With Facebook shifting its focus towards building communities and showing users more of the content that they would like to engage with, the reach of Business Pages has down significantly. As a marketer, you may already be exploring other options to promote your brand. Facebook Groups can be the answer to all your marketing woes.
There are two ways in which you can use Facebook groups to promote your business.
- Create your own Facebook Group
- Join Other Facebook groups
Let us discuss these strategies one by one
Creating Your Own Facebook Group
Even if you are creating a Facebook Group as a marketing tool, you need to come up with a topic or area of focus which would interest your target audience. Nobody would be interested in just hearing about your products and services. And, you already have your Facebook Page for that. So, before you create a Facebook Group you must resolve these three aspects.
a. Do You Have the Time/Resources to Devote to Running a Successful Facebook Group?
- Maintaining a Facebook group requires some time and effort -you may need to rope in a few team members to help you with the day to day management of your group.
b. Your Goal in Creating the Facebook Group
- Take some time to determine your aim behind creating a Facebook group.
- Creating awareness around your products and services.
- Establish yourself as a thought leader.
- Maybe you want to create a group to offer exclusive after services and support to your customers.
c. The Core Topic Around Which You Can Build a Community
- Figure out how your product or service can address a need and then make a group around it.
Let’s say you own a fast-casual chain serving salads. You can create a “health n Fitness” group where members can share their fitness journeys and healthy recipes. Unlike your Facebook Page where you are effectively talking to the audience about your products, in a group and you are engaging with a community.
“Provee“ is a brand selling High Protein, Low Carb Spreads. They have created the “Eat Fit Feel Fit” group to inspire, motivate and help individuals to adopt a healthier and more fitness-centric lifestyle.
- Members can share recipes of health foods, homemade healthy snacks, workout routines, workout progress and have discussions on fitness trends.
- They promote their products by the way of providing members with great offers on fitness merchandise and allied products.
The “Mangalorean Food Lover’s Club” is another great example of a group being run by “Ruchik Randhap” Brand which deals in cooking, kitchen and baking essentials along with home and wellness products.
So, once you figured out the core topic, you can think of creating a group around your brand and come up with a strategy accordingly. There are a few other things you would want to focus on while devising a plan of action.
- Group Rules: Although not mandatory, group rules could be quite helpful in keeping things under control in the long run.
- Topics for discussions: Putting out a list of topics can provide members with a ready reckoner for conversation starters.
- Nature and frequency of Posts.
Leverage your Facebook Groups
a. Post Consistently:
To keep up the engagement level within your group, you may need to post several times a day. Prepare a content plan well in advance so that you are not scrambling at the last moment. Creating content may require some time so it is best to distribute the task among your team members.
b. Create Value:
Offer fresh content to spark the interest of your audience. You could share ideas or knowledge-based posts around the core topic.
Say you own a fitness brand and have created a group to generate discussions around your products and services.
- Do’s and don’t of dieting
- Live sessions with fitness gurus or dieticians
- What kind of foods to include in your diet and what to avoid
- Training videos for home workouts
- How to keep up motivation level during vacations
- How to manage your diet and fitness regime during staycations or with frequent work travel
List down all possible content ideas and start churning out quality content to share with group members. You do not want to share the same content on your Facebook group and Facebook Page as this may put off your community.
You can create several types of posts from simple text to text with an image or video.
- Ask for Recommendations
- Tag people or Events
- Share Articles/ Blog Posts
- Host Webinars
c. Encourage Members to Engage
A successful group is all about engagement- community members should participate in conversations and share their own ideas, experiences or knowledge. As the group admin, it falls on you to encourage interactions. There are several content types that you could experiment with to boost engagement among group members.
- Facilitate Discussions: Share your views on a trending topic around your group’s focus area and encourage your group members to weigh in. Going back to our example of the fitness group, for instance, you can share your views on Keto diets and ask group members to share their experiences with the same.
- Host Live Videos: Go live and interact with your community members in real-time. From tutorials to DIY videos or product demos there can be endless ideas around which you can create and share live videos.
- Live Q&As: Live question and answer sessions are usually very popular and generate a lot of engagement. Announce the session in advance and the topic under discussion. Many groups invite a subject expert to handle the Q&A session. The guest speaker usually starts by introducing the topic and sharing his ideas with the group. Members are subsequently invited to direct their questions towards the guest.
- Challenges: Introduce challenges to spark interest among community members. Create a challenge and invite group members to participate. You can have small giveaways for the winners or even an appreciation post works well in most cases.
- Contests: Much like challenges, you can plan contests for your group. Contests are very popular on Facebook and can help you generate engagement.
- Polls: Create a poll for your group to vote on. It could be anything – a poll around the features of your product or just a fun poll like this one.
Besides the engagement on the poll post, you also get ideas fresh content ideas from polls. After the above poll, you can share blog posts on how to stay true to your diet after a stressful day at work or tips on sticking to your diet when eating out.
- Daily Theme Prompts: You can also provide daily theme prompts to members. Let’s take the example of the fitness group once more- you can create theme days like Mondays for healthy recipes, Tuesdays for exercise tips, Wednesdays for discussions on supplements and so on.
- Organize Events: Many successful groups organize get-togethers for members residing in the vicinity. This not only fosters closer bonds among their community members but also provides a great opportunity for networking.
d. Foster a Sense of Community
Becoming a successful group admin is much like being a good leader, you have to be omnipresent, replying to comments, encouraging feedback on posts, answering queries, resolving doubts. As a group admin, you should maintain the balance between being polite and courteous to group members, while being firm about group rules. Review Member Posts on a regular basis and moderate comments whenever required.
Identify the most active members of your group and think of ways in which you can employ their enthusiasm to generate engagement. Invite them to organize watch parties or live QnA sessions.
Connect with Influencers in your industry segment and invite them to be a part of your community. This creates additional value for your community, they can always fall back on you to provide them with the best resources on the concerned topic.
e. Offer Exclusivity
To make your community members feel like a privileged lot, from time to time you can come up with exclusive content that is available on your group. Consider providing exclusive deals or gift cards to members of your community to make them feel special.
f. Say No to Blatant Self-Promotion
Keep all promotions for your Facebook Page. If you must, keep promotions subtle. Listen to conversations and wait for the right moment to insert your brand into the conversations. But, don’t do it very often.
g. Use Group Insights to Build on Future Strategy
Facebook now provides insights for groups with more than 250 members. insights provide data under three heads group – Growth, Engagement, and Membership.
The data under the growth metric helps you to analyze the growth of your group over time. The engagement metric helps you analyze which of your posts are performing better and come up with strategies to build engagement.
Join Other Facebook Groups
If for any reason you feel that creating a Facebook group is not the best idea for you, you can still take advantage of Facebook Groups for your business by joining other groups. With over a million Facebook groups, you can easily find a group relevant to your brand or topic.
a. Search for Relevant Groups
Log into your Facebook Profile and find Groups on the left-hand side of your Home page in the Explore section. Click on any group to learn more about it. You can look for groups that are most directly related to your product or service or groups where you feel your target audience resides. Say you are a restaurant owner, you can look for local mommy groups or any other local initiatives or groups promoting local cuisine.
If you feel that a group is a perfect fit for your requirements you can click to join. Certain groups may require you to answer a few questions before they accept your request. In either case, you would have to wait for the group admin to accept your request to join before you can start interacting with the group.
With the latest updates, Facebook allows you to join Facebook Groups As Business Page. Depending on your requirement you can choose to join as a Business Page. However, we recommend that in most cases it is better to join an individual as it gives you more flexibility to interact on posts and keep any self-promotion subtle.
b. Get Familiar With the Rules of the Group.
Most groups will have rules for engaging inside the group. Rules are often posted in the Description area or in a post that’s been pinned to the top of the timeline. however, with the last update, Facebook Now provides a specific section at the top of the page where you can find Group Rules. It’s important to get familiar with the rules of the group so that you can create your strategy accordingly.
Some groups allow promotional posts on certain days or threads. Make a note of these points. Make a note of how people interact with the group and the issues they care about.
c. Build Your Strategy
With this information in hand, you can craft your strategy. Keep promotions limited to days on which they are allowed in the group. on other days you can devise a way to insert your self in the conversations. Let’s say the group is rallying to raise funds for a charity, you can suggest how your brand can help the community.
It should not always be about your brand, on some days you can answer queries on other topics if you happen to have the relevant information. Say it is a local group and member ask for recommendations for a plumber – now your restaurant business is in no way related to plumbing- but being a part of the community, maybe you know a person whom you can recommend. this will do two things for you- first off, whenever someone asks for a restaurant recommendation, the plumber will reciprocate the favor and secondly the community as a whole would see you as a friendly neighbor.
d. Reach Out to the Admin:
It is always a good idea to reach out to the admin. Write a note of appreciation saying how much you enjoy being a part of the group. To take your relationship to another level you could even send a gift card of your brand service.
Now, you may be wondering why do I need to befriend the group admin, the reason is simple to get a few favors in return. If the group admin considers you as a friend, he/she will remember to tag you every time your brand is mentioned in the group or recommend your brand for group events.
e. Reputation Management:
Use the search bar in the group to learn what people are saying about your business.
- Insert yourself in these conversations
- Thank positive mentions
- Resolve negative mentions
f. Keep a Tab on Competition
You can also search for your competitors to check how people perceive their brand and learn what strategies they are employing to further their brand on the group.
By following group conversations, you can also learn about new business in your segment and learn what challenges they might bring to your business.
g. Build Bonds with Group Members
Be on the lookout for opportunities to help anybody in need within the group by way of donation/partnerships. This could a long way in building your brand reputation.
h. Promote your Brand:
On the days you have the opportunity to promote your brand, go all out
- Promote Fundraisers
- Offers and Deals
- select offers only for members of the group.
Facebook groups provide you with a high target audience to promote your business, So, if you’re not using Facebook groups for business, then there is no better time to start than right now.