How do you recognise a great business? By the community created around it. Crowds of fans cheering and queuing in line for hours to buy the latest product. Look at all the big brands out there and you’ll see that community is something they all have in common. People want to gather and rave about the things they love – it’s something that brings us closer together. And among the endless business-boosting possibilities offered by Facebook, community creation through Groups is one that is often overlooked by small and medium businesses. Let’s have a look at how you can use Facebook Groups for your Business! Why create a Facebook Group? A Facebook Group is like a digital clubhouse you can set up in minutes. It creates a space for your fans to gather, ask questions about your product/services, socialise and engage with your business. And if you don’t have many fans or followers at the moment, creating a Group might help you gain more. It might take some time to build momentum, but it’s worth it. What is the difference between a Facebook Page and a Facebook Group? Your Facebook Business Page is like your personal profile. You post what YOU want and talk about yourself and your brand. It’s your official, public-facing identity. Your Facebook Page can be used to update information about your business and create an authentic online presence through carefully crafted posts. A group is more about your fans than about yourself. A safe space for discussion, memes, access to exclusive content, educational content etc. While your Facebook Page shouts “ME ME ME”, your Facebook Group focuses on sparking conversation with the people who love your brand! Benefits of a Facebook Group for your business Besides sparking conversation and creating communities, Facebook Groups have other advantages that can’t be ignored: They help your business get found easier on the platform when someone searches the Facebook Newsfeed. By providing actionable free content you will be the go-to in your industry and stand out from your competition. The Units section can be utilised to post educational content and help people with the problems they may have. Increased reach and visibility: since Facebook changed its algorithm back in 2018, it has started prioritising posts that create meaningful interactions, including Facebook Group posts. In fact, you might notice a dedicated groups tab at the bottom of your Facebook app. People also get notifications for group posts so they are much more likely to engage. Group members are qualified prospects. They CHOSE to be part of your group and are clearly interested in what your brand has to offer/say. Long-lasting relationships with your customers. How do you gain your customers’ loyalty? By treating them well and letting them know they are important. And what better way to do that than by directly interacting with them in a dedicated group? It shows you care. Great insights from your target-audience. Facebook Groups are great for getting feedback from your customers and finding out their pain-points in order to improve your service/product. And it’s FREE. How to Set Up a Facebook Group Go to the Groups tab in your browser or app and choose Create Group. Choose a group type. Choose a name for your group (ideally containing your brand name, to make it easy to find). Choose a cover image for your group (make sure it’s on brand). Go to Settings and create a description for your group. It’s also highly recommended to add group rules, in order to avoid spam and abusive behaviour. Set the privacy of your group. It can be Public (everyone can see who’s in the group and what they’re posting) or Private (people need to join to see members and posts), Hidden (only members can find it) or Visible (anyone can find it). You can also choose to add questions to the membership request in order to learn more about people who want to join your group. After you’re done with the settings, you can add people to the group by inviting your friends and your Facebook Page fans (the people who like your page) to join (in the Members section). How to generate engagement on your Group Now that you’ve created your Facebook group, let the fun begin! You need to create an engaging environment and make your members feel valued. Here are a few tips: Welcome your new members weekly. On the right hand side of your screen you have the option of creating a special welcome post which tags the new members. Encourage people to share their stories and make sure you engage with them! Engage with your group members consistently. It’s important to be involved and active in the group. Try to help out your members if they post questions and always think about how you can offer them value. Be careful to not overdo it – remember it’s a space for customers and fans to connect, it’s not about YOU. Use Group Insights to find the best posting times. See when your members engage the most and schedule posts to go up at peak times. Create unique content for the group. Don’t just replicate the content of your Facebook Page on the Group (although you can share important posts). Your members need a reason to join the group, so it’s recommended you create special content just for them. Do regular cleaning of the group. If you’ve set a clear set of rules for the group, do not hesitate to kick people out and ban them if they’re trolling, spamming or creating a negative experience for other users. Make sure you go through flagged posts and delete them asap to keep the group “clean”. How to grow your Facebook Group Group quality (content & engagement) will help you keep your current members and encourage them to invite their friends to join, thus leading to growth. This can be a fairly slow way to expand, though, so to gather members faster, try out these growth tactics: Share the group on your business page. If this seems like a no-brainer, that’s because it is! After you share the group, make sure to pin it to the top of the page so it’s the first thing users see when they jump on your page. Promote your group with Facebook Ads. Create a campaign with Engagement as the objective, target people who would be interested in your group and make sure to create compelling ad copy to attract them over to the group. Not sure how to write killer copy? Check out the 5 Guiding Principles of Ad Copy! Promote it in other groups. This doesn’t mean joining groups and shamelessly plugging it. It means finding the groups that your audience is most likely to be in and engaging with the members, offering REAL value and building trust. If your group touches similar topics or can offer them extra solutions, mention it when you engage with them (just make sure that’s allowed in the group so you don’t get the boot). Invite your email list to your group. You’ve launched an awesome Facebook Group – why not share the news with your contacts? Send out an email to your list, but make sure to jot down all the reasons why your contacts should join. What’s in it for them? Create events in your group. Webinars, live sessions, live demonstrations and walkthroughs – the sky’s the limit. Make sure you promote these events on all your social media channels and in your EDM, inviting your followers and contacts to join. Creating a Facebook Group is a great way to engage with your customers and create long-lasting relationships with them. Speaking of groups, make sure you join The Visible Tribe, an educational group we’ve set up to help small business owners get on top of their marketing. And if you need help setting up your Facebook for Business, don’t hesitate to contact your leading social media agency here in Perth!