How To Energize An Active Fanbase With Facebook Groups
Before I begin, let me ask you a quick question…
Who run the world???
Alright all jokes aside, while Facebook may not actually “run the world,” you can find almost the entire population of the world on the popular platform.
As of March 2017, the social media juggernaut reported that it sees 1.28 billion daily active users on average. That’s a lot of people!
So, as a small business owner, it only makes sense that your company have a presence on Facebook. And while it’s vital that your company create a Facebook Page – read this article about the importance of going social – the follow up work of building an engaged fanbase can be very challenging.
At RedFork, we experience this challenge as a small business as well. While we continually stress the importance of this effort to our clients (who we refer to as Partners) and work hard to execute highly focused and effective social media marketing campaigns, the struggle to reach more people and promote engagement with our existing followers is a daunting task on Facebook.
Facebook's Popularity Problem
Achieving a high number of organic reach on Facebook is becoming increasingly difficult. Many people point their finger at the updated algorithm, or say that Facebook is now just a “pay-to-play” platform – and they would be right!
With over a billion daily active users, Facebook had a problem to solve. They needed to get rid of the spam content and provide a better experience for the people using the platform by making sure they were seeing the things that really mattered.
So blah, blah, blah… computer science geniuses, artificial intelligence technology… yada, yada, yada… and BOOM! Facebook comes up with a solution to only promote good-quality content that it’s users will enjoy into the news feed.
Now you and all of the other billions of Facebook users will see things that are enjoyable and interesting more often.
The only problem is that this also now means you will no longer be seeing EVERYTHING from the people you follow. This includes the content from the people or brands, companies, celebrities, or organizations that you want to receive updates from.
With the content of your small business Facebook Page not be reaching as many people organically, it’s easy to feel like your only option is to pay money to get the post or your Page in front of the people you are looking for. And this is where the utilization of Facebook Groups comes into play for small businesses looking to grow!
Facebook Groups are meant to be small communities of people who share commonalities. In essence, a Group is an open forum, a place for like-minded individual to share and absorb thoughts and ideas about things they find interesting.
And as a small business owner, you can utilize Groups to cultivate strong relationships with prospective customers, existing clients, and business partners.
5 Quick Tips To Using Facebook Groups For Growing Your Small Business
1. Create A Niche
Facebook has made it very easy for people to create Groups with a clear purpose by including suggestions for a variety of Group Types, such as Close Friends, Family, Neighbors, Team, and more.
Rather than creating a Group that discusses a broad, wide variety of topics, try narrowing your focus in on a specific thing that people will enjoy conversing about.
For example, if you and your group of friends love playing basketball together, a Facebook Group could be a great option for all of you to coordinate when and where you are going to play each week.
Once you decide on what your group will focus on, make sure that you create an easily identifiable name for the group. For instance, if you live in Orlando, FL and you love going to live music performances around the city, you could create a Group named, Live Music Fans of Orlando.
2. Encourage Conversation
Facebook Groups, more so than Facebook Pages, provide a great opportunity for you to engage in conversation with the supporters of your small business.
Don’t approach the Group as somewhere to only promote your latest products, sales, and news. Instead, focus on initiating conversations with all members of the group.
Try sharing new ideas, ask for feedback about your latest prototype or test subject, or even ask for suggestions!
3. Promote Events (Even If They Aren’t Your Own)
Now that the Group has been created, the core members have been added, and conversations are underway, it’s time to begin utilizing the members to achieve the ultimate goal.
Within Facebook Groups you can schedule events for members to get together and support the efforts of your business. These events can take place out “in the real world” or digitally, such as a group Zoom Chat or a Facebook Live event (check out our #ThisOrThat videos from a previous weekly live video project).
Say for instance your company is hosting an open house at your office location in order to raise funds for a local non-profit. This would be a great opportunity to create an even within Facebook Group and invite the members to attend. To promote even more engagement and increase the attendance rate, you may want to ask if the members have any good ideas about what the even should include that could be fun, informative, or create more intrigue to get more people to attend the event.
And don’t limit this to just your company events! Promote further engagement by the other members of the group to share and create their own events as well if they are a part of a different business or organization with an upcoming event.
4. Pin Your Posts
As your group continues to grow and evolve, it can be difficult to find important information, especially if there are a lot of threads taking place.
By pinning the most relevant post to the top of the Group, both you and the other members will always see the most important post first when viewing the group home page.
This post can be about an exclusive offer from your business only provided to Group members, the latest news about your business, an upcoming event, or even a link to a piece of content everyone would enjoy taking a look at. This list goes on and on!
Extra Tip: I recommend updating this featured post often so that the group does not get stale looking at the same featured item.
When thinking about the Live Music Fans of Orlando Group we created in the first section, I would update the pinned post to an event featuring the next live available in the city. By keeping this fresh, members will begin to rely on the Facebook Group as the number 1 place to see where the next performance is taking place at.
5. Lead By Example
If establishing an active fanbase is a primary goal for your Facebook Group, then the best thing you can do as a moderator is lead by example.
Don’t expect the Group to take off just because you created it on Facebook and invited members to join. In order to create an environment that will benefit all members, make sure you are in the driver’s seat, and be involved!
Share content that would interest other members, ask open-ended questions about your niche focus that will engage members, create and invite members to events, respond to every post from your members, and so on.
By taking action and paving the way up front, other members will get a sense of what is expected and can be achieved within this group, ultimately promoting more engagement.
The most important bit of knowledge I hope you leave this article with is that Facebook is a truly a place to be social, and if you’re experiencing difficulty in creating a social environment through your Facebook Page, you aren’t alone.
While there are certainly ways to optimize your Facebook Page strategy, a great option to increase engagement is by creating a small yet active Facebook Group. Take some time to think and plan out the purpose of your group, then launch it! As with most things relating to business, it will take time, but you should experience a great return by participating and encouraging conversation amongst a smaller group of active users and supporters of your brand.
Also, if you’re an individual business owner, or a “solopreneur” that’s looking to grow their business online, check out this article by Kristi A. Dosh who outlines how she attracts over 95% of her consulting work through Facebook Groups.
This is a quick read that is certainly worth 5-7 minutes of your time!
Have you had any success in growing your business with Facebook Groups? Do you have any other tips on how to use Facebook to grow your brand?
Share your insight in the comments below (link: comment code) ! I’d love to learn more about what you and your team are accomplishing online.
How I Use Facebook Groups To Grow My Business, by Kristi A. Dosh of Fast Company
How To Use Facebook Groups To Increase Traffic And Engagement, by Jayson DeMers of Forbes
6 Clever Ways to Use Facebook Groups for Marketing Your Business, by Aaron Lee of Post Planner
How to Use Facebook Groups for Authentic Marketing, by Salma Jafri of Entrepreneur