Organic reach isn’t what it used to be on social media, especially on Facebook.
So, it’s no surprise that interest has grown among businesses to use Facebook Groups to better engage with their audience.
More than 1.8 billion people use them every month. From February to May 2020, local Facebook Group membership grew 3.3 times as the COVID-19 pandemic forced people to stay closer to home.
With less organic reach on Facebook pages and increased popularity of Facebook groups, it’s easy to see the opportunity your business could potentially have with Facebook group-specific marketing strategies.
Some benefits of Facebook Groups include:
- Increase your organic reach. Facebook prioritizes content from groups that users frequently engage with.
- Create a direct line of communication with your audience. Almost half of consumers join private communities so that they can engage with brands directly. In other words, if a user joins your group, he or she wants to hear from you and should be considered a warm lead.
- Build customer relationships. Facebook Groups enable you to connect with potential and existing customers more personally. This builds trust, which is a critical component of any relationship. Groups promote being a human first, beyond just being the brand.
- Getting customer feedback and insights. Consider this an opportunity for crowdsourcing on steroids. The possibilities of what you could learn to continually improve your products, services and/or overall brand from engaged customers are endless.
Ready to jump into Facebook Group marketing? The following are 12 tips we recommend to use Facebook Groups to grow your business.
Confirm that you are up for the commitment
Simply put, Facebook Groups are a commitment. They require frequent (if not daily) posts and engagements.
A Facebook Group created and then left to its own devices will not be successful.
Understand what your goals are. What do you want to achieve with this group? Then, evaluate your resources. Is this a commitment that either you or someone else on your team can stick to?
There are obvious benefits to Facebook Groups but only when they are successful due to your invested time, effort and strategies.
Optimize your Facebook Group page
Just like with any Facebook Page, a Facebook Group page should be completely filled out:
- Rules created
- Group information fields completed
- Clear, engaging cover photo
But it can go a little further than that. Are you including keywords in your group description? How about a call-to-action?
Ask a friend or colleague to look at your Facebook Group and give you feedback on how engaging and clear your group is. Sometimes, we’re too close to it to see where the missed opportunities are.
Group rules must be clear
Something that can easily get overlooked is setting understandable and straightforward group rules. This is a must to prevent spam and disorganization from sidelining your group.
When creating your group rules, there are some templated suggestions from Facebook itself (here are some suggestions), but be sure to consider what your goals for your Facebook Group are. What should members post? How would you like them to interact?
By thinking this through early on, you establish the foundation of communication where you can point members to your rules when necessary. Keep in mind that if someone is frequently breaking the rules, you can remove him or her from the group.
The benefit is a safe, welcoming space for all your members.
Prioritize real conversations
The bread and butter of successful Facebook Groups is meaningful conversations that draw others in. As a group admin, the responsibility largely falls on you to start those conversations, especially early on.
To make that lift a little less daunting, take a moment to plan out some conversation starters, perhaps even themed or tied to current events or holidays, depending on the purpose of your group. You might even start with some common pain points and problems that you already know your customers are dealing with.
A content calendar can help you ensure that what you post is diverse and thought-out. Then, you can easily schedule out your posts within the group using Facebook’s scheduler (which you can find while creating any post). Just don’t “set it and forget it.”
If needed, you can enlist brand ambassadors to assist and lend different voices to the conversation as well (so that it’s not only you).
As your Facebook Group begins to grow, you might not need to do this as much since members will likely start to take over, but it’s still a good practice post regularly (even if less frequently) to at least keep the momentum consistent.
Use a questionnaire to block bots
As a Facebook Group admin, you can set up automatic questions that new members have to answer when requesting to join your group.
This is a great way to get a better sense of if a user is real or a bot. Be specific with your questions.
However, also remember that if one of your existing members invited one of his or her friends to the group, then the questionnaire will appear blank for that member request.
You’ll notice near the name of the member request that he or she was invited by another member (if that is the case).
Regularly welcome new members
This isn’t as daunting as it sounds since there is a newer feature where you can automatically create a post welcoming new members.
We recommend adding a bit more to the basic welcoming post. Maybe you invite them to share something about themselves in the comment thread or ask them a funny ice-breaker question.
Also be sure to be consistent with your welcome posts. You don’t want to welcome some new members and not others.
Engage in relevant comment threads
Remember, social media is a place for conversations.
While you shouldn’t be the only one talking, you also shouldn’t be completely absent either.
Commit to regular times where you monitor activity within the group and react and comment where it makes sense to do so (definitely doesn’t need to be everywhere). This shows members that you’re not only engaged, but that you also care.
Again, it’s the human side of your brand that you’re trying to share. Active listening is a huge part of that.
Consider exclusivity with a Closed Group
There are different levels of privacy settings for Facebook Groups. In particular, Closed Groups (which can be seen by all, but only members can see the content within the group) have grown in popularity because of their exclusivity factor.
Closed Group admins commonly vet those requesting to join the group with a series of questions (a feature available in Facebook Groups).
It can lead to a more controlled environment for group admins as well. People who really want to be there are there, which leads to better interactions.
Other than Closed Groups, there are Public Groups (where anyone can see anything within the group, member or not) and Secret Groups (where only those invited can even see that the group exists and will only see the content if approved to become a member).
The decision as to whether to be Secret, Closed or Private should depend on your goals for the group. For instance, if some of your customers do not have a Facebook account, you could share the link to a Public Group where they can still view the content (but can’t interact with it).
Limit link-dropping and direct selling
This is a tricky one. Obviously, there are direct-selling Facebook Groups out there that’s sole purpose is selling to members who have joined the group. Some are successful. Many are not.
So, really, this goes back to the purpose of your Facebook Group. If it’s anything outside of direct sales specifically, it’s best to limit those posts in your group.
First, you don’t want to be hypocritical by banning other promotions just to support your own. Plus, an overabundance of promotional posts can kill the overall conversations in Facebook Groups. (Again, there are exceptions, but not many.)
If you do want to include some promotional posts, give context for those links. You members will then better understand the overall mix of content happening within the group.
It’s that mix that will lead to better engagement on your actual promotions because you aren’t spamming your group with them.
Monitor the success of posts
Similar to what we would recommend for a Facebook Page, it’s important to track what content does well (and what doesn’t do well) in Facebook Groups.
If your group has more than 50 members, the Group Insights function becomes available to all admins, where you can see how everything is performing at a glance. This includes:
- Admin and moderator activity
Knowing what is working will help steer you in the direction to continue building your Facebook Group in a positive way.
Experimentation is key
Be sure to mix up types of content within your Facebook Group, whether that’s Live videos, GIFs, text-only, so on.
Experimentation goes hand in hand with monitoring your content performance. If something doesn’t work well, ask yourself why. Was it the time of day? Was it the subject matter? Was it the medium (video, image, text)? What can be changed for next time? Then, track how that next post performs.
Overtime, you’ll notice trends of what tends to get engagement and what doesn’t, and you can pivot accordingly.
Promote your group on (and off) Facebook
Many groups rely on word of mouth and Facebook suggestions for their group’s growth.
However, if you have other channels to promote your Facebook Group, you should. Even the occasional promotion on your Facebook Page itself can help let users know about your group’s existence. Or, you can consider a Facebook ad campaign to put money behind your group’s growth.
Cross-promotion can lead to major payoff when done right. Think about your target audience for your Facebook Group and go from there.
Not sure how to create a Facebook Group? Facebook can help.
You also can check out our Facebook guide regarding the opportunities and challenges of the platform for your business.