This post was originally published on September 21st, 2016. It was updated on November 29th, 2017.
It’s no secret that it’s pretty tricky to get noticed on Facebook these days.
Their algorithm has made it hard for anyone to stand out on the platform. It limits the potential of your content by only showing it to certain people who have liked or followed your business page. For this reason, Facebook has mainly become a pay-to-play kind of situation as it forces you to invest in paid ads if you really want to expand your reach.
Instead of forking over tons of cash to run paid ads, many business owners have turned to building private Facebook groups. It’s provided a way to increase the likelihood their content is seen, plus allows them to better connect with their audience.
Even I’ve created my own private Facebook group for my community! (You can find that over here.)
However, if you need some convincing to use Facebook groups to grow your business, I’ve got you covered. Keep reading to learn why they’re beneficial and how you can use them for the best results!
Why Facebook Groups Are Great for Business
Before we dive into this, I want to make it clear that I’m not encouraging you to choose between a business page or a group. I firmly believe it’s important to have both a Facebook business page and a presence in Facebook groups. (That could be your own group or participating in others.)
Personally though, I feel Facebook pages are best for building your authority in your industry and for sharing promotional content. Pages are public and are easily discovered by people who may be searching for you. Groups, however, are truly effective for building a community with your audience. It strengthens relationships and brings people together.
Groups encourage communication, while it’s not so prevalent on a Facebook business page. If you’re ready to truly connect with your audience, that’s where a group can come in handy. You just have to make sure you’re up for the task of running one!
There is a downside to Facebook groups though. Many business owners have found themselves shutting their groups down. Why? Once these groups grow to such a large size, they become difficult to manage. They typically wind up being a self-promotional free-for-all. And it’s hard to keep up with all the activity, especially if you’re a one-person team.
How to Use Facebook Groups to Grow Your Business
Many brands have reported better success on Facebook after starting their own private Facebook groups. And you can be one of them, as long as you know how to use them to your advantage! Here are some tips to help you out:
Use Your Group to Get to Know Your Audience
Because your Facebook group will likely be comprised of those who are already interested in your brand, it’s a great opportunity to get to know them better. Learn more about their interests, their struggles, and how you can be of service.
Don’t be afraid to just ask questions to get their feedback on something. You can even run a poll if you think that’s more user-friendly! Another great option is to require new members to answer a few questions about themselves before joining. It’s a great opportunity to learn more about the people who follow you!
Focus on Providing Value
Use your private Facebook group to share more beneficial information with your audience. Craft unique content for them, respond to their posts and comments, and do Facebook Live broadcasts. The content you’re sharing in your group should add value for them in some way.
The key is to consider the needs of your audience and deliver. A smart move is to give them something exclusive, which provides them with a reason to stick around and stay in your group. You can even provide exclusive offers to them (such as discounts or freebies), which really shows your appreciation.
Build Relationships With Your Members
Social media is meant to be social, after all! Make sure you take the time to build those relationships within your Facebook group. Encourage your audience to join and post regularly. Respond to their posts by leaving thoughtful comments. Be of service when needed.
This is your opportunity to build a loyal, trusting relationship. Don’t miss that chance.
Once your group has grown to a larger size, it’s obviously going to be difficult to keep up with everything people post. Just make sure you’re doing your best and you can consider hiring someone to be a moderator.
Share Daily Prompts to Spark Conversation
If you want to get the conversation flowing, you should create daily prompts to share. This encourages people to post and engage within your group. You just need to think about the prompts that would get people talking! Once you have them, you can create graphics and schedule them out using a tool like Buffer.
Here’s a look at the prompts I share inside my Facebook group:
- Monday Motivation
- Tip Tuesday
- Share Your Offering
- Thankful Thursday
- Follow Friday
- Share Your Blog Post
- Plan the Week Ahead
Create Rules to Keep the Group Under Control
And finally, I’d also suggest setting some rules for your group. By giving people guidelines to follow, it helps keep things running smoothly. Your members will know what’s acceptable to post and what’s not. These rules especially come in handy when it comes to limiting self-promotion. You don’t want people using your group as their own bulletin board.
And if anyone breaks the rules, you can kindly let them know and remove the post. Simple as that!
Using Other Facebook Groups to Grow Your Business
Alternatively, you don’t even have to create a group of your own. You can actually join other groups that are already thriving and use them as a way to make connections. Here’s what you need to know:
First, Find the Right Groups for You
The first thing you need to do is find the groups that are the right fit. If you choose the wrong groups, it’s not going to be worth your while. In order to use Facebook groups to grow your business, you need to figure out where your target audience is and spend your time there.
Search Facebook and do a little research to online to find the best groups for your niche. Choose groups that appeal to you and your audience, but also make sure they’re active. You don’t want to spend time in a group with little to no engagement.
It’s easy to go overboard when it comes to joining new Facebook groups. Stick to just a few key groups and spend your time cultivating relationships there instead of spreading yourself too thin.
Be an Active Member
This tip probably seems pretty obvious. However, if you’re going to join a Facebook group, you need to be an active member. Share content other members would enjoy. Comment on the posts others share and lend your support.
Being present helps you to be seen, so make sure you’re checking in regularly. You can even add this to your daily social media tasks to stay on top of things.
Before you dive in though, you should really keep in mind one key thing:
- Follow the rules of the group. Many groups have rules about self-promotion and provide specific prompts for sharing during the week. Make a note of these so you can take advantage and share without breaking any rules.
Provide Value to the Group
When posting to the Facebook groups you are a part of, make sure you’re also adding value. Create posts that share advice or helpful tips that you know members of the group would enjoy. It gets the conversation going, but they’ll also appreciate you for it.
Don’t forget to also pay attention to what others are posting. If someone asked a question you can answer, take a couple minutes to chime in. Focus on being of service, instead of self-promotion. If you added value for someone, they’ll likely take the initiative to check you out. Which leads me to my next tip…
Optimize Your Personal Facebook Page
Since you can’t promote yourself whenever you want, how can you use Facebook groups to grow your business? You need to optimize your personal Facebook page.
To do this, make sure you’ve added your business as your current job. If you have a Facebook page for the business (and you should), add a link in this section. When someone in a group wants to check you out, they’ll see this listed as your job. And they just might check out your business page!
Learn From Others
One of the great things about Facebook groups is that they bring a diverse group of people from all over the world together in one place. Take advantage of this by engaging with others and learning from them. Don’t just check in on groups when you have something to say or when you need help. Be present and listen to what others are saying as well.