If you have used Facebook lately in the hopes of growing your business, you have probably noticed that it is very ‘pay-to-play’.
Meaning your feed is becoming more and more flooded with sponsored posts, ridiculous viral videos, and an unending supply of wedding and baby photos from people you went to high school with.
Honestly, some days I wonder to myself ‘what am I even doing on Facebook right now?’
One aspect of Facebook that I find value in though, are Facebook groups with a great community of like-minded people.
Chances are, if you are on Facebook, that you have joined at least one Facebook group. Who knows, you may have even created your very own Facebook group somewhere along the way.
For a business, Facebook groups have the potential to create huge value for your brand by allowing you to keep your customers engaged while also having control over the direction of the conversation.
The tough part is growing your Facebook group. It will take time and a well-rounded, strategic approach that takes foresight and constant attention.
For your reading and learning pleasure, the marketing experts at GenM have put together this article for you to follow, so you can grow your Facebook group and ignite your followers into becoming a part of the conversation.
All you have to do is follow the 9 pieces of advice listed below:
#1. Think high level
If you’re going to start putting time and effort into a Facebook group — you have to be sure you’re in it for the right reasons.
It’s helpful to define a clear goal for your group.
Think about the following:
- Do you want to use your goal to promote a product or service?
- Do you want to use your group to help answer questions your followers have?
- If so, what questions?
- Do you want to gain feedback to improve your product?
Without a clear goal, defining a direction with which to grow your group will be impossible.
Once you’ve decided on a goal for the group, you need to think about how you will manage your community.
A few questions you’ll need to answer are:
- Is the group going to be public or private?
- Do you want to allow people to post at-will or do you want to approve all posts before they are added to the group?
Each decision has its pros and cons and it’s important to weigh all the options and nail down a high-level strategy before moving forward with growing and engaging your followers.
#2. Use owned channels
Now that you know the direction of your group, it’s time to start the hard part: actually growing it. A good place to start is with your owned channels.
If your company has a Facebook page, make a post linking your new group and pin it to the top of your company page. Invite the people who like your company page to join your new Facebook group. Create some Facebook stories about your group and post them.
If you have an Instagram account, do the same thing. YouTube? LinkedIn? Twitter? Etc.
The more you use your owned channels in getting people to join your group, the more impressions you will be able to get on your Facebook group.
If you defined your goals for your group clearly and it aligns with your product or service, your current followers should be more than happy to join in on the conversation. And that’s what you want.
#3. Link up with influencers
I know you know what an Influencer is. These days, Influencers are celebrities. They have power, they have a following!
So, obviously, if you can get an influencer to join your group, it can serve as great social proof for your page. Try finding a few influencers who are in the same space that your group is trying to serve and send them an invite and a quick message of introduction.
If they join your group, welcome them in a post. If you’re having trouble getting an influencer to join your group organically, you can always spend a few dollars to get them to shout out your group and/or make a few posts. (Remember what I said about ‘pay-to-play’?)
If you’re having trouble finding influencers that are interested or that you can afford— check out this blog post on micro-influencers. It should help you with this part of creating a Facebook group.
#4. Join other Facebook groups
If you want to grow your very own Facebook group, you should have an idea about other Facebook groups that are doing well.
If you see another group focused on serving the same audience as yours, don’t look at it as competition, look at it as an opportunity. Join these groups and get in on the conversation. This can be another great way to get people to notice your group.
Because the members of that group are already your target audience, there’s a good chance they will join yours. When mentioning your group, make sure you show what sets yours apart from the one they are currently in. Show them the added value they would get by joining your group in addition to the one they’re currently in.
If there is a rule against it, there might be dedicated threads where you will be free to promote your group. You can even try messaging the admins of the group directly to ask their permission.
If you go this route, be sure to focus on the differences between your groups — you don’t want them to think you are poaching members (even if you are).
Posting without following the rules could mean you get banned, which also does not look good on you, or your new group.
#5. Embrace paid advertising
Since we’re talking ad spend, paid social posts are another great way to get the word out there for your ads. If you can put a little money behind growing your group it can serve as a great way to get the ball rolling when you’re just starting out.
Be careful though, paid social ads are a great way to spend a lot of money really fast and if you don’t know what you’re doing, it can be all for nothing. Buyer beware!
#6. Don’t neglect your followers
Growing a Facebook group isn’t all about getting impressions on your group. It’s important to deliver value to your current members.
If your members feel like they are being neglected, and they aren’t seeing value from the group, then they might just leave your group, not participate in conversations, or not have the posts in your group show up in their newsfeed due to lack of engagement.
So, make sure you’re posting content and engaging with your followers. Deliver content that starts conversations and gets people liking and commenting on your posts.
If you have post approvals turned on, make sure you are checking those to let UGC (User Generated Content) through to your group.
Don’t get lost focusing only on the size of your group. If you work on keeping your members engaged, there is a good chance your group will grow through word of mouth alone.
#7. Deliver quality content
Even though you want to be engaging your followers as much as possible, it is important to make sure that the quality of your content isn’t suffering as a result. You need every post to be of high quality.
If you want your followers to be engaging with your group and stick around for the long run, it is critical that they are finding value in it.
Develop a content calendar so you know what you are posting and when you are posting it.
You can even schedule it ahead of time but if you go this route, make sure you are still actively moderating the group and participating in the discussion.
#8. Become obsessed with the numbers
If you are not familiar with the built-in analytic tools that Facebook offers, you need to check it out right now. Facebook offers powerful group insights that allow you to see things like:
- top performing posts,
- group growth over time,
- active members over time and more.
The best way to know if you are heading toward your goal is to check these numbers frequently and work at improving them.
Take a look at your top performing posts and figure out what made them so successful. In the future, mimic what you did and see what happens to newer posts.
Take a look at when you had the biggest spike in new members and copy the strategy you were using at that time. If you posted something at a certain time of the day, on a certain day of the week, post at that time again the next week. Historical data is the best predictor of success so use it to your advantage.
#9. Hold a contest
Starting to get a lot of new members but find that they aren’t engaging with your content?
You can always try holding a contest. Make it a contest where someone is randomly selected from the people who like and comment on your post, or incentive engagement by awarding a prize to the ‘best’ comment each month or the most active users each month.
You will definitely see a boost in engagement through these posts. People love contests and winning!
Chances are that you probably have a product or service you can give away, but if you would rather offer something else, an Amazon gift card will always get people interested in participating.
I hope you have learned something along the way here. Facebook groups can be a powerful tool for you to increase engagement between your customers and your brand. They can also serve as a great way to get the word out there about your brand to specific audiences.
If you have a Facebook group and want to start growing it, it’s not as simple as waiting around for people to discover it organically. Not in 2019, anyway.
It requires a strategic, disciplined approach that involves getting it in front of people through owned, paid, and earned media, as well as dedication to creating consistent, quality content.
If you don’t have the time to dedicate towards content creation for your Facebook group, consider bringing on a digital marketing apprentice to run your group and save you up to 40 hours a month!