Boost Your Authority with Facebook Groups
Facebook is the top social media platform in the world. It is also one of the 5 most visited websites in the world.
With more than 2 billion active users, many of them spending 45 minutes per day on the site, Facebook gives you the potential to reach out to a huge global audience in order to market your business.
But with 2 billion users, how can you ever stand out in the crowd? More importantly, how can you connect with the people most likely to be interested in your products and services? And to establish your brand as one worthy paying attention to?
A Facebook Group might be just the solution you are looking for.
What is a Facebook Group?
As the name suggests, groups have been allowed by Facebook in order to gather people together who are interested in the same topic, niche or industry. From cooking to cocker spaniels, there is a large number of groups on Facebook you can join so you can connect with like-minded people.
You can certainly join any existing group you wish and market yourself subtly there whenever there is an opportunity.
However, starting and running your own Facebook group gives you an online space to broadcast your message and interact with your market on a more personal and targeted level.
It gives you almost complete control over the messaging and activities in the group. As the administrator, you can decide who has access to your group.
You can also appoint moderators who can help you manage the group and ensure it is not taken over by spammers.
There are many features in groups that can help you build a really impressive and authoritative presence on Facebook. You can share photos, documents, and files with group members.
You can create polls, quizzes and events. You can allow them to share content with the group on a moderated basis, that is, with your reviewing it to make sure it is acceptable. And you can block anyone who is not following the rules.
Facebook groups can be an invaluable marketing tool, and best of all, they are free to use and simple to set up. They are ideal for establishing relationships with your target audience, and for lead generation, that is, traffic and getting people onto your email marketing list.
Through the content you will be publishing on a regular basis, you can position yourself as an authority figure in your niche or industry and build your brand.
All the content created is mobile-friendly, thanks to the Facebook interface.
You can get likes, shares and comments, with these forms of engagement signaling to Facebook that your content is worth paying attention to.
You can also automate your publishing through Facebook’s calendar, or a third-party tool like Hootsuite, so you and/or your moderators don’t need to be glued to Facebook 24 hours a day to market your business well.
You can administer your group efficiently in around 30 minutes a day once you get organized.
Best of all, Facebook will market your group for you. Whenever anyone searches for certain keywords in the search box, they will get a list of results. One of them could be your group.
Let’s start by looking at how to create a group.
Planning a Facebook Group
There are a number of steps involved in planning and setting up what you hope will be a successful Facebook group. First, consider your goals and audience size.
There Are 3 Different Types of Facebook Groups:
- Public – Any Facebook member can join. All members can invite and add anyone.
- Closed – Facebook users can ask to join and must be approved. Members can add or invite any Facebook users.
- Secret – Members must be invited and approved. No one can see any information shared in a secret group except other group members.
Public will help you gain the widest exposure, but it can also garner you unwanted attention from spammers and people who behave badly online due to the relative anonymity of the Internet.
A closed group will be more manageable and prevent the group from being taken over by people who love to express their own opinions and attack others.
The type of Facebook group you create will depend on your type of business. You should also consider your marketing goals.
For example, a Facebook group can actually be a valuable add-on to a product you are selling if the group is secret and exclusive, and you promise access to yourself for anyone who signs up and participates.
You would just need a proof of purchase to approve them, or send them an invitation to join.
Whatever marketing approach you take, remember that Facebook is a social community. This means interacting with real people, not trying to sell all the time.
Most businesses prefer to create a closed Facebook group in order to have more control over what is going on in the group.
A closed group also gives you an air of authority and exclusivity that a public group might not. Those in your niche will appreciate your expertise and be willing to tell others about it.
A closed group can help build brand loyalty, which in turn can mean more subscribers and sales.
Note that you can always change your settings if you need to, provided that you are under 250 members. Once you are over that number, you can only make the privacy settings more restricted, not less so.
This means you could not turn a closed or secret group to an open one.
In general, closed will be your best option for marketing your business on Facebook.
Planning The Content For Your Group
Take the time to look at any existing Facebook groups related to your niche or industry. How many members do they have? How recently has fresh content been posted?
Join a couple of the best groups. Observe the amount of engagement, number of members, and so on. Gradually start to interact with others, answering questions to the best of your ability.
Are they selling products in the group? What frustrations and problems do group members worry about? Do you have solutions to offer them?
Start Creating Content Related to these Topics
Create a range of content that answers the questions they are discussing and offers real solutions. It can be free content on your site or blog, or an ebook or special report.
Or you can create an ebook or ecourse to sell. The more products you have to sell at a reasonable price, the more sales and brand loyalty you can generate.
If you are a service provider, selling information products also boosts your authority and makes prospective customers more willing to try your company.
Once you have created information products and/or have descriptions of the services your company has to offer, you will create promotional posts for them. But remember, social media is all about socializing.
In general, the ratio of informational and interesting posts compared with promotional ones should be a ratio of 10 to 1. Otherwise your group might just seem like a lot of spam.
Naming Your Group
Once you have determined your goals and carried out your research, start brainstorming names. Your group name should have one keyword related to your niche or industry. Keep it short and simple.
Some people like to choose a name similar to one of the other successful groups in the niche. Narrow down your choice and pick one. Then you will be ready to create the group.
Creating a New Facebook Group
Start by logging in to your Facebook account. Click on the Home tab located at the top of any page. Scroll down and choose Create Group on the left sidebar.
Add your Group Name in the pop-up window, and then add a member. Note that Facebook will not allow you to create a Group without having at least one member to begin with.
It can be any of your Facebook friends or a family member. It doesn’t matter who you add, because you can always delete them later.
Choose Public, Closed, or Secret as your group type.
Check your work and then click on Create Group on the bottom right corner of your pop-up window. That window will close and another will appear which will allow you to choose an icon for your group.
You could add a business logo, but why not try something related to your niche instead?
Once you have completed these steps, your group will be officially live on Facebook. Now it will be time to market it to your target audience.
- Add a group description – Look to the left of the page and click on the link that says Add a Description. Use keywords and enticing language to encourage people to join your group. Emphasize benefits, features and what they can expect if they join. This description is also important because the keywords will signal to Facebook searchers and Google users if your group is relevant to their interests.
Keep the headline short and to the point, no more than about 10 words. Make it catchy. Then add details about the group that will make it sound like a group they won’t want to miss out on joining.
- Add a cover image – A colorful graphic will grab attention, and also show that you have taken the time to customize your group page. Click on the tab that says Upload Photo or Choose Photo from the Personalize Your Group section at the top of the home page. Facebook changes the sizing of their images every so often. Currently the optimum size is 851 pixels wide, 315 pixels tall.
Once your group page is looking its best, you can start posting content on it. And once you start posting content, it will be time to invite people to the group and start engaging with them.
- Invite people to your group – Start by inviting people you know will genuinely be interested in your group about X niche or topic. Invite all staff and colleagues. Consider allowing a couple of them to be moderators to help you run the group. As your group grows, it can be tough to try to do it all yourself, so it is a good idea to train people up from scratch who will grow as the group does.
Next, look through the groups you have joined. Which people stand out as being interesting, engaged with the group, and well-informed? Issue them an invitation to join the group. Which ones have been actively discussing the kinds of solutions you offer? Invite them as well.
- Creating questions – Facebook allows you to set questions for prospective group members to find out why they want to join. This can help you separate out serious prospects from “tire-kickers” or potential problems. The questions should be easy enough for most people genuinely interested in your niche to answer. These questions can also help you establish your authority as someone who does not waste their time. The questions can also be a good source of information on what their most pressing need and concerns are. You can also use this information to plan free and paid content to cater to their needs.
- Create an incentive to build your list – Once you have started inviting people, consider the best ways to convert them from Facebook group users to subscribers on your email marketing list. A free ebook or multi-part ecourse can help you build a closer relationship with them and enable you to demonstrate your expertise. These sorts of items also tend to “go viral” on social media sites, that is, spread quickly. Your group members will tell their followers, who will tell theirs, and so on, in an ever-widening circle, connecting you with more and more people interested in your niche.
Use some of the ideas you got from the other groups you joined, or the information products you have created, to lure prospects onto your list.
Once they are on your list, you can build an even closer relationship with them and hopefully convert them from prospects to customers.
Engaging With Your Group
There are a number of ways to engage with your group.
Memes – Facebook has moved towards memes recently, short statements which can then be turned into images.
These are attractive; however, they also mean there are no words in the post, specifically, keywords that would give people interested in your niche a chance to find you.
If you are going to use memes, create them from scratch yourself. Upload them and add some descriptive content related to your niche.
- Images – High-quality images are a must for all aspects of Facebook marketing. Add keywords in the description and tag with keywords as needed.
- Video – The head of Facebook has predicted that all Facebook will be video by 2020. We don’t think this will be quite the case, but it does show the importance they are placing on this medium. The videos should be short and interesting. Use keywords in the title, description and tags you will upload when you add the video.
Note that you are allowed to upload a custom thumbnail, that is, introductory slide which will show before the play button is pressed. Take the time to create one that is keyworded and gives your audience an idea of what they can expect to see or learn. You can create them easily using the presentation software in Open Office, which is similar to PowerPoint. Save your slide as a JPG and upload.
- Live video – Live video is becoming increasingly popular on Facebook as well. Consider offering a webinar or discussion online and broadcast it. Announce it as an Event on your group page.
- Files – You can also share files with members. This could be something as simple as the basic rules of the group, or a useful free item such as a checklist or cheat sheet. These types of bonuses add to your authority as well.
- Sticky posts – You can make one post sticky, that is, remain at the top no matter how many other posts you publish. This is also a good place to put the rules of the group, so people are clear about them. This spot can also be used to showcase any special offers, especially time-sensitive ones.
- Events – Events can help stimulate participate in the group. Schedule a discussion, for example, or a Question and Answer session. Think of the kind of activities your target audience will appreciate most, and which can generate the kind of buzz that will encourage them to tell others to join in.
- Polls – Polls are another great way to dig deeper to learn more about your target audience and what they really want/need.
Facebook groups are a great way to stay in touch with your audience and learn what they need and want so you can create content, products or programs specifically for them. If you haven’t created a Facebook group just, I suggest giving it a go. It could give you the leverage you’ve been looking for to take your business to the next level. Create a facebook group and Grow Viral!