Your Facebook business page is for marketing and creating an engaged experience for your customers and users. Now whether Facebook care to admit it or not, Facebook is actively seeking to remove organic engagement on pages and push everyone into a “pay-to-play” strategy in order to reach audiences. With that in mind – what you discuss on your Facebook business page needs to be different than what is discussed within a Facebook group.
Within your group you should focus on building a community – an empowered group of individuals ready to advocate for you/your business anytime. Enhance the group and keep it different from your business page by keeping it strictly conversational. Yes, you can share links, videos, and podcast recordings but re-orienting the conversation is key to having a successful group.
One of the best uses of Facebook Groups is to build a community of people that share similar interests. The difference with a Facebook Page is that the members feel that they have the freedom to share content, start a conversation, or ask for advice. Your brand can still be an admin, but the members feel more comfortable than a Page.
Most consumers don’t want to join the conversation on a post made by a business, but if it’s in a group setting, that barrier is removed. It gives you the opportunity to be more personal. You are the face behind the group, not a company name and logo. Consumers want to engage with a person, not a company.
Top reasons for starting a Facebook Group:
Product Launches or Special Projects
This is usually a “secret” group that is not visible to the public. It can be a great place to “brainstorm” ideas and connect with like minded individuals in your team, or even for a partnership or small trio of people working in a project.
The group format works really well for Mentoring Groups – you can keep your membership Private or Secret to hide content, and it is a great way for people to connect and inspire each other. As its much more private, group members will feel more comfortable asking questions and responding to questions in the more secure environment. The right discussion can really take off because it’s not as intimidating as a business page.
Sharing the Social Media Love
Let’s face it, it can seem slow and hard when you are first building a community on any platform, so I say that there is no harm in using a few “friends” to build your community and share the social media love. A great way to do this is to establish a Blogging or Social Media Group on Facebook, where you can keep in touch with like-minded Bloggers or Social media enthusiasts so that you can post up new content, and help each other out with comments on blogs or likes, comments and shares on Facebook as well as Twitter conversation. So, go out and comment on other blogs and engage with other bloggers and influencers in your niche, and why not use a Group to help you share the love.
This one is easy and probably one of the biggest uses of Groups I have seen. You may need to be selective as to which ones you belong to as it may become overwhelming, but they can be valuable for sharing with others, finding new clients, getting ideas and providing advice or inspiration. There are usually Group rules (especially to prevent shameless self-promotion) and most are designed to build business community.
Using Groups that are “exclusive” can be a wonderful add-on to your products or services, and a great way to provide content or updates to existing and new members to your programs or membership sites. The simplicity of Facebook Groups makes this a cost-effective alternative to setting up a complicated membership site, especially if you are not overly tech-savvy.
Everyone wants their Facebook group to grow. It’s important to note you won’t see exponential growth over night. You have to put in the time and work to see your group grow.
Here are some best practices when it comes to setting up and managing your group:
Process for adding people to the group:
- Ask qualifying questions before allowing people to join
- Have a pinned post with page with rules & regulations
- How many groups are people in – should they really be in yours?
- Don’t add people who have only joined Facebook in the recent six months – possible spammers
- No MLM people – most definitely spammers
Determine the purpose of your group:
- For community
- A place to avoid being “sold something”
- Bridge an event or product launch
- A place where people can help others
- Brand partnerships – ask the group if it’s something they would find value in
Once you have all that – your community is ready!
The benefits of Facebook groups are clear as long as you develop a plan with specific criteria that you look for before joining a group or creating your own.