When you start a website, it feels like there are a million things you need to do. You need to pick a domain name, you need to decide what you are going to write about, and almost as important, you need to start your websites social media pages.
I did all those things. I started my Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest pages and spent some time learning how to grow them. With a mixture of hard work and engaging with my audience, they are slowly growing.
Facebook felt different to me. It has seemed like an entity all to itself. It has its own rules and growth strategy. I hear all the time it was easier before to grow a following on it. I hear how hard it is to do nowadays. I see these pages with 100,000 followers and think I want to achieve that too. I hear so many “social media specialists’ say it’s impossible to grow anymore on the platform. I place social media specialists in quotation marks because when it comes to experts it’s hard to know sometimes who is an actual expert and who is trying to make a dollar. It seems like everyone has a “free” course they want you to buy into at the end. I think we have all listened to at least one. They spend 45 minutes telling you about how exciting the tips they are about to give you are, and 15 minutes selling you a course. Then they only spend about 5 minutes giving you some really general social media tips.
I have a Facebook Page that is growing very slowly but still growing. I do not have a Facebook Group and keep hearing people talk about how brands should have one. I thought it would be interesting to look at Facebook Groups and see how it can help a brand grow engagement, gain followers and grow brand awareness.
“Create a Facebook page for your brand or business.
Create a Facebook group for your cause or passion.” (Patel, 2017)
Before we start we need to briefly explain Facebook Pages. Facebook Pages are different than Facebook Groups. A Facebook Page is used to directly advertise your brand. A page basically tells people what your brand is all about. It’s not about a community sharing information, but more about your brand telling your readers what you are selling and doing. Every brand should have a Facebook Page so people can ask questions and find information about your brand. It is not a place for the readers to necessarily engage with each other. That’s where Facebook Groups come in.
In this blog post will discuss what Facebook Groups are, how to set one up and how we can use them to help our brands grow.
Screenshot from NaNoWriMo Support & Engagement Facebook Group
What is a Facebook Group?
The easiest way to think about it is Facebook Groups and communities center around a general idea or a theme. The group isn’t selling anything directly but just trying to encourage a certain community to communicate and find like-minded people. (Patel, 2017) For example, people who like pink cake. I haven’t checked but I’m sure that’s a group on there. I’m sure you could find a Facebook Group for people who support wearing caps only on Tuesdays while eating pink cake.
There are 28 different categories of groups: Home & Garden, Friends, Local, Identity & Relationships, Funny, Buy and Sell, Spiritual & Inspirational, News & Politics, Food, Cars & Motorcycles, Arts & Culture, Health & Fitness, Support & Comfort, Travel & Places, Style, Sports, Animal & Pets, Science & Tech, Parenting, Outdoor Activities, Photography, Neighborhood & Community, Professional Networking, Business, School & Education, Hobby & Leisure, Trending and Games. (Patel, 2017)
Most Facebook Groups can either be open to everyone or closed. If they are open, you simply decide if you want to join and join. With closed groups, you have to request to join. This is usually done through answering a few questions the admin has previously set up. You can also be invited to the groups by the admin or existing members as well. There is one more type of group called a Secret group and with this group only members can see that the group exists. If you are trying to spread brand awareness a secret group is probably not the best option for you.
Screenshot From Ottawa Nanowrimo writing Facebook group. Part of their guideline.
Most groups will have guidelines. (Patel, 2017) These help the groups run smoothly. Especially when it comes to blogging groups, with no rules people tend to leave the link of their newest blog post and leave. It’s a take but not give way of being in the group. This doesn’t help the group grow and generally doesn’t bring much engagement. If everyone is just simply dropping links and leaving, then no one is interacting. It’s a waste of everyone’s time.
Groups that have well-set guidelines run much more smoothly. These guidelines will give the group member the information they need to know what they are allowed to promote, what they aren’t allowed to promote, how to treat each other, and what is expected of them. (Patel, 2017) Many of the rules are simply common sense. People need to be nice to each other, don’t swear, no hate speech, and be kind. The admins of most groups will usually make new group members read the rules before they join, will have group members comment they agree to the rules and some will pin the guidelines at the top of the page to ensure group members see them. (Patel, 2017)
What’s your favourite Facebook group? Let us know in the comments.
How do you start a Facebook Group?
- Click the menu button on Facebook. It’s the drop-down button on the top left if you are using the desktop version of Facebook. (Patel, 2017)
- Click Create Group.
- Choose if you are making a Business and Brand Page or a Community and Public Figure page.
- Follow the instructions to name your group, add some people to the group and decide if you want to have a closed group, an open group or a secret group. I would recommend setting it as a closed group to help screen our bots and spam accounts that will try to join. (Patel, 2017) I would also recommend waiting to add people until you have completely set up your group. You do not want people joining an empty group. You want the first time they see the group, for it to be full things that will interest them. You do have to add one person to create the group though so I would add your partner or a friend. The name of the group you pick should be “creative, but also clear” (Patel, 2017) because you want people to think your group is different but still know what the group is about. Now click the create button to create the group.
- Now you need to spruce the page up a bit. You need to upload a cover photo, and add a description to the group to tell people what the group is all about. You want to add tags to help people find your group. Lastly, you want to create content for people to see when they get to the page. (Patel, 2017). You can write a post, share some posts from other pages or groups, and write those rules we spoke about earlier.
- Once the group is created, make sure you post regular and engaging content. (Lozano, 2018)
Do you run a Facebook group? How has it been for you? Do you enjoy it?
How can you use Facebook groups to help grow your brand?
“Research from Facebook shows that groups are seeing a lot more engagement than Pages. This is because Facebook groups enable members to start conversations more seamlessly than a Facebook Page does…” (Lozano, 2018)
One of the reasons I think Facebook Groups can connect you more with your clients is it’s more of a two-way conversation. (Lozano, 2018) Sometimes Facebook Pages can feel, as the reader, that you are being talked too and not a conversation. Yes, the reader can message you any questions they may have but it’s not designed for a flowing conversation. That is especially true when you talk about conversations between people who follow your page. For example, if you run a website selling teeshirts, on a Page you would post a picture of your new product and a few people may click the like button. On a Facebook Group, you can post that same link to your new product and people might discuss how great it is. Followers will see others loving the teeshirt and will think if others like it, then they should too. They will then purchase it. You weren’t directly selling the product but have made a sale you might not have made on just a Facebook Page for your brand.
People love being part of groups. They love to feel special and love having “a sense of exclusiveness” (Lozano, 2018). Having a closed Facebook Group gives people that feeling. They feel like they belong to something. When people are loyal to a group, they can be more loyal to your associated brand as well. They will be more likely to share your content and tell people about your products.
It is said that Facebook Groups can see a higher level of engagement than Facebook Pages (Lozano, 2018). If your posts are getting higher engagement levels the Facebook Algorithm may move the post higher in people’s newsfeeds. (Lozano, 2018) This will help more people see the post and encourage more engagement. You can engage with your followers by doing polls, question and answers, and tutorials. (Cannon, 2017) It’s also a fantastic way to help you find out what your followers are looking for. If someone has joined your group, they are already interested in what you are talking about. Ask them questions, talk to them, they are a willing focus group to improve your brand.
When you create your own group, it will help you establish authority over your market or niche. (Cannon, 2017) If your group grows and has numerous followers, new people will see the size of the group and think if all these people joined and stayed in the group, they must trust this brand.
Someone times people wonder how they can have a group about a general topic but still be focused on their brand. Let’s assume you have a Hawaiian Tee-shirt company, and you sell Hawaiian Shirts. You have create a group called “Hawaiian Shirt Lovers!” and people join on the basis they too love the vibrant prints of the style. You can post lots of different Hawaiian shirts and especially include your own. You can post article about things that make certain shirts better than other. Specifically showcasing things that your shirts have. If your shirts are relatively inexpensive, you can post articles about why people shouldn’t pay a lot for them. If your shirts are high end, you can post articles about why it’s worth to pay more for your clothing. Sometimes on brand pages it feels like the brand is just trying to sell you something. They are of course but it shouldn’t feel like that. With Facebook Groups, you can creatively recommend products and services to your followers instead of the hard sell to them. Help them know why they need the product or service in general and set up the ground work for them buying shirts (in the above example) like yours. You just happen to also know a great place for them to do just that and have exactly what they are looking for.
People need to see that your brand is part of their community. It doesn’t matter what community it is, they want to feel like you care about them. You are another fan who geeks out on what they geek out on. They do not want to feel like your brand thinks they are a dollar sign and Facebook Groups can really help with forming good relationships. It lets the readers and clients know you are part of their community by engaging with them on the topic they love. It’s a great way for you to organically show your readers things that are happening in the industry that favour your brand, it gives the readers a sense of community they love, and it makes your brand look way more approachable. Your brand needs a Facebook Group and there a plenty of potential and existing clients ready to join it.
Do you like Facebook Groups? Do you think they can help a brand? What’s some great examples of Facebook Groups you know of? What do you think makes a great group? We’d love to hear about it in the comments.
Do you know why you brand needs a Facebook Page? Find out at https://bit.ly/2SHpg2p #engagefbgroup #acsocialmedia
Do you want more awareness for your brand? Find out why your brand needs a Facebook group at https://bit.ly/2SHpg2p #engagefbgroup #acsocialmedia
Cannon, T. (2017, 07 2017). How to Use Facebook Groups for Business: A Guide for Marketers. Retrieved from Socail Media Examiner: https://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/facebook-groups-for-business-how-to-guide-for-marketers/
Lozano, D. (2018, 09 30). How to Use Facebook Groups for Your Brand or Business. Retrieved from Social Media Today: https://www.socialmediatoday.com/news/how-to-use-facebook-groups-for-your-brand-or-business/538437/
Patel, N. (2017). How to Create an 11,284-Member Facebook Group When You Have No Followers. Retrieved from Neil Patel: https://neilpatel.com/blog/how-to-create-a-facebook-group/