What Is A Facebook Group and How Is It Different?
A Facebook Group is a place where a community can come together to engage on a shared interest, whether that’s a cause, an issue or an activity. They’re not the same as Facebook Pages, which were designed to be the official Facebook presence for any given entity (like a brand, business or celebrity).
As an example, let’s say you’re a fan of the Amazon and BBC sitcom Fleabag. If you want to keep up-to-date with the latest information about the show from the people who created it, you’d connect with the official Facebook Page:
Alternatively, you could join a Fleabag Facebook Group – such as this one – to chat about what’s happening on the show with fellow fans.
There’s one other key difference. Whereas Pages are automatically public, meaning that anyone can see them, Groups can be set up in one of three ways:
- Publicly Available: Anyone can join
- Administrator Approval: Administrators review applications to join the Group and decide whether or not to approve them
- Private: Group membership is by invitation only
What’s The Big Deal About Facebook Groups?
As digital marketers, we’re naturally busy people. You might already be posting regularly across multiple social networks, alongside a host of paid and organic search activity. So what’s so special about Facebook Groups? Why should you be paying attention?
Brands that chose the Facebook Groups approach have seen real success. Groups generate far better engagement than fan pages and, when run effectively, can create an active community centered around your products or services.
Over the past few years, Facebook have been steadily reducing organic reach. Which means businesses now reach far fewer people for free, when they post something on their Facebook Page.
Facebook’s reason for doing this is obvious. By reducing organic reach, they encourage businesses to advertise. This strategy has been very effective and there are reportedly now more than 6 million active Facebook advertisers.
However, organic reach has not disappeared completely. You can still consistently reach people on Facebook without having to pay, with a Facebook Group.
I’m not advocating that you spam lots of Facebook Groups with links to your website. That is a waste of time and quite frankly annoying. Instead, you should create your own Facebook Group.
By creating a Facebook Group and getting people within your target market to become members, you can market to those people on a regular basis without having to pay. And the big difference between a Facebook Group and a Facebook Page is that members of your Group will actually see your posts – which is a big deal!
What Does Facebook Group ‘Success’ Look Like For You?
It might sound like an obvious question, but it’s often overlooked: Ask yourself why you want to launch and grow a Facebook Group.
Presumably, the real reason isn’t simply to acquire a few thousand followers. More likely, the end goal for all your marketing efforts is to drive sales or generate leads. If that’s the case, it needs to be reflected in the content you post within the Group, whether that’s through exclusive offers, previews of upcoming product releases or video tutorials demonstrating how your product or service works.
Whatever your ultimate goal, you need to have some way of measuring your performance.
Do this by setting using the “SMART” methodology:
- Specific: Is it completely clear what your Facebook Group relates to? Don’t leave any wiggle room.
- Measurable: Literally, can it be measured? Can you put a number against it?
- Attainable: Is it realistic? We’d all love to quadruple sales overnight, but it’s probably not going to happen, at least not just with a Facebook Group.
- Relevant: Does it align with your wider objectives? If your ultimate aim is to increase lead generation through your Facebook Group?
- Timely: Set a time period over which your performance will be measured.
So how do you convince people to join your Facebook Group?
This article will show you exactly how to generate Facebook Group members quickly.
For the purposes of this, I have focused on growing a Facebook Group as opposed to creating one. If you haven’t already created a Facebook Group, here’s Facebook’s support documentation on how to do that.
1. Link Your Facebook Group to Your Facebook Page
You can generate members by directly advertising your Facebook Group. But I have found that’s expensive and ineffective.
Instead, you should link your Facebook Page to your Group. Doing so is straightforward and you can click here for Facebook’s instructions.
2. Invite Your Page Likes to Join Your Facebook Group
Once your Page and Group are linked, you can invite people that like your Page to join your Group:
If you’ve been active on Facebook for a while, it’s likely that you already have a number of Page likes.
Inviting those people to join your Group is very effective. I consistently see 50%+ of the people invited, accept the invitation to join.
It should be noted that Facebook won’t let you invite everyone at once. You have to invite each person manually and Facebook seems to limit you to around 50 invites per day. But if you have thousands of Page likes it won’t take very long to reach the 1,000-member mark in your Group.
However, not everyone reading this will have thousands of Facebook Page likes and some will have brand new Pages.
If that’s the case, you can advertise your Page to generate likes and then invite those people to join your Group. I have found this is much more effective than advertising your Group directly.
3. Create A Facebook Page Likes Campaign
Head into Facebook’s Ads Manager and click on the green Create button. That will bring up a window that looks like this:
Here you need to give your campaign a name and select the Page likes campaign objective as you can see above.
Selecting the right campaign objective when you create a Facebook ad campaign is very important as Facebook will optimize that campaign to meet your objective.
Then give your ad set and ad a name, and click Save to Draft at the bottom of the page.
4. Set Your Targeting Criteria
Now it’s time to set your Facebook targeting for your new campaign. Navigate to the ad set level and scroll down to the Audience section:
When looking to generate new Page likes it’s very unlikely that you’re going to advertise to warm audiences. Therefore, you can ignore the Custom Audiences section.
Start by adding the Locations you would like to target. I would recommend making this as large as possible. But, bare in mind that it should be within your area of operation as a business.
After all, there is little point building a Facebook Group that is full of people that can’t become customers of yours.
Then set your Age and Gender parameters. Again, I would recommend leaving this as open as possible. Page like campaigns work best with large target audiences.
After that, you may want to add Detailed Targeting criteria. If you operate on a local basis, or your product/service has mass market appeal then I wouldn’t add anything here.
However, if your product/service is quite niche then you may want to add something that is closely related to your industry.
You can leave the other settings as default. All you need to do is set your budget and then move onto the ad.
5. Create Your Facebook Ad
Facebook ads that are designed to generate Page likes should be very straightforward.
You simply want to include an interesting image that is related to your industry. And include a bit of information about what your company does, and why people might want to like your Page.
Here’s an example of an that has performed well:
The ad images in Page like campaigns are formatted differently to most ads as you can see above. Which means not all images will work.
The image above works well because it is interesting and colorful, which helps grab people’s attention. It also immediately lets people know what this ad is about.
Here I’ve used short and simple copy, and I’ve told people why they should like my Page. It’s very important that your copy focuses on why people should like your Page.
You may need to experiment with a few copy and ad variations to create an ad that can perform well and generate Page likes inexpensively.
6. Repeat Step 2 on A Regular Basis
As your Facebook ad campaign starts to generate Page likes, you obviously need to invite those people to join your Group.
The quicker you invite someone to join your Group after they have liked your Page, the more likely they are to accept the invitation.
I would recommend that you do this on a daily basis. It only takes a couple of minutes, but having hundreds or thousands of members in your Facebook Group can be well worth it.
Growing Your Facebook Group
So you’ve put in the hard work. You’ve figured out what you’re trying to achieve, you’ve got the time and resources to make it happen, and you’ve drawn up a clear set of guidelines. Now for the fun part – launching your Group.
Over the past few years, I’ve been a part of dozens of Facebook Groups, and I’ve picked up plenty of insights along the way about what to do and what to definitely not do when running one:
- Offer your members valuable content and targeted offers
- Interact with your members and ask questions
- Ask your most dedicated fans for help in growing the Group
- Set clear rules so your members know what to expect
- Send links to the Group to Facebook users you think would be interested
- Create a strong theme to the content you post
- Spam members with constant discount codes
- Post dozens of times a day (you’ll risk driving members to switch off their Group notifications)
- Overstretch by trying to handle all the admin yourself
- Allow regular rule-breakers to spoil the Group for everyone else
- Add people to a Group they know nothing about (or encourage others to do so)
- Veer off topic and latch onto irrelevant trends
Once you’ve got the basics down, you’re in a great position to shift your focus towards increasing your membership.
Organic reach on Facebook has almost completely disappeared. One way that you can still reach people without having to pay for it, is with a Facebook Group.
Directly advertising a Facebook Group is expensive and ineffective. I’ve found that generating Page likes and then inviting those people to join your Group, is a more effective strategy.
There are 6 steps to this strategy:
- Link your Facebook Group to your Facebook Page
- Invite your Page Likes to join your Facebook Group
- Create a Facebook Page Likes campaign
- Set your targeting criteria
- Create your Facebook ad
- Repeat step 2 on a regular basis
Let me know if you have any questions and best of luck with it.
Follow these simple tips, and there’s no reason you won’t be able to grow your group members without having to spend a single dollar:
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