile version isn’t great

If event organisers are accessing the group from their mobile phone, whether Android or iOS the functionality on mobile apps is very limited. You will be able to scroll through posts but they are not ordered the same neither can you access documents.  If one of your organising party relies on the mobile apps Facebook groups is not for you.

4. Fast moving stream

If your group is very active the news feed can move very fast meaning you could well miss out on posts. Even if you are keeping an eye on it constantly it is still possible to miss something.

5. Disappearing links

Facebook has a habit of eating links that you post in groups. I assume that this is an anti spam measure but it can be quite frustrating when you are trying to post a link within a group.  When testing our live feed for the first time we had this problem and it was quite frustratingfor all involved.  It’s hard to know what links Facebook will like or dislike but posting them in the middle of a comment seems to work slightly better than posting the link alone.

6. Heavy on notifications

Once your added to a group you automatically start getting notifications and emails.  This can be quite noisy and it’s up to you to change your settings within the group. It can be quite annoying for light Facebook users so it’s worth telling them how to adjust their settings when you add them to the group.

Groups are a great resource and although I’ve concentrated on organising events here there are many uses for them. Collaborating on a project, networking or even following up with groups you work with. I tend to open a Facebook group for Facebook courses I teach, this way participants can stay in touch and I’m able to answer questions in a public forum.

Groups are also a handy research tool.  I went to two of my Facebook groups to get some ideas for this blog post, a big thank you to all who gave suggestions.

Do you use Facebook groups?

What have I left out? I’d love to hear your ideas for using them so please leave a comment below.

Hi I'm Amanda, a social media consultant and trainer who loves blogging. I work with small and medium sized businesses to help them develop social media strategies that work. I really enjoy developing my marketing and social media skills. I also love cats, cycling and cakes.

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  • Great post Amanda, I think Facebook groups are a super resource but I agree that they have some limitations. For anyone that perseveres with e-mail for group projects, theyu2019re certainty a step in the right direction. Thanks for sharing – Niall

  • I think the tagging within comments is great esp if the comments are getting long. Great summation here Amanda.

  • James_Pacaba

    Hi, first time reader here. I actually use facebook groups for several small scale work groups, and they work great! An advantage that isn’t included here is increased accountability for the group members because work schedules and agreements are ratified by the group and archived. Part of the challenge is to have the discipline to keep most if not all your work process on the groups. it can be tempting to keep some stuff ‘offline’ because you will embarrass people or sometimes, you just can’t be bothered to post, but documentation is very important.

  • Anonymous

    Interesting post, Dave.  I suppose it’s no harder (and may even be easier in some ways) for women to climb corporate ladders in U.S. versus other parts of the world. 

    Two observations:

    (1) Those stereotypes you point out are limiting to everyone — women, men and companies that hire them.  Best to leave them behind if you want your business to grow.

    (2) Don’t allow others to stereotype you. If anyone ever made a stereotypical comment to me, I literally acted as if they didn’t exist.  I didn’t acknowledge the comment and ignored it and the person who said it. It’s amazing how liberating that can be.  You can spend your life reacting to others’ view of you (which I guarantee will be limiting), or you can create your own aura of professionalism and accomplishment around you.  It’s up to you. And by the way, that same advice goes for men — never let anyone else limit you by buying into their version of who you are.  Always create your own.


  • Bearing in mind that the corporate world is mostly male there is STILL a strong push for women to “fit into” this arena.  Men and women for the most part work in completely different ways, even when doing the same job.  Until that is seriously embraced by both genders (and I don’t think it has been yet by either) this will continue to be a problem in general. 

    There will always be exceptions to the rule.

  • Women have feminine issues to take care of. These makes them slower at times

  • Here are some of the reasons I click “unfollow”: Auto Dms when you follow someone suggesting that you visit their website or like them on Facebook.Endless 4 square check-ins. (Hate them. really hate them).
    Retweet (RT) the RT of their tweet. RT of every #FF (#followfriday) that mentions them. Actually, any RT metioning one’s twitter name. Unless it’s funny, or ironic. Or very occasional.Endless mentions of the fantastic work they are doingName dropping (ok – , now that I think of it, kinda did that yesterday. *Hangs head in shame*)
    I would forgive odd transgressions, and am guilty of the odd one to be honest.  

    But these are covered already in your most excellent list above Niall. Just delighted to be able to list a few of my *Faves* as I spotted a virtual soap box here. Feel bettter now….. 🙂
    Thanks Niall!
    ~ Helen

  • Great post Niall. And I really hope some people take note and alter their Twitiquette. Over the last year I’ve tended to only follow back people who converse with me or that I find their tweets interesting. Like Helen I hate the 4square tweets, auto dm’s, bad language/bullying and retweets of #FF. I also don’t like constant “profound” quotes. I have unfollowed a few people recently because of this or I just move them from my Good Friends column on Tweetdeck into the All Friends column so I’m less likely to see them then.

  • lol, and I too carry the acares of the early days, we live & learn. 

  • Thanks Marie, Twitter is a virtual conversation, just remeber that others are having to listen so take it offline as soon as is suitable.

  • I think we all get a bit more picky as time goes by 🙂

  • Great points as always, Helen. An odd sin is forgivable but constant stuff, well!

  • Glad to hear I’ve helped to get you back on there, Catherine. Thanks for the comment!

  • Rosaliograjeda



  • Thanks Marie & great idea, I’m going to look into that 🙂

  • Great post! 

  • Niall! La La LOVE this post! Each tips feels new and fresh to me. I especially love the bonus tip – what a great idea. How often do many of us shoot off an email filled with valuable info, yet never would we have thought ‘let’s blog this answer.’ Cheers! Ande

  • Hi Ande, thanks for your comment & I’m glad that you found the tips useful. I’m a big fan of using blogging over e-mails where possible 🙂

  • Thanks Ashley 🙂

  • Hi Val, I don’t have a very strong opinion on this! The common answer is shorter works better but I’ve seen longer posts (1000 – 3000 words) work well, provided the information is valuable and the post is very well formatted. Thanks for the question, Niall 

  • Great points Niall, lets not also forget about inputting important keywords to help your post rank well.  That is sometimes the hardest part of developing an attention getting title along with the keywords.

  • Well I agree it does have its ups and downs but still a helpful tool.

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  • Hi Martin, I’m looking forward to reading your first Tweak Your Biz post.

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  • Guilhem Lecoyer

    Yeah, sure! Facebook is a good way to organize your event but I think is not the best one as you say. That’s why, I’d like to consider RowShare. That is cool with RowShare, it allows you to manage all your event from your Team Action plan to the management registrations. You can event print badges, attendance sheets and certificate, and all with a collaborative way. Just give it a try, it could be useful for you!

    I feel I need to let you know that I am on the team that develops RowShare. I just wrote an article that gives you an idea of how it can help you to organize your event:

    I know it’s been a while since you asked the question. But since I just found this page, others will follow, so I try my luck.

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