Facebook Groups are a powerful tool to help you build your brand and nurture your customers to become lifelong fans.
Facebook Groups take a lot of time.
So, if you’re just starting out or you’re handling all of your business’s social media on your own, you may want to consider holding off on Facebook Groups.
Or, handing off some of your other social media efforts to one of your employees or a social media management company like us.
We’ve grown multiple Facebook Groups for small businesses, with great success over the years.
So today, we’ll be sharing our tips, and some of the lessons we learned the hard way so that you don’t have to.
Let’s get started!
Facebook Groups For Small Business: 2 Types Of Settings To Choose From
Decide what privacy setting you’d like for your group. Facebook currently offers 2 privacy settings, and a “secret” or “hidden” option.
These settings affect the discoverability of your groups, so be sure to plan this before you start creating your Facebook Groups.
1. Public groups
This means anyone on or off Facebook can see who’s in the group and what they post.
Facebook has been making changes to the way public groups operate since October of last year, and now they’ve rolled it out to the world.
The new public group experience differs from the old one in a few ways:
a. New public groups will be easier for people to discover, both on and off Facebook.
When someone shares a link to or post from the group on Facebook…
…their followers will have the option to see related discussions taking place within the group.
Content from new public groups will also appear more often in search engine results off Facebook.
b. People can join public groups and get updates without admin approval.
You also have the option to require posts to be approved by an admin, or allow anyone on Facebook to comment in the group, even if they aren’t a member.
c. Admins have the option to let anyone participate in their public groups, even if they aren’t members of that group.
Admins can decide who is allowed to post in the group:
- anyone logged into Facebook, or
- just group members
Admins also have the option to approve first-time participants, including new members and visitors, before they publish a post or comment for the first time.
They can also choose to approve all posts before they’re published.
d. Admins can let members post and comment using customizable profiles in groups.
This maintains a level of protection for group members who can change the name of their “public” profile.
Members of the group and admins will still see the member profiles.
Since Facebook is increasing group and post chances of showing up in search results, you’ll want to add keywords to your:
- descriptions, and
…to make your group discoverable in social media search engines.
If you have an existing group, you’ll need to opt-in to the new group experience.
You’ll have 72-hours to play around with it and change your mind, but after that, you can’t change it back later.
If you opt into the new group experience you’ll currently lose access to Chats and Messenger rooms, and Watch Parties.
So if you regularly use those features, you may want to hold off on switching over for now.
These changes will only apply to Public groups for now.
This change is supposed to help Facebook Groups reach more people while giving admins more tools and access to deeper insights.
2. Private groups
This setting means only members can see who’s in the group and what they post.
It’s important to know that once you’ve made your group private, you can’t make it public.
This is to protect the members who were posting and sharing under the assumption that their info is safe.
Users will have to request to join the group, depending on your privacy setting.
You have two additional privacy options within Private Groups; hidden and visible.
If your group is Hidden, only current, invited, and former members can see the group’s name and description.
It will only appear in searches for current, invited, and former members as well. The only people who can request to join the group are former members.
If your group is Visible, anyone can see your group’s name and description.
Your group will only appear in search and other places on Facebook for people who are logged in, and any Facebook user can request to join.
You can approve all requests automatically (everyone gets in), or manually (you choose who gets in).
With either of those choices, you can ask members to answer questions to get into your group.
This is a great way to screen members before they enter and can see posts.
You’ll be able to see all requests in your group and approve them manually.
Or, if you let users in automatically, you can see who was recently admitted to the group in case you need to remove anyone.
Tip: Use your questions to help you with some market research.
Ask them how they found you, heard about you, or how long they’ve been interested in your group topic.
You can ask anything you want here, so take the time to plan it out.
We recommend limiting the number of questions you ask so they are more likely to respond.
We’ve found that open-ended questions help you gather more information, but you can also select multiple-choice options.
Why would you choose to hide your group?
In using Facebook Groups for small business, this is a great option if membership in your group is a perk for past purchasers or current members.
Also, if your group is for sensitive topics, or if you just want your members to have somewhere quiet to go away from the rest of the internet.
7 Practical Tips On Using Facebook Groups For Small Business
Some groups can handle themselves just fine on the internet, but most groups need some sort of moderation and guidelines for interaction.
This is especially true when using Facebook Groups for small business.
Your guidelines will depend on your business, of course, but we’ve found that most small businesses do well with some basic rules:
- No politics
Unless your business is connected to the political sector in some way, it works to just put a blanket rule that politics aren’t allowed.
You want your group to be a happy place and a good experience, and politics are a sure-fire way to stoke tensions and make everyone angry.
- No disrespectful behavior
We’ve all seen a comments section with one or two people throwing names and disrespect.
- No selling or links to competitor products/sites
You may have folks in your group who join just to try to promote themselves or your competitors.
This is your group, so you’re the boss!
There are plenty of groups for promoting your own business or services, so unless that’s directly relevant to your business…
…we would create a blanket rule and remove any posts violating it.
An example of this is if you are a Business Coach who allows self-promotion every Monday.
Pro Tip: Anytime you delete someone’s post or comment for breaking a guideline or rule, send them a message to let them know why.
You may want to skip this step to avoid confrontation, but we’ve found that deleting without addressing it, or publicly addressing it in a comment chain, leads to more conflict.
If it’s a big issue, you can make a public post for transparency.
Don’t be afraid to kick people out of the group.
It’s much better for your brand to kick out a few toxic, abusive, or spammy members than to annoy everyone else by putting up with bad behavior.
You’ll lose your loyal customers if you cater to a few grumpies.
It’s your brand, your group, and your customers. Protect it!
Balance your posts so not everything is about selling.
We like to pull back on sales and marketing in groups.
This is because we’ve noticed groups with a lot of direct selling or marketing posts get the lowest levels of customer engagement and return.
We recommend saving sales posts once or twice a week.
We’ve found it helpful to create themed days to help us plan and create content for the groups that we’ve managed.
This is also a great way to keep your users active and engaged.
Maybe Thursdays are tutorial days where you release your newest video, or Fridays are check-in days to see how everyone’s week went.
You don’t have to create themed days if you don’t want to.
You can absolutely run a successful group using an open format where you just let the conversation happen naturally.
Just be sure you’re posting regularly and adding value.
Maybe that means you post every day, or maybe that means you post every other day.
So long as you’re consistent, and your members stay engaged, that’s fine. Check out this post next to find out the best time to post on social media.
You may have heard that content is king, and you know that you have to post often. But wait, is creating content time-consuming?
Why not get a little help from your friends?
User-generated content is a win for everyone.
You get content that you can use to promote your business and products.
Your customers get a big shout-out (and who doesn’t love a shout-out), and your audience is being “sold” to by someone else.
Invite users to share their images or videos. We always ask permission to use their images and tag them in the post to thank them for sharing.
We like to let them know when they can expect to see it so they can watch for it and share it with their friends.
a. Don’t send users off of Facebook immediately.
This connects to not being too salesy.
You need to build trust with your audience first. Create and curate content that they can enjoy right in the group.
b. Host Watch Parties for new videos that you’re releasing.
A Watch Party allows your viewers to watch a pre-recorded video live, and has a chat feature where they can leave comments and ask questions.
You should have an admin or mod run the Watch Party so they can answer any questions that come up, or help direct the chat and keep it focused on the video.
c. Use Facebook Polls to ask your group what they want to see more of.
Have them weigh in on upcoming events or products.
If they feel heard (and see evidence that you’re listening because you’re making changes or releasing products they had input in), they will feel invested.
They will feel like they’re a part of the business, and they’ll want to help you grow it.
d. Go Live in the group.
Announce it well ahead of time to ensure you have attendance. Consider taking a poll to see what day and time works best for everyone.
You can do a Q&A or AMA style. Ask for questions ahead of time and prepare your own just in case you don’t have enough to fill time.
We would start with a shorter Live, 10 minutes or so, until you’re comfortable, and be patient with yourself.
You WILL have technical issues, it will feel awkward, but you’ll get the hang of it with practice.
It’s helpful to have someone there with you to screen the comments and questions so you’re not trying to do too many things at once…
we’ve all seen those Lives.
Your group is nothing without your members, literally.
You could have the best content in the history of the world, or you could be sharing the secrets of the universe.
But if you have no one in your group, or everyone’s abandoned it because it’s all about you, then your group is essentially worthless.
That’s NOT to say that small groups are a waste of time, or that you should abandon your efforts if you don’t have a lot of activity.
We’re just trying to illustrate the point that you need active members, and one way to keep people coming back is to celebrate your members!
Here are some of the strategies we’ve seen the most success with:
a. Welcome new members
Create a post once a week welcoming new members and inviting them to share a bit about themselves.
It feels great to get recognition, and people love to share.
Invite your existing members to give all new members a warm welcome, and be sure you’re interacting in the comments.
b. Use badges to reward your community members.
You’ll need to enable the badges so that Facebook can automatically add them for your members.
They’re updated by Facebook so you don’t have to manage them, and they’ll keep changing to keep things interesting.
Here’s how you’ll enable badges in your group.
- Go to the Group you’re managing.
- Click ‘Settings’ in the left-hand menu.
- Click the pencil icon next to ‘Badges’.
- Choose the badges you’d like to enable.
- Click ‘Save’.
The badges available to you in your groups are:
- Rising Star – This badge shows next to the names of users who have become a new group member in the last 2 weeks.
- Conversation Starter – This goes to the member whose post got the most engagement in the last 4 weeks.
- Conversation Booster – It goes to members whose posts/comments generate a lot of engagement (likes, comments, shares).
- Greeter – This goes to members who most frequently interact with new members (Rising Stars).
- Visual Storyteller – This goes to members whose photos and videos get a lot of engagement.
- Founding Member – It goes to members who joined your group in the first few crucial weeks.
- Admin and Moderator – This goes to folks who are admins or mods. This lends them credibility when enforcing rules and answering questions.
- Group Anniversary – It shows up on that member’s anniversary day!
It’s a fun idea to celebrate anniversaries when you can and thank that member for joining and sticking with you.
You can add more than posts or some social media video to your group.
Facebook has a bunch of options that work for almost any business.
You can add files, modules for courses, and more, so play around with those options and don’t be afraid to try something new.
Chances are, if your business runs more than one group, your audience will be interested in joining multiple.
Hang on, you might be asking why you need multiple groups.
We know it seems like too much too soon, but you don’t have to run multiple Facebook Groups for small business like yours.
In fact, unless you have a dedicated social media person helping you with your groups and management, you don’t want to run multiple groups at a time.
It can all be too much.
It also doesn’t make sense for every business to have more than one group. But, some businesses benefit from having multiple groups.
So how do you know if multiple groups are right for you?
If your business serves multiple audiences or niches, you may benefit from multiple groups.
Think of it sort of like segmenting your email list by interest or targeting your ads based on interest.
This is a good way to maximize using Facebook Groups for small business like yours to keep your topic focused.
And to also ensure that people in the group are having the best experience possible.
If you try to put everything all together in one group…
…you could end up with mostly bored members who don’t check in often, because most posts don’t apply to them.
Let’s talk through an example.
If you’re a crafts-based business, you may have a different group for each type of craft you sell, like embroidery, crochet, and quilting.
Or, if you only sell one type of craft, embroidery perhaps, you may have a group for beginners and one for advanced techniques.
Or, you may have a monthly subscription box and you have a dedicated group to support that where you:
- share tutorials,
- answer questions, and
- encourage members to share photos of their work
In cases where there may be crossover interest, like in a beginner group where they may be looking for more advanced techniques soon…
…or where they might LOVE a monthly subscription, you can add other groups as suggestions that members can choose to join.
Cross-promote when it makes sense.
An embroidery crowd might not like your new knife painting kits and wouldn’t want to join that group, so just be strategic about it.
Facebook Groups For Small Business: Final Takeaways
Those are our tips for how to use Facebook Groups for small business like yours. We hope you found this post helpful and learned something new.
Hopefully, it sparked a genius group idea for you.
If you are interested in taking your Facebook marketing strategy to the next level, then schedule a meeting with one of our Facebook marketing consultant.
Or, you can also explore other social media platforms with our social media marketing services. Talk to you soon!