Using Facebook groups for business became easier and a more worthwhile exercise in 2019. Part of this is due to the new functionality that Facebook has introduced and partly because Facebook algorithms are now prioritising groups so updates show up at the top of group members’ feed.
This is happening because Facebook is focused on fostering communities now. So while your Facebook page’s reach has dropped hugely, the Group reach has been given a boost. You shouldn’t replace your page with a group, you should have both because they do different things.
Facebook Page v Facebook Group
Having a Facebook Page enables your business to run advertising campaigns, get reviews, and have plenty of public updates that include blog posts, videos and stories. The business page provides valuable information for potential and existing clients, including a map, opening hours and contact information.
Users can also message you directly.
However, your Facebook page isn’t a place where you can easily engage with your audience. When users post to your Facebook Page, it gets filed away under the “Community” tab and is often completely unseen by the other fans.
When someone posts in a group, however, it pops up and stays in the feed for other members to easily see and engage with. In addition, groups naturally invite more frequent interaction and discussions, because that’s what they’re meant to do, and users feel more comfortable.
Facebook also suggests groups to people based on what they share and the things they like, and so your group will be part of that recommendation process, especially if it is active and popular, which helps increase your business’s reach even further.
Why Use Facebook Groups for Business
Groups allow you to share helpful tips and links with your group members. A group is used to build a community, which can be immensely useful for marketing purposes. It can be a great place to provide additional support to people and when you answer questions it shows off your expertise and provides value to all the other members, too.
You can also set up a subscription-style group, if this is appropriate, which can add revenue, by adding it as an extra incentive as part of a purchase. Facebook is also trialling adding subscriptions with the app itself. Paying for access also means people are more invested in the group, which tends to add to the calibre and content quality – as well as the expectations!
You can also use a group to road test products and fine tune services, as well as create personal connections and make your clients into advocates for the brand.
New Facebook Group Updates
As a group admin of many groups and many years standing, I can categorically say that many of the new features below are already making admin-ing a group a much easier and more pleasant experience.
• Algorithms prioritising them – as we have already explored here – so you get more reach and visibility.
• Admin customer support – group admins can ask Facebook directly about any issues they have with their group. Facebook aim to reply within a day.
• Educational resources for admins – Facebook is putting together a training resource for admins, based on experienced admins best practices
• Group rules feature at the top – makes it easier to notify members about group rules.
• Membership request filtering – use a questionnaire to filter membership requests.
• Pre-approval process updated – selected members can approve as well as admins, which will help cut down the burden for admins.
• Simplified member cleanse – you can remove someone AND all their posts really easily (used to take forever before).
• Schedule posts – just like on Pages.
• Watch party – This is when you share a video to a group and you are all able to watch it and react to it together in real time. You can add a watch party in the post function, under add photo/video.
It’s a great function for businesses – for example you might want to discuss something that’s just happened within your niche, or host a video from a particular person (CEO/ special guest/ guest speaker) and have everyone to be present and interact. Also great for training.
• Learning Units – This is brilliant for running training sessions. It is a function within a particular type of group, the Social Learning group type (choose when setting up the group or go to “Edit Group Settings”.
Once you create a Learning Unit you can create multiple posts within that unit. Members can comment and ask questions on the post, and you can add media as well.
• Group insights – like page insights – show you membership, growth and engagement.
• Group to group linking – this is coming soon, but will allow a group to recommend similar groups.
Best Practice for Facebook Group
• Be available and extremely responsive. Leaving questions unanswered for ages is a sure-fire way to kill a group dead. However, obviously this can be tough if you are a small team, which is why having an agency and moderators to help can be invaluable.
• Add Value – in a business group, members can to ask questions that people outside the group would have to pay a consulting fee to ask, and also get the question answered really quickly. Other members will often also answer too, and include examples, all of which adds more value. These are often then subscription type groups.
• Share exclusive content – this is another great resource for sharing in groups, as is targeted learning units. You might want to share job leads or pro advice or tips.
• Mix it up – use diverse types of media else it gets boring really fast. Try to always use pictures or video. We are a visual species.
• Use it for market research and testing products/ideas and services. The polls are an ideal way to do this. You can also ask for feedback on how you can make things better.
• Keep it pleasant – it reflects badly on your business if you don’t admin a group properly. Facebook is trying to reduce the amount of fake news shared in groups and scans for that regularly, as you will see in the admin panel. It is advisable to set up your own rules as well, which gives you a fall back if things get heated, you need to remove a post or boot someone out.
Common rules of Facebook groups for businesses include:
• Be respectful to other members and don’t be abusive, spam people or talk politics.
• Don’t pitch your product or service without running it by the admins or moderators first.
• Potential terms of service, like “you only have access to this Facebook Group as long as you’re a subscription member.” “You have to be a member to join”. etc
• What is shared here, stays here. Don’t screengrab or share outside the group.
• Don’t post fake news or unverified links.