Facebook Groups can be a powerful tool for business. In this article, we take a look at what they are, the benefits and how they can be used to boost your marketing efforts.
A Facebook Group is a community that comes together around a shared interest or passion. They’ve have been around for a long time, but they’ve gained popularity in the past 12-18 months.
Groups can be created by individuals and organisations, so you could choose to create one from your official Facebook Page.
There are three types of Facebook Group: Public, Private and Secret.
Public: As you may have guessed from the name, these are open to the public. Anyone can join and there’s no approval process. The group appears in relevant search results.
Private: These are closed groups. You have to apply to join the group and be approved by the admins. They appear in search results.
Secret: You have to be invited to join these groups. They don’t appear in Facebook Search Results.
By way of example of the wide variety of uses, we wanted to share two examples.
The private Secret Norwich Group has been around since 2010 and is a hub for Norwich residents and enthusiasts to get together, sharing news and views.
The business Peloton, on the other hand, has set up a private group for its customers. It allows them to share tips while staying up to date with the company’s latest news.
There are several benefits, but the most important one is access to a group of people passionate about a specific subject.
Take the two examples above as a case in point. The Secret Norwich Group has 35K members. Peloton has 278K. You know that the members of the first group are passionate about Norwich while the second love Peloton and fitness.
In light of that, Facebook Groups potentially give your business exposure to an extended audience. And, trust us, there are groups out there for all manner of interests.
You can use Facebook Groups to canvas audience interest in various subjects and products in order to learn more about them.
Ask questions and run polls to gain insights, while also stimulating conversation within the community.
You can use your groups to encourage your audience to share their ideas, images and videos to gain content for your own channels and – again – encourage conversation.
Engaged group members are likely to welcome involvement and the opportunity to reach your audience.
Are certain individuals more engaged than others? Do they start conversations and reach out to other members?
These could be your brand ambassadors, who give you a real insight into loyal customers and what they’re interested in. Build relationships with them to ensure they continue to like and share your content – perhaps with a view to them becoming an influencer.
Everyone likes to feel like part of a tribe. It’s a basic evolutionary drive. If you have a clan, you have protection and are more likely to survive.
By creating private, or secret groups, not only do you cultivate a sense of belonging but also an element of exclusivity. If they have to be accepted before they can access the group, users feel special.
You can create a Facebook Group via the Community tab on your Facebook Page.
Add an icon and an attractive header image, along with a clear description of what it’s about and who it’s for.
Be clear about what is and is not tolerated within the group and the consequences. For instance, abuse and bullying result in instant removal. Advertising posts will be removed.
It means that everyone knows where they stand before they join the group and start contributing.
Get an initial groundswell by inviting your friends, colleagues and local customers to the group before widening the net.
Read more: Social Media for Business
Having active threads and conversations before you start promoting the group makes it more enticing. Nobody wants to join a group with no activity.
Facebook Groups are designed to create a sense of community, so be sure that’s what you’re providing.
Offer advice, rewards and a welcoming environment for thoughts and ideas.
If you only use the group to promote your products and services, members will leave because you aren’t offering real value.
However, you could provide exclusive rewards and discounts for group members to say thank you for engaging. Just don’t overdo it!
As previously mentioned, members want to feel part of a community, so be sure to ask them questions, hold polls, invite them to share content.
You may need to do more of this at the start, until the Group starts to self-manage. Be sure to add conversation starters a couple of times a week and respond to your members’ comments.
Once a week, or once a month, say hello to your new members. Write a post and tag them all, inviting them to introduce themselves and their interest in the group.
It will ensure they feel valued and encourage them to make future contributions to the group.
Of course, social media has a reputation for trolling and bad behaviour, so monitor what’s happening in your group. Members want to feel safe and that the admins are in control.
Be sure to block bullying and abuse, removing members from the Group.
If you’re thinking of starting a Facebook Group and aren’t sure where to begin, get in touch. We’ll guide you through the process and provide advice for growing your audience.
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