Social media platforms are in constant competition with each other to delight users with the next big thing. From Twitter Fleets to Instagram Reels, each platform is trying to absorb and recreate each other’s features, but there are still some untapped existing opportunities to take advantage of.
Facebook Groups can be an invaluable marketing and lead generation tool if done correctly. If you’re looking to build up your brand awareness, grow your audience and network whilst trying to collect as much data as possible, Groups could be the solution that’s been staring at you in the face this whole time.
Groups allow you to do pretty much everything that you can do from a Facebook Page and in many instances, even more. This is with one vital difference – you’ve got a captive audience of qualified leads and it’s completely free to engage with them.
What’s the difference between Pages and Facebook Groups?
Facebook Pages have been an invaluable and game-changing tool for brands looking to boost their social media presence all over the globe. Anyone can find and like your page, which is often used as a push platform for lots of different types of content and for finding new audiences. Depending on settings, people who like your page will have to manually switch on to get notifications from your page. Organic page posts tend to hit around 15% of the overall audience.
Groups are a much more private affair and can offer a sense of exclusivity and belonging to a community of like-minded people. Posts in Groups are prioritised on its members’ newsfeeds, meaning your content is front and centre without any paid promotion. If someone joins your group, you can pretty much count them as a qualified lead and analyse their actions.
You can also access valuable insights and analytics which you can use to determine what kind of posts people in the group are liking or disliking and to give you an idea of what to post as you move forwards. Usually, there would be some degree of trial and error on your Facebook Page to determine which content really flies, and these tests would cost you money, as organic reach on Pages, is almost non-existent.
Groups eliminates this because you can simply post any content directly into the group and analyse the response that it receives without boosting anything or spending a single penny.
Why join a Facebook Group?
The main reason B2B marketers join Facebook Groups is to promote their product, but as with all content marketing, you shouldn’t promote it without adding value or context. A lot of Groups have strict rules that you must read before you join, some can even ask questions about your intentions or why you’re joining the group. A lot of them restrict promotional posts, and if you break the rules, you’ll be mercilessly kicked out without even a break-up email.
You also have to join a Facebook Group as a verified person, so you either need to be comfortable using your personal profile or create a work-specific one. Knowing that the data from your Group will definitely be legitimate and not from bots, is also a boost.
You must pay attention to posting etiquette, the more you fit in, the more likely you are to make meaningful connections. For instance, if your intention after joining the group is to post blog links in the hopes of driving traffic to your website, re-adjust your aims and look instead to forge new networking relationships and partnerships, for example.
Start conversations, offer opinions, and bring value. Take a look at previous posts in the group and the kind of format that the most popular posts have and see how you can adapt any of those learnings into the posts you want to put in the group.
Unlike Pages, a person’s interactions in a Group don’t show up in their activity or their friends’ timelines, meaning they may be more inclined to engage and offer authentic, true opinions.
People prefer to engage with a person rather than a brand or a company as a whole – automation can cripple genuinely good customer service – so if there are any fun facts, interesting tidbits, or anything else which gives a personal feeling to the post, include them, these are your conversation generators.
Should I start a Facebook Group?
Another approach is to build a Group around your own product, service, or industry. Yes, this is going to require quite a bit more work than simply clicking ‘join’ on another group – however, if you can curate and moderate that group and draw in new members successfully then you can turn your new group into an extremely powerful branding tool, and more than that, another avenue for potential lead generation and customer research.
The first thing you’re going to want to consider is the audience that you’re looking to attract. If you already have one, you can invite people from your Facebook Page to join, you can look in other Groups, inviting people from your personal profile, transfer contacts over from LinkedIn, use other social platforms to promote, and more.
Once you get a formulated method underway and encourage other new members to invite their friends or like-minded people, you will quite often see a ‘snowball’ effect – within anywhere from a few months to a year of starting this process some groups will grow to thousands of members. There are different privacy settings available to Groups, from the public where anyone can join, to completely private where it won’t even show up in searches.
Should your B2B organisation work in a niche that is not yet covered in your area by a Facebook Group, consider creating one yourself. It will be work, it will take time, but with the right strategy, and Community management, the results could be outstanding.
Remember that we currently live in a time of unprecedented opportunities for online connection, and now is the time to make meaningful connections and start conversations. Stay focused on the quality of your interactions rather than the quantity, and you should see powerful results for your efforts with Facebook Groups.