Facebook’s a funny kettle of fish (or ‘funny’ cat videos, if you prefer), isn’t it?
Having recently sailed far beyond the two-billion active monthly user mark, Mark Zuckerberg’s social networking behemoth remains one of the most used, enjoyed, hated and loved platforms on the planet.
Whether or not you have your own Facebook account or not, and no matter your opinion on its ability to help people connect and share their lives, it remains a social network of which most businesses can take advantage.
Of those two-billion users, half of them are active on Facebook’s wide range of groups. And, while some are of the ‘please don’t get me started’ variety, there are some genuine opportunities for businesses to promote their brand.
A decent Facebook group that has strategy and effort behind it will enable your company to:
- inexpensively promote the brand;
- engage with its audience more personally;
- reach more people who stand a better chance of becoming customers; and
- gain invaluable feedback on how to improve the brand, its approach and products.
But, how do you create a Facebook group that doesn’t just turn into yet another social media marketing experiment left to gather digital dust?
Follow our step-by-step process to create a brilliant Facebook group that your business will come to rely on for brand engagement and new customers.
Step 1: Work out why you need the Facebook group
Everything in business should exist with a solid purpose and goal.
Before you head to Facebook and click the ‘create new group’ button, spend a decent amount of time deciding why you need it to exist. This will enable you to create an environment with purpose, and one in which your audience can thrive.
To do this, you need to ask yourself a few questions:
- What niche is your business in?
- What’s the persona(s) of the people you want to join the group?
- Is the group going to be used to answer specific questions about your brand and its products?
- What will those questions be, if so?
- Do you want to gain product and service feedback from customers in the group?
- What will you do with the feedback you receive?
- How do you expect the group to work as a lead generator?
Step 2: Open the right kind of community
Once you know the purpose behind your Facebook group, you can get into the exciting bit: creating the community itself!
There’s a few things to think about during this stage, chief among which is whether or not you want the group to be closed, secret or open to the public.
The choice here will be influenced by what you decide during step 1, but if you want your Facebook community to grow, big time, we’d suggest going for the public setting. After all, is your business really that secretive? If so, it’ll struggle to build a meaningful audience.
This is the stage during which you need to come up with a name for the group. It needs to be relevant, but also exciting and inviting. People probably aren’t going to join a Facebook group called ’The XYZ Company Group’, so think about the keywords you use for your SEO strategy and how you can ensure your business appears in relevant searches on Facebook.
Step 3: Start promoting your Facebook group (to the right people)
As nice as it would be to leave all of the promotion of a Facebook group to Zuckerberg and chums, that won’t get you very far; you need to be proactive in getting the group in front of as many people as possible.
More importantly, you need to pitch it to the right people. There’s a few ways you can do this, chief among which is using your own Facebook page (and those of your colleagues) to promote the existence of the group. Do the same with your existing company page if you have one (you really should have one).
There’s nothing wrong with conducting a bit of email marketing to your existing customers and newsletter subscribers, either. Facebook makes it easy to link directly to groups from emails, so take the opportunity to spread the word about your exciting new group with an audience that’s already engaged with your brand.
Explain why the group exists, it’s goals and the benefits it offers members (not you – they won’t care about that). If you can find similar groups on Facebook, it’s worthwhile approaching the moderators and asking if you can do a bit of cross-promotion. The best of them will be up for this, because they’ll recognise the mutual benefit inherent in building an audience that way.
Lastly, make sure your Facebook group is in the footer of your email signatures and made note of on your website. Adding it to your LinkedIn profile is also a sure-fire way to increase its prominence in the industry.
Step 4: Create great content – consistently
A Facebook group without a regular feed of decent content from the organisation that owns it won’t live a very long life.
In fact, we’d argue that great content is one of the most important building blocks of a Facebook group.
Original content is vital, and the best news is that it doesn’t have to be War and Peace in length – use the group to post details about your latest product news, offers and industry insight. The more you post content, the more you’ll start to work out what works and what doesn’t, thanks to the number of comments and interaction you get from members.
Last step: engage with your members daily
Setting up a Facebook group isn’t a fire-and-forget routine – it’s something you need to invest a considerable amount of time in if the group is to become a reliable source of new leads.
This means doing all of the above, but also ensuring you engage with your members daily.
This kind of daily interaction is what will set your Facebook group out from the rest. The more active you are, the more likely you are to build a community that will help you create an enviable online presence for your brand – and attract a fair few additional customers while you’re at it.
If there are any pieces of advice or comments you wish to add, please leave them in the comments section below.