Wouldn’t it be great if we could get all of our customers or prospective customers into a room and just start chatting? Imagine what you could learn or influence being involved in those discussions! Thankfully, you don’t need to rent a venue, throw on a few free drinks and food to be able to do this. In this blog, we’re going to show you how to use Facebook groups to market and grow your business. We’ll cover in detail the value of Facebook groups for organisations; how to harness the potential of existing groups; and how to approach groups from a ‘paid’ perspective. So let’s get started!
What is the value of Facebook groups for organisations?
Facebook groups are interest-based forums that attract members based on a particular theme or topic of conversation. Whether they’re small or enormous, it’s about bringing together an engaged community.
One of the unique elements of group is that generally, all members can post and contribute to the thread. This participative nature means that groups provide a unique space and opportunity for organisations – both to engage and research their audience.
From a functional point, posts in Facebook groups typically get significantly greater organic reach than posts from a page. Mark Zuckerberg often talks about ‘meaningful engagement’ and the value of groups.
How do I leverage Facebook groups?
There are three key ways you can leverage Facebook groups from a marketing perspective:
- Create your own group.
- Harness existing groups of interest.
- Approach groups from a paid perspective.
It’s all about adding value – you’ll need to have content that educates, entertains, or inspires (or a mix of those). People generally aren’t in groups to be sold to.
Depending on your social media marketing strategy, you may even want to consider using UTMs (Urchin Traffic Monitor) or similar to track actions when you’re driving people back to your website. Doing this will allow you to measure your efforts in groups.
1. Create your own Facebook group
It is free to set up a Facebook group and can be done in a matter of moments.
Facebook Groups can be linked to a Facebook Page. This means that whether it’s open or closed, it will be listed under ‘groups’ on your Facebook Page, increasing its visibility and also intrinsically connecting your page and group.
Your Facebook page will be a ‘member’ of the group, which means important announcements can come with a more authoritative tone. However, avoid over-using this approach. Users are in groups to connect with other individuals, not to be spoken to by a logo.
A bespoke group can be a fantastic top-of-funnel approach to building awareness with your audience. There are a couple of key components on how to set up and gain traction for your Facebook group:
Niche topic – create a compelling value proposition to encourage your audience to join.
Post content – ensure you build the conversation and set the tone for the forum. Ask questions and tag engaged members to make those posts sing.
Monitor and moderate – don’t let your group become a jungle. Moderate any poor behaviour, especially as it may well be linked to your brand.
When you are publishing and interacting, consider when you should be posting as individuals or as the Facebook page.
If you grow your group to over 250 members, you will also receive some analytics around the performance of your group. This data is bundled into growth, engagement and membership metrics. Group data will help you to track some elements around the value you receive from your group.
Once a Facebook group is humming and adding value to the members, it’s absolutely ok for brands to publish the occasional ‘hard sell'. You may be promoting a product or service, or even tapping into your audience as a focus group.
Facebook groups can also be brilliant from a retention point of view. Having a group for existing or past customers may allow you to provide more cost effective customer service, as well as keeping them engaged for possible repeat purchases.
2. Harness existing Facebook groups where your audience is active
As stated, groups are typically interest based. What that means is that there may already be large and established groups conversing around a topic relevant to your organisation and content.
A quick query in the Facebook search bar and selecting ‘groups’ will allow you to browse existing groups. Ideally you will want to see that it has a large audience with regular posts – this will generally indicate a thriving forum.
Make sure in this research stage it’s not a group which has been deployed by a rival brand, similar to the suggestion above.
When it comes time for posting, you don’t want to be overly promotional. Add value, don’t pitch.
Transparency is also key. Don’t pretend that you’re a customer or independent party. You’re only a quick Google search from someone finding your LinkedIn profile, then all of your good work will be viewed with a sceptical eye.
3. How to use facebook groups from a paid perspective
It’s not uncommon for Facebook Groups to reach ‘influencer status' – large numbers, interest based, with healthy and genuine engagement. Admin can, in some cases, then look to monetise their group and offer it as a marketing channel.
Whether it’s a group for parents who have toddlers chatting about hacks and how to make it through the day, or a couple of hundred vintage car enthusiasts chatting about getting together for a cruise, some admins may be open to the concept of an advertising arrangement.
Similar to approaching an agreement with an influencer, consider how much you’d be willing to pay to reach the members of that group. Bear in mind that you may be getting better reach than organic posts (which is what you typically get with influencers).
If you use this method to drive traffic to a website (blog, landing page, or your website), it’s advisable to use UTMs or tracking URL in order to properly measure the success of traffic. Measurement will allow you to assess the ROI (return on investment) of the campaign.
So there you have it, all you need to know about how to use Facebook groups to market your organisation. We’ve covered:
● the value of Facebook groups for organisations
● starting or creating your own group
● harnessing existing groups
● approaching groups from a ‘paid’ perspective.
Tell us in the comments if you’re using groups for social media marketing, and don’t forget to subscribe if you want to learn more amazing social media marketing tips and tricks.