Are you using Facebook groups for your business? Should you be? What’s the benefit?
When Facebook pages first started, or when they were in their early years, engagement was great. You’d get comments, discussion, conversation. All you had to do was post a question and you’d get a range of viewpoints.
We may have used the word ‘community’ to describe our pages but they were far from community. When I look back at the posts that got the most engagement, I notice that they weren’t really conversations. I’d post something, someone would respond, I’d reply. It was me talking to people on a one to one basis, not a group of people in conversation.
We didn’t use groups much back then because we didn’t have to. Facebook reach either wasn’t a thing or wasn’t a thing we worried about too much.
How times have changed.
Today Facebook groups offer us an opportunity to reach our audiences in the way we once did with our pages. But this time, we are building communities.
Watch below for my Facebook Group tips
I have a group now. I’m building it slowly and implementing what I’ve learned from being an active member of other groups.
Here are my tips for being successful:
1. It’s not a group about your business, it’s a group about your customers
This is not a direct sales tool but a place to build a community of potential customers and amplifiers (people who will talk about you to others).
To do this you need to base your group on a common interest your customers may have. In my case, I created a group for small business bloggers to compliment my podcast.
2. Brand It
The name of your group shouldn’t be the name of your business but it is important to brand it. I’ve included the name of my business at the end of my group name. ‘Small Business Bloggers (Spiderworking).’ I stole this idea from Donna Moritz’s Visual Content Creators group.
3. Have some guidelines for group and admins
It’s very easy for a group to get out of hand if you don’t have guidelines. These tell people what to expect in the group and tell them what sort of content and conversations you’d like them to post.
Many people use groups as a place to promote their own content. If you don’t want your group flooded with links you should make this one of your guidelines. Think about what would cause someone to get banned from the group, decide if you are going to allow people to promote business products and services.
It is important to have these guidelines for members but it’s also a guide for your moderators or admins so that they know when to remove threads and members.
4. Decide who it’s for and only let relevant people in
If you’ve created a group based on a specific interest you may want to limit membership. For example, one of my favourite groups is UK Bloggers, I had to confirm my Britishness (I’m an English ex-pat living in Ireland) and that I owned a blog in order to join.
4. Have themed weekly threads
Having weekly themed threads is a good idea. People will get used to and look forward to these. You could have a ‘selfie day’ or a ‘promote yourself day’.
If you are scatty like me you’ll need to use scheduling tools to push out these posts. I use Hootsuite to post to groups, it’s also great for managing comments and interaction.
5. Have a list of topics on hand to spark conversation
Don’t let interaction dip on your group. Make a list of questions and conversation topics so you can drop one in when you need to.
6. Ask for feedback
Your Facebook group can be a wonderful place to ask for feedback. I often run blog post topics by group members before I start writing. They always pick up on things I’ve missed.
7. Create a content plan
Just like any digital marketing it pays off to have a content plan. This can contain a mixture of your weekly threads, conversations and curated content. It will help you keep your group active.
8. Join the conversations
At first, you will be the primary person posting conversation threads but as your group grows others will begin to feel comfortable enough to ask questions and share thoughts. When this happened encourage it by entering into the discussion.
9. Reward and celebrate group members
Has one of your members recently achieved something? Hit a goal? Tried something new? Had a birthday? Celebrate them in the group. It’s a great way to nurture your community and it can help people get to know group members better.
10. Cool tool – Grytics Group Analytics
This tool was mentioned to me on Blab by Ian Cleary last year but I’ve only just gotten round to trying it. Grytics gives you analytics for your Facebook group. My group is small so it’s still relatively easy to manage but I’d say this will be an essential tool for larger group admins.
What do you think?
Do you run a Facebook group for your business? Do you have any tips for success to recommend? I’d love to hear them.