If your business is not on Facebook, does it exist?
Love it or hate it, the ubiquitous social media platform is a must have for any business’ marketing plan. However, over the past couple of years, Facebook has made it increasingly difficult for businesses to reach that coveted organic audience.
Instead of abandoning Facebook altogether, consider creating a Facebook group! This is a great way to create a sense of community surrounding your brand while providing you with an entirely new platform to reach your intended audience. Knowing how to effectively leverage Facebook groups for your own business can drastically boost your brand awareness, build a segmented following with engaged users and elevate the professional reputation for your company.
Start by researching popular groups in your niche
Before launching your Facebook group, research popular groups in your niche and target market. This market research helps you learn more about how top-performing Facebook groups tick and how they remain relevant to their industries and audience.
- What makes these groups popular and successful on Facebook?
- What type of content do these groups use to engage their audience — memes, contests or shareable products?
- What type of audience do the most popular groups in my niche attract and why?
- Who are the members of the groups — demographics and psychographics?
- What turns users off from a popular group based on comments, lack of engagement, or negative responses?
The more research you conduct into existing popular Facebook groups, the easier it becomes to devise your own plan of action. This also will help determine how to reach your segmented audience and how to keep them engaged with your brand.
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Identify the purpose of your Facebook group
Determine how to use your Facebook group to help achieve your overall business goals before you create an official group for your own brand. It’s important to remember that Facebook groups aren’t about shamelessly plugging your product or service, it’s about creating a community. No one wants yet another forum that is selling something. Your fans, followers or potential customers want to engage in discussion about a topic that interests them.
- Why is your Facebook group important to your followers?
- What can your audience achieve by following or joining your Facebook group?
- How will your Facebook group stand out from other groups?
- How do your followers want to hear from you?
Facebook groups are only as effective as the audience. On a local scale, the most popular Facebook groups are those that seek out audience participation.
Pledge The Pink, a three-day breast cancer walk or run event, has a closed Facebook group called Pledge The Pink Chat Club with almost 3,000 members, many of whom have participated in past events or who are about to join the event. The members cheer each other on by asking questions about what to expect, posting photos of their training, cheering each other on, encouraging additional fundraising efforts and even sharing personal stories of how cancer has affected their lives.
Another Facebook group that is teeming with active audience participation is Bluffton/Hilton Head Ask or Answer with 18,172 members. The group was formed in 2015 by Heather Price for those who have questions about the local area — ranging from “Where’s the best burger in town?” to “When is the Bluffton Christmas parade?”
Segment your audience for the most impact
Using Facebook groups is a great way to hone in on segmented audiences you want to reach. Develop campaigns that target users based on demographics — age, gender, location, and even specific interests they have noted in their Facebook profile.
Create segmented lists of users who have shopped with you in the past, currently have items in their shopping cart, or those who have recently joined your group as a newcomer. Segmented lists help with crafting engaging marketing e-mails and promotions that are more personal and fitting to each follower’s wants and needs when it comes to your business.
Keep your audience motivated and engaged
What makes Pledge The Pink and Ask Bluffton/Hilton Head Facebook groups so successful are the administrators. Laura Morgan, who founded Pledge The Pink, asks questions, probes for opinions and gets them excited with updates about the event with memes, photos of the area and fun videos. Heather Price is equally active in her group by researching facts, encouraging conversations and letting people know when they violate the group’s rules.
Motivating users on Facebook to follow and to join your Facebook group is not always easy, especially when you are launching a brand new business. There are several ways to keep your followers not only interested but coming back for more.
Regardless of new tools and innovative technology, content is still king when it comes to building a successful business and brand online. Creating a successful content marketing strategy is often the key to success for new businesses that are just getting online with thousands of competitors. Setting your brand and business apart is imperative to truly become successful in the social media realm.
The right type of content can mean the difference between a lack of interest and engagement and going viral. Some ideas for content that encourages engagement include:
- In-Depth Articles: Current events or informational how-to articles pertaining to your industry are a great way to provide value to your audience. Set your business apart by putting in the time and effort necessary to craft well-written and useful pieces for your followers and customers.
- Listicles: Articles made up mostly of lists — listicles — are extremely popular and encourage. Use listicles to create articles that are relevant to your products or the industry you represent.
- Promotions/Giveaways/Contests: Get creative with special contents that boost interaction.
Memes: Infuse some humor into your group with silly memes that catches your audience’s attention and gets them laughing
- Videos/Animations: Videos and animations are extremely useful to convey messages while sharing the overall aesthetics of your business and brand to new users and potential followers.
- Personal Anecdotes: By far the No. 1 way to keep your Facebook groups real, share personal anecdotes and connect with group members on an intimate level can build trust and loyalty.
The bottom line: Don’t lose sight of the purpose for Facebook groups and why they are important when building a brand from the ground-up. Facebook groups aren’t about selling your business. They are about authentic conversations related to your brand. It’s about a personal, real connection with your audience.