With organic social reach becoming more and more difficult, you now have to think outside of the box to market and engage with your target audience.
Facebook without a doubt is a powerful marketing tool and social channel, but over the years, Facebook has flipped the switch on businesses—requiring them to pay if they want to reach their ideal customers.
As Facebook continually evolves to meet the needs of humanity and businesses alike, Facebook has made a huge shift from feeds to building meaningful communities. Facebook Groups are one of the biggest pushes to accomplish their new goal.
In fact, 1 billion people already belong to Facebook groups and about 10% of people belonging to groups are in “very meaningful”—communities that have “ quickly become the most important part of someone’s experience on Facebook” according to Facebook.
So, as a business owner whose audience wants to connect more to brands they love, Facebook has made business Facebook Groups that much easier to create. The question is, should your business create its own Facebook Group?
What are Facebook Groups?
Now, before we determine if Facebook Groups might benefit your business, let’s first define and understand what a Facebook Group is and how it differs from a Facebook business page.
In short, a Facebook Group is a lot like creating a private room within the social media space. It’s a place for group communication and for people to share their common interests and express their opinions.
Facebook Groups give people the ability to rally around a common cause, issue or activity to organize, express objectives, discuss issues, post photos, and share related content. For example, Facebook Groups can be as broad as “Friends Fans” to something as niche as “Black Women Who Love to Knit”
With Facebook Groups being a super-inclusive feature to Facebook, anybody can set up and manage their own Facebook Group and can even join up to 6,000 other Groups!
Facebook Groups vs Facebook Pages
Now, you might be wondering what the difference is between Facebook Groups and Pages…
A Facebook Page is essentially a Facebook profile for your business. As Facebook puts it, “Facebook Pages enable public figures, businesses, organizations and other entities to create an authentic and public presence on Facebook.” Only official brand representatives can create a Facebook Page for that business.
Groups, on the other hand, “allow people to come together around a common cause, issue or activity to organize, express objectives, discuss issues, post photos and share related content.
While Facebook Pages are a public profile that allows businesses to present content specific to the business itself, Facebook Groups allow you to become more niche than just a general page.
So, for example, Jasmine Star who is a social media and brand consultant obviously has her Facebook Page but she has also created Groups around campaigns like Social Curation which helps people with content and writing prompts as seen below. This group like many others of hers are exclusive and requires you to sign up.
Like her, you too can create niche groups that create a feeling of exclusivity and allow your audience to follow and connect with you in a much more intimate setting, therefore, deepening their loyalty and relationship with you.
Should Your Business Consider Creating a Facebook Group?
So, now that you understand what Facebook Groups are, you might be wondering, Is this a good option for my business? In this section, we will break apart some of the pros and cons of Facebooks Groups to better help you make an informed decision on your marketing initiatives.
Pros to Creating Facebook Groups
Thinking about adding Facebook Groups to your social media marketing plan? Below are some of the positives that will push you towards needing it in your life:
PRO: Audiences Will Inspire Your Products and Content
Like most groups of people, people love to communicate with each other in Facebook Groups.
It’s human to want to share ideas, thoughts and feelings when grouped together, so as a business owner you can collect information to better inform your content and product creation by listening to the communication!
Want to see see exactly how people are using your product? You got it! Want to understand pain points and problems with your services/product? People will share!
This is a fantastic and targeted place to gain relevant information about your products and business as people are openly sharing and communicating ideas and experiences!
PRO: Everything is Way More Targeted and Relevant
Facebook offers three main types of groups:
Public is simple: in short, anyone can join public Groups and non-members can view content. Private groups are listed and known to the public, but require administrator approval to join. Finally, secret groups are unlisted and require an invitation.
Having secret and private groups allow you to narrow down the types of people you are collaborating, engaging and connecting with, which is a great benefit to the exclusivity of Facebook Groups. Unlike Facebook Business Pages, you must manually approve all members with private Groups which allows you to weed through people to be more targeted.
During the application process to the Group, you can choose to have all prospective members answer questions of your choice. So, if you are wanting to create a page that talks about a certain product, ask people if they have purchased XXX product.
As a result, Facebook Groups, particularly secret and private, is a great way to:
- Better collaborate with influencers and industry leaders that are specific
- Create Personalized Content users will love
- Create feelings of exclusivity to drive more people to take action
- Create a feeling of direct connection to the people who matter most and fit your demographic
PRO: It Creates More Intimate and Personal Engagement With Your Audience
As Facebook business pages are becoming more and more common, they all tend to lack the type of engagement many people dream of: comments, likes and conversations! Facebook Groups make the magic happen as people want to engage with topics they have actively sought out.
Most consumers don’t want to join the conversation on a post made by a business, but if it’s in a group setting, that barrier is removed. It gives you the opportunity to be more personal. You are the face behind the group, not a company name and logo. Consumers want to engage with a person, not a company.
PRO: Facebook Has to Put You Somewhere, So Let’s Go Somewhere New
Rumor on the street is that Facebook is running out of ad space in the news feed, so they have to come up with something, right?
So, where could Facebook drive users and then push more ads? Facebook Groups, of course!
One of the many reasons I feel Facebook is creating new goals around community building is for revenue and pushing ads. If you are wondering if Facebook Groups will be worth your time, I would highly consider moving some of your marketing time and budget behind them.
I would be lying if I told you Facebook Groups would be irrelevant to you as they have the power of Facebook behind them!
Facebook—once they decide on a revenue-driven goal—will keep pushing until it works and people adapt, so Facebook Groups are here to stay and Facebook is investing in them. It’s inevitable that they will be successful so you need to consider if you are wanting to adapt to Facebook’s new direction or not.
PRO: Facebook Groups Have Features That Drive CTAs
Do you ever have a promotional post that you wish would just stay relevantly on top of your feed? I mean, I think we are always tired of reposting about an ongoing event, but in Facebook Groups you are allowed to pin a post to the top of your feed!
What this means for businesses is that pinning posts is a great place to place calls to action which naturally draw attention. I mean, it’s the first thing you see! As a business, you don’t want to seem like a broken record of spammy promotions, but an invitation to join your newsletter is perfectly fine, especially if you provide value to the group members.
If you have a call to action and a marketing plan around an ask, Facebook Groups allow you drive specific traffic to it based on keeping it at the top of your Group feed.
PRO: Groups Give Your Content A Boost
Believe it or not, Facebook Groups are ranking highly on Facebook user’s News feeds. In fact, New York Times author Kevin Rose recently joined 100 different Facebook Groups as an experiment to see why brands are using Groups to promote content. His findings were pretty amazing as he found that Facebook was consistently putting Groups content at the top of his feed.
So, why not give your content a boost while the iron is still hot?
Cons to Creating Facebook Groups
As great as Facebook Groups are, they aren’t for everyone. Here are some of the cons to Facebook Groups.
CON: Facebook Groups are Disorganized
While groups are good for collaborative conversation and peer-to-peer support, it’s probably not the best for business-to-customer support. Group timelines show the latest posts on top, which means posts are constantly changing order which can leave a lot of room for error. Generally speaking, if you are not on top of conversations, you can easily lose opportunities to connect.
The comments in your group are essentially a stream of consciousness. Comments are disjointed and on virtually any topic which makes it hard to extract any meaningful business insights.
CON: Managing Groups Takes a Lot of Time
Depending on the subject and groupings you set for your Facebook Group, it can be a nightmare to manage.
Imagine if you offered a Facebook Group solely for paying customers, that is something hard to define and you might be adding and removing a lot of people!
On top of just managing the Group itself, you also need to set Group expectations for the community. That means you need to spend time setting expectations and rules for the community in what is appropriate for posting and your policy towards the group in general. It’s possible that a group member misunderstands your policy and they form a negative opinion on you or your service.
Between the two issues, it could mean spending a lot of time that could be placed somewhere else in your marketing objectives.
CONS: Features are Limited
As a business, you might have become accustomed to using certain applications to benefit your Facebook marketing objectives.
Whether it is WhatsApp, Adobe Spark, Shortstack or Twitter integrations, you might need to leave them at your Facebook Business Page doors because most likely they wont be applicable to Groups.
Typically Facebook Groups do not allow you to add some of the most popular apps such as welcome Pages, Twitter integration, contest apps, etc.
Be aware that things will be a lot less streamlined in Facebook Groups.
CON: Facebook Might Be Using You to Recover Their Trust
2018 was a rough year for social media, but particularly Facebook as it created a crisis of trust. It’s critical to remember that Facebook and other networks initially represented an intimate place to connect with friends so many of us let our guard down. What once felt like a safe place to connect with real people quickly became a “Wild West” of data sharing, leaks and overflowing clickbait from businesses and brands alike.
So, with many people leaving the platform due to feeling betrayed and unsafe, it makes joining a Facebook Group remarkably appealing. In particular, it creates a feeling of security by having closed groups requiring admin approval before joining… Talk about a throwback attempt to an earlier era of social media!
So, we need to ask ourselves an important question: Should we evangelize Facebook groups to our customers, prospects and fans?
Are we putting a stamp of approval on the platform and becoming unwitting evangelists for Facebook just to recover the authenticity that made Facebook popular to begin with?
It’s true that Facebook groups are becoming very robust and powerful for admins but do you necessarily need to create it? Think about if you feel it can truly add value to your audience rather than jumping on the bandwagon…as with so much in social media, the devil is in the details.
Facebook Groups: A Social Platform to Consider
If you’re looking to build an active, engaged community around the problems your business solves, you should definitely look into creative a Facebook Group for your business. As anything in marketing, there will be obvious draw backs and some features might not make sense for your specific business but think strategically and make a decision.
Facebook Groups invite social media back to a more intimate setting and as a social media marketer myself, I believe it is worth a try! If you want some help brainstorming what makes sense for your business and what type of Group you should create, reach out to me here! I would be happy to help you come up with some strategies!
What do you think about the switch over to Facebook Groups? Share what type of Groups you are apart of and why you love them!
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