02 Sep Building Community with Facebook Groups
Since Facebook changed its algorithm in 2018 many brands have seen a decrease in engagements. One way to counteract this shift is to engage your customers with a group!
Facebook groups can be a powerful marketing tool.
The community created within your group will help you to attract new customers and engage with current customers. In today’s post, we are going to cover some group creation basics and best practices. Our focus will be on how to create a group as a page/business, but you can create a group as a person as well. If you need help with that please reach out to our digital team.
First and foremost, set some goals for your group!
Facebook groups can be used for a wide array of purposes, but some common areas for businesses include networking, building relationships, and creating brand ambassadors, or as a customer support hub. Before you start your group, you need to decide what your goal or goals will be so you can create content that will resonate with your audience.
Sprout Social has a group that I am a part of and find huge value in. The Agency Exchange by Sprout Social is a community of agency professionals collaborating on all things digital marketing and social media. Speaking as someone who uses Sprout Social, the network of other users has become an invaluable resource. Their goal with the group is clear and it helps keep everyone on the right topics: We’re here to talk about #AgencyLife, what’s new and next for our agencies, to connect with smart people in the industry, and to share inside tips for how to win for agencies and for our clients. A problem I’ve had with other marketing groups is that they are full of people looking for work. I go blind to the other posts because so many of them are related to people seeking new job opportunities.
The group is frequently moderated by Sprout employees and they do a great job at keeping people engaged. New users are regularly welcomed to the group, there are weekly and monthly prompts to keep the conversation engaging and there are occasionally even polls to get user feedback on new Sprout features. Sometimes if I’m having an issue with Facebook, a member of this group is able to answer me before Facebook support! Sprout Social has truly built a community that I am proud to be a part of.
Now that you’ve decided on the goals of your group, let’s get into some of the finer details!
First, you need a name for your group. You are limited to 75 characters for your group name. The goals of your group can help you decide on a name. We suggest keeping it short, sweet, and to the point. If your main goal is customer support you could name your group, “Brand Name Customer Support” or “Brand Name Customers Group”.
Next, you select the privacy settings for the group.
Do you want a private group or a public group? A private group cannot be made public after the fact so if you start as a private group there’s no going back. Users tend to feel that private groups have more value because there is an approval process before people can join. However, even with a private group, people can click the groups tab on Facebook and see your group if you select visible from the settings section, they just can’t see the posts in it unless you admit them. If you want your group to be uber-exclusive and by invite-only, you’ll need to make it a private, hidden group.
One item of note that can throw people off during this initial setup is age restrictions on your page. Does your page have age restrictions (18+, 21+, etc)? If so, you’ll need to remove them before you can create a group. If you can’t remove them for legal purposes, you’ll have to set up the group as yourself and then grant access to your page.
The last step of the initial setup process is to involve current page fans to join the group!
This is a great time to invite people who you plan to make moderators as well. When you are using a group as your page you can only invite people to join it who like your page already. You can however link to it via email or on your website to encourage people to join.
When you’re ready to add a group cover photo the size suggested by Facebook is 1640×856 or an aspect ratio of 1.91:1. This size is ideal for cropping across devices. We’d also suggest putting as little copy as possible on the image to avoid it being cut off!
Always remember, groups are meant to create a sense of community and in today’s virtual world, community is more important than ever!
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gone to the Instant Pot Community group over the last year to look for inspiration for dinner or ask a question about a function. With so many people without water or staying in hotels due to Hurricane Ida right now, threads have started popping up with tips for using your Instant Pot for things other than cooking and how to cook with it safely in unsure situations. This is another group that does a great job at inspiring and keeping users engaged with their content and they were able to quickly pivot to keep their content relevant!
And now you’re ready to start posting to your new group!
We’ll leave you with just one last tip. We would recommend posting a few times before you start actively inviting people to your group so there is something for them to engage with when they join. Need help with your group strategy or content? Reach out to our digital team to schedule a free consultation!