Business owners have a complicated relationship with Facebook, to say the least. While many of them have found themselves victims to the giant’s paid ads machinations, others have found great success on the world’s largest social network, boosting their brand and making their business boom.
In many of the latter cases, Facebook Groups have been at the center of it. To replicate their success, it takes much more than just creating a group and hoping for the best. So, in this post, we’re going to talk about all the essential ingredients that will make your Facebook group truly beneficial for your business.
The worst thing you can do when starting a Facebook Group that supports your business is to do it for all the wrong reasons. Not only will you be wasting time and resources, but you might actually also end up alienating both your prospective and existing customers.
If your only goal is to promote your company and its products/services, there is really no need to start a Facebook Group. Your company page will be more than enough for this. Plus, it won’t set expectations for your current and potential customers that you are clearly not interested in meeting.
Facebook Groups are not just another marketing channel. They are a tool to build a community that will expand beyond just your brand; a community that will engage people about an entire industry; a community that will cultivate a sense of belonging that your brand just happened to kickstart.
No matter how interesting your industry is and how much people like to talk about it, you have to realize that your Facebook group is probably not the first one out there and that you have a difficult task before you.
For one, you need to entice the right people to join it. The importance of having an ideal group of users in your Facebook group can’t be overstated. People who are legitimately engaged with the topic will create content that’s valuable to their fellow members. They’ll engage with newer members, answer questions, and also moderate the contributions of other members.
More than anything, they’ll create the value you need from the group. Essentially, they’ll validate its purpose.
Right then, how do you get these engaged individuals to join? Many brands soon discover that simply inviting people does not cut it.
You have to think broader:
A crucial step is also to define the rules of posting in the group and curtail any and all spamming that is bound to happen. Enforce the rules mercilessly and make sure that your group is actually providing the content it’s intended for. A bad first impression (e.g., seven spammy, salesy posts in a row) can discourage even the most enthusiastic people.
Another good idea can be playing the exclusivity card and not allowing just anyone to join the group. Aura does this for their Facebook group, letting the members know that they will not be spammed and that they will get exactly what they want. (Also, notice the group rules and how clear they are).
If you were to sit down with people behind the world’s best 10 Facebook groups and ask them what their secret was, you’d get the same answer over and over again – engagement.
There may be a point where your Facebook group will get to that critical mass where the members themselves will make your group active and buzzing. However, that takes time. Until then, you will have to pull most of the weight.
You will need to come up with a steady stream of content – both informative and interactive – to get the ball rolling. The most common mistake brands make with their Facebook group is that they start out hard and then reduce their activity gradually. The stream of content needs to be constant, ideally on a daily basis.
A good idea might be to have a calendar with all your activities planned for at least two weeks ahead. For example:
After a while, your members will make your group a part of their daily web routine. They’ll be coming back and telling other people about the group (which is one of your ultimate goals, after all).
Your engagement should also include replying to every question or topic that your group members might raise. This is especially important early on. Later on, you will find that the community itself will jump in, provide their own expertise, and get the conversation going. A great example of this is Canva and their Design Circle group.
Consistency is everything, especially early on.
Your Facebook group can also be a great tool that will help you improve your product.
For one, you will hear from people in your industry about their various pain points and how current products or services are not solving them. Every time you come across someone’s question, complaint, or comment that might help you build a better product, make a note of it for later reference.
In the section on the importance of regular engagement, we mentioned polls. You can also use polls to find out more about your target market segment by asking them questions that will later help you move your product in the right direction.
You can even be straightforward and ask your group members to tell you what they would like for you to introduce, change, or improve.
In their Facebook group, HubSpot Academy does exactly that. The brand asks its members to suggest topics for future courses, knowing that they will end up with courses that people will really enjoy and benefit from.
Voices, a company that brings together voice artists and potential clients, offers another great example. This brand made its Facebook group a place where voice artists can introduce themselves, in addition to many other things. As a result, their pool of talent only grows, and they have a better product for their customers.
Probably the worst thing that could happen with your Facebook group is that you spend a lot of time and resources on it and then, after three months, you look back and see that you’ve accomplished nothing.
This is what happens when people just throw stuff at the wall hoping something will stick.
Instead, approach running your Facebook group as analytically as you would any other social media effort. Luckily, Facebook features Group Insights that will provide you with plenty of data to track how successful your group is and what you might want to try in the future.
This feature will provide you with a number of metrics on the growth and engagement of your group. In addition to this, you will be able to see age and gender, as well as geographical breakdowns of your membership and much more.
When utilized properly, a Facebook group can be a great tool to support your brand and build an engaged community. Get the right people to join, keep them engaged with carefully created and curated content, and never spam them. It won’t take long for your brand to become recognized in the industry. And if you play your cards right, you might even be able to improve your product based on the insights you got from the group.
Travis Jamison is an entrepreneur turned investor. After selling a couple of businesses, he shifted his focus toward investing. But he was disappointed by the lack of options for entrepreneurial-type investments - like buying websites & investing in small, bootstrapped businesses. So he started Investing.io to provide a home for other entrepreneurs turned investors.
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