The popularity of Facebook groups has exploded in the past year. The good news is Facebook really wants users to embrace the ‘groups’ feature more, including small businesses.
Groups can now be created and administrated by business pages, and posts by groups are getting more priority in the news feed. All the more reason for you to create a companion group linked from your Facebook business page.
There are a variety of reasons why Facebook is pushing groups more. One of the main reasons is to enhance user well-being. In a status update on Facebook in January 2018, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg stated:
We feel a responsibility to make sure our services aren’t just fun to use, but also good for people's well-being. So we've studied this trend carefully by looking at the academic research and doing our own research with leading experts at universities.
And, in Zuckerberg’s epic manifesto published in February 2017, the word “group” is mentioned 30 times!
Facebook has also hosted invitation-only live event called Facebook Communities Summit. Facebook’s intention with these live events is to help recognize and empower community leaders, and to equip them with better tools to be able to manage their groups.
Facebook has released a slew of new features for groups, including:
- Group insights
- Member request filtering
- Scheduled posts
- Linking other groups
- Welcome posts
- Member profiles
- Watch Parties
Watch Parties is one of my favorites. This allows any group admin or moderator to create a playlist of any public video on Facebook for group members to watch together. Facebook is giving significant priority to these Watch Parties on the new Watch Platform.
Facebook page vs. group?
This is a common question among the small business community. It takes effort to manage your page, including creating original content that resonates with your audience, responding and engaging with your community, and ensuring your message gets to the right audience with paid campaigns.
Adding a Facebook group into your marketing mix can make a big difference in building a very loyal, engaged following. It may not initially be about growing huge numbers. You might look to have a group of ‘super fans.’ This is what author Kevin Kelly refers to as 1,000 True Fans.
Setting up your group
Facebook offers three types of groups: Public, Closed or Secret. Refer to this guide to determine which privacy setting will meet your needs.
To first create a group as your personal profile, navigate to https://www.facebook.com/groups and click on the green Create group button. You’ll need to add at least one person to be able to proceed further. I usually add my partner or a team member. You can easily add your business page as an admin of this group once set up.
Alternatively, to create a group with your business page as the owner/admin, navigate to the Groups tab on the left and follow the directions.
Growing group members
Link your group to your page and reorder your tabs so the Groups tab is towards the top.
Publish a post about your new group, what it’s about, who it’s for and what content you’ll be sharing. Pin this post to the top of your page.
Send an email broadcast out to your subscribers encouraging them to join your new group and why they should. Share on all other social channels about your new group with a link to join.
Don’t be shy about regularly promoting your group. Be sure to reiterate the benefits of being a member.
Building your loyal community
Finally, you’ll want to ensure your group has plenty of ‘stickiness.’ What will you do to encourage participation? How can you mobilize group members to contribute even during times when you’re not personally active in the group?
I recommend assigning additional moderators to help engage with members.
Also, consider doing regular live video broadcasts with exclusive content for your group members. My friend Joey Vitale, attorney at Indie Law, does a terrific job with this strategy. His group Friends of Indie Law has over 7,400 members who are highly engaged with Joey’s weekly live video broadcasts to the group.
I love to use Facebook groups as a powerful support community for my various programs and masterminds. One of my longest running groups is my Inner Circle, where I lead bi-monthly live trainings using third-party Facebook Live video conferencing apps. This allows for so much more connection and loyalty when group members also come on camera and share and contribute.
About Mari Smith
Often referred to as “the Queen of Facebook,” Mari Smith is considered one of the world’s foremost experts on Facebook marketing and social media. She is a Forbes’ Top Social Media Power Influencer, author of The New Relationship Marketing and coauthor of Facebook Marketing: An Hour A Day. Forbes recently described Mari as, “… the preeminent Facebook expert. Even Facebook asks for her help.” She is a recognized Facebook Partner; Facebook headhunted and hired Mari to lead the Boost Your Business series of live events across the US. Mari is an in-demand speaker, and travels the world to keynote and train at major events.
Her digital marketing agency provides professional speaking, training and consulting services on Facebook and Instagram marketing best practices for Fortune 500 companies, brands, SMBs and direct sales organizations. Mari is also an expert webinar and live video broadcast host, and she serves as Brand Ambassador for numerous leading global companies.
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