During one of our most recent Twitter chats, we spoke with marketers about the benefits of and best strategies for managing social media groups. We had an extensive and insightful conversation. Here's what our friends on #SMTLive had to say.
Let's start with the benefits. Understanding why and how this space can help your brand is important in deciding whether groups are a good investment of time in your overall marketing strategy.
Remember, you'll need to invest a fair amount of time into building and managing a group for any of these benefits to be realized.
There are so many benefits to using social media groups, but here are a few major ones that our community shared with us. We've broken them down here to show you, first, the benefits of how groups can help amplify your brand, and second, the benefits this space can offer your audience. Though, you'll see that the two go hand in hand.
The Benefits of Social Media Groups for Your Brand
Gathering Useful Audience Insights
You can learn a lot about your audience's interests and behaviors by simply listening to the conversations being had in the group.
A1- You have a place to create a community of like minded individuals and get an insight into their lives, interests and personalities. Thus building up your knowledge of your target audience. #SMTlive pic.twitter.com/r22n2PvOYv— Cheshire Cat (@Cat_Marketing) May 19, 2020
Great way to build a community around a brand and collect actionable insights from your target audience #SMTLive— Marco Ameli (@mercmello) May 19, 2020
Building Relationships, Community, Engagement and Trust
This is an opportunity to show your human side. You can use this space to have more direct, one-on-one conversations with your audience to build those relationships.
The "humanized" element is so key! People want to feel connected to a brand and not just another stat or order number. #SMTLive— Stepfanie McCaffrey (@stepfanie26) May 19, 2020
A1: more connection with audiences & allowing more back & forth conversation. Increased engagement & visibility #SMTLive— jnette ???????????? (@JnetteYates) May 19, 2020
The group can interact as a whole and form a community with your brand in mind. These regular interactions can help build brand trust and loyalty.
A1 - builds a sense of community. Members have the opportunity to get closer to the brand AND one another by building relationships, sharing experiences, etc. #SMTLive— Garrett Tumlin (@TheGTumlin) May 19, 2020
A1: Increased engagement, trust & relationship building with your audience. Further insights via social listening can be achieved— Grace Burton (@grace_lruk) May 19, 2020
Discovering New Ideas for Content
You can use the member feedback, new knowledge you gain about your audience and content shared in the group (UGC) to help you create better content for your other social platforms.
A1. Plenty:— Draseum (@draseum) May 19, 2020
- Building a community around your brand.
- Engaging your members with relevant content tailored to them.
- Listening to their needs, hence new ideas for how you can serve them.
- Enjoying benefits of user-generated content.#SMTLive
The Benefits of Social Media Groups for Your Audience
Social media groups clearly offer brands many opportunities for growth; but, ultimately, these groups should aim to benefit and offer value to their audiences.
A page is essentially a one-directional marketing tool, whereas a group is multi-layered and multi-directional communication. Groups don’t focus on the brand, but rather creates an environment for people to engage and communicate with each other around a mutual interest #SMTLive— IC Thrive (@ICThrive) May 19, 2020
A Valuable Community
The group provides a space for people with similar interests to connect and have important conversations.
A1. It brings together people with similar interests and different perspectives thus creating a wholesome community. #SMTLive— lynette muthoni (@lyn_muthoni) May 19, 2020
A1: Allows you to have a personal connection with others and to engage with people on a different level. They also create great conversations that you won’t find elsewhere. #SMTLive— Agnes (@wongagness) May 19, 2020
More than just offering a space for people with common interests, members can connect with others and build their network.
We love that social media groups are a place for people with common interests can interact and share with each other. They're also a fantastic way to expand your network and increase visibility for your brand #SMTLive @socialmedia2day— Media Frenzy Global (@MediaFrenzyGlob) May 19, 2020
A2: Connecting with customers, connecting with other brands, connecting with different professionals in the same industry, or creating cross-industry connections.— HelpSquad (@helpsquadusa) May 19, 2020
One can learn a lot by just listening and speaking to their peers.
A1: In addition to providing a way to build community, they can be a great learning resource by letting you get a sense of what your peers think. #SMTLive— Jake Safane (@JakeSafane) May 19, 2020
Responding and having one-on-one conversations with your audience will make them feel seen, heard and respected.
A1: Social media groups are great! They allow a brand to become more "humanized" to the consumers. I think it makes it easier for consumers to communicate to a brand what they are looking for and to meet more people who have similar interests #SMTLive— Lindsay Hottovy (@LHContent) May 19, 2020
That sense of community is more important than ever now! People want to feel connected and know that their voice is being heard. #SMTLive— Stepfanie McCaffrey (@stepfanie26) May 19, 2020
In general, people just really seem to love social media groups.
A1 I personally like to join social media groups that allow a diversity of thought and are positive and uplifting. The community encourages problem-solving and promote a positive environment. #SMTlive— Nancy Casanova (@nancycasanova) May 19, 2020
Those are a few of the major benefits of groups, but they've proven to be useful to both brands and their audiences.
The next question you need to ask yourself is: "What type of group would be beneficial to my audience?"
Clearly, you will need to do the appropriate research to answer that question, but let's look at some examples of how brands are currently using social media groups. Their success may spark some ideas.
Examples of Successful Groups
We asked participants in this chat to share different use cases for social media groups, and here's what they had to say.
A2 #SMTLive— MarketingFromHome (@Smita_DigiMarke) May 19, 2020
- Sector specific group dicussing latest trends
- Job/Role based group eg HR recruiters, procurement professionals
- Key Products/Platform Users- Salesforce, Hubspot, Oracle
- Region Specific Groups
- Trade Associations
A1- Oh blimey there are so many! Estate agents can use them for sharing properties in, tips for selling etc. Small retailers can use them to product test and even create a "VIP" group with exclusive offers. So many opportunities! #SMTLive pic.twitter.com/uem0fugfG8— Cheshire Cat (@Cat_Marketing) May 19, 2020
A2 - coming from higher ed, cases can range anywhere from current students working on projects and showcasing accomplishments, alumni members teaming up to share job opportunities and news, or a mixture of both. #SMTLive— Garrett Tumlin (@TheGTumlin) May 19, 2020
A2: so many options!— Stepfanie McCaffrey (@stepfanie26) May 19, 2020
- Exclusive content
- Deeper, ongoing convos
- Tips, tricks and resources
- Customer feedback
...the list goes on and on! #SMTLive
Again, there are so many options to choose from, so knowing what type of group would interest your community is key.
Finally, we discussed tips, tricks and best practices for anyone managing (or planning to start) a social media group for their brand.
Tips, Tricks and Best Practices
Planning your content, marketing, and management strategy for a group will take time — but the time you spent strategizing and prepping will make all the difference. Make sure you have a clear launch plan, including a select-few people you can count on to help you start the conversation.
A5 | A lot of the groups I'm in personally have great content plans. They have introduction posts weekly for new members, do a self-promotion post where everyone can chime in, etc. It's important to have a content plan to get your group started off on the right foot.#SMTLive— Anastasia ☼ (@xoxAMM) May 19, 2020
A5 - Make sure you have a handful of people who will engage and post in the group to get it started. People generally follow others and if a select few are posting, commenting, etc. others will follow. The group could flop without these people. #SMTLive— Mike Kelley (@MKel26) May 19, 2020
Set rules for your group and remember to be extremely clear in your marketing language so people know what to expect. Then deliver on your promises.
A5. Group rules! I think it’s an important step that shouldn’t be skipped or done “for the sake of it” Your audience should know exactly what the group is about and what’s expected of them as community members in order to create a healthy and positive experience! #SMTLive— Charu Misra (@charumisra) May 19, 2020
Q5 (part 1): Give clear rules/expectations. Why should they join and what should they expect? Then deliver. Have a plan to initiate engagement, it will take time to build a community. People have to know each other before they will talk amongst themselves. #smtlive— jnette ???????????? (@JnetteYates) May 19, 2020
Listen to your audience and give them what they want. Engage like a human, not a salesman.
A5: consistency & relevancy of content shared/topics discussed, encouraging conversation, listen more than sell, make it personal and unique #SMTLive— Stepfanie McCaffrey (@stepfanie26) May 19, 2020
A5 Part 2 #SMTLive— MarketingFromHome (@Smita_DigiMarke) May 19, 2020
- Consistnancy of when you post
- Use it as a social listening tool
- Tailor content as per needs of members
- Make use of LinkedIn Live Events, Polls feature
- Make sure to keep tab of your competitors groups
- Monitor responses and get back to them both + -
Remember that your audience may have different expectations of content on one platform vs another. Choose the right platform to host your group and create unique content for them on that space.
A5 | Groups are groups, the ideas behind leading and managing them are similar. I think LinkedIn groups need more value. People are on LinkedIn to get jobs, develop their skills etc. not to mess around like Facebook so the need for real value to be offered is higher.#SMTLive— Anastasia ☼ (@xoxAMM) May 19, 2020
Don't act like a robot. Have a personality and find creative ways to get group members to engage.
A5- Baby, I'm gonna say it again. Beeee yourself! ???? Nobody likes robotic brands. Share your story. Start conversations without trying to gain sales, newsletter growth, etc. People like groups that are transparent, packed with value and moderated by "real" people. #SMTLive pic.twitter.com/YvtA0yGBJ9— Cheshire Cat ???? (@Cat_Marketing) May 19, 2020
A5: Here are more tips:— Shadi (@ShadiYazdan) May 19, 2020
6. Send specific, customized messages to group members
7. Create native content specifically for the group, not just reposts and shares of other content
8. Give your audience free stuff - share your tip PDF sheet, 15min free with you, etc#SMTLive
Know that monitoring a group takes a lot of work. It isn't a simple project that's done as soon as you launch. You need to constantly be monitoring, engaging and sharing a unique offering of content and perks for your members to stick around.
This is a great point! All the more reason you need to really invest in time and people to support these groups.— Cassandra Zink (@iamcassandra) May 19, 2020
A3 - I feel like group members can and should be your strongest advocates. Offering them exclusive deals or experiences and encouraging them to share can help build your customer base without extra ad spend. #SMTLive— Mike Kelley (@MKel26) May 19, 2020
A3 | You can release exclusive content to the group, tips and tricks, coupon/offer codes, conduct surveys, pinpoint possible brand ambassadors. There are so many opportunities, I think it all begins with listening to conversations in the group and solving a need.#SMTLive— Anastasia ☼ (@xoxAMM) May 19, 2020
If you aren't ready or don't have the bandwidth to start managing a social media group, remember there are other options and opportunities for your brand. Many brands find success by joining and participating in other groups where your audience is already spending their time.
I agree completely! There are so many groups available and if you aren't offering something different, new, and exciting you could have just contributed somewhere else.— Mike Kelley (@MKel26) May 19, 2020
It goes along with the concept meeting customers where they are at. Why build a new place? #SMTLive
That's a great point! There's a lot of value in participating in other groups too. #SMTLive— Hydrate Marketing (@HydrateMktg) May 19, 2020
There were a lot more useful tips shared during this chat, but these were a few we wanted to highlight.
If you're interested in being part of our next Twitter chat, you can learn more and RSVP here. And for all those of you who want to be a regular participant in these chats, sign up here to join our #SMTLive Tuesday Twitter Chat Club.