Facebook is the most popular social media platform among U.S. marketers not only because of the 2.41 billion monthly users, but also because of its functionality as a discovery tool. In addition to sharing information, Facebook users are doing more browsing, finding inspiration and doing research. Consumers are discovering brands and products using Facebook more than any other platform.
Most businesses are using Facebook’s free services, such as Pages, Messenger and Groups to organically grow their audience. You are probably most familiar with Facebook Pages, which tells the public about your business. Pages makes your business authentic, helps build your brand, and is great for communicating with many people across the social media platform. Facebook Messenger is the platform’s instant messaging service. Messenger is evolving as a means for individuals wanting to connect with global businesses. Facebook Groups fits right in between the broad spectrum of Pages and individuality of Messenger.
What are Facebook Groups?
Facebook Groups are pages that are created specifically to share information with like-minded individuals. Pages and Groups work independently from one another. For example, Group Tour Media created the Group Tour magazine VIPs group especially for travel planning professionals to connect, discuss industry and business ideas, and learn about group travel planning best practices. Our members have a common bond: they are all travel advisors. This group gives us the flexibility to tailor messages and host conversations in a more intimate manner than our Page that has followers from all areas of the travel and tourism business. Group members are notified when any activity takes place in the group separate from the business Facebook page.
Direct engagement with individuals with a common interest gives you an opportunity to learn what makes them tick, Groups are a great way to ask questions, encourage networking and build lasting relationships and trust. Additionally, your business can become more visible and you can increase your organic reach since Facebook’s algorithm prioritizes content from Groups with high engagement.
How to create Facebook Groups
Setting up a Facebook Group is easy. You need to determine the type of group you want to host and the purpose of the group. There are three types of groups: (1) public; anyone with a Facebook account can find your group on a search, join and see all the posts, (2) private and visible; your group is searchable by anyone with a Facebook account, however potential members need to be manually accepted by the administrators and content is only accessible to approved members, and (3) private and hidden; your group is not searchable, only Facebook members who have been invited to join can become members and see posts. Most businesses select private and visible since this selection provides control over who joins the group.
Next, consider the purpose. For example, when hosting recent roundtable forums with travel advisors we identified the need for Group Tour magazine readers to have the opportunity to network with one another. This realization prompted us to create the Group Tour magazine VIPs. Another goal for using Facebook Groups is to engage consumers with conversations about a specific service you offer. Consumer-based groups allow members to ask questions about your services, which requires dedication to monitoring activity as well as producing inspiring content. Moderating too many groups is difficult, avoid making your group too specific. For example, forming a group for travelers interested in U.S. bus tours is broad enough to appeal to people sharing interest in motorcoach travel without creating unique groups for each individual state bus tour you serve. Once you have formed your group, invite current clients who have expressed interest in the topic to join the discussion, promote the group in newsletters and on your website. Facebook Groups could be the boost your marketing program has been looking for!