Facebook groups are a great way of building a business community and keeping in touch with customers and business fans.
If you are running a group or considering setting up your own for your business, here's some pointers to consider:
1. Plan your objectives
Before you set up the group, ask yourself why you are doing it and what you hope to achieve for your business by running it. For example, is it to inform people? Is it to develop a community? Is it to stay in touch with people who’ve attended your event or a special project launch? Or is it for your existing clients to book appointments (like my hairdresser!). Once you have your objectives clear, you can add them into your digital plan.
You have a few options when it comes to the settings for your Facebook group. Depending on your business objectives, you may want your group to be public so that anyone on Facebook can find it, join it and read all the posts. This allows you to reach the largest audience possible.
However, you may be running your group with some exclusivity. This helps make members feel special and connected to the group organiser and brand. In this instance, you would set your group as ‘closed’ which allows people on Facebook to find it and request to join, but only the members can read the posts. This is the setting we have chosen for our own #dodigital Facebook group.
Lastly, you may want your group to be secret. For example, working with a select few business collaborators may warrant a secret Facebook group; the members of our The Savvy Solos Business Club have a private group for members only.
Once you have decided on the privacy settings, you can then choose how you would like your members to interact with each other in the group. Allowing them to post directly into the group will help information flow freely but moderating posts allows you to maintain a level of quality.
You may wish to allow specific members to post directly in your group – they will be trusted and active members of the group who are brand advocates.
All these options can all be found in the group settings.
Be clear and consistent with the rules that the members of the group need to abide by. It sounds strict, but if you are trying to build a community of supportive business owners, the last thing you want in your group are people continuously trying to sell their products and services. The way in which you manage your group will determine whether you meet your business objectives for doing so.
You can display the rules for your group in the 'About' tab in your group.
Depending on how important your Facebook group is to your overall marketing and sales activity, will determine how much time you spend managing, preparing content and nurturing the members of your group.
Whilst the members may not interact on all posts, you may decide (certainly in the beginning) that you would like to interact with as many of the group member posts as you can to ensure they know you are actively engaging with them.
When you communicate with the members of the group, you need to know what you’re going to say. Asking questions is a great way to encourage members to engage. You may want to devise a content plan for your group (this can be included in your overall social media content plan) as well as including spontaneous content.
Within your group, you have the option to write posts, add photos or videos, create a poll to conduct some market research, sell products, add files, create events and even film a live video! A mix of content will help keep your group members engaged.
* Remember that we now have Insights in our Facebook groups so keep an eye on how well your group is performing *
The people you invite to the group are crucial to its success, so ask yourself who you want to invite to join in. Also do remember that now we have the option to allow our members to join a group as themselves as well as their businesses, you will need to decide if this is appropriate for your group.
The people you invite should tie in directly with your business objectives for marketing yourself and your business.
Find Digital Sparkles in all these places:
Our Facebook page and join our free #dodigital Facebook group
On Twitter and Instagram
Connect with Nicola on LinkedIn and follow our LinkedIn business page
Subscribe to our YouTube Channel – see you there!