Facebook, the social media giant has been under a lot of bad press lately. But that hasn’t stopped marketers from flocking to Facebook to sell or advertise their products and services. In the past, I have talked about how brands can use Facebook for marketing. However, in this post, I will be discussing the latest updates that Facebook has shared with us regarding Facebook groups and communities and how marketers can use it to enhance their brand and marketing reach.
Facebook has shifted its focus to groups of late. This is understandable considering Facebook Groups see more than a billion active users each month. It has noticed that there are conversations happening within groups. A large number of people often interact with public content in groups and Facebook has decided to leverage this. Facebook has also updated its algorithm in line to encourage conversations within groups.
In view of this, Adam Mosseri said that if companies want to maximize their marketing results and boost brand exposure, then they need to focus on building active communities on Facebook. In this regard, it has released a range of new tools and features. However, let’s look at the ones that have been announced.
Facebook Group Insights
If you have already used Facebook for marketing, you probably have a good idea of what Facebook Insights is. A similar feature has been announced for groups. This allows group admins to know and understand how their Facebook group is doing, what kind of traffic and engagement it is getting from its members, and whether or not individual members are active.
This is perhaps the biggest item on their list of updates. This is also a direct response to the feedback that Facebook has been receiving from Group admins on how they can monitor and assess their group performance and engagement.
Groups will now become more relevant for businesses, considering the recent changes that enable Pages to be linked directly to Groups or post in Groups as Pages. Facebook Group Insights will help with reporting to make sure marketing efforts are aligned with the KPIs and Group actions. This will also help brands understand where they are lagging and identify concerns of their target audience.
Filter Membership Request
One of the most time-consuming tasks for a Group’s admin is to accept requests for membership to the Group. Facebook now makes this easy for admins. It has added a new feature that allows admins to sort through and filter membership requests based on categories such as demographics. They can accept or decline multiple requests based on the filters.
Though this can make life easy for the admins, there is quite a chance of declining requests on wrong grounds. This may affect community size. However, one of the other filters that Facebook has included in this feature is the ‘Answered Question’. Admins can accept membership request based on the answers that users give to a questionnaire. This increases the quality of community membership.
Clean up Stale Members
On a similar note, Facebook is now providing admins with the option to clean up content or remove users from the group in a single step. This is an extremely useful feature for admins to keep the Groups clean from spammers. This is a common crisis that occurs when managing Groups.
Users join Groups and share promotional content instead of engaging in healthy conversations. Admins can remove users who spam or do not contribute to discussions that the group is intended for.
Facebook is also allowing admins to schedule posts in advance. The aim is to bring features similar to that of Facebook Pages. Admins were using Facebook Management tools to accomplish this previously. Though these tools have other benefits, it can now be done within the Facebook group itself. With the help of data from insights, admins can now schedule posts at optimal times. This will help in reaching their target audience and community members better. It is also easier for them to chart out announcement plans and share updates on time without having to be logged in all the time.
Group to Group Linking
Facebook is all about building trust and personal conversations. Trust in a group comes with proper recommendations. Just like Google ranks pages higher if they have been referred by high DA (Domain Authority) pages, Facebook has brought that in their groups.
You can now link similar groups with your existing Facebook group. This way Facebook makes you build a community around your group. Users can access these suggestions right at the top. You’ll see these in the ‘Recommended by the admins’ sections.
Now that we have seen Facebook’s recent updates for groups, let’s understand how to leverage them.
Marketing Tips for Facebook Groups
Use Video Content
Conversations are all about being authentic. Facebook thrives on conversations among its users. Many of these conversations are happening in Facebook groups. To get more members to talk in the group, use videos.
These videos should help you inspire great conversations. Members tend to ask questions in the group. Answer them using videos. There are video recording apps that you can use to record your answers. Videos build engagement and help you look authentic. Your members will get inspired to ask more questions and get personal responses.
Kick up conversations in the group. Mention something interesting and ask members to participate. You can create a list of events that are happening around the central theme of your group and ask who would be attending. Suggest a list of influencers to follow in your domain and ask your members to update the list.
Crowdsource your lists by leveraging your Facebook groups. These discussions help keep the community active and vibrant. It also encourages the dormant members to participate. Always, keep the discussions going in your groups.
The odds are high that many of your members are not vocal in your group. Use polls to get those members to participate. Polls are great fillers if you are short of content to share. Create polls occasionally to activate your passive members. Passive members don’t have to do a lot on polls. They just have to choose an option from the given ones and move on. They are not tied to the content they share and it’s a great way to engage them.
If the poll piques their curiosity, it can snowball into a great discussion too. Employ all these options to create a vibrant group. You need to have a strategy in place for active and dormant users. Polls do the job for the latter.
Use More Photos and GIFs
Photos sure attract your members to participate in the group. Create photos to support your group discussions. Strong images make a user pause when they are scrolling through their Facebook timeline. It helps slow them down and take notice.
You may feel that creating quality images is a tedious task. That’s not the case. Use tools like Canva, Piktochart, and Venngage to create quality images quickly. You can also leverage several free image stores to get started. I have listed some of them here,
Use a Less Promotional Tone
Never use your group to randomly push products. Your group members should not feel that you are leveraging them to sell products. Doing so may make the group members leave your group.
Groups thrive on mutual trust. Your members have trusted you with their time and attention. Don’t give that up for gains made through product sales. Doing so may harm your personal brand in the long run. Users may start abandoning the group altogether.
If you have to sell stuff, then do it differently. Open the floor for everybody to plug promotions. You can have it on a random day. Make an announcement early mentioning the date when the group will be open for promotional posts. Use this as an opportunity to sell stuff while being neutral to everyone.
Have a Recurring Theme
Create a theme for different days of the week. If it’s a group about dogs, you can make Mondays as ‘Dog Grooming Days’. Encourage posts related to grooming tips. Tuesday can be ‘Pet Peeves Day’. What do dogs hate and the posts can be about that. You get where I am going with this. Yes, I am a dog person but that’s not the point here.
Having recurring themes allow your members to anticipate the content available on a particular day. You have set the expectations very clearly early on which help your members adapt accordingly. Interesting updates can be shared on a regular basis to keep your group busy.
It’s a Wrap
We understand that maintaining an active group on Facebook is quite a task. If done right, the rewards are great. With Facebook favoring groups more and more with the recent updates, it is imperative for businesses to leverage their power.
How do you keep your Facebook groups active? Have you tried any of the features mentioned in our article? Do let us know in the comments below. If you have tried something different to keep your group active, let us know and we will update this article. Let’s keep the conversation going.