• Advice

Why Facebook Groups should be an important element of your social strategy

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By 2018 the organic reach of your FB page may well be 0. All business pages are likely moving into an “explore” feed. AHHH! But fear not, because there is a way you can still reach your audience without sacrificing your first born to the social media gods.

Everyone by now should know what a Facebook Group is. But, just in case you don’t know what it is, here’s the definition. Facebook groups was originally introduced back in 2007, Facebook groups was actually the OG business opportunity on Facebook. This later turned into “likes” now known as the pages of today. Facebook groups has had its ups and downs within the social media expert community but these days groups are becoming the must-have item of the season.

I highly suggest researching what opportunities are available for Facebook group themes/names/niches before just starting one, but for those ready to jump on in, here are some of the best practices I picked up from group moderators such as Emma Johnson of Single Wealthy Mommy, PT Money of FinCon, and Nick Loper of SN Nation. Other notables are Matt & Doree’s Eggcellent Adventure and Hustle Crew.

Open Forum

Think of Facebook groups as an open forum minus the horrid design and inconsistencies in development. Depending on what your business and social goals are, you may want to consider creating an open forum-like group where your community can gather. Groups are an interactive forum anyway so utilizing your group in such a way will help introduce the idea of self-guided conversations again. Enriching your original content with the content of others is also a total bonus to whatever research you do currently.

Facebook Group VS Your Facebook Business Page

Your Facebook business page is for marketing and creating an engaged experience for your customers and users. Like we mentioned earlier, Facebook is actively seeking to remove organic engagement on pages and push everyone into a “pay-to-play” strategy (whether Facebook will admit it or not). What you discuss on your Facebook business page needs to be different than what is discussed within a Facebook group.

Within your group you should focus on building a community - an empowered group of individuals ready to advocate for you/your business anytime. These people must be your “ride or die” peeps! Enhance the group with keeping it to strict conversation. Yes, you can share links, videos, and podcast recordings but re-orienting the conversation is key.

If we look at the differences in messaging we can begin to distinguish conversational differences between the page and group.

Group: “Happy Monday! New podcast is available for download. I’m curious as to what you think about the point we make at 31:24 regarding theory of XXXX. Share your thoughts in the comments.”

Page: “At 31:24 we hit some key concepts you won’t wanna miss.”

My last point on page VS. group is about visibility. Page visibility drops month after month, but the ability for a group post to still appear high above other user content in the newsfeed is certain. As business page reach drops, your organic reach in a group will climb as customers flock to your community.

Creating The Group: Admin, Management, Posting

Everyone wants their Facebook group to grow. It’s important to note you won’t see exponential growth over night. You have to put in the time and work to see your group grow. Here are some best practices when it comes to setting up and managing your group:

Process for adding people to the group:

  1. Qualifying questions
  2. Post/web page with rules & regulations
  3. Monthly intro fb group thread tagging new people and give an opportunity for them to share about themselves
  4. How many groups are people in - should they really be in yours?
  5. Don’t add people who have joined fb in recent six months - possible spammers
  6. No MLM people - most def spammers

Determine the purpose of your group:

  1. For community
  2. A place to avoid being “sold something”
  3. Bridge an event or product launch
  4. A place where people can help others
  5. Brand partnerships - ask the group if it’s something they would find value in
  6. When creating content - you can search for a keyword and discover what questions users are asking

Best content practices:

  1. Share your wins
  2. Share a struggle and what you need help with
  3. Schedule posts in the group feed NO AUTOMATION
  4. Provide themes that offer VALUE to people, not a benefit
  5. Setup an Event
  6. Share personal stuff IE My son is going to speech therapy, how can I do it for free?
  7. Be within the world IE be topical in discussions
  8. Live video - HUGE, see Debt Free Guys
  9. Jump in and steer the direction of conversation based on applicable shared content

Setting up daily themes works for some groups but not for others. Do some A/B test posting with your group or run a survey to determine if your group’s personality will be a good fit for it.

Set Up Community Guidelines

You will experience trolls. It’s just a fact of life in the social media world. The best way to avoid trolls taking over your group or a piece of conversation is to introduce “guidelines” from the very beginning. My suggestion is to avoid creating rules and pinning them to the top of your group. This makes new users’ eyes roll. Why do they want to enter another group where the rules are the very first thing they look at everyday?

Instead, create rules and regulations for the group and host them on your website. In one of your qualifying questions for group membership, ask them if they have read the rules and regulations of the group so later down the road, if a user turns into a troll you can remove them without explanation.

Here are some examples of community guidelines you can implement in your group:

  • No shameless self promotion
  • No sexism
  • Relatively positive posts - no venting type posts
  • Ask people to quote their link in the first comment when posting an original post
  • Ensure you have a legal disclosure (if business requires it, IE a Tax Professional or CFP)
  • No affiliate content
  • No sexual content
  • No political content (unless you’re obviously a political person)
  • Facebook profile must be older than six months

Add in a disclosure: If these rules are violated you may be removed from the group without explanation.

Implementing group guidelines will make your job easier going forward and set the tone for the group. There are those people who will try to fake it into your group so always be vigilant.

Assign Admins and Moderators

It’s important to keep in mind how vital it is employ the help of others. Find business partners and brand advocates that are willing to help monitor and guide the conversation in your group. Why? Managing a Facebook group takes a lot of time. On slow days, it takes me an average of one to two hours to manage a group on my own. For business owners, that’s one or two hours that could be better spent on paying projects. That’s not to say you should avoid engaging in the group, you should always have your thumb on your constituents.

The best rule of thumb regarding managing large Facebook groups is to five to three admins in time zones across the country (or world depending on your group) and two moderators (a third/fourth being you). This will help you keep the conversation alive, manage new member applicants, and constantly grow your following.

It’s a lot to consider…

Throughout my experience in managing Facebook Groups and even engaging in them, it’s a time consuming part of your digital strategy. In the end, it’s well worth it. Especially if you’re able to monitor and track group analytics! According to PT Money, his group FinCon utilizes an app called Grytics. Pricing ranges from $12 - $29 for on-click quick reports on your group. Keeping track of ROI in your group is important so if Grytics isn’t for you, here are fifteen alternatives from Brand Watch.

Take the time to investigate and test out this part of your strategy. The worst that will happen is you close it down and start over or move on.

My name is Sarah Allison. I am a certified digital marketer and branding enthusiast. As a self-taught marketer, I have climbed off the corporate ladder to build an empire where my company, The Blonde Spot, helps other companies develop a brand that allows my clients and I to embrace a life we love. For some extra information on Facebook Groups and why it’s an important of your 2018 social marketing strategy check out our Blonde Moment of the Week.