If you are anything like us, you are always looking for ways to connect with your audience and build engagement around your business – but social media doesn’t allow for many conversations.
Facebook is one of the best ways to foster an interactive community. For several years now, having a dedicated Facebook Group for your business has been instrumental for a well-rounded digital marketing strategy.
Why? Facebook Groups are a great place to create natural interaction because every member can post and comment, and everyone gets a notification when someone publishes. It’s an interactive space in a way that Facebook pages aren’t anymore; also, the reach of Facebook Groups feels organic.
The process of developing your Facebook Group community is an ongoing one, and won’t happen overnight, but it’s also rewarding. Here we’ve got some advice on how to start, nurture, and grow your own VIP Facebook community.
Step one in creating that community is knowing exactly what a Facebook Group is and what makes it different from your Facebook page. This is a private space out of sight of its members’ Facebook friends, but all members can see all the posts within the group. Importantly, this is not a place for explicit marketing, rather a place where your target audience and future community feels comfortable contributing.
People are saturated with promotions and don’t want to join a Group for sales, promotions, or product information. They want to share, discuss, and communicate with like-minded people. Design your group to appeal to the shared interests of your target audience, whether that’s marketing, gardening, or something completely different.
Once you’ve got your overall focus, get down to business. Click on the ‘Groups’ section in the left-hand sidebar of Facebook, and then on ‘Create Group.’ When you have to choose a purpose, select ‘Connect and Share.’ The next step is completing the basic info about your group. Please don’t rush this because it’s essential and you don’t want to waste time coming back to it!
Choose a name for your Group that potential members will instantly connect with, that makes the purpose clear, and is easy to find. Your cover image should be in line with your business’s brand – OK, we know we said Facebook Groups aren’t explicating Facebook marketing, but there’s nothing wrong with giving people positive associations with your brand!
Include the goals and purpose of the group in the description, as well as any guidelines. This shows that you are professional, that you’re taking the Group seriously, and helps members know what to expect. “Pin” a friendly welcome post to the top of the group and invite at least one person to kick things off.
Planting the seeds is the easy part. Now comes the time to nurture them and help them grow into a thriving community.
Rule number one of nurturing your Facebook Group might seem like a no-brainer, but let’s say it either way: you can’t merely add members and then expect them to get on with building a community on their own. People can be shy! Make sure you and your team are active members of your Facebook Group community.
You have to engage as well; otherwise, no one else will. Respond to people’s posts, ask questions, link members up with others within the group. Plants left to their own devices won’t grow, and neither will Facebook communities. You can also get the interaction ball rolling with prompt posts to get the conversation started.
Your prompt posts can be as simple as asking members to share a photo of something relevant, whether it’s of their self-care routine (self-care being SoVerve’s yearly August theme), a marketing tip or a book they are currently reading. This will depend on your Group’s focus, of course!
You could also share relevant articles, news pieces, or talks. Ask members for their thoughts and questions after consuming this content to foster discussion. Similarly, you could share your expertise and encourage responses to this: set challenges or goals for the community relevant to your shared interests.
As with many aspects of digital marketing, we’d recommend using images or visuals to attract attention. This means that posts will stand out on members’ newsfeeds, and they’ll be interested in engaging.
So you’ve got a happily interacting Facebook Group community? Congrats! Now, how are you going to grow? Successful Facebook marketing is about to reach, and your Group can achieve that much better than your Facebook page.
A word of warning: don’t add every single Facebook friend you have. It puts people off and reduces the ‘VIP’ nature of a closed Facebook Group. It may not happen overnight, but you need to be patient and let your community grow organically. The result will be more authentic.
Even while letting things grow naturally, there are ways you can nudge it along! Ask members to share the Group with interested friends or colleagues; personally invite people you genuinely think would engage in your community. Make a landing page encouraging people to join your Group, promote it in your email signature and blogs, utilize tags to make it visible on Facebook searches.
Create content specifically for the Group to make it even more special for members. When you’re promoting your Group across your social media channels, highlight that membership brings the benefit of idea-sharing and exclusive content.
You can also run events that generate interest in your community. For example, a half-day workshop on marketing involves many discussions, and attendees will naturally want to continue conversations; you can offer your Facebook Group as a way for them to maintain their links.
Above all, remember that what gets people excited is quality. If your target audience finds honesty, lively conversation, and great content in your Facebook Group community, they will naturally recommend it to others, and the community will grow.
It might take time but focus on sharing your passion and getting people engaged to see your Facebook Group become an active and engaged community.