How to create a community of potential customers using Facebook Groups
Facebook has been explicitly spelling out for us that they want the platform to become community-based for their users.
In short, users should expect to see fewer posts from business pages and more content from family and friends, or groups. In this blog, we’re interested in the “groups” bit.
If you’re not up to date with Facebook’s algorithm changes that were announced early this year, hear it from them here.
Social Media Examiner’s Mike Stelzner released a breaking news video around the time of the algorithm changes. While the video was packed with useful information, it created a little bit of hysteria amongst marketers, which reflected on social media in panic. “OMG IT’S FACEBOOKMAGEDDON”
The true art of social media marketing lies in the ability to adapt to such changes, making them work to both our advantage and our audience’s advantage. Facebook Groups are one way to do this.
The key word is community. Making people feel like part of a valued, exclusive community who receive useful tips and hints (for free) should be a consideration for all small businesses.
What are groups?
One thing that I’ve noticed with smaller, less social-media-savvy businesses is that they’re not sure how to distinguish a group from a page.
They’re two very different things, however they can and (in this case) should be linked.
While a page is an official account for a business, a group is a community of people that are all linked by one common interest.
A group can be open, closed or secret, which determine how people can join and find said group.
- Open: Anybody and everybody can search for the group and join without requesting access.
- Closed: Anybody can search for the group; however, they can’t see any discussion or contribute, until an admin has approved their join request.
- Secret: Admins must invite individuals to join the group; it cannot be found.
In this case, only closed or secret groups should be considered (in my opinion). Going back to the exclusivity point – you don’t want every Tom, Dick and Harry joining and posting irrelevant content!
As a small business, you should already have a Facebook page. You can create a Facebook group from your business’ page, which will automatically link the two and allow you to post on behalf of your page.
You can choose to have the Facebook group visible on your page, so anybody who visits your business page can request to become part of your exclusive group.
The power of the admins
Admins are individuals who help to run the group.
They hold a lot of power, so when you’re setting up your Facebook group which is linked to your business, make sure to pick some responsible, active admins who are going to do a good job.
Some of their superpowers include:
- Managing member requests
- Removing any inappropriate posts
- Changing any imagery
- Changing the privacy of the group
- Removing/blocking members
- Pinning posts
The best groups are monitored by the admins and owner who post content, while the members (potential customers) contribute and begin discussions, too!
Potential customers? What?
Or indeed existing customers! What is key to reiterate is that the best groups are contributed to by its members. As the group’s owner and one of its administrators, you don’t want to be the only one posting and engaging.
If you feel like existing customers could add value here, go ahead and add them in. You could even make one or two of your most trusted, regular customers admins if you see fit; making them feel exceptionally valued.
The focus on “potential” customers is that this feature allows you to build trust with individuals who could potentially invest in the future; you want to add credibility to your brand or service.
A great way to explain this would, of course, be with an example. So, I’ll explain this as though I’m a personal trainer looking to market myself on Facebook.
Before the FACEBOOKMAGEDDON, I might have found it useful posting free, instructional videos or images for my followers to watch and see, displaying the fact that I’m a fitness genius (which I obviously am anyway).
Post algorithm update, this content receives less reach and therefore poorer results.
The solution: creating a Facebook group called “James’ Home Workout Tips” for example, adding anybody I came into contact with who showed the slightest interest in wanting to get fit.
Members will receive push notifications when somebody posts in the group; they will be frequently reminded about your brand/service.
This creates a community of people all linked by the common interest of wanting to get fit, hopefully sharing their own exercises and progress (VERY IMPORTANT), receiving regular, useful content for free.
Who are they going to call when they decide to join a gym and hire a personal trainer?
Your next steps
So, no matter what industry you work in or the service you provide, you will at some point (hopefully) be meeting people who could potentially invest in you.
Create a Facebook group linked to your business page, adding those people and providing them with regular, free, helpful content so that they trust you and your expertise.
Some great ideas for content if you’re struggling:
- Facts of the day
- Quick tips
When they feel ready to spend their money, your brand will be their first port of call.