Facebook Group Guide 2020
Do you want to set up a Facebook group but do not know where to start?
Now really is the time to engage with Facebook groups as there are some great communities out there, and now you might even have time to create your own? It takes time and trust to grow a great group but once you have it, it really is a great asset to your business. I have been asked by many of my clients this week these same questions so I thought I would do a blog about this and share some tips with you…
How do I know about this?
Well I set up my first Facebook group over 10 years ago to put all my new mum friends in as it was pre ‘WhatsApp’ days where we could have a group chat rather than individual text messages. I put all of my new mum friends into the group and started sharing information. Before we knew it we were on 100 members and 10 years later we have 17,500 in this group and it grows by 300 new members per month. It’s a place where members can ask questions, charities can promote their events, members can ask for advice, local businesses can promote their services (if they are in our business directory) and it has become an online community in a vast and growing town/city.
Over the years I have built trust by providing value. I have been consistent for over 10 years now and the group just grows from strength to strength. Without trust, you won’t have a highly engaged group, you won’t drive interest to your call to action, your polls won’t receive feedback and any offers you announce won’t be well received. You may have a few people who do not like the way you run your group, along the way! But that is the great thing about building your own group… You can grow the community that you would like to engage with!
To build trust, you must be part of the group daily and talk to the group. Things like sharing first-hand experience, answering questions and simply providing the community can all help strengthen the relationship between you, your members and your business. Holding question-and-answer sessions and creating exclusive content for your group are just a couple examples of how you can provide added value.
So: Create your own?
What type of group?
Or become ‘best friends’ with the admin of the biggest groups online.
The 3 group types:
- Closed Groups: Everyone can search, find and request to join the group but needs to wait for the approval from the group admin, and only members can see the posts in the group.
- Public Groups: Anyone can search and find this group but in order to get a notification the user has to request to join. Everyone can see the posts of this group even if they’re not a member.
- Secret Groups: Only the group members can search and see this group. So no one can send a join request to the admin of this type of group. This is really useful if you don’t want to show your group existence to others. Only the admins can accept the join requests to this group.
From a business perspective, the closed groups are more suitable for their optimized moderation and visibility control.
Your own group:
- It gives you the opportunity to be more personal as you are the face behind the group, not a company name and logo. Members want to engage with a person, not a company. So it makes it a bit easier to engage when you have products that they might like to buy. Groups are a place where you can gather your ideal clients and members of a group are usually more loyal and active, than likers of a page. Therefore, the rate of engagement is higher in groups.
- You can control it – Control who posts (switch post approval on in the settings) and control who is in the group! Sometimes people join the group to be ‘inspired’ by your content or to sell on YOUR members. So if it is your group you can delete the comments and block members if necessary! Also, groups can be self-sustaining. It’s possible that the group members will continue to be active and create new conversations which will keep the group going without any activity on your side.
- Your members can make friends with each other in a safe space, support each other and also tell their friends about your amazing group! Mum to Mum’s success has a huge word of mouth following.
- You can promote your content, pin a post to the top of the group and mark posts as ‘announcements’ so your members can view them. This is great if you are looking to send traffic to your website and it is a great way to highlight other members or experts too.
- Facebook users are increasing like never before. It means that investing time and money on Facebook for the marketing and sales strategy will be an amazingly wise idea.
- When you post in the group, unlike Facebook pages, your posts will be seen and you can also search for relevant past posts too. You can comment on a previous post and it will jump back up to the top of the group to be seen again, and again. Facebook groups enhance the exposure of your posts and really help your brand awareness.
- You can Promote ‘Offers’ with more visibility to an instant audience. If you have a group full of your potential customers, you will be able to provide them with various offers. A great place to drop a ‘lead magnet’ to obtain email addresses to also do traditional email marketing approach. Offering the ‘special rates’ within the group though, cuts cost and ensures an added amount of reach to your fanbase. It also makes them feel special!
- When all of your members interact with each other in a meaningful way, and you consistently become a part of conversations, these people will be appreciative of you making this entire experience enjoyable. This will translate to a better reputation for your brand and potentially more product sales.
- You will need to dedicate at least 30 minutes to 1 hour per day maintaining it. Including at the weekends unless you set rules in place that state otherwise. You must create content that engages with your members or that helps them engage with others.
- They can take years to grow but it really is worth the time and effort in the long run! You have to be in it for the long haul…
- You don’t own the platform – When you don’t have control over the tools you use for your business then you have some degree of risk.
- You have to spend time setting expectations for that community in what is appropriate for posting and rules for the group in general. It’s possible that a group member misunderstands your policy, or does not like your rules and they then form a negative opinion on you or your service.
- Likewise you can have members who complain, spam posts every day and people trying to pitch their own businesses (even when you have asked them not to). However, you can block these people once you become aware of them.
- Groups won’t show up on Google searches, whereas pages will, so it is good to have both and make sure you link the page to the group.
- The admin has already done all the hard work and you have immediate access to a ‘readymade’ community.
- If you become recognised as a ‘contributor’ the admin might ask you to help manage the group. You might be able to work with the admin to feature as the main banner over the group or share your blogs if they are relevant to the group and help admin with content.
- You can use the search facility to see what kind of questions are asked and find out lots of valuable information from past posts.
- Your posts may get deleted by admin.
- You might not be able to share your business links or PR/sell in the group.
- You have no control over the banner, the posts and the rules!
- You might even get blocked from the group.
So here are my 10 Top Tips…
- If you do set up a group: Name the group something that can be found easily when future members are searching Facebook groups.
- Invite some friends to get it started. Creating a niched Facebook Group is a good thing to do because people in it will actually be happy to be a part of it and meet new people that like the same thing as they do.
- Be ready to be in it for the long haul and add value every week! Have a clear strategy and ideas plan that will help you with the management of the group.
- Take 10-20 minutes a day (depending on the size of your group) to thank new members for choosing to join your group, and write, or share some interesting content based on the purpose of your group.
- Ask other ‘experts’ if relevant to your brand to join the group and engage with the members. Especially if this is a community group.
- Set rules for the group, that way if a member breaks them… You can remove them from the group. Be vigilant and don’t often make exceptions from your rules, otherwise, everyone will start disobeying. This sounds a bit harsh, but only by creating and respecting some rules, your group will become the community you want to grow.
- Vet your members, see if they fit your group by having a quick look at their profile before you approve them. Any you are not sure about, do not add.
- Remember that people choose to be in a group because they want to learn and support each other with ideas and advice. This will not happen if the group is full of adverts or constantly trying to sell!
- Also have a clear idea of what you want the group to be, who you would like in the group and why, and have time to engage with your members in every way you can.
- Go Live in your group at least once a week so they can get to know you. Maybe invite some guest experts too and really be there for your members.
I hope this article sheds a bit of light into the pros and cons of running a Facebook group. If you don’t have a Facebook group, then it might be time to create a group and boost your brand awareness to your new community. If you think to have the time and the patience to ‘go with the flow’ and build your trusted tribe! #GoForIt
Feel free to connect with me @ www.linkedin.com/in/samantha-poole
Facebook for business: Starting Out