Over 1 billion people use Facebook, many of whom tune in on a daily basis to see what their friends are up to and to keep up-to-date on the news.
Facebook is inherently a social platform, meaning people log on to chat, connect, and join discussions, whether that’s with people they know, companies they admire, or famous people they look up to. The power to connect on Facebook is huge, which is why it can be disheartening to see that the reach of Facebook pages is getting lower and lower by the day.
Do you have a Facebook page?
If you do, it’s likely you’ve noticed a drop in reach lately – you know, less and less of your fans seeing your stuff, almost like you’re shouting out into a black abyss.
There is a solution.
Facebook groups have rocketed in popularity over the last year or so, bringing with them the chance for brands to once again connect with their audiences.
What’s the Difference Between a Facebook Page and a Facebook Group?
Facebook pages are places for celebrities, brands, and businesses to broadcast to the world. They’re a promotional platform for you to share your latest news, updates, and wins on.
Sure, your fans can comment on your posts and interact but, at their core, Facebook pages are for the brand rather than the people.
This is an example of a Facebook page
Facebook groups, on the other hand, are a place for people to connect, start discussions, and build relationships.
Anyone can post in a group, so it’s not just a wall of promotional material from a company. Instead, members can start their own dialogues, interact with each other and, more importantly, have a safe space to air their views.
Because that’s perhaps the best thing about Facebook groups – they can be set to private, so member’s own Facebook friends can’t see their posts or replies.
These groups offer a secret side to Facebook, where people can air their views without worrying about whether their mum and dad will see.
We’re now living in a digital age where consumers crave authenticity from brands; where they want to build real relationships with brands they believe in.
They no longer want to be sold to, because they are no longer passive receptacles of marketing.
This new hunt for authenticity feeds perfectly into why Facebook groups are so important.
They help businesses build real-life, authentic connections with their audiences, plus they’re great for finding out what your audience want and need (just listen to the discussions and see what people are chatting about).
How to Build a Facebook Group
So now you know why Facebook groups are so important for your business, let’s dive into how you can create one.
Step 1: Choose a Theme and a Name
First things first, you want to come up with a theme or topic for your group to give it some focus.
Ideally, this theme or topic will fit into your brand concept. So, if you run a bakery school, you want your Facebook group to focus on baking or learning how to cook rather than getting fit or dieting.
This way, you’ll attract the right kind of members who will be interested in your business and what you have to offer.
Next, you want to choose a name for your group. You might want to include your business name in this for branding purposes or so that people continue to see your business name over and over again (and, therefore, remember it).
Let’s take the bakery school as an example again. You might decide to call it “[Your Business Name] Bakery School” or “Learn to Bake With [Your Business Name]”.
Alternatively, you can give your group a “tribe” name to make your members feel even more connected and like they’re a part of a community. Something like “Star Bakers” or “[Your Business Name] Bakers” would work well for this.
Once you’ve settled on your theme or topic and your group name, it’s time to actually create your Facebook group.
Step 2: Create the Group
Go to the Groups tab on the left hand side of your Facebook feed and then click the green Create Group button in the top right corner.
Step 3: Name Your Group and Add People
Next, you want to enter the name of your group (you can always change this at a later date) and add people.
NB: In order to create the group, you have to add at least one person – a colleague or a friend will do at this stage.
Step 4: Add a Description
Once you’re taken to your brand new group, you can add a description by clicking the pen icon under the Description tab in the right hand sidebar.
There, you can enter the details of your group including:
– What it’s all about
– What members can expect from the group
– A link to your website for people to find out more about your business
– Rules and regulations (don’t want anyone self-promoting in your group? State that in the description)
Step 5: Add Your Branding
Finally, you want to add your branding to your group by uploading a header. On this header, you ideally want to share the name of your group and a tagline that tells people what it’s about.
Remember though – Facebook will cover a section of it with their own text, and on mobile it will get cropped to half the size.
This shows the dimensions of your Facebook group header on desktop, iOS and Android. Ideally, you want to make sure the text of your header fits within all three dimensions so it doesn’t get cropped out if people are on mobile.
Examples of Facebook Group Headers
This one for the Inbound Marketers group is striking, but much of the image will be cropped out if people are looking at it on mobile.
Again, this cover photo for Online Trainers Unite looks eye-catching, but the right and left-hand side text will be cropped off on mobile.
How to Get People to Join Your Group
Now you’ve got your group set up, it’s time to get some members in there!
The great thing about Facebook groups is they can be awesome marketing collateral – you just need to fill them with your target client or customer.
Easier said than done, right?
1. Social Media
Set up automated posts to go out regularly on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram so that your audience are reminded of your group on a consistent basis.
You can also pin a link to your Facebook group on your Twitter feed and Facebook page so it’s the first thing people see when they look you up.
An example of a pinned Tweet that promotes a Facebook group.
2. Email List
Send out an initial email introducing your group to your list and then, afterwards, add a “P.S.” section to future emails that remind your readers about the group.
You can also add a link to your Facebook group in your welcome email that goes out to new subscribers. These people have you fresh in their minds, so they’re likely to click through and connect with you anywhere they can.
A welcome email with a “P.S.” section asking subscribers to join the Facebook group.
3. Your Blog
You might want to create an entire blog post around your new Facebook group or, more likely, you might want to slip a link to it into your most popular posts that fall into the same topic or theme as your group.
Remember – you’re trying to get relevant people to join, so tack a link to your group anywhere that those people might be hanging out.
4. Involve Your Members
If your group is successful, your members will be pleased to help you out in any way they can.
They might know other people who are interested in your group’s topic, so give them a nudge in the right direction and ask them to invite anyone they think would be a good fit.
How to Engage with Your Group
So now you’ve got the concept, the name, and the members, it’s time to start making your Facebook group a fun place to be.
In order to do this, you want to engage your members by generating discussions, starting dialogues, and encouraging interaction between yourself and your members.
There are two key ways you can do this:
1. Schedule Prompts
If your members are in a few other groups, it’s likely they might need reminding that you’re there every now and again. A great way to do this is to add in daily prompts to your group.
Create an eye-catching graphic that’s on brand and ask them to share something like their favourite baking tip if you’re running a baking group, or their favourite influencer if you’re running an influencer marketing group.
An example of a daily prompt from the Social Boss Facebook group.
This prompts a discussion in the designated threads because people want to answer you. They want to be involved, they just need a reason to get involved.
2. Have Daily Themes
So your Facebook group has an overall theme or topic, but what about adding in daily themes to encourage people to post on different days?
For example, you might have Monday as a “Make Your Own Recipe day” in a baking group, where members create and share their own recipes with everyone else.
This livens up the feed in your group as people post their own threads and discussions, and it gives members a reason to get involved during specific days.
It’s worth playing around with daily prompt ideas and daily themes to see which ones your members interact with best.
The Dos and Don’ts of Running a Facebook Group
Now you’ve got people talking and your group is well on its way to becoming successful, let’s look at some of the things you should and shouldn’t do if you want your members to stick around and connect with you.
DON’T Constantly Promote
Sure, it’s your group, so you can essentially do what you like in it, but your members are there to connect, not to be sold to.
You can promote your latest offerings and fresh blog posts, but don’t spam your members with deals and offers. If your group’s feed is predominantly made up of you and your business, you’re going to lose members quickly.
DO Strategically Link People to Your Site
That being said, you do want your members to know about your business and what you offer.
They might have joined because they love baking, but they might not know that you run a baking school with loads of cool books and products they can buy.
If you create a communicative, responsive group that’s a tight-knit community, your members will actively want to support you – so give them something to support you on.
DO Recruit an Admin
When your group gets to a certain number of members, it can be difficult monitoring posts, especially when people from different time zones join.
In order to keep spam to a minimum and keep everything in order, you might want to recruit an admin to help you clean up your group. They can delete any irrelevant posts, answer any key questions people have when you’re not online, and generally keep things in working order.
DON’T Create and Run
You created your Facebook group to connect with your members, so don’t just set it up and then run for the hills. Be present in your group when you can so that your members feel like they’re cared for.
We all like to feel a part of something, but when the leader is involved? Well, that just makes it ten times better.
DO Be Professional
Yes, Facebook groups can be secret places to vent and air your frustrations, but remember your group is an extension of your business, which means you need to keep it professional at all times.
Don’t swear, don’t air your political views, and answer questions politely.
Examples of Effective Business Facebook Groups
To finish, let’s take a look at some effective business groups and why they work so well.
Teachable, a course publishing platform, has a Facebook group for its “tribe”. Here, people can ask questions about the platform, support each other, and share their successes.
Why It’s So Effective:
The leaders encourage questions, feedback, and a safe place for members to vent their frustrations, share their stories, and ask for help. This creates customer loyalty and an engaged following.
Golden Tote has its own Facebook group for shoppers. In the group, members can trade buys and share their recent purchases.
Why It’s So Effective:
The group creates a community around Golden Tote and acts as an extension of the business, where people can buy and trade their goods with other GT shoppers.
Shareist also has a private Facebook group for its customers. Again, members can ask questions, get direct feedback from the Shareist team, and help other out.
Why It’s So Effective:
Members have a place where they can quickly ask questions about the platform and get answers from other users, even if the Shareist team isn’t online.
Facebook groups have the power to be an extremely high-converting marketing tool in your arsenal.
As long as you focus on creating connections, building relationships, and generating a community around your business, Facebook groups might just be the thing you need to take your business to the next level and bring it into this digital age where authenticity is key.