Why Should you start a Facebook group?
There are hundreds of benefits associated with starting a Facebook group, but one of my favorites is that you can segment your audience based on niche.
For example, if you’re running a software startup you could start one group specifically for developers and another specifically for customers.
The more granular you get with your audiences, the better off you’ll be. Another great benefit of creating groups is that anyone can join them—and these new members will often bring their acquaintances along. When done right, there’s no limit to how much your community can grow in size.
Why is Group Engagement Better than Page Engagement?
While page engagement has flatlined over recent years, group engagement has continued to grow. This makes sense as it’s far easier for fans of a brand to engage with its content and/or community in a group than it is within a Page.
According to SEJ, over 1.8 billion people use facebook groups every month.
The interface is much more intimate and functional and, generally speaking, brands that use groups see better results. It also means there’s less clutter and competition, plus many people simply prefer interacting with communities rather than pages.
With so much else vying for our attention online, being able to easily form a close relationship with potential customers makes your business stand out.
The Types of Communities You Can Create:
There are two kinds of communities you can create through your business page: public or closed groups.
Closed groups are invitation-only—you have to request membership in order to be let in—and typically have between 100-500 members who regularly contribute content or interact with one another regularly.
Public groups tend to be larger—hundreds or thousands of members—and are accessible by everyone but are often underused by businesses looking for ways to build their audience.
Facebook also allows admins and moderators to view group insights to understand how their audience is interacting within the group.
How to start building your Facebook Group community?
First, you’ll want to find your target audience. You can do that by asking yourself two key questions: What do they care about? and Where do they hang out online?
For example, if you sell women’s clothing in San Diego, then creating a group targeted at your customers who are primarily based in San Diego is a logical first step.
Next, you need to ask yourself what your initial goal will be when creating a Facebook Group. Will it just be for driving traffic to your website or will it also serve as a support community for potential customers of yours?
Whichever answer you come up with, make sure you’re clear from the outset about why you’re creating a Facebook Group in order to ensure success with it moving forward. Then, once you’ve decided on your goal(s), start creating a Facebook Group that aligns with your goals.
It all depends on what kind of community-building approach would work best for you and where your ideal customer spends most of their time online. Once you have your Group created, use it to build a strong foundation for generating engagement around your brand.
To do so effectively, post multiple times per day and always respond to comments and messages promptly—it’s considered good etiquette not to take more than 24 hours to respond whenever possible.
The more frequently you engage with people through your Group, the higher engagement rates you should see over time.
Create the Optimal Group Settings
Before you create your Facebook Group, make sure you've considered every aspect of how it will be structured. If you already have a business page and are looking to expand your brand presence, think about moving some of your efforts over to a Group (there's no need to run both).
You can use custom fields in advance and only post about new products or services once they're available.
Creating high-quality content and adding value is key, but most importantly remember that any conversations among members should be framed as an extension of what you're already doing.
Create threads with specific rules and reasons for joining (for example: Do they have to be in San Diego to join the group?) so people don't feel lost or confused by anything that comes up in their research.
Join Other Related Facebook Groups
Joining facebook groups related to your business can be a great way to establish yourself in a new community. Once you’re in, participate!
The more you engage with others in your groups, the more they’ll trust you and begin building relationships with you—and that is how communities are built. There are several different types of groups you can join depending on what fits best with your brand or industry.
Make sure to look at each group closely before joining so you don’t get distracted by spammy posts or content.
Getting involved in these groups will help you learn more about who your audience is, how they interact online, what kinds of interactions drive them to action, and many other valuable insights.
Add Value To Members In The Facebook Group
In order to get members excited about your group, you'll need to add value from day one. Start by writing a short introduction that details how you plan to run your group.
In it, be transparent about why you're starting a community, what members can expect and how they can get involved. Since groups are highly interactive environments, many members will come expecting a certain level of interaction.
Make sure you have moderation tools in place so people don't feel neglected if their post doesn't get seen right away. Make them part of your team by empowering them!
For example, you could use member votes or surveys to help inform decisions on new products or services. Whatever you choose, just make sure your members feel appreciated in your facebook group—they just might go out of their way to promote your brand!
Be Active In The Community
At any given time, there are over 100 million people engaged in groups on Facebook. That means there’s a lot of opportunity for your business. You can join existing groups or start your own.
Either way, be sure you’re putting effort into it. If you don’t have anything constructive to say, don’t say anything at all. Use photos and graphics that highlight your business—or show how your products or services can help people—and respond quickly to questions or comments made by group members.
The more active you are, the more likely group members will engage with your posts and content, which in turn increases traffic and engagement back to your site, where it counts most.
When Should You Join?
Quality Over Quantity: Do not focus on quantity; aim for quality instead. While joining 50 groups is impressive, only actually engaging (and participating) in three is less so (at least from an ROI perspective).
Focus on one topic at a time and make it count: Once you’ve found a group that fits your needs and interests, hit join. By joining specific groups rather than fan pages, you gain access to new people as well as offer up information about your brand without seeming too sales-y or spammy.
Many brands choose to run contests within these smaller communities as well as announce promotions via status updates.
What Makes a Great Facebook Group Community?
There are a few things that will contribute to making your Facebook Group a fantastic place for customers. A successful community is welcoming, engaging, and fun—but creating one takes a lot of work.
To generate interest in your group from day one, you should create it around a topic or theme related to your business.
For example, if you’re an interior design studio, you might launch a group named Interior Design Tips with Jessica or something along those lines. Within a few days, people in your target market (design enthusiasts) could be checking out your page and engaging in discussions about best practices when designing their own homes.
Additionally, remember to select a photo for your group cover image that will draw people into clicking join. Make sure it’s eye-catching and relevant to what you do!
Post often; It can be tempting to just share links when you first start building your brand's presence on Facebook groups but don't forget that there's plenty of room for original content within these forums as well.
Tips for Maintaining your Facebook Community over time
For many small businesses, especially startups with limited resources, joining and maintaining a group isn’t really an option. Instead, most rely on their business’s Facebook fan page.
And although there are several advantages of using a fan page (such as getting access to better analytics and advertising), many experts say that nothing beats a community of members within your own business page.
To do so effectively, however, you’ll need to set up a private group inside your Facebook Page. First, make sure you have somewhere between 50-150 fans before creating a private group. Then take some time in creating original content for it regularly—much as you would in any other social media marketing campaign—and give it exposure through status updates and at least one or two posts per week.
You may find that time investment was worth it; On average, companies who joined facebook groups saw 10% higher engagement from their audiences than those who created fan pages from scratch!
The same principle applies when engaging directly with fans in general via comment threads or in response to wall posts.
Good quality content—along with plenty of interaction—goes a long way when building trust both online and offline. While facebook group communities can bring new connections to your business, remember that they are ultimately just another channel through which you can build relationships.
You want people coming into these spaces because they want to be there. If you play by these rules, though, starting a community should prove to be no problem at all.
Putting together an awesome strategy for handling customer service questions is essential if you want growth beyond simple word-of-mouth growth.
There are many different approaches you can take to create a thriving community of engaged fans, customers, and potential customers. To find out what works best for your brand, reach out and research your competitors.
Reach out to their fans and ask them questions about what they like (and don’t like) about their community. Interview current customers about how they got involved with your competitor and why they continue to participate in it.
Then make an informed decision about which approach is best suited for your business. If all else fails, just remember that it’s okay to have multiple strategies. Having a variety of outreach methods ensures that no matter what marketing channels succeed or fail at any given time, you have others ready to roll out as a backup plan.
And who knows—maybe creating niche facebook groups will generate so much engagement from niche members that eventually you’ll start generating more attention from other market segments as well!
The bottom line: Test everything and keep track of everything so you can figure out exactly what works best for your business.