As someone who ran an unauthorized 2gether fan site on Geocities for three glorious, hormone-fuelled months in 2001, I know first-hand the joy of bringing the community together online. Or, at the very least, the joy that comes with having upwards of five internet strangers sign our e-guestbook. (Were they all my brother trying to prank me? I don’t want to talk about it!!)
Today, though, with the power of Facebook groups for business, brands have an opportunity to build fan communities in a way that just wasn’t possible back then.
Sure, you might not have a neon pink visitor counter on the page like I did (jealous much?), but you do have access to Facebook’s 2.41 billion active monthly users and the tools there to build a thriving digital clubhouse. Seems like the perfect opportunity to bring people together… and build a great marketing platform while you’re at it.
Since Facebook changed its algorithm back in January 2018, the newsfeed has prioritized “posts that spark conversations and meaningful interactions”— including posts from Facebook Groups for business.
Engagement breeds reach which breeds more engagement… and you want to get engaged, right? (And I don’t mean to a member of 2gether, Chad specifically).
It’s time to get your fan community started. Here’s how to use Facebook groups to grow your business and engage customers.
Read more to know:
- Facebook Page vs. group
- Benefits of Facebook groups for business
- Facebook group types
- How to create a group on Facebook
- The way to create a group for Facebook business
- How to post in a Facebook group
- The way to use Facebook groups for business
- Best practices for Facebook group marketing
Facebook pages have a same use as your own personal profile: they’re a platform for broadcasting a point of view and creating an authentic, public presence with pictures and posts.
It’s like you’re planting a flag on the internet: We’re here, we sell craft beer (or some other product), get used to it!
Your business’ Facebook page is your official, public-facing Facebook identity. This is a place for business updates and practical information. It’s visible to anyone on the internet via search engines, and only official brand representatives can create one.
With a Facebook page for business, you can collect audience analytics, add a call to action or helpful apps and services. You can also like and comment on posts as a Facebook page, throwing those thumbs-up around on behalf of the business.
Facebook groups, on the other hand, are a place for your fans/customers/readers to come and show how much they love you. This is a place for discussion, weird memes, rallying around common causes, learning about your product, getting access to exclusive knowledge, or falling in love with someone else who loves a company as much as you do.
You might start the group to encourage chatter, or a superfan might start their own. You can choose for groups to be public, private or secret. Either way, the focus here is on a loyal, authentic online community.
The bottom line? Pages are for broadcasting. Groups are for conversation. And your business should probably have both.
Benefits of Facebook groups for business
It’s a direct line to customers
The people in your Facebook group are likely your most loyal customers or fans. They’re spending their free time thinking and talking about your business on purpose. No one is making them participate (we hope).
You’ve got an opportunity here to tap into some real insights from the people who know your business best. Watch, learn, ask for feedback, and then actually use it.
You’ll build long-lasting relationships with customers
Here’s a hot fact: customers are loyal to companies that treat them well. Inviting fans to be part of a community and engaging with them directly and regularly shows you care, and builds invaluable loyalty and trust.
If you want to take your relationship with your customer to the next level , a Facebook group is a great way to get serious.
You’ll increase your organic reach
Facebook’s algorithm is designed to prioritize content from Facebook groups with high engagement. The more you and your group are posting and interacting, the further your reach in the newsfeed will be. You’ll be a star, baby! A star!
Facebook group types
There are three privacy settings to choose from for Facebook groups for business. Choose wisely. (Or don’t. You can always change it later.)
With a public Facebook group, anyone can see what members post or share. If they have a Facebook account, they can also see a list of members, admins and moderators.
On the plus side, you’ll be visible to all potential group members and customers and there’s no barrier to join the club. There’s also no need to manually admit every single new member to the group. That’s right: the metaphorical door is wide open. Come on in, world!
That being said, if anyone is allowed in your group then everyone is allowed in your group. Content can spiral out of control easily and be tricky to moderate, like a teenage house party gone wrong.
This page is affiliated with your business, remember, so keep a close watch on what’s going on if you choose this option. Like it or not, even a post from a stranger on your page will ultimately reflect on you.
Private and visible
Private Facebook groups still show up in searches, but potential members need to be manually accepted by the administrators. It’s like they’re knocking on that door, waiting to be let in.
Only current members can see who belongs to the group, and what they’re posting and sharing. (Anyone on Facebook, however, can see who the administrators and moderators are.) In short, it’s exclusive, but still accessible. How VIP!
Private-and-visible groups are a great option for businesses using Facebook groups. It’s searchable but still controlled, so no spambots can sneak it and ruin the fun for everyone else.
Private and hidden
Private and hidden Facebook groups (aka secret groups) don’t show up in searches at all. Spoooky!
You can find it, if you know where to find it.
Secret Facebook groups have the same privacy settings as private-and-visible groups (only current members can see posts and the membership list), but they’re hidden to the general public. That’s right: You’ve got to be personally invited to join, like a weird Yale frat.
If we’re still sticking with this door analogy (and we can all agree it’s too late to back out now), this is a speakeasy door hidden behind a telephone booth in a hot dog restaurant.
It’s a little more work to build and maintain your membership with manual invitations, but if you really want to keep things special, the secrecy could make the hassle worth it.