Facebook is quickly transforming its once-neglected Groups feature into a cornerstone of its post-scandal reinvention. The move was sudden enough to catch many marketers flat-footed. If you’re still wondering about the fundamentals of Facebook Groups, now’s a good time to read up on the basic distinctions between Groups and Pages.
It’s also fair to ask whether Groups are really worth targeting for pure marketing purposes, given their intentionally insular nature (many are private or even hidden by design). The answer, equally fair: yes, they are, with the proper approach. This isn’t your older sibling’s Facebook marketing game.
In 2020 and beyond, here’s how to leverage Facebook Groups for maximum marketing effect.
- Keep the Discussion Topical, But Not Controversial
Topical conversation always drives engagement. Precisely what constitutes “topical” depends on the makeup of your Group’s membership, but ties to current events and contemporaneous pop culture tend to do well. Don’t stray too far; controversy is actively counterproductive and may alienate audience segments you can’t afford to lose.
- Make Sure Your Company Page Is on the Up and Up
Even as you reallocate resources to your Group(s), keep your main company page on the up and up. Let the Facebook page for Freeway Insurance, a California-based broker, be a model for your own. It’s active and well-curated, with a wealth of detail about the company and its operations.
- Stick to Public Groups
Private and hidden Facebook Groups have utility for branding and credibility-building purposes, but they’re probably not the ideal place to reach consideration-stage prospects. If you’re playing a numbers game with your Facebook Groups operation, stick with public Groups for now.
- Know What It Takes to Secure Admission
Not all Facebook Groups have an open-door policy. To secure admission to a high-value Group, you may need to prove that you belong by answering knowledge-based questions or providing membership credentials. For instance, when you apply to a Facebook Group for attorneys licensed to practice in New York State, it’s safe to assume you’ll need to provide a valid NYSBA number.
- If You Can’t find a Suitable Group to Join, Create Your Own (And Invite Everyone)
Your Facebook Groups marketing strategy may call for an original approach, literally. Creating a Facebook Group isn’t particularly difficult; read up on the basics here.
- Focus on Delivering Value for Group Members
Your Group members won’t want to participate (or remain members at all) without a good reason. Ideally, multiple good reasons. Depending on your audience and brand, said reasons might include exclusive access to thought leaders (such as designers or executives in your organization), unique informational content that you don’t publish elsewhere, or troubleshooting guides for your products. Why bother going through the trouble of creating a new Facebook Group if you don’t plan to make it worth your audience’s time?
Find Your Groupies
Your (Facebook) groupies are out there, waiting to be discovered. But it’s up to you to bring them out of the shadows.
Your Facebook Groups-driven marketing strategy will do better when supported by the six strategies described above. You’ll need to pull out additional stops, as well; great marketers don’t rest, as you know. Perhaps one day, sooner than you think, you’ll be in a position to command a room with tales of your own Facebook Groups conquests.