Facebook groups are a great way to cut through the newsfeed clutter and engage in a meaningful way with your fans on Facebook.
Benefits of having a Facebook group include:
- Any user can start a Facebook group on any topic. This makes groups a great resource not only for marketing but for internal business communications as well as for individuals, interest groups and service organizations (faith-based or otherwise).
- The flexibility of groups means you can use them to reach large audiences or as a communication vehicle for a small group, team or committee. You can make them public or private, open or closed—it all depends on what you want to accomplish.
- Your group members will create a synergy of their own. They’ll network and build relationships with one another that increase their loyalty to you.
- Groups can have a long-term or limited life span. You can set them up to be an ongoing community or to exist for a specific time period.
- Groups don’t cost anything to create and are fairly easy to set up. However, they do require time and effort to maintain.
Setting Up Your Facebook Group
Before you set up your group, decide what you want to do with it. What is its purpose? Do you want a large, public group? A private group of your customers? Or a secret group consisting of a team or committee? Who can join and participate? Who can see the content?
Facebook will walk you through the simple process of setting up your group, but you need to know what you want before you start. You might be able to make changes after the group is set up, but not in all cases, so do it as close to right as you can at the start. Take a look at the information Facebook provides and set up your group according to your goals.
If your goal is to build a large group, promote it as you would anything else: cross-promote in other groups, run ads, ask your members to share it, tell your email subscribers and so on.
Managing Your Facebook Group
These tips will help you manage your group:
- Set guidelines for the group so there are clear expectations upfront. For example, are there restrictions on what members can discuss? Do you have policies on promotions and spam? Make your guidelines available in a pinned post or in the group description so that information is easy to find.
- Consistently enforce your policies. Monitor the group and take appropriate action (such as deleting posts that violate your guidelines or removing members when necessary) promptly.
- Consider whether to moderate comments. It’s better to simply trust your members to post appropriately and remove anything that violates your guidelines. However, if you decide to hold all comments until you approve them, do that regularly. Don’t let someone make a comment that doesn’t appear until days later.
- Create a cover image that is reflective of the group. Periodically change the cover image so it doesn’t get stale.
- Be active in your group. If you’re not participating, why should anyone else?
- Let people who contribute know that you appreciate the value they bring to the group. You don’t have to “like” every post everyone makes, but make comments and posts that will let your active members know you appreciate them.
- Take advantage of group features such as document sharing. When your members share valuable information, ask them to put it into a document that can be shared in the group using the “add file” function. It will be easier for everyone to find later. This feature is also useful for working groups that need to exchange files.
- Encourage new members to introduce themselves. If your group is small, you can introduce and welcome new members into the group individually.
- Have a system for approving new members. Be sure you’re not allowing spammers into your group. Before you approve new people, take a look at their Facebook profile and see what sort of activity they have. How long have they been on Facebook? If they’re new, that’s a red flag. What does their profile picture and cover image look like? What other groups are they in? If they don’t look legitimate, don’t let them join your group and risk offending your existing members.
We recently launched a Facebook group built around our Conversations series. Conversations is a series of affordable ebooks based on in-depth conversations with leading subject matter experts. The Conversations Facebook group is a way we can keep the discussions going and attract new readers.
Go here to join the group.
Are you using Facebook groups? What are your best tips for getting the maximum benefit from a Facebook group as either a member or owner? Share by leaving a comment below.