As you probably already know, Facebook is constantly changing their algorithms and the way they function in order to make the experience better for their users. Sometimes, these changes hurt businesses who are trying to grow using Facebook, especially when they’re trying to grow their following without paying for advertising.
One change that Facebook made within the past year was increasing the reach in groups. This was huge for those properly utilizing groups, but for those who don’t use groups the right way–or at all–it didn’t mean much. The problem with that is that they can have HUGE benefits for business owners or those looking to spread a message.
So, how can you utilize Facebook Groups to grow YOUR business? There are some simple dos and don’ts. Follow these, and you’ll be well on your way to having your brand become more well-known in the audiences where it matters.
- Determine your target audience, and join groups with those people in it. Your group may be a local community group if you’re a restaurant owner, or maybe you sell mostly to moms, so you join a local moms group or two. Nothing of interest, or is there an area that’s missing content YOU can provide that nobody else is providing? Create your own group, and start inviting people! Public groups are typically best for businesses, but if you have a business related to more sensitive topics (weight, health, finances, etc.), you might want to give your members some privacy and close it. You’ll get more interaction this way from people looking for genuine answers without their friends and family seeing them.
- Provide value. Whether you create your own group or post on other groups’ pages, make sure you’re only posting valuable content. You can educate about things that might be pertinent, answer people’s questions if they’re asking about something you know about, and keep your own group to whatever topic you have chosen. If you created a group about losing 10 pounds in 30 days, make sure to keep on-topic and only provide information that will help people do that.
- Discuss current events, and ask questions. Become known by actually having conversations with people (relationships are the most important thing in growing your business). Become a conversation starter in all your groups so people know who you are, and also respond to other people’s threads. Some groups are more active than others. If yours isn’t really active, make it that way. Get people interested.
- Follow the group’s rules. Whether you created your own group or have hopped into others, make sure you follow the rules. Many pages prohibit sales posts, so don’t be the person always getting yelled at for trying to sell your business on the page.
- Promote events. Promote your own company’s events, events your company is attending, or even local networking events that people may be interested in. They’ll see you’re in business, but they’ll ALSO see that you want to share with others to help them be successful too. We can’t support each other enough, so hop on the bandwagon of helping other business owners succeed too.
- Be yourself. Yes, you’re looking to support your business, but if people in the groups like YOU and the information you’re providing, you’re one step closer to building relationships that can potentially give you referrals. Be helpful, be kind, and keep your business’s brand in mind when you’re conversing with people.
- Don’t get into heated discussions that lead you to yell at people, call names, or generally hurt your reputation. At all. You’re allowed to disagree with people, but do it in a polite, educational way.
- Don’t sell your product or service. Sounds counter-intuitive, right? Facebook groups are not about constantly showing people what your product is, how much it costs, or where they can buy it. Sure, you can talk about it throughout your educational posts or answering questions (if your product can help someone asking a question, don’t be afraid to tell them), but generally people scroll past sales posts (and you just don’t want to be THAT person). You WANT people to know what you do, of course, but you want to do it in a valuable way. Think of content marketing and how providing value for people brings people into your business because you’re building trust. Do that here too.
- Don’t create a group specifically to sell a product (and don’t title it that way, either). It might seem awesome to have all your products in one place and to be constantly talking about their benefits, but assume that people don’t want to always be sold to. Instead, think of how you and your product or service can provide value, and create a group surrounding that. Put your website link in the About section of the group so people can see what you do, and then start helping people. For example, if you sell skincare products, create a group full of beauty tips or that teaches how to keep your skin healthy.
- Don’t add people to your group without their permission. Absolutely do NOT do this. You know when you log into your Facebook, and you have 40-something group invites? You don’t even know half of the people? Yeah, don’t be one of the people in there. Even worse than just spontaneously sending “join requests” is people who just add everyone on their friends list to their group without even requiring acceptance. That person just starts getting notifications from a group he/she didn’t even want to be in in the first place. Instead, share a link to your page, or tell people about it, and let them join it on their own.
Use Facebook groups to your advantage. Be present, be valuable, and just represent yourself and your brand. Share your blog if that week’s topic is relevant to the group, and just generally practice good business.
Need more help with social media marketing (in groups and on your own pages)? Contact Pro-Assist, LLC, and we’ll help you utilize social media the best way you can, boosting your rankings on search engines and gaining the interest of the public as we do it.
Are you a Northeast Ohio Entrepreneur looking for a way to network and build relationships with other entrepreneurs using Facebook groups? Here are my suggestions of awesome Facebook groups to join TODAY:
- NEO Business Networkers (created by Pro-Assist)
- Medina County Entrepreneurs
- NEO Entrepreneurs
- Southwest Business Group
Have you created your own group? Comment below or on our Facebook page, so we can check that out too!