Starting and maintaining a Facebook Group may seem a little daunting, but it can be a great way to add more value to your audience.
In this post, we’ll take a look at how you can run your business Facebook Group efficiently, and use it to maximize your Facebook reach and engagement.
Why use Facebook Groups?
Research from Facebook shows that groups are seeing a lot more engagement than Pages. This is because Facebook groups enable members to start conversations more seamlessly than a Facebook Page does, while it's also part of the broader shift away from public sharing to discussions in more enclosed, private space.
Now I know what you’re thinking: “Dhariana, you’re really asking me to put another social community on my plate?”
Yes I am, but only if it makes sense for your business, and/or if you have the time to maintain a Facebook Group.
Underlining this, here are some benefits that branded groups can provide:
1. Provide extra value for customers
Your Facebook group can easily provide extra value for your customers.
You can use it as a space to do more deep diving into subjects, or as a testing ground for new ideas. It’s also another way for your audience to connect with you, and each other, which can help to facilitate the growth of brand communities.
2. Create a sense of community
Your best bet in building relationships with your audience in the social media landscape is to build relationships and a sense of community.
This, of course, can be a little difficult via post threads and comments, and building a community on your own website can take tech (and money) that you may not have access to. Facebook groups enable you to build a sense of community when you lack the technology to build a community within your website.
As noted in the previous point, members can start conversations among themselves, and eventually even answer each other’s questions.
You can even use groups for your own teams within your company - this can be a way to keep everyone in the loop, and even build company culture with teams that are remote, or just not in the same location all the time.
I'm part of a brand ambassador group for a company I work with, and it’s a fun way to connect with ambassadors from my city, talk about the brand events and share our work and experiences.
3. Create a sense of exclusiveness
Everyone wants to feel special right? Private Facebook groups can provide just that.
With both private and secret groups you need to approve members as the group admin, which means that only people who you accept into the group can be active there. The main difference between the 'private' and 'secret' group options is that private groups can be found in search, while secret ones cannot.
Both options can help build a sense of exclusivity for the people you allow in, while it also makes content you share in such groups only available to those who are part of them. This can be great for event attendees, course subscribers etc.
I have a Facebook Group dedicated to those who join my email list or sign up for my social media resource library. Each subscriber gets the link once they join, and in the group, I take and answer any extra questions about my posts, as well as general social media questions and more.
4. “Beat” the algorithm
Since, as noted, Facebook Groups generally see higher levels of engagement than Pages - and posts from groups in which you're regularly active are also given higher status in the News Feed algorithm - creating and maintaining a group can be a way to “beat” the algorithm and get your posts seen by your group members.
It's not a solution, as such, you can't ever circumvent Facebook's algorithm limitations, but its another way to generate more exposure, and boost awareness among your Facebook audience.
How to use Facebook Groups Effectively
Okay, so now that we’ve covered a few reasons why Facebook Groups can be a great asset to your social media portfolio, let’s go over some tips on how to run them effectively.
1. Fill in all sections
Just like I recommend you fill in all the information in your social media bio, you also need to fill in all the information in your Group.
Helpfully, Facebook walks you through each section when you set up your group.
2. Set the rules
Group rules are important for keeping all things in order. Facebook has some pre-populated rules in the “rules” section of your group (including 'no spam', 'no hate speech'), but you should feel free to add your own.
Creating group rules will set the tone for the behavior of members, and protect you if you have to kick anyone out for breaking the rules.
3. Post regularly
As per usual, consistency is a key element in building interaction on any social media platform.
It can also be the most difficult. My advice here is to create weekly themed prompts and sprinkle in some open-ended questions to get your members to chat a little more.
Using a management tool can make the task a little easier - especially if you’re managing multiple groups - so while you’re already plugging your content into the tool, you can go ahead and schedule your Facebook group posts.
Some tools, like AgoraPulse, enable you to set your posts to recurring, so you don’t even have to think about scheduling the same things every week – you can concentrate on the posts that will build more engagement.
4. Respond to posts
You should always ensure that you respond to any posts or questions your members post in the group to spur further engagement.
5. Create exclusive content for your group
Aside from prompts - and being able to chat with others who are going to the same event, taking the same course or using your product - you need a little something more to keep the attention of your group members.
This is where group exclusive content comes in. It doesn’t have to be complicated – it can range from a group-only discount, a group-only download, or even just you hopping on live sessions within your group.
6. Check your analytics
Facebook Groups also now have analytics. As with your regular social media profiles, keep up with looking at your analytics to know what’s working.
There are so many ways you can use Facebook Groups for your brand or business. Hopefully these notes have given you some inspiration for your own groups strategy.
A version of this post was first published on the Dhariana Lozano's blog.