Reaching customers on Facebook page is a constant battle.
You have your option of profile pages and business pages and Facebook ads. You watch your organic reach swing from low to high just as quickly as your ad costs do. It can absolutely feel overwhelming, especially over the last few months.
2018 has been a whirlwind for businesses on Facebook but luckily a few golden opportunities have emerged. One of those opportunities is Facebook groups.
If you’re not using Facebook groups for business, then there is no better time than right now to start learning how to use Facebook groups. If you have already jumped into the Facebook groups pool, then these tips will help make you an expert.
But first, let’s talk about why you should use Facebook groups for business.
For years businesses and entrepreneurs turned to Facebook pages to attract customers, and connect with their audience.
As Facebook grew and more businesses joined, the algorithms began to shift and pages began to experience a decrease in their organic reach.
Then in January 2018, Facebook announced a huge change in their algorithm.
Mark Zuckerberg announced that Facebook wanted “people to stay together” and that the newsfeed would start showing “more from friends, family, and groups” and less from “businesses, brands, and media.”
Many marketers and businesses feared it would be the kiss of death for the Facebook business page. Business owners needed to get creative about how they could stay connected to their audience.
This is where Facebook groups come into play.
Facebook groups have long since been a part of the social media giant. But in the last year or so, Facebook has improved the group experience and offered new tools for individuals and businesses to build communities.
Those tools and features are definitely working because more than a billion people per month use Facebook groups. Every small business owner or entrepreneur should jump at the opportunity to learn how to use Facebook groups.
Facebook groups are public, private or secret communities where individuals can connect, communicate and share about a common topic.
On Facebook pages, page owners can share posts, videos, images and the audience can like and comment on the posts or leave a comment on the page.
In Facebook groups, the group owners and the group members can both share, posts, videos, and images on the group’s feed. It really opens up an opportunity for two-way conversations.
With Facebook groups, businesses can have real conversations with their audience, gaining customer insight and market research possibilities.
For solopreneurs and entrepreneurs, groups are a way to demonstrate thought leadership and provide value to potential customers.
While Facebook pages are still great tools for branding and for advertising, groups can be the best way to communicate with your audience.
The bottom line? Facebook pages are still an important piece of your social media marketing plan but Facebook groups can offer a whole new way to connect and communicate with your audience.
There are two ways you can use Facebook groups for business. You can create your own group or you can join other groups.
Let’s start with talking about how to use your own Facebook group.
One of the first things you should do with your group is to determine its purpose.
Even if you’re creating this group as a marketing tool, it needs to be a community built around a core topic. No one wants to just talk about your product or service, they want to discuss their passions, problems or needs. Figure out how your product or service addresses a need and then make a group around it.
For example, if you run The Stylish Boutique in Atlanta, Georgia, you wouldn’t want your group to be The Stylish Boutique where all you do is share posts about your products. That’s more of a Facebook page strategy.
Instead, you would want to attract stylish women who are interested in your clothes, style trends and fashion tips. So your group could be “Style Tips and Fashion Finds for Stylish Atlanta Women.”
In one scenario, you’re talking to the audience and in the second scenario, you are engaging with a community.
Pro-Tip: Use a purpose-focused keyword in your group’s title. Much like Google, many people search for groups using keywords so think about the purpose of your group when you are coming up with the name.
After you’ve figured out your purpose, you should determine the mission and rules or your group.
Your Facebook group can be like your own little playground. You want everyone to play there but you also want them to play nice.
Use the about section of your group to clearly explain the topic of the group, how your members should interact and any special rules you might have. Consider if you’ll allow things like self-promotion, live videos, off-topic posts, etc. Remember to always connect your rules back to the mission of the group.
By being clear on the expectations, intentions, and boundaries of your Facebook group, you’ll set the culture of the group and you’ll attract the right audience.
Pro tip: You can “pin” a post to the top of the page that greets new members and outlines any important information about the group. Pinned posts stay at the top of the group newsfeed so they are the first thing your audience will see when they join the group.
Once your purpose is clear and your rules are made, then you are ready to start engaging in your group.
If you don’t want your group to be a ghost town, then don’t ghost it. We know, we know, you have a million things to do in your business and interacting in your Facebook group isn’t high on the list.
But, would you stay at a friend’s party if your friend had already left it? Probably not. And people won’t stay in a group if the owner isn’t active in it!
Become an active member of your group. Spend time in it daily. Share ideas, thoughtful content, ask questions, comment on other posts. Create exclusive content that you don’t share on your Facebook page. You want your members to feel like they’re gaining valuable knowledge by being part of your group. Because if you share all the same content that you do on your Facebook page, why would anyone join your group? Once you start doing sharing great content consistently, members will also start to share their posts, thoughts and ideas.
Pro-Tip: You can prompt engagement by creating “themed posts.” Themed posts are posts created with the intention of sparking member engagement. For example, if you’re a health coach, maybe on Mondays, you share meal planning tips and everyone shares a recipe. Or if you’re a business coach, you can have “Win Wednesdays” when your members can share their business wins. Or you can skip weekly “themed posts” and just create conversation starters to use throughout the month, such as “Share a photo of your office for the day!”
Finally, you can start inviting new members into your Facebook group and promote it!
This seems like a no-brainer. But many people forget this simple fact: if you want to really use Facebook groups for business, then you have to promote it.
A good way to start is by linking your Facebook business page with your Facebook group. You can do this by clicking the “More” button in your group and selecting “Edit Group Settings.” From there, you can select “Link Your Page” and choose the page you want to link to your group.
Your group will be shown at the top of that Facebook page’s feed, giving it prominent placement so that anyone who visits your page can see and join it. You can then create content on your Facebook page that promotes your group and invites fans to join it.
You can also link to other groups and recommend groups to your group members. You can do this by clicking the button with the three dots underneath the cover photo of your group and then selecting “Link Existing Group.”
You can link Facebook groups that you manage or that you’re a member of. After you’ve linked the group, you can write a post describing the group and why it’s valuable to your members. Once you have linked existing groups, they will appear at the top of your group page.
Now why would you want to link to other Facebook groups and how does it help promote your group? Because it’s connecting to other communities, which strengthens your community’s trust in you and helps promote goodwill among other group owners.
This is along the lines of “community over competition.” If you start recommending Facebook groups, then other group admins may do the same and return the favor by linking to your group. We’ll give more information on how to use other Facebook groups for business in just a moment!
You also should promote your group in places other than on Facebook. Add it to your email signature, add a link from your website, create a call to action in your next email newsletter, share about it on other social media platforms or mention in your blog post.
Pro-Tip: Never add people to your group without asking their permission first. This is so spammy and is a huge turn-off for your members.
Now we’ve talked a lot about how to create and build your own group but what about how to use Facebook groups that other people own?
A Facebook group that is owned by someone else can be a great marketing tool for any entrepreneur, solopreneur or business owner. There are millions of Facebook groups so there’s a good chance that there’s already a group around your topic. You can join these existing communities and begin connecting with potential customers and partners.
We recommend starting out by joining a few groups that are most directly related to your product or service. Being an active member of groups takes time so you don’t want to overwhelm yourself.
Once you’ve found your Facebook groups, take some time to get to know the lay of the land and the tone of the group before you strategize the types of content you want to write. It’s important you respect the mission of every group you join.
Read the rules of each group you join and respect them! If they ask you not to direct sell, then don’t post direct sales posts. If you can only promote on certain threads, then only promote in certain threads.
Breaking rules will not only get you kicked out of a group but it could lead to a bad reputation among your community, which could keep people from joining your group.
The trick to successfully promoting your business in someone else’s Facebook group is to provide value and not go for the straightforward sale. Ask questions, be friendly, answer questions helpfully and share valuable insights. Sure, it might feel like the long way to reach a sale but offering value provides a stronger foundation for building a brand. Your potential customers will remember you and like you more if you can offer them something that benefits them instead of just asking for a sale.
Once you know the rules, you’ll know what types of content or content categories you can share in each group. Then, you can start pulling from your existing library of content and start connecting with other group members.
While we never know what new announcement Facebook will make in the coming years, we do know that they are focusing on building communities on their platform. So you should do the same. Learning how to use Facebook groups for business can be a game-changer for your social media strategy.
Now we want to hear from you! Let us know how you use Facebook groups for business or some of your favorite Facebook group features.