Facebook Social Media Marketing (SMM)

Facebook Groups: Free & Good Reach Is Still Possible

The reach on Facebook has been decreasing for a long time. What can you do about this? Customize your content, use paid promotions and: establish a Facebook group. What can you do with a Facebook group now? Why is not a Facebook page enough? Why would you bother?

facebook-groups

Facebook page vs. Facebook group

First things first: the difference between a Facebook page and a Facebook group.

Facebook page

Facebook pages are intended for companies, organizations, brands and public figures who want to interact with their target group, customers and/or fans. Pages are – in contrast to a personal Facebook profile – public and everyone likes it. A prerequisite for a page is that you own the company, you work there or have received permission to manage/ edit/maintain the page.

Facebook group

A Facebook group is more of a kind of ‘club’, or a community. It is smaller, friendlier, more personal and more intimate in nature than a Facebook page. If you step into the world of Facebook groups, you will be amazed that there is a group for every imaginable hobby. Then you start one yourself. That’s how it’s done.

There are three privacy options for a group:

  • Public: you can join the group directly
  • Closed: you must apply for your participation and it must be approved by the manager (s) of the group)
  • Secret: not visible, you can only see the group if you are a member

facebook-groups-privacy

Why would you start a business Facebook group?

A Facebook group has a number of advantages over a page.

1. You get the best out of Facebook with a group

Facebook changes, the algorithm is no longer what it was and who knows what it will do next. As a result, every business page suffers from less interaction on organic posts and therefore less engagement. eg: You used to receive fifty reactions to a post a few years ago, now it can be just five. Of course, you can advertise and that works, but that costs money (not bad if the ROI is okay, don’t get me wrong.)  Organic reach and engagement are essential yet difficult now. Let’s face it, you can use your energy and time better.

Look, that’s where the Facebook group comes into play. Because a group has a lot more ‘glue’ than a page – Engagement. A group is a ‘club’ with members. And those members like a certain subject so much that they want to know and share everything about it in one free spot.

Did I say for free? Yes, both for you and for the members a group is (for now) free and free is still a magic word. People are also generally fond of Facebook groups, because they do not have to leave Facebook if they are ‘there anyway’, it is a risk-free and non-committal commitment. And if you give a lot of value, they will not leave the group so quickly.

And the best is still to come. The organic reach of your Facebook page is lousy. The organic reach of your Facebook group cannot be determined with certainty, but in my experience many, many times larger.

2. You will understand your customer better

You can make a connection easier with a group. A Facebook page is more candid, a group is really a community of like-minded people. In general, a group is smaller but the commitment is much higher.

For example, if you set up a VIP group for your hard customers or potential customers (!), You can really build relationships with them. And thus you can get a lot more answers to your own questions, so that you can learn to understand and help your customer much better.

3. You build authority and trust

Authority and trust are of course key if you want to convince your target group that you are the shop, company or go-to within your sector or field. Because of the club atmosphere that prevails within a good group, your members will approach you earlier with questions and see you as a partner instead of a salesperson. The more you are there for them, the more they will trust you and the content you share with them. This can not only be a particularly nice link in your customer journey. It also makes entrepreneurship itself worth much more because you build real relationships with a group.

Therefore: share beautiful content with a lot of value!

What can you share within a Facebook group?

  • Exclusive actions
  • Looks behind the scenes
  • Let your members think about new products
  • Facebook Live sessions
  • Inspiring mail wall posts
  • Ask questions to your members

You can set up different types of groups. But which ones can have a business advantage for your company or organization? A few examples:

  1. Vip customer group
  2. Inspiration group around a specific subject with a subtle reference to your company
  3. Enclosed student environment as part of an online course or program
  4. Informative environment for affiliate partners

Important aspects for your own Facebook group

Do you want to set up your own Facebook group? Then keep in mind the following aspects.

1. Capture the target and the target group

An objective can be to get to know your (potential) customers better or to stimulate sales among your VIP clients. But you can now also use a group as an online learning environment. That function will probably be rolled out further in the future.

Social learning

social- learning-units

In ‘Edit group settings’ you can use this function by ticking ‘Sections’> ‘Units for social learning‘. Then the group gets a new tab ‘Parts’, where you can group articles with images and posts. This gives you easy-to-find topics within your group, making it easier to use the group as a learning environment.

2. Consider an appropriate name

One that fits the goal of the group and is in line with the brand.

3. Ensure proper group rules and guidelines

Also, make an admission policy and stick to it!

Before starting actively with a group, first, do some research. It is noticeable that many similar groups have a negative atmosphere, a messy wall and then the overall communication becomes a bit chaotic.

If you want to maintain an order, you have to be the moderator and yourself often present, respond and maintain regularity. That is why we should preferably respond as much as possible to the daily group postings and preferably not ‘just’ on the main wall. It would be striking that after a year of intensive use of the group, the atmosphere will be still helpful, positive and constructive. In my opinion, Timely Facebook Live sessions are very important to stay in touch with your audiences, but also stick by rules and the admission policy.

4. Make the privacy institution public, private or secret

group-privacy-setting

I prefer the privacy setting ‘Closed’, because potential members see the group and can sign up as interested parties. The owner must then approve their request to join. This is necessary to keep the target group on point. 

Handy!

If you have chosen a ‘closed group’, set to ‘Group settings> Membership requests> Ask questions’ and ask a few questions that you would like to know from the potential member. In our case with one of our group, these are the questions:

  1. Do you have an (online) company and/or webshop?
  2. If so, what is the URL for this?
  3. Do not miss any chance of success and get our free Awesome Tips in your mailbox every week. Leave your e-mail address here …

With question 3 we collect a lot of new mailing list subscribers, which of course first receive an automated AVG-proof welcome e-mail from us.

5. Keep the group active

The group messages have in my experience, organically speaking, a better reach than posts on my Facebook page. Make use of it! Therefore plan a ‘main wall post’ every day with a service such as Buffer or Hootsuite, where the members can respond. Inspire, share stories and especially ask! Engagement = key . Ask for preference, for their day, for tips, hacks, opinions, and advice.

6. Promote your group and yard members

No members without members. Link your group to your page. You do this by going to your Facebook page and clicking on the tab ‘Groups> Linking your group’. There you select your group and voilà!

7. Go live with a Q & A every week

We do that on a weekly basis within our student hangout groups that have been set up at a number of our courses. We announce these live Q & A’s at least a week in advance with an event in the groups themselves, so that the members know when they are. Facebook prefers video, only you would already have it. But the live videos are mainly about the dialogue you enter into with the members. A video does so much more than just text. Personally, I really feel that there is weekly contact, people can count on me and ask interesting entrepreneurial questions. Because of this, I know what is going on and I can do something with it in the form of a blog post, minus edition, e-book or even course.

facebook-live-example

 

8. Be active

Being active keeps the group current, lively and relevant. Respond quickly to messages and comments and welcome new members regularly and invite them to introduce themselves.

Optional, but definitely recommended

Create a relevant lead magnet with a nice matching landing page for recruiting mailing list subscribers and process the link in the description of the Facebook group.

We hold weekly new interested mailing list subscribers (and therefore potential customers!).

Your time is not free

A Facebook group is an absolute recommendation for many companies and organizations. Provided you can and want to invest time. Because although a Facebook group is free, your time is of course not. On average, a Facebook group will cost you about as much time as a Facebook page.

Time in a group will be in moderating, keeping the group active and fun. Moderation is to comply with and remind members of the group rules, guidelines and application of the admission policy ( who’s in & who’s out ). Keeping active is done by daily posts, responding content to the comments and for example, going live every week.

Bonus:  Facebook and Instagram Are Rolling out Time Tracking Tools

You create a nice, fine ‘clubhouse’ by collecting as many like-minded people as possible. That is why point 1 (always!) Is so incredibly important: what is your goal and who is your target group?

About the author

Vikram

Vikram is a Digital Media Strategy Consultant who helps small business owners grow their
business. He is passionate about blogging, digital marketing, and emerging technologies.

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