‘Now we’re focused on building the digital equivalent of the living room, where you can interact in all the ways you’d want privately.’
—Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg at Facebook’s F8 developer conference.
Unless you have lived under a very secluded rock the past two years you know that Facebook has repeatedly deemphasized its newsfeed. While battling fake news and apparent lack of interest in the feed, Facebook has found a new focal point for its business model. The Facebook Group. Quite frankly, this isn’t a new revelation. In 2017 Zuckerberg said groups “give people the power to build community and bring the world closer together.” But as a business owner how can you harness this powerful community builder to enhance your online marketing efforts? And should you even concern yourself with groups?
Yes, you need to consider Facebook Groups
There are articles explaining which types of businesses should or should not consider Facebook Groups. Let’s kick that notion to the curb and leave it in our dust. We believe any business can come up with an angle to create a Facebook Group. Whether it’s a local coffee shop or an international tool supplier. All demographics have interests and geographical location should not hinder one’s ability to reach other people. Isn’t that supposed to be the beauty of the internet? The opportunity to reach anyone, anywhere?
There’s a cheat code for having success on Facebook. Listen to what Mark Zuckerberg is saying. We have been on the Groups bandwagon for quite some time. Why? Because Mark Zuckerberg said it was going to be a focus two years ago. From the app redesign that prominently displays Groups to the constant Facebook reminders telling you that Groups are the bees knees, the folks in Menlo Park, California, are telling you that if you want to interact with people (without Messenger, that’s a whole other story) you need to be in Groups. Business Pages aren’t dead, but their reach has declined so dramatically over the past two years, you need an additional strategy to succeed on Facebook. Simply that’s Groups.
Okay understood but what are the benefits of a group?
Most likely you are in more than one group on Facebook, so you know what they are and how they operate – at least from a member standpoint. From a business perspective, groups give you the opportunity to foster a community and make a real connection. Enabling people with similar likes to interact in a safe, private environment. Okay that last part is quite debatable, but we’ll just go with it…. for now. An example of how a business can use Groups. You have a firm that sells construction equipment, and you notice many of your clients tend to use your offerings to build residential sheds. Your group should focus on topics that your customers are passionate about so in this case you need to find a subject relating to sheds that ignites conversation and connects people. It can be as simple as sharing photos of the finished product. Additionally, you can grow a group filled with experts that can assist others in finishing their project. You just happen to be an expert too, so it’s a great chance to show your clients just how much construction knowledge you have. It’s possible for just about any industry. That doesn’t mean it will succeed, because one drawback to groups…
They are time consuming
Remember when you made a Business Page on Facebook and you posted updates and images and pretty much just checked for comments and messages? That’s not the case with groups. You must build your community, interact and moderate. The whole idea of a group is to build meaningful relationships. Posting and running isn’t an option (honestly it should have never been an option). Groups are dynamic and they demand an investment in time. Which means either you, or an employee, will have to babysit your group throughout the day. Or the other option is to hire someone to do it for you. Doubling back and considering that groups are time consuming understand that hiring a professional to run your groups might be pricey.
In conclusion are groups worth the investment in time?
Many businesses fail with the social part of social media. Social media affords you the opportunity to not just sell your products or services to customers but to enhance their lives by providing an entire experience. Facebook Groups is another vehicle in which you can boost your business’s standing by showing your human side. It also provides an additional channel to display your awesomeness. If you sell ice cream, then share some of your favorite ice cream recipes with your customers. Are you a plumber in Des Moines? Well, offer some free advice and answer plumbing questions on your “Plumbing is for everyone” group – send a check to WMC if this group takes off *wink wink*. Customers may love your products but with the right interaction they will start to love your company. And that’s your ultimate goal.