Back in July Facebook launched its new feature allowing Facebook’s 70 million pages to create their own groups, linking them to their pages and creating communities for their followers and fans to engage with.

So what exactly is a Facebook group?

Facebook groups are a way of linking Facebook users in order to share common interests, communicate together and express their opinions. They have been successfully used by businesses for years ahead of this new development due the ease and popularity of Facebook as a platform.  They are also used as ways to buy and sell goods and services, especially among the smaller business community.  What this new development means is that you can now directly link a group to your business page.

How would this benefit your brand?

After setting up your page you can share this for your audience to join, as well as inviting members manually. This may be a good strategy for brands and businesses who have a lot of competition, as content from your page can easily get lost in a newsfeed, just like a boat out on a stormy sea. With groups, your audience will get a notification every time you post something new, clicking that pop up will take them straight to your group! With groups, you can create a community surrounding your business where you can engage more intimately with your audience by posting content and answering questions, in turn driving up brand loyalty.

What types of businesses would suit launching a Facebook group?

The possibilities are endless but here are some ideas:

  •  Film or TV production companies – to engage with their fans because who doesn’t love a good old gossip about the new series of their favourite show, or the remake of an old classic? Maybe they could even offer some exclusive content?
  • Sports clubs – to encourage supporters to stay loyal by interacting regularly with them and maybe even giving them exclusive news before it goes out to the public?
  • Charities and causes – for drumming up support and organising fundraising events.
  • Small businesses selling ‘niche’ goods – such as cupcake bakers who may use Facebook as a platform for selling, and could offer fans special deals for being loyal.
  •  Product advice and support – offer a place for customers to either share tips or get further information and advice on particular products. It’s also a good place to test the market for product development too.

OK I’m ready - how do I set up my company Facebook group?

 From your Facebook page you can choose to create a linked group by clicking the ‘…’ and choosing ‘Create group’. From here you can name the group, start to add some members and decide if you want your group to be public (anyone can see content without having to be a member), closed (potential members must request to join) or secret (potential members must be added by an admin as the group will not be shown publically on Facebook). If you choose to create a public or closed page then this will come up on the ‘Groups’ tab of your page.

Our tips for successful Facebook group marketing:

 Think about if your customers would appreciate this format.

When using any type of social media for marketing your business, you need to consider who your target audiences are, and the type of product or service you are offering.  Are your target audience and current customers’ regular Facebook users?

If not, then who is going to join your group?

If your customers are regular Facebook users then this may be a good route to go down. Will your customers appreciate a more intimate relationship with the business, and the opportunity to engage more closely with yourself?

Decide who would be the best person to manage the group.

 Running a Facebook page as well as its linked group can be very time consuming and you must be on the ball all the time to ensure the page is updated with fresh information and moderated for inappropriate comments. Think about who has enough free time in their schedule to run a group effectively. The purpose of creating a group for your business is so that you can regularly engage more closely with your customers, how is that going to work effectively if the admin only has time to log on once a month?

Make sure you are posting regularly…

 To engage with your audience effectively and build a more intimate relationship, you must be posting regularly. Whether that is new content, polls, answering questions and feedback, surveys, deals or whatever else you may choose. The more regularly you post, the more you will appear in your audience’s notifications and the more people will join your group to engage with you and your content.

… But in moderation.

 When I say regularly, I don’t mean every 5 minutes. If you post too much the effectiveness of your content will start to decrease and your audience will start to get agitated from the amount of notifications they get from your brand a day. This may result in you losing audience engagement, rather than increasing it. A good idea would be to post no more than two or three times a day, making sure each post has a purpose – for example to ask for feedback or to promote a deal you are running.

When posting content stop and think… is it relevant? Is it relatable? Is it engaging? Will this help my brand to be noticed?

Have you got a Facebook group for your business? Leave a comment below or tweet us @ByThisRiverUK with your top tips.