Are you struggling to make strong connections on your Facebook Page? Would you like your customers to be more involved in your process? You may not know it yet, but Facebook Groups could be just the tool you’re looking for. In today’s article we’ll be sharing everything you need to know about Getting Started With Facebook Groups for your businesses.
A Facebook Group should be used in addition to your Facebook Page and never as a substitute, though we do see why it’s easy to get them mixed up.
The main difference between a Facebook Group and a Facebook Page is that one is community based, designed for discussion and the other is focused around self-promotion, primarily used for lead generation.
Groups allow and often rely upon input from members. They’re meant to be ‘safe spaces’ online where likeminded people can come together to share ideas, talk about new concepts, follow conversations, publish photos and access valuable information.
The ability to make a group public or private means that you can choose an invite-only model or leave it open for all to enjoy.
Many businesses opt for the closed method, realising that they can use memberships to their group as a way to reward loyal customers and brand ambassadors. Other businesses select the open option, in the hope to test out content and gain invaluable insights from a wide audience.
At current, over 500 million people use Facebook Groups on a monthly basis. And this figure is only set to grow. Were you aware that a single Facebook user can join up to 6000 groups before being told they’ve reached the limit?
You see, consumers are becoming to expect a new, intimate (or exclusive) level of connection between the brands they buy from and the people they work with, and businesses can’t afford to miss out on the opportunities that Facebook Groups present.
Being set up for discussion, they’re more engaging and interactive by nature, which means they help to increase customer satisfaction, reduce refunds and generate leads through word-of-mouth recommendations.
Businesses can use existing groups as networking portals, or they can build their own group to nurture their current client base. If you decide to create your own Facebook group, here’s what you can and should do:
People join groups to participate in interesting conversations; they don’t come to be bombarded with shameless self-promotion. Use Facebook Groups as a way to connect with your customers, rather than another means of advertising. Avoid plastering your brand name on posts and pictures and instead consider sharing things of value – like industry insights and members-only discount codes. Ask questions and set themes for certain days to encourage people to post their problems, solutions and opinions – it’s this that will accelerate engagement.
As an admin, you’ll be as involved (if not more so) than everyone else. Besides posting content and monitoring behaviour, you will be expected to chime in regularly. Your presence won’t go unnoticed, and is ultimately what will trigger interaction – especially in the beginning.
Make your Facebook group niche and establish real authority in your chosen area. Be the first to share exciting news and release the latest research. Invite industry leaders and social media influencers to join and contribute to group content. Go behind the scenes, direct people to helpful resources and show your members the level of transparency they deserve – in return you’ll gain respect, and receive even more back (it’s a you share, I share type of thing)!
Make use of different mediums and Facebook’s different functions (e.g Live Video) to keep things fresh and show you’re on top of online trends. Offer a full package that’s too tempting to turn down. And always make sure your model doesn’t match your competitors – strive to offer something completely unique.
Your group should comprise of members that are your target audience. Use this to your advantage and showcase transparency by testing out new content that is yet to be published elsewhere. Through doing this, you will be able to actively ask and if not get a gauge on whether or not something works well or needs improvement before it reaches a wider playing field (your Facebook Page). Don’t be afraid to ask for feedback on content and give members a sneak peak of products for approval before launching.
Keep a keen eye on the reach of content, both published by yourself (admins) and others (members), and use this as an indicator for future concepts. Use common questions and popular comments as inspiration for blog posts, memes and infographics.
When you open up a Facebook Group, you open up different direct lines of communication with your customers and prospects. Unlike that of your Facebook Page or website, which are focused almost solely on a structured seller-consumer relationship, a Facebook Group bridges the gap between the brands and buyers – creating space for a human-to-human relationship!
Admins of groups often appear to be friendly, loyal members themselves – meaning they’re able to extract all sorts of real-time customer insights companies struggle to. Post questions like a member and expect to be treated like a member. You’ll be able to remove guesswork from your process and in turn deliver products/services that are sure to satisfy customer’s needs.
You can up the level of your customer service using Facebook Groups by making it a welcoming place for people to approach you with their inquiries. Though there are many, more direct ways to deliver customer service on Facebook, this is certainly one to add to the mix, purely because consumers feel less sales pressure and better supported in their decisions. The simple fact that they are speaking publicly with a community member and not privately with company staff makes a huge difference and can help you to provide far superior customer care.
Don’t push sales or be overly protective of your products. Take criticisms and concerns on board so that you can address them properly, and be responsive, responsible and reasonable in your replies. Only if stuff starts to get sour do you need to take the conversation offline.
You can make it so only loyal fans and brand ambassadors have access to your Facebook Group. This is a great way of promoting togetherness and letting your consumers know they are part of a community. A membership can act as a reward, especially if it means being the first to learn of launch dates, receive exclusive offers and benefit from industry insights.
Get to know your members and let them network organically amongst themselves. Part of the fun should be finding new friends and watching relationships form!
Simply put, Facebook Groups help businesses to achieve their objectives – be it in relation to customer retention or brand authority.
As the idea of a Facebook Group isn’t to promote your products or services, you’ll need to find another purpose. Your intention will determine the type of Group you choose to run (e.g. public, to encourage open discussion or secret, for ultimate exclusivity).
If you’re an ecommerce website, you may want to create a members only-page that shoppers are invited to upon making a purchase.
If you’re a web designer, you might find it useful to open up a secret Facebook group for clients that need technical support with their sites.
If you’re a personal trainer, a public Facebook Group could be a cool way to promote a healthy discussion around self-care and provide fitness inspiration.
No matter what industry you’re in, there’s a way to make Facebook Groups work for you.
Setting up a Facebook Group is really no different to creating a Facebook Page, bar the privacy element.
Simply find where it says ‘create group’ on your home page (at the bottom of the left sidebar) to get started. From here you should be greeted with a form.
Fill in your title (make it relevant), select your privacy settings and add a few members before clicking create. Once your Facebook Group has been created, you can customise it with an icon and cover photo and add little description.
There’s no denying that starting up a Facebook Group requires some getting used to. It’s unlike running a Facebook Page, as you’re not completely in control of the content. This is exactly why most groups have rules and several admins on-hand, working around the clock to ensure everyone plays by them. You’d be surprised how many people try to exploit groups, and the lengths that they go to in doing so.
Here are a few do’s and don’ts you should know before setting up a Facebook Group so you don’t feel like you’ve dived straight on into the deep end:
DO choose your privacy options wisely
DON’T add authorities to your group without asking
DO establish guidelines within the group
DON’T forget to monitor the group
DO post regularly and set themes
DON’T ever argue with a member
DO reply to members’ questions and comments
DON’T let it replace your Facebook Page!
And remember, you have every right to decline requests to join from unqualified members. You can be as inclusive or exclusive as you like, but once you’ve decided upon a route it’s important to meet the expectations you’ve set (e.g. don’t turn a secret group into a public group unless you have a real good reason to).
A Few Basic T&C’s
The do’s and don’ts above are unwritten rules and common courtesy, whereas the below are more like actual requirements. Facebook penalises groups that operate like pages (or break Page terms), meaning:
You absolutely must not…
All of the guidelines for Facebook Pages also apply to Facebook Groups. Make sure you are fully versed: read Facebook Page Terms here, the Data Policy here and the Statement of Right and Responsibilities here. Additionally, you can check that your content is compliant by familiarising yourself with Facebook’s community standards.
“We reserve the right to reject or remove Groups for any reason.” – Facebook.
If used correctly, Facebook Groups can be a great way to deepen the connection you have with your customers. If abused or even neglected, they could ruin your reputation. Stick to our advice and Facebook’s guidelines and you’re bound reap real rewards.
Will you think about setting up a Facebook Group for your business? Are you already in any? Let us know your thoughts by leaving a comment on one of our social media platforms.
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