Cultivating a Community that Will Help You Reach Your Business Goals with a Facebook Group for Your Business
Facebook Groups have really grown in popularity among users and are a great place to connect with like-minded individuals. They have also become very important for businesses on Facebook, which aim to cultivate a community where people can connect and support one another as well as learn something. Beyond that, Facebook Groups for your business can help cultivate a warm audience for your product or service. This warm audience can also serve as a sounding board or a focus group that can provide insights on the content of your final product or even your pricing.
In this article, we’ll delve into how you create a business Facebook Group and how to grow and develop an engaging community based around your company.
Before You Get Started
Setting up your Group properly will affect your success on reaching your business goals so be sure to think about the purpose of your group before getting started. What do you want members to get out of your Group? What goals do you have and what do you consider a success? Ask yourself these questions as you set up your group.
Also consider doing some research by participating in other groups. Make note of what you like and dislike so you know what to model and what to avoid. And when we say participate, we mean you need to engage and interact with other group members—don’t just be a fly on the wall. Consider even going into groups outside your industry so you can experience what it is like to be a non-expert participant.
Setting Up a Facebook Group
If you haven’t started a group yet, this is your quick primer. If you already have created a group, feel free to review this section or skip to the next section on running a successful Facebook Group.
First, it is important to note that there are differences between Facebook Pages and Facebook Groups. A Page allows you to comment and like as your Facebook page, boost your posts with Ads and add apps, services and call to action buttons for people to interact with your business. Facebook Groups allow you to post documents, create polls and even buy and sell in your group. It also allows group members to chat with one another and make posts in the Group. You can also link your Group to your Page and choose from several privacy settings for the Group.
Create Your Group
Get started by clicking on “Groups” in the navigation bar on the left in Facebook. Then click on “Create Group.” You can always link your Group to your Page later, but if you want to start out by creating a linked Group, go to your Page and click on the three-dot button under your cover photo and select “Create Group.”
In the form that pops up, fill out your Group’s name (you have the ability to change this later). You can also add the names of friends or emails you want to invite to your Group (this can also be done later). Select the privacy setting of your Facebook Group and hit “Create.”
Select your privacy settings to help determine how easy it will be for the general public to find your group and view content as a non-member.
Next you will be prompted to choose an icon for your Group. If you don’t have a preference, Facebook will default to the generic group icon. Your Facebook Group is all set up but there are still some things you can do to make it attractive to join and easier to discover.
Fill In Additional Information
Go to your Group settings (click on the three dot button below your cover photo and hit “Edit Group Settings”) to fill in some more information about your group. Just like with a Page, you want to add a cover photo. Make sure you take into account cropping that happens on mobile devices, especially if you include text in your cover photo.
Next, select a group type and write a description of the group to help people understand what your group is all about. Make your description both informative and intriguing so your target audience feels like they are missing out on something by not joining. The description is also a common place for admins to share information they want the entire group, especially new members, to know such as any group rules. You can also add up to five tags to help people find your group when they do a search.
A few other things you will want to do are to set the location of your group (you can even add multiple locations if you like) and customize the URL to make it easy to remember and share. Finally, you can add or invite friends to promote your Group. There is a field on the right that allows you to enter a name or email address. You can even send a personalized note on the invite! Or, you can share your group in a post on other parts of Facebook—your own timeline, in Messenger or on a Page.
How to Link Your Group To Your Business’ Facebook Page
If you didn’t start out by creating a Group linked to your Page, you can do this now. And there are good reasons to link your Group to your Facebook page. Some of these fantastic advantages include making the group easier to find by your Page fans and visitors. Plus, you can like and comment as your Page in your Facebook Group.
From your business’ Page, click on “Groups” in the navigation bar on the left. If you don’t see that button, don’t worry! Just go into your Page settings and click on “Tabs and Templates” on the left then click on “Add Tab.” Then click the “Add Tab” button next to Groups.
When you click on “Groups” you will then be prompted to link a group to your page. Click on “Get Started” and a pop-up will appear that allows you to select the Group or Groups you want to link to your page. Hit “Link” and then “Link Group.” You’re done and now ready to start cultivating an engaging community around your business.
Tips for Running a Successful Facebook Group
People crave community, which is one of the reasons why Facebook groups make an excellent platform for your business to build a community and grow relationships. Your group will offer you the opportunity to become a discussion leader, connector, facilitator and resource, allowing you to reach your business goals. In order to do this, you can’t just sit back on your heels. Rather, you will need to put in a concerted effort to reach your goals. If you do it right, your group will become a professional network, trusted colleagues or customers. Groups can be tailored to your specific business goals but these general tips will help you run a successful Facebook Group.
Recruit the Right People
In order to grow your group, you’ll need to recruit people. In order to have a successful group, you want to recruit the right ones. You want people who are interested in what your group has to offer and will engage. Rather than just adding people, invite them or share your Group on your Page or other social media accounts to spread the word. You could also require joining the group to participate in a challenge, contest or giveaway.
Set Clear Guidelines & Provide Leadership
Groups should be a place of community and ideas so it is important to not let anything get out of control or heated. Set clear community guidelines that establish a positive environment and discourage promotions or spamming. Be specific on what you consider unacceptable behaviour and what the consequences are from violating Group guidelines. Post these guidelines in your group description and/or in a post that you pin to the top of the discussion section. You can even upload these as a document or a link to your website.
Managing your Group will require strong leadership on your part. Make sure you have the time and resources to dedicate the necessary leadership within the Group. Part of this leadership will be starting up conversations or getting the conversation headed in the right direction. It may also be smoothing over conflicts or taking action against those who violate Group policy. Above all, you must be willing to not only participate and recruit new members, but to also regularly moderate your Group.
Be A Conversation Starter
To create a friendly environment, welcome new members to the group by tagging them in a post. You can also consider asking them to introduce themselves. Make sure to engage on posts both as your business Page and as yourself. Comment and like or even tag members you know and ask them to weigh in with their input or expertise. When the conversation starts to lag, comment to get it going again.
Lastly, don’t be afraid to promote your business! You have expertise or a service or product that people are obviously interested in. Provide that value to your Group members. Announce webinars, sales, events, promotions, new products, blog posts or whatever it is you have to offer that will help you reach your business goals.