You may have heard of something called Facebook groups but feel there’s no need to spend time and energy on such a concept because you already have a Facebook page for your business. But Facebook pages and Facebook groups are two entirely different animals that serve different functions.
Generally speaking business pages are for broad-based communication with fans, followers and other parties interested in who you are or what you’re selling. A business page can only be created by an official representative of the business (or celebrity or band etc) that the page represents.
Groups on the other hand can be created by anyone and allow for much tighter control over who can belong to the group and who can interact with the group page. This helps build a sense of community within the group and when this community is built around a product or service you produce or provide that community can be an invaluable asset in building brand loyalty.
Basically, with a Facebook group you’re creating a kind of fan club focused on celebrating your brand, spreading the word about your brand to others and actively recruiting new members.
So Why Use Facebook Groups?
While a Facebook business page can be a useful platform for keeping customers abreast of product developments and important events related to your brand (like Facebook Live Video events) overall engagement tends to be fairly limited. People learn when to tune into the Live Video event, get to leave a like on different posts and maybe drop a comment or two along the way.
With groups, engagement is typically much more robust and passionate. Group members are people who’ve shown more than a passing interest in your brand. They want to know what’s going on with the brand and want to share their opinions directly with others who are equally passionate. These people are the best friends your brand ever had and they should be given a platform all their own to connect. Here are several ways to use Facebook groups to enhance your marketing efforts.
- Create a Group Specifically for Loyal Customers – Now that the airline industry has entered the age of cut-throat competition you don’t hear as much about frequent flyer miles as you used to. But they’re still out there and for a good reason. They work when it comes to creating brand loyalty. Use the frequent flyer club model for your own brand by creating a private Facebook group just for those who’ve purchased your product or service in the past. Give members of this group special access to discounts and perks others aren’t privy to. Publicize the existence of this group along with its many benefits on your website and Facebook business page as a way to entice people to make a purchase and join the group
- Build a Community – When it comes to Facebook marketing – or marketing via any social media platform for that matter – it’s not about you. It’s about your fans, followers, group members and anyone else who engages with your brand. As such any Facebook group you start or sanction should focus on providing value for your devoted customers and followers and enable them to spread the word about your product or service in a way that helps you discreetly while feeding their desire for engaging, otherwise-hard-to find information on the brand.
- Keep abreast of Current Events in the Industry – You may spend a lot of time with your ear to the tracks trying to stay ahead of developments in your industry, but events in the business world today move at breakneck speed and you’re bound to miss something. Each member of your Facebook group however is another set of eyes and ears who can alert you whether knowingly or unknowingly about developments or events you may have missed. Someone may simply drop a few words into a comment about something they heard without giving it much thought. That tidbit of information may however, prove invaluable to you and the health of your brand going forward. In essence having a large group of dedicated fans out there is like having your own little CIA constantly gathering intelligence on the market and by extension the competition.
- Find out What Your Most Passionate Brand Advocates Want – Market research can be expensive but groups can help you mitigate market research costs. That’s because besides being able to reward customers and keep on top of industry rumblings Facebook groups dedicated to your product or service are also a free way to find out what your customers like and dislike and what they’d like to see in the future from your brand. If you like you can create surveys or questionnaires that you present to the group asking for their input. This lets them know their opinion is important and gives them a say in the development of the brand which strengthens brand loyalty.
- The Ties That Bind – Maybe you have a far flung enterprise with sales people in the field and several offices or outlets in various places around the globe. Keeping everyone on the same page in such cases can be a daunting task. But starting a Facebook group through which they can all stay in touch and up to date can go a long way toward strengthening your company culture and providing a sense of common purpose.
There are a number of different ways to leverage Facebook to aid in your company’s success and the creation of groups is one of the best. While the results may not be as visibly spectacular as what you’ll see from Facebook retargeting they can be just as essential to your overall viability.
By creating and fostering a community of brand enthusiasts through the creation of Facebook groups you’ll be laying the foundation for long term success. The fans you cultivate today will pass on the word to others who will pass on the word to others and your business will wind up far less susceptible to market fluctuations or economic downturns than it would have been otherwise.