60 million businesses have a Facebook page, but the social media giant has turned its attention to groups, adding new features and tools to help administrators grow their community.
Unlike your business page, a Facebook group lets you personally engage with your customers and encourage genuine discussion between members, which can result in valuable feedback about your products and services. It also allows them to talk about their interest and share valuable insights which can promote positive feelings about your brand.
With more than a billion Facebook users actively engaged in groups, creating a group is the next logical step. If you don’t know where to start, here are 9 easy steps to help you create an effective Facebook group for your business.
1. Determine Its Purpose
The first step in creating an effective Facebook group is to determine its purpose. The purpose of your group helps you select members and the type of interaction you want them to have.
Do you want it to function as a community where like-minded customers create conversations about your niche? Do you want to use it as a place where members can ask questions? Perhaps, you want to use it to as a place for customers to share feedback about your products and services? Identifying your group’s purpose will help you create the community you want.
Remember to offer something in your group that’s unique from your business page to encourage people to join.
2. Create the Right Community
Set the right tone for your Facebook group by making it public, closed, or secret. Choosing one over the other will help create the right community for your page.
Setting your group to “public” will make it easy for everyone to find and join your group, which can increase your membership quickly. A closed group allows you to approve requests to join the group, so you can filter the members. You can also set the group to “secret” where members can only join by invitation thereby adding an atmosphere of exclusivity. When setup as “secret,” your group will not appear in search results and you will need to manually send out invites.
Note: You can set the group setting through Facebook's privacy settings.
3. Invite People to Join Your Facebook Group
It is important to have a healthy number of like-minded individuals to join your Facebook group to keep the community engaged and active.
One way to do this is to advertise the group on your Facebook page to ensure people who join your group are interested in your brand or industry. Similarly, you can send out an invite to your mailing list or invite people from your friends list. Another way to grow your group is to ask current members to invite their friends with similar interests. Make sure the purpose of your group is clear so people who request to join it match your target audience.
Try to promote your group regularly and consistently, but careful no to overdo it. Overpromoting on Facebook can cause uninterested parties to unfollow your page.
4. Create a Clear Set of Rules
Foster a community that adds value to its members by establishing a clear set of rules that will guide the conversations and interactions among the members of the group.
Some groups don’t allow members to promote their businesses, while others allow it only on certain days and times. Some allow members to freely post on the page and some will moderate posts before showing them to a group.
You want members to enjoy a spam-free group filled with relevant content and useful content, and establishing a clear set of rules will help you achieve that. If you’re unsure about what rules you want to set, take cues from groups that you like (or even dislike) and see if their guidelines can work for your group too.
5. Implement Rules
Once you determine a clear set of rules, remember to implement them consistently to keep members in check.
Don’t be afraid to ban or kick unruly members out of your group. You may lose a few people because of it, but you will develop a stronger community and the remaining members will appreciate you for it. Remember to be fair as unfair implementation of rules may leave a negative impression on your community.
6. Create Original Content
If you create the right community, your Facebook group should have a healthy amount of interaction. However, you can add value to the group and start conversations by creating and posting original content.
You can do this by writing a blog posts or creating videos with content that they can’t find elsewhere. Similarly, you can ask questions, post an interesting image, or encourage discussions about a shared interest.
To help save time and keep your posts organized, you can schedule posts within Facebook or by using a social media scheduling tool like Social Report.
7. Share Interesting Content
Posting original content takes a lot of work and a good alternative is sharing interesting content from other sources.
As your community grows, you can get a better sense of their likes and interest. Use this to find interesting and relevant blog posts, videos, and inforgraphics from around the web to share on your group. Posting interesting content will not only promote conversations among members; it will also encourage the group to share similar content and keep interactions going.
8. Interact with Your Group Daily
An effective Facebook group will require regular interaction and management to foster positive conversations.
Start by liking or commenting on members’ posts and regularly answer questions about your industry or products. When people comment on your posts, take time to craft a personal response and make sure you are part of the community. Also, remember to provide useful insights or share links that add value to a discussion when possible.
If regular interaction with your group is a bit tasking, consider hiring a Social Media Manager for day-to-day tasks.
9. Actively Monitor Insights
Make the most out of your Facebook group by regularly checking statistics through Facebook group Insights or through a third-party analytics tool like Social Report.
Check group insights to see which posts have the most engagement, and use this information to post similar content in the future. Find time to review the demographics of your group and then figure out what type of content resonates with them. Using insights, check for top contributors and find a way to recognize them for the value they add to the group.
Checking insights will ensure that you post content that is always recent and relevant to the members of your group.
An effective Facebook group lets you foster a community with a positive outlook on your brand and help you gain genuine feedback from your customers. With over one billion users actively engaged in Facebook groups, it is should be an essential part of your social media strategy for 2018.