Facebook Groups are among THE most powerful and effective tools available to marketers. As it happens, they are also among the most overlooked and neglected.
Do you have a Facebook group for your business right now? If not, then chances are that you are failing to engage with your audience to the fullest potential.
Over ONE BILLION people use Facebook groups every single day, and when they do, they tend to discuss subjects on a far more engaged, intimate, and personal level than they do anywhere else on the platform. Facebook groups build highly active communities. And if you can do that around your brand, then you can see your sales explode.
The power of Facebook groups is actually so massive, that they can be dangerous. Some Facebook groups exist to promote antisocial causes, and these have been accused of being responsible for extreme actions and injustices.
That’s because Facebook groups act like ‘echo chambers’. They allow people with the same views to discuss subjects in an open and private manner, and to bounce ideas off like-minded people.
This has a HUGELY powerful effect, as each member becomes more like the other members of the group (a psychological phenomenon noted in business known as ‘convergence’) and as they adopt membership of that group as a part of their very identity.
Of course, your small business is not going to be using Facebook groups for anything like that! But what it CAN do, is to galvanize the audience to become just as passionate about the brand and to engage with you in entirely new ways.
A Picture of the Perfect Facebook Group
So how might this work for a typical business?
What might a successful model of a Facebook group look like? Let’s imagine a website about making money online, that makes a lot of its money from selling ebooks and similar. How might a site like this utilize Facebook groups to be highly successful?
Well, to begin with, it would need a highly specific and clear mission statement for the site and brand. Who is this brand aimed at? What emotions does it hope to evoke? What values and beliefs do the members share? And who is the typical member?
In this case, let’s aim for a rather hedonistic audience. Let’s create the typical idea of success and aim the blog at business people who want to wear suits and feel highly successful. Our audience is male, feels stuck in a rut, and enjoys the notion of being attractive to women and driving nice cars.
That means that the imagery will include lots of men in suits, lots of high-rise buildings, and lots of ‘ALPHA’ symbolism. We might call the website something like ‘AlphaMoney’, which also plays on the idea of ‘Alpha’ in trading terms.
Other things enjoyed by our target audience include drinking, furnishing, and books on self-development.
This is just one example of how you might market such a topic. Another angle might be to focus on the ‘passive income’ idea and to show pictures of young men and women laughing and relaxing on sunny beaches. But no, we’re going for the ‘dominate and succeed’ angle.
That’s important because it’s what will give us our ‘emotional hook’. Our ‘value proposition’.
Now we create the website and blog, and the Facebook page.
The purpose of the blog is to:
- Give us something to share from our Facebook page
- To help more people find our brand
- To demonstrate the kind of value we are capable of offering
The hope is that someone might accidentally stumble upon one of our posts on Google or Facebook (someone might share a post in their network), then read around to learn more. If the branding and imagery appeal to them, they might like our Facebook page, at which point they are now a lead.
By providing lots of content on a regular basis and making sure that content is all great quality, we can gradually increase the engagement with that audience and make them more and more interested in hearing more from us.
Then we create the private Facebook group. And it’s by having that engaged audience that we’ll be able to promote it.
The Appeal of the Private Facebook Group
Now you might be wondering why creating a private Facebook group would be a good business strategy. After all, most businesses are trying to get as many eyes on their content as possible!
While this is certainly one approach though, that is not usually the function of the Facebook group. A Facebook page and a blog will benefit from massive exposure, but a Facebook Group will benefit more strongly from being kept private and exclusive. Why?
Because people ALWAYS want what they can’t have! And because as soon as something is considered exclusive, it increases in value.
Imagine that you are a fan of AlphaMoney, and you love getting tips about how to earn money online, while at the same time enjoying living vicariously and imaging yourself as one of those extremely wealthy, confident, and successful men.
You’ve benefited from following the site’s advice, but you aren’t yet where you want to be.
And then in a post, you see mention of a ‘private members group’ where they discuss ‘the most cutting edge, underground, and untested money-making and self-improvement methods’.
Who WOULDN’T want to get involved in that? And the fact that the group is private only makes it that much more interesting and enticing. The fact that they can’t see what’s happening inside the group without first becoming a member will make it much more intriguing for them and will make it much more inviting.
A smart business owner would then drop hints about the type of things that they discuss in there. They would bring it up regularly in other posts, and they would refer to the members as VIPs. The social pressure and incentive to sign up would be extremely strong.
From there, you will build a small and HIGHLY engaged audience of people that participate in discussion, help with the future direction of the site, and are much more likely to buy from you in the future.
The Core Takeaway
The thing to recognize is that this method only works for a brand that has been built well from the ground up by owners that understand what they have and why people are interested in it. So many businesses fail to find success with their Facebook groups and pages because they don’t have a proper ‘value proposition’.
The worst thing that you can do as a business is to be completely generic. Old-fashioned business that is stuck in the past still attempts to be as appealing as possible to everyone. Thus, such a business would be more likely to create a Facebook group called ‘Make Money Online’. The imagery would be generic to avoid putting anyone off, and the posts would be unexciting – things like ‘5 SEO tips’. This simply fails to engage people or to get them excited.
Much worse, are the plumbing companies that use bland blue logos and have nothing at all about them. They then create Facebook groups with names like ‘Santa Monica Plumbing’ and they only post things that promote their brand.
“We were rated the top plumbing company in the area!” “Winter’s coming! Is your home ready for the big freeze?” Things like this don’t provide any value for the member, they simply clog up their feed. There is no incentive to join and even less reason to stay in the group.
How could a ‘boring’ company like this create an exciting Facebook group? Well, how about creating a group all about building the best possible home, or one about being more efficient with water? You could speak to the conscience of your members and help them to be less wasteful and to save money. Your group could discuss ‘game-changing water-saving tips’.
Another Completely Different Way to Use Facebook Groups
So that’s one way to make a Facebook group work for your brand, and it is one that is extremely effective. But it’s certainly not the only one, not by a long shot!
Another option is to use a Facebook group to create a targeted audience that will allow you to use the ‘go-to-market strategy’. ‘Go to market’ is a business term that simply means finding a group of people that are likely to be interested in your product or service, and then marketing to them directly. On the web, one of the best ways to do this is by using social networks and social sharing sites.
For instance, if you sell protein shakes, then your target audience will be bodybuilders, weight lifters, athletes and the like. A ‘go-to-market’ strategy will likely involve finding places where these people spend time and then sharing posts about your protein shake. Or posts about fitness in general that happen to also promote your protein shake.
Lots of people will head over to Reddit, find a fitness sub-community, and then post a link there. If all goes well and the link is interesting/gets upvoted, then this can result in hundreds of thousands of direct visitors! This can be game-changing for a small business.
The problem is that this isn’t often what happens. What happens more often is that your post sinks to the bottom very quickly, seeing as the audience isn’t quite perfectly in sync with your marketing. Maybe your protein shake is marketed toward bodybuilders and this fitness subreddit is mainly filled with general fitness enthusiasts.
The other issue is that often your self-promotion attempts will be transparent, and your post will be reported or deleted as a result. Before long, your account might be banned and your reputation will be hurt in the community.
With a Facebook group though, you create your OWN community. You might create a group called ‘StudentBodybuilder’ for instance, and then invite a few friends you know are bodybuilders and still at college. Now make the group public and start inviting more people and it will slowly grow.
The great thing is that by setting some rules and choosing some moderators), you’ll be able to let this group run itself. People will post and share content they find interesting, invite new members, and exchange tips. And the result is that the group will grow and grow on its own, like some kind of nest egg. You can then return to it at any time and share your content there, resulting in a massive influx of traffic and potentially sales!
Not only will your content not get deleted (seeing as you are in charge), but the audience will also be made up of people who are perfectly suited to your product. These are actual bodybuilders, and if your product’s selling point is the price, then it will be perfect for students!
These are just some of the ways you can use a Facebook Group to skyrocket your success and to build a hugely engaged audience that you have direct access to. This is the missing piece of the puzzle for so many businesses, so don’t make the same mistake!
There are 1 billion people using Facebook groups right now, it’s paramount that you start making the most of this tool.