Having a presence on social media is critical to brand awareness. While your marketing goals are ultimately always going to be conversions, your social media goals should include relationship building and engagement as well as the eventual benefit of converting followers into sales. The organic algorithm associated with fan and business pages doesn’t allow for as much visibility as most would like, but creating a Facebook group can tie directly to your page, opening up a whole new world of possibilities.
What’s the Goal of Your Facebook Group?
There are two main goals you can have for your group. The first is to offer a free space where you create a community around your niche. Here’s an example; do a quick search of Facebook groups for any hobby you’re interested in. You’ll instantly find a long list of social media communities sponsored by both individual gurus and social media managers. Some are backed by larger training companies or agencies instead.
While your objective isn’t to give away everything you know for free, you can use this as a space to share information and tips. It’s also a great place to encourage your more experienced group members to share with those who are just starting out. This type of group could be open to the public, closed, or secret.
The second option is to create a limited or exclusive group for your supporters. This could be people who have made a purchase, for example, so you can offer a better customer service experience. Or, it might just be for people who pay to access a course you write on a specific subject (on a third-party platform or within the group itself). This format works best when you make the group privacy settings closed or secret.
Consider the Visibility
It’s definitely important to consider your visibility when you are managing a group. Here are your main options:
- Public – Anyone can see the content within the group. The friends of members will see activity in their newsfeeds.
- Closed – Anyone can find the group in a search, but only members can see the content within the group.
- Secret – The group is not visible in searches. Members must be invited by another member. Only members can see the content inside.
You need to know your goals for the group when choosing a privacy setting. Groups in the infancy phase can be altered from public to closed or secret and vice versa. Once groups reach 5,000 members, you can only increase privacy; you’ll no longer be able to change a closed or secret group back to public.
The majority of groups are closed to prevent spam and improve engagement. Secret groups should be reserved for online courses, customer service, and specialty groups where you profit directly from the content shared within.
Group Management Tips
Once you know your goals and have your settings secured, post regularly and encourage engagement. The larger your community becomes, the more difficult it may be to control the content and advice shared. Consider the following as you work to align your group’s content with your niche and goals.
Give the Group a Great Name
Your group should be associated with your business page, so it doesn’t need the same name. Think of something catchy and consider including a keyword to make sure it’s better optimized. If you’re on the edge, give it a name that includes something catchy and add “by Your Business Name” at the end. Group names can be a lot longer than page names, so you have quite a bit of room to work with. Remember, a catchy name will catch the eyes of your members when they see it in their feeds.
Create Clear Rules or Guidelines
Set clear expectations for your group from the start. While you want to encourage people to share their ideas, you may need to set rules preventing self-promotion. Many groups only allow moderators to post links to outside articles.
Consider including rules about behavior, bullying, vulgarity, and other inappropriate types of content. It’s your group. You can set the rules however you’d like. Simply make them clear by creating a post or document that is marked as an announcement and pinned to the top of your page.
Lead Your Group
Don’t let your community run away with your group. Make sure you are offering insight and ideas, even in your free mentoring communities. The more visible you are, the better the group will serve your business.
Treat Your Group Like Your Page
In other words, make sure it’s optimized with all of the information you’d want your visitors to be able to find. Customize your group header image, fill out the “about” section, include a link back to your website, and optimize your group settings. Make the group visually appealing – and join the group with your relevant pages.
Encourage Admin Participation
While it’s fine for there to be just one admin, most groups do better with more than one. Add a second person as an admin and encourage them to participate so the group recognizes their authority. There will be an “admin” tag under the name of anyone in this role. Shake things up by giving each admin a theme or creating a weekly post in their own series.
Create a Posting Schedule
The only way to maintain engagement in your group is to have a consistent posting schedule. Yes, your group posts will have more visibility in the newsfeed than a regular page post, but they still depend on engagement for broader reach. Make sure you are posting in your groups at least once per day. Utilize the post styles offered by Facebook. Polls, images, live videos, and text all work. Mix your business/niche related posts with some fun content to shake things up from time to time.
Create a couple of hashtags specific to your group so you can easily search for questions based on those subjects. For example, tell your members to use a certain hashtag for questions or comments about your core subjects — like #FacebookQ or #TwitterQ if you’re running a social media group. This will help you to easily search for the most relevant conversations or questions pointed directly to group admins.
Engage, Engage, Engage
Really — engage. You don’t have to reply to every single comment, especially if group members are having a back-and-forth conversation. Do try to have at least one admin comment on each new post. It’s important for group members to see they are getting value from the people running the group. This helps with brand awareness and will build the trust level necessary for you to eventually convert some of your members into customers.
Running a Facebook group can be a lot of fun, but time consuming. Set limits and share the work with your partners. You’ll be pleased with the way your community grows over time!