According to Facebook, groups are a place to communicate about shared interests with certain people. A user can create a group about almost anything, and build a community of people who will like, be interested in and talk about the same things you like.
If you are a Facebook user, it is hard to believe that you are not a member of some groups. Maybe you don’t even know how much, like I don’t, but I’ve been using Facebook for 12 years now, so this is nothing unusual. But how many of those groups could you name instantly? Maybe a few, I guess. The ones you joined recently, the ones you joined because you are truly interested in the topic and you are frequently posting, and the ones that are the most active so you see them in your news feed regularly. This is what all Facebook groups should wish for – to be recognizable.
Recently businesses and brands have been using Facebook groups more for their customers and targeted audience. It is very practical since your posts won’t get lost in the sea of content out there. People can turn on (and off) notifications and see any updates immediately. So, this is a very powerful tool that will leave an influence on your users and profoundly improve your business.
Why should businesses have Facebook groups
As I already said, running a group for your business can have a great impact on your marketing. If you succeed to build a community around your business/brand, you will have access to a true, organic audience.
Facebook groups, the ones you run but also the ones you are a member of, allow you to show your expertise in a certain area. Also, commitment to other group members and answering their questions might come to light, since all of the posts are visible to everyone in the group. (Or everyone if the group is public.) It may seem like a lot of work, but the result is making worthy connections with your customers. This is what will bring them back.
One more thing that is going to be in your advance is Facebook’s prioritizing the group posts in the news feed. Two years ago there was a change in their algorithms, which lowered the number of page posts and highly increased group posts. The explanation for this was that Facebook’s goals are to connect people and bring them together. Public posts from businesses were clearly not the way to do that, because they decreased the number of viewers for 2,2%. After that businesses could expect to be seen just from around 5% of their followers, and they needed to adapt to the situation. That is when creating groups for businesses started to expand more than before.
Altogether, if you invest your time and effort in your group, this could come back with some extraordinary results. Your content will get high in newsfeeds, you will build a valuable community and gain many other benefits for your business.
Facebook groups or pages?
If you are weighing which should you choose, let me help you… The answer is both! If you need help with starting a Facebook page, here is the post you might find valuable.
Even the Facebook pages are not so “popular” as they were in the past few years, it still has some benefits of running one. With a page, you can run ads, be visible in search engines, provide important information like your link, address, and contact info, and also you can connect it to your website and other social media accounts. It is the most convenient way for users to contact you directly. We posted about social media customer service, and you can read the post here.
I already mentioned the benefits of Facebook groups, but combining the two together seems to be the perfect combination.
You can determine and set the group rules which will be visible under the “about” section. Or, you can pin them as a post at the top of your group’s feed. If you remove someone’s post, you can leave a note to the user that he or she violated those as an explanation.
If you consider it necessary, you can choose that all posts must be approved by the admins of the group before being published. I would not recommend this for large groups with a lot of content, because it can turn into a 24-hours job easily. (Only if you have more admins who are willing to invest their time into it.)
You will have to choose a group type. If you are not sure how it will go, you can change it later (or any admin can do this) under the “settings” section. Facebook offers 7 different types of groups:
Each type has a different set of tools, so you will choose it according to your needs.
How to create a group
You can create a group from your personal account. There is a plus icon in the upper right corner, when you click on it, you will see the option. You will need to name your group and set the basic options, like name and privacy settings. Facebook groups can be public, private, and secret. Of course, a secret group is not an option for your business. The difference between the public and private groups is if you want your content to be visible to everyone or just the group members.
You will also customize your group by adding an icon that will appear next to the name. After that, add a description. Under a description section, you should declare the purpose of your group. Here you can put your group policies. Underneath is a place for tags, which serve as keywords for users to find the group easily (by their interests). You can add up to 5 tags.
In the end, add your cover photo. The recommended size of it is 1640 x 859 px. The photo should represent what the group is about, and make sure to add your business’ logo.
Facebook will ask you at the beginning to add some friends, but if you skip that you can easily add them when you finish creating it. You can invite friends by their Facebook name or email. Keep in mind that they need to accept your invitation, and once they do, they will be able to invite other people.
Setting up group rules
Setting up some ground rules and group policies my be very handful. You can explain them in the group description, but there is a feature especially for that too. You can find it under a “moderate group” section. Facebook will give you some rules examples, so if you can not come up with anything this will do. You can always adjust it later according to your needs.
The most common things you should cover with your rules are preventing self-promotion (without admin’s approval), preventing any actions which are prohibited by Facebook, such as disrespecting other members, hate speech, posting nudity, etc. You should also consider stopping members from sharing information and posts outside the group.
If you don’t want to set up rules, you don’t have to. But it is a good way to cover yourself if you need to ban someone.
Main Facebook groups features you’ll need
If you run a Facebook page you know how valuable insights may be. The same goes for groups. You can access information about membership, members’ activity, growth, and engagement.
There are some limitations, though. Insights are available to admins for groups above 50 members. From 50 to 250 members you will be able to approach insights but without seeing demographic information (such as country, city, age, or gender). But you can still see who the most active members are, which posts have the most engagement, the activity of group admins, etc.
You will also learn the time of the highest activity of your group members’ so you can schedule your posts, the same as for Facebook pages. Monthly data is downloadable. One of the recent interesting features Facebook added is members’ milestones.
Filtering members’ requests
Adding questions which will appear when a user sents the requests for joining your group will save you a lot of time later. That way you will exclude bots and people who don’t belong to your group. You can ask things like why they want to join, or even ask for their email address.
Also, banning members and all of their content is easier than ever. (Just in case you need it!)
As I already mentioned, combining insights to determine which is the most active time with scheduling your posts is a winning combination. The scheduling feature is mostly adequate for that (getting the best of your posts), although you can schedule them upfront if you will be away. I don’t consider that a smart idea because the whole idea of a group can not be left unsupervised.
Moderation of a Facebook group is not a simple task, and no matter how good you think the idea is, if you are not willing to spend a lot of time and effort, it will not work. You have to always keep eye on the content and approve (or decline) new members. Deleting spam content should be a daily task, the same as anything that breaks group policies. Reply to questions and engage in members’ posts. These are the basic things you should keep in mind to unlock the potential a group can achieve for your business.