I don’t know if it has happened to you guys, but every now and then I’ve been spotting more ads about Facebook groups in my morning show, I mean, that is prime time! Not that Facebook doesn’t have the money, right? My point is that apparently, Facebook is pushing groups to create more vibrant communities and for users to find their tribe. We all know how cool they are and the amazing people you can meet there, but what about a small business? Can a soon-to-be entrepreneur or home-based business benefit from Facebook groups? Heck Yeah!
The reason behind this boost, in my opinion, is because the right Facebook group can increase your social media presence, build brand loyalty, boost your conversion rates, and sales if you start networking since day 1 of your business idea. Facebook groups serve as a communication channel between you and an ever-growing community of potential customers.
There are many different features that make Facebook groups a stand-out resource for networking with an engaged community. This includes the ability to share posts, polls, photos and interact directly with other members. Groups are a great way to connect with like-minded individuals, learn new skills, tips and tricks for your business. But it’s also a fantastic way to test your ads copy and images using polls or posting a sample to see the engagement.
Quick facts about Facebook
Facebook is one of the most popular and widely used social media accounts that encompasses users of all ages. It has over 2.7 billion monthly active users as of the second quarter of 2020, over 620 million groups and 96.3% of Facebook users use at least one other social media platform being Instagram, YouTube, and Twitter the most popular.
Did you know that 42% of businesses using Facebook are based in the suburbs, 33% in the urban area, and 25% in rural areas? That’s impressive! Most importantly, 29.4% of adults in the US make purchases via Facebook or Instagram. So, if you have a business or thinking about starting a new one, make no mistake the best way to showcase your services or products is on the Facebook platform that includes Instagram, of course.
Creating or Joining Facebook groups: That’s the question!
You might be wondering why not creating a Facebook group since the beginning? Simple: size matters. No one enjoys an empty club without engagement with others. You join a group because of the topic, the buzz, the glam, and the events. Unless you have a considerable amount of followers base and a high engagement rate on your business page, I would not recommend starting a Facebook group.
My advice is, join a group first, try it out and learn the ins and outs of how they work. Then you can create yours if that fits your business model. The groups give you the opportunity to gain access to a captive audience, which, when chosen wisely will convert into qualified leads, thus, sales.
In my experience, private groups provide the most powerful and effective way to test your audience, design your avatar/ideal client, build brand trust, authority, and rapport, which makes all the difference when you are starting a business. By joining the right groups, you can establish yourself as a leader in your niche because you provide valuable content that the rest of the group members will appreciate.
Not all Facebook groups are the same
The grand divide on Facebook groups starts with privacy settings: They are either public or closed.
Public groups are designed to build a big community and do not have an approval or moderation. Closed groups, on the other hand, have requirements for joining, rules and moderators. For business networking, you should ONLY consider applying to closed groups that have upfront rules, admin and moderators, it doesn’t mean that there will be no trolls, that is never guaranteed, however, it is less common.
Form the closed groups there are different categories:
- General. This is the basic group type with a standard set of tools. This group type, admins, moderators, and other group members can publish regular posts only in the discussion section.
- Buy and Sell. A trendy group can list your items for sale using the available form that appears in the “tabs.” The particular idea is to mark products as “sold” instead of deleting them to attract more leads.
- Jobs. Works the same as the Buy and Sell group, but you include details of the job description, salary range, and location. Here, interested members of the group need to apply via the button in the post.
- Social Learning. These groups are designed for educational purposes, you can organize your content in chapters or units, and members can complete them at their own pace and post when completed. This is a highly engaging type of group.
- Gaming. The group serves as the entry point to the Game tab, where members can see and join tournaments hosted by the administrators.
- Parenting. Recently a new type of group, designed especially for new parents to ask questions, vent, and share their experiences. It also allows mentoring and the anonymous option.
Choosing the right Facebook group for your business.
Start by using the search box and type your industry/niche, or other key words like small business owner, entrepreneur, work from home, home based business working moms, women in business, etc.
Read the about page identifying categories that are relevant to your business, the type of support you will get from them, use a spreadsheet (optional) to write down key topics:
- What is the group about? It needs to have a clear message defining the group’s purpose, goals, and rules beforehand.
- How much activity does it have? It needs to have daily new posts and growing membership.
- Does it have specific days to promote your business? It is important to know if the group is open for networking and engagement without fees.
- Does it allow asking for information for market research? If you need this topic to pay attention if the group offers a day to pose questions or request feedback on your products/services.
- How does it promote collaboration among members? This is absolutely the cherry of the cake; every freelancer or starting business needs “social proof.” Ensure the group offers a day for you to invite other members as guest bloggers for link building, interviews for your podcast, and test your services.
The Nasty Ones
Of course, I have to address the elephant in the room: unattended groups.
There are many private groups with 25k or more members and hundreds of posts, which apparently could be a good idea to join and participate, right? Well, be careful, lots of those groups (engagement, pods, boost, mompreneurs, work from home, or home-based) do not have admins or moderators actively participating and you can find more scams and nasty members than opportunities.
If you are curious, join in and check out the activity for one day, and then make a decision but most of the posts have low-quality content and if you engage even with an emoji, get ready to have your messenger filled with unwanted requests.
And the trolls? Oh dear, very passive-aggressive with long comments avoiding words banned from Facebook, still, nasty.
Now you know why I think Facebook groups are blooming, is all about the power of small businesses and entrepreneurs figuring out new ways to engage with their audience. Okay I might be biased and it is because people actually want to find their tribe, perhaps is time for me to start a Facebook group for happier, freer and fulfilled people! Who knows? Maybe I will find you there.
Don’t forget to stop by @content_withapurpose for your daily dose of inspiration.