Are you looking for a new way to engage your customers? Consider incorporating Facebook Groups into your strategic marketing plan. With Facebook having over 2 billion monthly active users, it’s a solid opportunity to connect with both your current and potential customers. Here’s what you need to know about Facebook Groups and how to use them to your business’s advantage.
What Are Facebook Groups?
Think of them as the younger, better looking cousin to chat rooms. You remember AOL’s Instant Messenger don’t you? Or what about MSN Messenger? It’s all of those things rolled into one. Ah, I can still hear the sound of dial-up.
We’ve come a long way. Similarly, Facebook Groups allow for group communication between people with shared interests. What’s discussed can vary from group to group, but generally the space allows for people to organize, discuss issues, post photos and share relevant content.
Facebook Pages vs. Groups
To be clear Facebook Pages are not the same thing as Facebook Groups. Both have different focuses and intent. Pages provide more promotionally driven content, while groups serve as a sort of “fan page.”
Advantages of Using Facebook Groups for Your Business.
Facebook Groups allow your business to create meaningful relationships with your customers. If your customers want an easy way to contact you, they’re most likely going to go to your Facebook Group. Your business will still have authority with people you may want as loyal customers.
Groups allow your business to increase brand awareness as well as your reach on Facebook. You can interact with your customers who can also interact with each other. Your Facebook group is now a community of like-minded people with similar interests.
You can utilize this tool to accomplish many things:
- Develop stronger customer relationships
- New product/services announcements
- Sharing of tips and tricks in your field
- Referral program announcements and contests
- Brand loyalty and awareness
- Inspiration for blog topics
- Qualitative research for new product/services ideas
- Product testing
- Grassroots marketing
The Benefits of Facebook Groups Versus Other Marketing Tools.
Mailed campaigns can be expensive and let’s face it, people aren’t corresponding via snail mail all that often anymore. Mailed marketing pieces are also one dimensional, while Facebook Groups promote collaboration, discussion and generate immediate excitement.
In some businesses you may still want to mail marketing collateral to current/potential customers, but starting a Facebook Group could prove to yield greater results with a little investment of time. You may learn that you don’t need to mail as often if you are effectively utilizing Facebook Groups. Saving money feels good — Making money feels better!
Another popular communication method is email. If you’re like us, you don’t like being inundated with emails day after day. While email marketing is quick and cost effective, it has its limitations.
Emails sent frequently can irritate even the most passive of consumers. In addition, you have to maintain, update and secure your mailing list routinely. Facebook Groups is something your customer or potential customers choose to be involved in. It’s just as cost-efficient, but with less legal hassle since you don’t have to worry about the CAN-SPAM Act.
Actionable Tips to Grow Your Business Using Facebook Groups.
So now that you’ve created your Facebook Group, you’re going to want to follow these tips to help grow your community.
Tip #1: Decide if you want to make your group secret, public or closed.
- Public: The most transparent and allows anyone on Facebook to see your group
- Secret: Invitation only and only members can see posts.
- Closed: Any Facebook member can find your group, but they have to request access and be accepted to see posts.
Tip #2: Post in your group on a daily basis. This will help keep your group members interested in your business. This is also a chance for your customers to learn more about your company. Monitoring a Facebook Group can be quite the workload. If you need help, consider taking on a marketing intern as a moderator to help you with posts and questions. A moderator can answer questions and complaints in a timely matter. Your group members will appreciate a quicker response.
Tip #3: Provide business updates in the Facebook Group, but don’t make it all about you, all of the time. If you want to be influential, commit to an 80/20 split in content. 20% of the time you should be sharing relevant industry news and trends. As someone just starting a group, you should focus on building a strong community first, not selling your product or service.
Tip #4: Finally, you should come up with standard rules and guidelines for the group. You don’t want any fights or complications within your group. Enforcing rules will help you avoid this problem. Many groups pin the rules to the top of page for easy access and viewing.
The Takeaway – Growing Your Business with Facebook Groups.
Sit down and determine if this tool will contribute to executing your strategic plan. Does it align well with your business goals and values? Do you have the time and/or man power to manage the social platform?
Obviously this should not be the only form of communication between you and your current/potential customers. For most, it’s simply a supplemental method and means of engaging with consumers. Consider a multi-pronged approach when evaluating your marketing plan. Incorporate a Facebook Group with your email campaigns, blogs, other social accounts and mailed collateral.
It’s time to develop a plan and build a community!