Facebook has nearly 2.5 billion—yes, billion with a “b”—monthly active users, making it the largest social network in the world. Chances are, your customers are among those billions who log in regularly and participate in Facebook groups.
With the reach of Facebook Pages dropping in recent years, the tradeoff has been group content rising steadily in the Newsfeed as the company prioritizes collaboration, community, and personal connections.
The question is: Are you leveraging Facebook groups to engage with current customers and find new ones? If not, we’re here to help; just keep reading.
Find the Right Groups
In order to find the groups that your customers are participating in on Facebook, you need to understand your buyers. What are their likes and dislikes? What are their hobbies and interests? Then, you can start searching for the types of groups they might be using and join those groups to reach them where they already are.
If your business is local, search Facebook for groups by topic and location. If you’re in a niche industry, search by keywords that you know your customers use. You can even get very specific and search for “Groups for people who like chocolate” or “Groups for people who like Tesla.”
Additionally, you can pull up the list of people who like your Facebook Page and look through their profiles to see what groups they’re in and join those.
Create Your Own Facebook Group
If you’re struggling to find your customers in Facebook groups, you can always just create your own Facebook group and build the community as your Facebook page. In fact, by investing in building a community for your customers, you’re encouraging them to invest more deeply in your brand.
Here’s how to get started:
- From your Facebook page, click the three dot buttons below your header image and choose Create Group from the dropdown.
- Enter a name for your group.
- Add a few people to the group, such as employees.
- Configure the group’s privacy settings.
- Click Create to finish.
- Finish setting up your page.
To get customers to join your group, share the group info on your page and invite fans in. Try not to add too many people to your group unless you’re 100 percent positive that they want to participate.
If you’re not sure what kind of group makes sense for your business and fans, here are a few ideas to get the wheels turning:
- If you offer subscription levels, create groups for each subscription level as an incentive to sign up and provide custom content for your “Gold Level Members” and “Platinum Plan Devotees.”
- If you’re a local craft brewery in Oregon, consider creating a group called “Portland Beer Banter” or “Craft Beer Fans in Portland” and keep the conversation generally about beer and the craft culture.
- If you’re a small business coach and passionate about entrepreneurship, create a group for people who love supporting small businesses in your area called “Support Local Business in Detroit.”
The goal of groups is to use your customers’ shared interests to nurture a community of people who talk about related subjects so you can build trust and put your expertise on display.
Offer Expertise—Not Advertisements
There are a million better ways than pulling out the marketing and ad speak in order to grow your business using Facebook groups. Here are some effective, non-sleazy ways to use Groups as a business:
- Be the first person to respond to new posts, offering advice and expertise with no strings attached.
- Share high-quality content (blog posts, e-books, how-to videos)—whether your own or from industry sources.
- Post relevant and thought-provoking questions, and then participate in the conversation to highlight your expertise.
- Show a genuine interest in group members and be helpful when you can.
- Connect people with resources and help them find solutions.
- Celebrate others’ successes and accomplishments.
Another great way to highlight and talk about your brand in a Facebook group is to enlist the help of happy customers. For example, if someone has a question about a reliable project management solution and your company has the answer, have a customer respond to the post and share their experience working with you and tag you in the post.
Follow Group Rules Closely
Don’t go crazy joining dozens of groups; you need to be able to keep tabs on the rules for each, so be thoughtful about group selection. Although some groups don’t have any rules beyond “be kind,” some groups have dozens of community rules with specifics about commenting, linking, and self-promotion.
Ultimately, no matter what the group’s rules, do your best to avoid blatant self-promotion. Facebook users can smell a business talking itself up a mile away and you don’t want people reporting you—even if you’ve done nothing wrong.
Keep Tabs on Customer Acquisition
As you become more active in Facebook groups, be sure to note when a new customer comes in through Facebook and, if possible, which group they discovered you from. Slowly but surely, you’ll learn where the best leads come from and can devote more time to those groups in order to grow your business and build your fan base.