Facebook's declining reach is a challenge for companies acquiring customers through social media. Is creating a Facebook group an effective solution to this problem?
Facebook's algorithm changes are a real nightmare for social media managers. When a standard company fanpage does not give satisfactory results, it is worthwhile to take an interest in alternative solutions.
Groups on FB - run with an emphasis on activating participants - still have growing potential worth exploring. We assume that you already know how to create a Facebook group - in this post we will focus on the advantages of such a solution.
How can a Facebook group help your business?
- Builds a tight-knit community around a topic, brand, industry issue or niche,
- Helps target customers with specific interests,
- allows you to create a simple, friendly communication channel,
- provides information about the problems and challenges faced by potential customers,
- Builds brand loyalty and trust,
- provides great opportunities for service providers creating a personal brand,
- Illuminates opportunities for scaling the business, e.g., changing the company's offerings to meet new customer needs.
One of the prerequisites for a group's effectiveness is a clearly defined purpose for its formation. For some companies, opening a group associated with a fanpage will simply be an additional channel of communication that "warms" the brand image, so to speak.
You can create a group as part of your expert branding strategy. If you have knowledge, materials and valuable content - and know how to communicate it - the group is an ideal "virtual audience." You can act as a mentor or create a team to skillfully advise users. If you manage to gather a community interested in your specialty, you have - in the long run - an open field for selling services.
Building long-term relationships also applies to customers who have already bought the service/product. A dedicated closed group can be the place to access tips, additional materials and various bonuses. Such "after-sales care" will certainly have a positive impact on branding.
- Information exchange - industry announcements, local announcements,
- industry assignments and job listings,
- Challenges - learning together, training, running a diet, product reviews,
- entertainment - memes, industry trivia, journalistic slip-ups, etc.
- Business idea - starting your first business, incubators,
- Support for people selling online - advice on auctions, online stores, sales platforms,
- Remote and home office work,
What industries can a group on FB benefit the most?
- specialized services with a wide range of training courses,
- advisory, consulting services,
- Service providers supporting the promotion of companies online - SEO/SEM agencies, advertising agencies, marketing agencies; graphic designers, web developers, positioners, copywriters,
- Companies supporting the e-commerce industry - store design, sales site management,
- socially engaged brands offering services/products, e.g., for parents, environmental fans, wellness enthusiasts, etc.
Access, or initial user segmentation
You know the purpose of forming the group and you have the resources (time and content), it's time to answer the question: who do you want to invite to the group? Facebook allows you to create open and closed groups - for the latter, it's worth adjusting your privacy settings.
- The advantages of an open group - easy access, rapid growth in the number of participants, full visibility can affect the group's greater popularity. A good option for companies hoping for wide reach and maximum number of users.
- Advantages of a group with limited access - better segmentation of users, easier management of the group. With the privacy settings refined, users feel more at ease (more willingness to speak up) than in open groups. A good choice for brands targeting a group with specific interests and companies that plan to sell services down the road.
Managing a group on FB - key challenges
Time - managing a group to bring potential benefits to the company and users will be time-consuming, especially at the beginning of the business. A simple solution may be to assign admin/moderator functions to colleagues or trusted group members.
Moderation - an efficient moderator activates the group, but also protects against communication chaos - spam, conflict situations, a flood of announcements and content unrelated to the group's topic. Mandatory support will be clear rules of the group on FB.
Publication schedule - the game group is starting to grow it is worth scheduling posts calling for specific activities. You can think about challenges, referrals; advice days, audits or self-promotion, among other things. The "substantive contribution" should be especially taken care of by companies that care about building a position of expertise.
Crisis management - contrary to popular belief, social media crises don't just erupt on Fridays. As a group owner/moderator, you must maintain a high level of communication at all times. The number of minor, unresolved conflicts - overlooked by the moderator - can be a flashpoint, after which users begin to leave the group.
Group on FB or fanpage? Or maybe both? Before you choose, consider the needs of your brand, your long-term development plan and goal (e.g., selling an e-book or course), your budget, and the time you can devote to moderating the community.