How many Facebook Groups are you in right now? I bet most of you wouldn’t know the exact number. I know I couldn’t.
Do you know what else I’d bet money on?
There are only a few groups that you’d be able to think of immediately. Those that offer value to you, in which you engage and build relationships with fellow members even if they’re centering their brands at the same time.
This is the standard that all groups should aspire to uphold.
In this extended post, we’re going to go over every single thing you need to know about Facebook groups, including why you should be using them, how to create and maintain groups, best practices, and so much more.
Once you’re done the reading, you’ll have everything you need to get your group not only up and running, but thriving, too!
Benefits of Facebook Groups for Business
Over the past few years, you’ve likely noticed more and more groups run by businesses popping up. These are branded groups, which may allow entry to anyone who wants to join, customers-only, or only users who purchase a subscription package through the business that happens to include group membership itself.
There are a few key reasons for the increase in Facebook groups usage. Let’s take a look at each one.
Build long-lasting relationships with customers
Facebook groups are extremely valuable in general, but they can have a huge impact when used in your marketing strategy. Businesses who center a group around their brand — whether it’s part of a subscription service or not — can build a community around it.
This makes your brand and products even more valuable to the customers. And what’s better than getting a group of people together who love you and your products?
Think about the digital sales funnel: you don’t just want people to purchase once, and that’s it. You want to move them through loyalty to advocacy.
A Facebook group can help you do that while helping you connect with your customers on a one-on-one basis. They get to know some of the people behind your brand, which is crucial to increasing rapport.
Increase your organic reach
In 2018, Facebook rolled out an algorithm known as “Facebook Zero,” and simply put, this is the reason why you most likely see Group content dominating your newsfeeds.
Zuckerberg himself even said outright that people want to hear more from family, friends, and groups, and that was precisely what they were going to give users, which is why posts from different groups show up so frequently and at the top of your feeds. People are often highly active in the Groups they join, and it’s a key part of that community-building feeling they were going for.
Group content, therefore, has significantly better organic reach than standard Pages, which have a reach of about 5.20% if they’re high-performing. You can post the exact same content in both places, and you’re practically guaranteed to see significantly higher reach and engagement on group posts. This is so powerful on social media, where getting your content in front of people has n become half the battle in terms of driving meaningful results.
You can offer additional value
We see this all the time in AdEspresso’s private group for University members: People are posting scenarios, questions, and even details about their marketing strategy and performance that they’d be extremely unlikely to publish publicly, and they can get personalized, expert answers from several different members of our staff.
Groups also have a number of exceptional features to offer value in new ways, including mentorship opportunities, learning blocks (which allow you to host courses on the platform), and even live watch parties with members. You can create exclusive content just for group members, which can even be used to encourage users to become customers to gain access to this exclusive virtual club (if that’s a condition of joining, of course).
Facebook Page vs. Groups: What’s the Difference?
This is something we’re asked a lot by businesses: If I already have a Page, why do I need a group and what’s the difference?
Your Page is essentially your business’s profile. It features information about your business, you can collect reviews and set up a virtual shop, and the biggest focus is on the content that you’re posting. Other people can post to your Page, but it’s hidden away in a separate tab that users need to search out. All Pages are public by default, though you can ban specific users from engaging on them.
A group is a place on Facebook where users can join as members to engage with others frequently. All group posts that are accepted (if you’re choosing to require admin approval) will show up in the group feed, and the biggest emphasis is on interaction. Groups can be private, and it fosters a sense of community. People are more likely to form relationships not only with you but also with other users through groups. Because these groups can be at least semi-private, you can share exclusive content here.
How to Create a Group on Facebook
Ready to get started creating a Facebook group for your business?
1. You can start by clicking the “+” near your profile picture and finding the “Group” option.
2. This immediately opens up a tab for group creation. All you need to do to get started is to set a group name and choose your group privacy and visibility options.
You’ll notice that if your group is set to “Public,” it’s automatically going to be visible, meaning that anyone can find it and view it. If it’s set to “Private,” you’ll choose whether you want it to be hidden or visible. We’ll talk more about how to make this choice in the next section.
3. You can invite friends now from this screen, but we recommend waiting until you’ve finished setting up the group from within the group dashboard. Once these few tasks are accomplished, go ahead and create the group.
4. After you do, we strongly recommend making the following adjustments before inviting people:
- Add a group description. This is visible even to non-group members who can see your group page, and it tells them about the purpose of your group. Mention your brand name. This can be found under the settings tab.
- Set membership management restrictions. Do you want everyone who can to join the group? Or would you rather it be invite-only? And can members approve each other’s requests to join, or would you like this to be an admin-only position? For heavily branded groups, having your admins in control can make the groups easier to manage. This is also under the Settings tab.
- Upload a group cover image. Your group cover image is essentially its profile picture, so you want it to represent your group well and be visually appealing. Having a branded logo somewhere on the image for business groups is a good choice.
How to Create a Facebook Group for Business
Wondering how to make a business group on Facebook specifically to build a community around your brand? Let’s take a look at how to set up a facebook group for business.
When you’re running a Facebook group that’s meant to promote your business or brand, it’s essential to set up a link between your official Page and your group. This is an essential distinction because it can help you send traffic to your Page and establish branding. The “linked” tag will show up immediately under the cover photo, listing your Page after a “Group by.” Visibility can’t get much better than that.
With the new interface Facebook has just rolled out, the easiest way to set up a business group is to create a group exactly in the same way we discussed above and then simply add a linked account after the fact.
Go to your group settings in the lefthand navigation bar, and then scroll down until you see “Advanced settings.” The option to add a linked Page can be found here, and all you need to do is select the proper Page from the ones you manage.
What Facebook Group Types Should I Choose?
When you’re setting up your group, we mentioned that you have the option to set up a group that’s either public or private, and hidden or visible. This determines who can see different parts of your group and when.
Let’s take a look at each choice and how to decide what’s right for you. And remember that you can edit this at any time by going to your settings and then adjusting the group privacy and visibility settings.
Public vs. Private Facebook Groups
Public Facebook groups can be found by anyone who searches for them, and anyone can see who is in the group and the discussions taking place there. Members do still have to request to join, and they need to join before they can actively participate. Public groups can’t be hidden, and they’re a good option if you want to prioritize quantity in terms of group members. If you want to scale fast and it doesn’t really matter who joins, this option can work.
In most cases, however, private Facebook groups are going to be the best bet for businesses. They allow you to control the quality of the group, and many members are more likely to be invested and more open in closed, exclusive groups. You can even set up questions that people have to answer before their request to join is accepted, even if it’s as simple as “What’s your experience in the field?” “What email is your subscription to our business under so we can validate membership?” or “Why do you want to join our group?
Remember that anything that happens in your branded group reflects on your brand. If it becomes too big for your team to manage and it ends up overrun with spam, low-quality posts, that will impact how people see you.
Hidden vs. Visible Facebook Groups
If you choose a Facebook group that’s private, it can either be hidden or visible.
For those who have been using Facebook groups for years, private and visible groups used to be called “closed” groups, and private and hidden groups used to be called “secret.”
Private and visible Facebook groups can be found through search, and it requires approved membership in order to see anything beyond a group description, members, and group history. You can turn people away. This is what non-members will see when they find you:
Private groups that are hidden can only be found by current members and those who have been invited to the group already (even if they aren’t members yet). Only members are able to view the group content beyond that waiting-room-styled display above.
Most business groups are most effective when set to private and visible. People can find you and you have full control of who gets to see and view group content, giving you the best of both worlds for a balance of quantity and quality while still being findable.
Hidden groups are most effective for internal team use or if you want to set up a highly-exclusive group that’s invite-only and don’t want the backlash of angry people who aren’t accepted.
How to Post in a Facebook Group
There are currently several options for posting in a Facebook group, including options for scheduling posts in advance.
To create a post, go to your group’s discussion tab, and then click on the “What’s on your mind” prompt.
You can then enter in the post, adding text, images, videos, gifs, and tags. At this point, you can publish the post immediately. You can also schedule it for later by clicking on the small calendar icon next to the “Post” tab.
When you click the calendar, you can choose exactly what date and time you want the post to publish. This allows you to create content far in advance while still ensuring that you’ll never miss a peak posting time.
You can also schedule posts (and review content that’s on the calendar) through the group’s navigation tab on the left side under “Scheduled Posts.” You can create new content here and determine when it will be published.
To make things even easier for busy social managers trying to manage multiple platforms, you can also schedule posts to Facebook groups through third-party management software. My preferred choice for organic groups-focused content is Hootsuite.
This makes it easier for you to manage your content calendar across all social channels, including your Facebook group. You can see how this works here:
Pro tip: Here’s how to add your Facebook group or page to your Hootsuite profile.
Different Ways to Use Facebook Groups for Business
We’ve discussed the benefits of Facebook groups for businesses, but the advantages you see will depend entirely on how you choose to use the group and what purpose it’s meant to serve.
Let’s take a look at some of the core ways businesses can use groups to benefit their brand.
As a Customer Support Community
Customer service is a major differentiator right now between competitors, as 96% of consumers all over the world cite customer service as an important influential factor when choosing which brands to purchase from.
Using your group to facilitate better service to the customers who become members is an outstanding choice. People can flag issues that the support team hasn’t been able to address yet, and they can also receive support even outside technical glitches or product issues.
In our AdEspresso University, for example, advertisers are able to ask questions about ad targeting, creative, and more in order to get the most out of their ad campaigns. This is a huge value offer, and it’s offering dedicated support on a new level.
As a Place for Fans to Connect with Each Other
Building a community doesn’t just mean better one-on-one relationships with you and your customers. It can also mean facilitating relationships between your customers, too! The bigger the sense of community your group can provide, the more valuable it can become, and loyalty can increase across the board.
My kickboxing studio, for example, is a community. We don’t just go for the boxing practice and the exercise. It’s a group of people that are now supporting each other. And believe it or not, you can use your groups to create the same feeling of inclusion and togetherness.
Purple Carrot’s group is a great example of this. The group has taken on a life of its own in a good way by encouraging users to share their dishes and questions, and people are happy to weigh in to make recommendations for vegan products and cooking tips. It feels like a real community.
As a Forum to Receive Feedback
Getting honest feedback from customers who are invested enough in your brand to join your group is exceptionally valuable. All businesses should want to get honest customer feedback to see where they can improve and what else your target audience may be looking for.
You can use your group to ask for feedback on everything from how they feel about a product to what they’d like to see next from you. There’s even the option to ask about what content they’d like to see, and whether or not they’re happy with existing brand policies.
Ask specific questions, and you’ll get direct, actionable feedback.
As an Incentive for Leads to Convert
You may have noticed a recent trend in the past few years where brands offer access to an exclusive group (often led by experts) for those who become customers or subscribers to specific programs or product packages. This is where Facebook group marketing comes in. The group markets the business, but marketing the group can help attract new customers, too.
As of right now, Facebook doesn’t currently allow you to sell membership to groups outside of subscriber groups (which only certain brands are eligible for, and which you can learn about here). You can’t set up a landing page on your site and charge $100 exclusively for group access. They can shut you down if they find out.
You can, however, leverage the exclusive group as a perk of becoming a customer. That’s entirely allowed. And by promoting the benefits of the group and the access they’ll have to a supportive, knowledgeable community and your own staff, you have a powerful incentive for driving conversions.
As a Way to Find Beta Testers, Brand Ambassadors, and Affiliates
When we’re releasing a new product, a new feature of our SaaS, or even breaking into a new niche, it’s useful to have feedback from people who are familiar with our brand. You can use your group to find beta testers who will eagerly provide feedback, and you can know that they’re a great representation of your target audience.
You can also use groups to find brand ambassadors, who can help you promote your business through word-of-mouth marketing. So-called “raving fans” (and not just “satisfied customers”) are often thrilled to shout your praises from the rooftop, especially if you’re willing to feature them in a case study or on social media, or to throw in some affiliate commissions.
6 Tips and Features for Facebook Group Marketing
Interested in marketing on Facebook groups to promote your business and get all those wonderful benefits? These six tips can help you do exactly that.
1. Create a Clear Code of Conduct
For some using Facebook groups for business or marketing, it’s helpful to establish group policies. These can be published in the description, but it’s a good call to make up to 10 official rules with one of Facebook’s newer group features that allows you to actually dictate rules.
The laws of the group will then be placed in the About section of your description, making them easy to see and notice. This can be found under the “Group Rules” section only admins will see in the left navigation bar.
Common policies of Facebook groups run by businesses often include:
- No blatant self-promotion 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.”
- Respect other members, and don’t be abusive or get too heated (I’ve seen some groups say “no-politics” given the current political climate).
- Don’t share any information, including screenshots or advice, from this group outside of it.
- You can only be granted membership if [insert conditions here].
2. Publish Announcements to Keep Everyone Up to Speed
Group admins can create “announcements” that show up at the top of users feeds and are featured in their own special tab. These can be used to announce new group rules, big events within your business, and anything else that you really want users to know. These shouldn’t replace all posts, but use them to maximize the visibility of high-priority content.
3. Upload Welcome Posts Frequently
This isn’t a good fit for all groups, so you’ll need to decide if it’s for you. Socially-driven (as opposed to B2B) groups, however, can benefit from frequent welcome posts that introduce new members to the group and ask them to share something about themselves.
This is a great way to encourage new members to dip their toes in the water and to start building that sense of community.
4. Engage Consistently
You want to engage with group members consistently. This is important, because if you’re not, they’re going to lose interest quickly. Answer questions that they have, even if others have already answered, too. Like posts, and respond to comments.
That being said, you don’t need to be too present depending on the group that you’re running, as you want to give users room to make relationships with each other.
A good rule of thumb: If people are joining for access to expert opinions (like from an ad expert, a financial advisor, or a nutritionist), you should be heavily involved. If it’s a group run by a dog trainer for people to set up playdates and share their favorite toys, you don’t need to interact with every post.
5. Use Moderation Features to Your Benefit
Group moderation features are going to be your best friend, especially as your group grows. Keyword and moderation alerts in particular can be useful.
Some posts are going to be more urgent than others. One that mentions “downtime” for a SaaS brand will want to be flagged right away, because it could signal an issue your team isn’t even aware of yet. We also strongly recommend flagging any controversial keywords or those associated with misinformation or arguments (including, obviously, hate speech). This can help you get ahead of a heated conversation and shut it down before it even happens.
6. Go Live
Facebook live videos are wildly popular, and they get incredible engagement. They give your members a chance to interact with you directly and ask questions that you can answer in real-time. It’s excellent for community building and relationship building within Facebook groups.
For best results, announce your live event in advance, and encourage users to submit questions early. This can help you prepare answers for any questions they may have.
Final Thoughts on Facebook Groups for Business
Facebook groups have always had plenty of potential that businesses could use to their advantage, and now with the new group features, they’re more effective and powerful than ever before.
While you shouldn’t choose between a Page or a group, you should use both to build awareness and a community around your brand. The group’s exclusivity and more personal interactions will help you do exactly this. .
What do you think? Do you use Facebook groups for your business? Have you started a group involving or centering your brand? How do you increase engagement and followers within your group? Leave us a comment and let us know what you think!