You’ve likely noticed Facebook group content popping up in your feed more often over the past few years. While business pages still exist, Facebook’s new emphasis on community is causing business owners to shift their focus.
Facebook groups are an excellent, direct communication line to your customers that can provide you with real-time feedback, and they help you create solid relationships with your customers.
However, if you’ve never created, participated in, or managed a Facebook group before, the learning curve can be steep. We compiled a few tips to make the transition easier!
How to Grow & Manage a Facebook Group
- Be Real. This tip applies to all of your social media communications! Customers quickly pick up on less-than-authentic marketing, especially when you start talking to them directly. Consider opening up more in your Facebook group, post videos, show them what your messy office looks like (maybe clean it up a little first…), ask questions, create polls, ask for their input, and be conversational. People want to do business with real people, not a faceless brand. Also, remember that the group is for your customers as much as it is for you. Listen more than you post. Create polls and read comments. You might be surprised by what you discover.
- Turn on Notifications. Or, at least check your group often. While it is essential to have uninterrupted time to focus on other aspects of your business, you cannot ignore your Facebook group for long. Social media users are accustomed to receiving quick answers from brands online. If someone has an issue and you let it go for too long, you could quickly lose the support of your most loyal customers. Depending on your settings, everyone in your group, and even those outside your group, can see posts. Don’t let any issues go unresolved.
- Schedule a Watch Party. Watch parties allow your Facebook group to watch a video together at the same time and comment. You can create a watch party to introduce a new product, show the group around a new store location, demo software, or even introduce them to your puppy. (Remember, social media is supposed to be social!) Show them what happens behind the scenes to help them feel more connected to you and your business.
- View Group Analytics. While viewing your group, you’ll see a section of the page labeled “Insights.” From here, you can see how quickly your group is growing, which days and times group members engage the most with your content, which posts receive the most interaction, and who your top contributors are. Use this data to plan your content and find ways to reward your top contributors.
- Consider Going Private. While you may think it’s best to have a public group without too many rules, people assign less value to anything they get for free. By creating a private group that requires members to answer thoughtful questions, you’re more likely to develop a more exclusive and engaged community.
- Invite People. Yes, in an ideal world, users will find your group without any effort on your part. However, until your group reaches a tipping point and takes off, it will require effort to recruit new members and grow your group. Consider sending invitations via messenger to your personal friends who you think might be interested in the group. Go back to your analytics and consider asking your top contributors if they would be willing to invite their friends.
- Promote Your Group in Other Channels. Promote your group in your other media, including email newsletters, on YouTube, in your email signature, and ads. Consider adding a “Free Community” link in your website’s navigation. Go ahead and sprinkle links all over your website. Pin an attractive group invitation on Pinterest with a link to your group. Post your group on Twitter and pin it to the top of your profile. Add the link to your group on your Instagram profile. Go live on your business Facebook page and mention your group. If you want to grow your group quickly, share it in as many places as possible.
- Moderate Activity. Don’t let a few users (or yourself) ruin the experience for everyone else. Don’t spam your group by overposting, only posting discounts and products, or allow others to do so. Be respectful, and don’t be afraid to remove anyone from the group who chooses not to play by the rules.
- Stay on Topic. When you first named and added a description to your group, you promised to provide specific content. Don’t get distracted by posting content that has nothing to do with your group’s focus, and encourage members to stay on topic. You will quickly lose members if you veer too far off course.
- Don’t Overstretch Yourself. As your group grows, it will become more challenging to moderate group activity. Consider asking your top contributors to become moderators (some people will consider it a privilege) or hire someone to help.
- Have Fun with It! Keep your posts and videos lighthearted and fun. People usually engage with social media to take a break from real life, zone out, and connect with friends. Show some passion, use emojis, and don’t be too buttoned-up.
Facebook groups are a fantastic free marketing tool, but a thriving group will take a lot of time to manage properly. These tips should help you get started! What advice did we miss? What do you keep in mind while managing your Facebook groups?