You’ve got a great product or service, but you’re struggling to increase engagement. Sound familiar? You’ve created a Facebook Page, managed to grab a few likes, but your content seems to be struggling on the platform? You’re not alone. If you’re finding it difficult to make meaningful connections with your customers, a Facebook Group might just be the answer you’ve been looking for. A Facebook Group allows you to build a genuine sense of community and exclusivity that a page can simply never offer. With 2.7 billion monthly active users worldwide, you may think it should be relatively easy to reach your audience. However, in the competitive world we live in, this isn’t always the case. Every brand under the sun has a Facebook Page, and that may just be the reason that more and more brands are turning to Facebook groups to make more real connections. But why are so many organisations opting for Facebook Groups? Let’s take a closer look. ContentsFacebook Groups, Pages and Profiles – what’s the difference?Facebook GroupsFacebook Pages vs ProfilesWhy Do Brands Create Facebook Groups?Organic Reach Feedback Generate Goodwill With CustomersHow to Create a Facebook GroupBest Practices for Facebook Group ManagementChoose a Relevant Group Name and Cover ImageSet the RulesPost Consistently and Reply to CommentsScreen Members with a QuestionnaireCheck Facebook Group InsightsContent Ideas for Facebook GroupsGiveaways and PromotionsUse Facebook Group FeaturesWatch PartyCreate a RoomLearning UnitsPollsAsk For RecommendationsWrite a PromptBrands Doing Well in Facebook GroupsCanva Design CircleBubble Tea ClubScheduling content to Facebook Groups with Sked Social Facebook Groups, Pages and Profiles – what’s the difference? If you’re already active on Facebook, you’re probably familiar with groups, pages, and personal profiles. For many brands on Facebook, driving engagement isn’t so much a matter of what they’re posting, it’s a matter of where they’re posting. Let’s take a quick look at the key differences between groups, pages, and profiles: Facebook Groups The biggest advantage of a Facebook group over a personal profile or a business page is the sense of community it allows you to create. Unlike a page, members of a group can actively participate in what is posted and discussed. It’s important to keep in mind that groups have three levels of visibility: Public — Everyone on Facebook can find the group in a search and see its members and posts. Private — The group is visible to everyone in a search, but only members can see posts and the list of members. Secret— The group is visible only to members who must be invited to join. Facebook Pages vs Profiles Many people make the mistake of confusing a Facebook Page with a personal profile. However, while connected, the two couldn’t be more different. When you think of a Facebook profile, think “person”. When you think of a Page, think business. Your profile is your starting point for Facebook. It’s where you go to share status updates, upload videos, post photos, and connect with your friends and favourite brands. Whereas if you’re more interested in advertising your business on Facebook, creating a Page is what you need to do. Creating a Page allows you to run ads on Facebook and connect with customers. Remember: to create a Facebook Page for your business, you need to have a Facebook profile for you personally. Want to dive deeper? When it comes to Facebook, there’s a lot to know about marketing your business with profiles, pages, and groups. Why Do Brands Create Facebook Groups? The simple answer is engagement. While groups aren’t exclusively available to brands, they are a powerful tool to help connect with customers, create a community, and offer a level of exclusivity and promote your business in a way that a page cannot. People willing to join a Facebook Group dedicated to your brand are telling you something significant: they’re interested in what you do. They’re so interested that they’re willing to join a community about it. Where else can you find a group of people who are socialising for the sole purpose of discussing your brand? Organic Reach We all know just how expensive Facebook marketing can be, especially with dwindling organic reach numbers on the platform. When it comes to groups, however, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Based on a 2019 survey, Facebook, “updated the algorithm to prioritise the Pages and groups we predict an individual may care about most.” This is fantastic news for brands looking to build and expand their community around a Facebook group without increasing their ad spending. Feedback Group members are customers who know your brand better than most people and are ready to provide feedback. The lively discussions that take place in a group can provide valuable insights into people’s perceptions of your business. Better yet, you can moderate and facilitate discussions about the things that matter to your business. If you’re after some feedback about a specific product or service, why not try out a poll? There are a lot of different post types you can create in a Group: Generate Goodwill With Customers Groups are also a great way to generate goodwill. Every time you provide an exclusive preview or rally support for a good cause, you are developing loyalty and trust. Customers are likely to remain loyal to a company that goes out of its way to establish relationships with them and may go on to become brand ambassadors. How to Create a Facebook Group When it comes to creating a group on Facebook, there are two options to choose from: Create a Facebook group where you are the admin Create a Facebook group where your Page is the admin Groups can be created through the desktop and mobile versions of Facebook. Best Practices for Facebook Group Management The more you know about managing a Facebook group, the more your brand and your group members will get out of it. Managing a group is pretty straightforward, but there are some best practices that are worth knowing. Choose a Relevant Group Name and Cover Image Your group name should be easy to remember, such as your company name. Regardless of whether your group will be public or private, make sure that the title will be easy for users to find in a search. Unless you don’t want people to find you that is. See the privacy settings options above. The cover image should be relevant to your group, such as an espresso machine for a coffee shop, playful puppies for a pet care store, or even your logo. Think carefully about the cover image and description, which will be a snapshot and first impression of your group and your brand. Set the Rules When setting up your Facebook group, it’s essential to establish rules right off the bat. Facebook allows every group to set a maximum of 10 public rules. Keep in mind that the purpose of your rules shouldn’t be to control your members. Setting rules is all about setting your group’s tone and ensuring it’s a safe space for all members and reflects your brand’s values accurately. A good set of rules should help you increase positivity, reduce repetitive questions, minimise the amount of spam within your group, and maintain a positive vibe in your group. Here are a few handy tips straight from Facebook: New groups can benefit from having rules to set expectations of the group culture early. Use the group rules feature to add up to 10 rules for your group. Great rules tell members how they can engage with the group. Rules can help prevent conflict as your group grows and provide a feeling of safety for group members. Some of our favourite rules include reminding everyone to play nice and that there are no stupid questions; depending on the group’s privacy levels, we may restrict information from being shared outside the group or having rules around attribution. Another rule we love is requiring all posts to be accessible, and images contain descriptions. Post Consistently and Reply to Comments We mentioned earlier that successful Facebook groups are all about engagement. While this is true, you do actually have to work for this engagement; this means posting regular content for your members to interact with. Focus on finding a balance between the quantity and quality of the content you post. Don’t post a piece of content for content’s sake. If you want your community to engage with you meaningfully, you need to be providing some form of value with your content. You’ve got to remember though, it’s not just one-way posting – a crucially important aspect of running a Facebook group is community management. This means replying to comments, moderating negative comments, and removing problematic members, if need be. Replying to comments shows your members that you are interested in what they’re saying, which will result in even more comments and in turn drives higher engagement. It becomes a big fun loop of organic engagement success. Screen Members with a Questionnaire You have the option to create a questionnaire for people who want to join your group. A set of required questions is an effective screening tool and is always a good idea – the best groups are for people who identify as part of some kind of community rather than just anyone under the sun. Questions such as “why do you want to join this group?” can detect fake profiles and spam and can reserve membership for those who will take the time to participate. Here’s an example questionnaire from Bubble Tea Club with two screening questions and asking prospective members to agree to abide by their rules before joining: Check Facebook Group Insights Group administrators have a powerful analytics tool called Insights, which tracks a variety of metrics. Check Insights frequently for data on growth, engagement and members. You can even download information from any section. These analytics can help you learn what types of posts members prefer, audience demographics, number of membership requests and more. The key metrics we keep an eye on are member growth and member activity – whilst we want to have active members, overbearing ones can be detrimental. No one likes a shouter, so make sure that you keep an eye on who’s activity is found most often. Content Ideas for Facebook Groups If you continually post the same content day in and day out, your members are bound to grow tired and less engaged with what you’re doing. A great way to add value and keep engagement high is to vary your content. Facebook offers a host of fantastic content options, so why not take advantage of them? Why not ask your group members to create some of that content for you? Instead of posting a simple image, why not try a GIF? Instead of sharing an eBook, why not repurpose it into an infographic? Giveaways and Promotions Who doesn’t love to get free stuff? One way to promote your brand while benefiting group members is to host a product giveaway or promotion. When a loyal customer wins a free product or buys a product at an exclusive discount, chances are you’ll receive a great review in return. A giveaway doesn’t have to involve a lot of work. It can be as simple as posting an announcement of the giveaway and asking members to leave a comment in order to enter. A name is randomly drawn from a list of members who commented, and you have a winner! Nothing beats a giveaway for letting members know that you appreciate them. Another effective promotion is a discount for group members only. For example, you can post a coupon code or offer free shipping that is valid for a limited time. Members-only promotions add to the exclusivity of the group and keep members interested in following the group. Use Facebook Group Features Watch Party With over eight billion views per day, there’s no denying that video is quickly becoming the king of content on Facebook. From a simple video post to Facebook live, users can’t get enough of video content. And the same goes for the members of your group. Hosting a Watch Party is a simple concept that allows you to premiere a video for group members to watch together. So long as it’s public, the video can be yours or one that someone else created. Think of a Watch Party as a fun way for your members to share an experience, bond as a community, and provide real-time feedback. You can use it, for example, to ask for feedback on a new product or to show a behind-the-scenes view of your company. Your audience will appreciate the opportunity to post replies while the video is live. Here’s how to create a Watch Party in a group: From your News Feed, click Groups in the left menu and select your group. Click the text next to your profile picture at the top of the group. Click then click Watch Party. Search for a video or click a category (example: For You, Watched, Live) to view additional videos. Select any videos you’d like to add to your watch party, then click Next. You can choose to add a description for your watch party, then click Post. You’ll see a message that says “Your Watch Party Is About To Begin.” To add group members to your watch party, click Invite in the bottom left of the video. On the right, type their name and click Invite next to their name. Any people you invite will receive a notification that they’ve been invited to join your watch party. When someone joins, you’ll see their profile picture in the bottom left of your screen. Create a Room Jumping on the audio trend, Rooms are a place to have a conversation in real-time with up to 50 group members. It should really come as no surprise that Facebook has copied this feature from other platforms – it’s yet to be seen if it’s successful. Learning Units Would your group members benefit from related online courses that you create? If your business is a garden supply centre, for example, maybe your customers would like to learn how to prune certain shrubs. Learning Units lets you do just that by organising content and resources into an education module. Using Units, you can create modules for your group rules, important posts or other relevant content you would like to easily find and organise. Polls What’s the point in creating a dedicated online community if you aren’t going to get their feedback? If you’re looking for a quick and easy way to gauge opinion or engagement, a poll is your best bet. Can you use a poll to get feedback on your latest product launch? Maybe you’re simply wondering if members prefer a Watch Party or a new Learning Unit. Remember to cover topics other than your brand, such as industry news. Polls are a snap to create and require minimal effort for members to participate. To create a poll, go to your group page to make a post. Choose “poll” from the “add to your post” section and write your question in the “ask question” field. Add answer options in the “add a poll option” fields. When you have listed all the options, click or tap “post”, and you are done! As soon as users answer the question, you and your group members will see poll results right away. Ask For Recommendations Need advice on a travel destination or a service provider? You can use the Ask for Recommendations feature to pose a question to the group. Write a Prompt Instead of asking for a recommendation, ask an open-ended question and really get your members talking. This feature is customisable, allowing you to specify background colour to fit the theme of the post. Brands Doing Well in Facebook Groups Many brands have taken the plunge and started Facebook groups. Some have used brilliant and creative strategies to keep members engaged. Let’s take a look at a few examples of brands that are really doing well with Facebook groups. Canva Design Circle With over 50,000 members and counting, Canva Design Circle is a perfect example of a brand using Facebook groups to their full potential. Canva Design Circle group members get access to tips and tricks straight from the Canva team and the benefit of an informed community of Canva users. The group also offers a Design School so members can take their Canva skills to the next level. Bubble Tea Club Bubble Tea Club is a direct to consumer company selling bubble tea kits so that people can make their bubble tea at home. For a brand that was only started in mid-2020 (yes, THAT 2020), they’ve already got a Facebook Group with 3,400+ members. Bubble Tea Club is a great example of the different ways you can use your Facebook Page versus a Group. Here’s what their Facebook Page (with around 8,500 followers) looks like: Their Facebook Page shares a lot of posts about their products with clear calls-to-action to head online to shop and buy their products. They also share how-to videos, showcasing how easy it is to make bubble tea at home (of course, with their products!): By comparison, the Bubble Tea Club Facebook Group is all about creating a community experience for their hardcore fans. Here’s their about section: It establishes a connection with Group members both as business owners / founders, and makes the intent of the Group clear: a way for diehard fans to get the news about new products or flavours before anyone else. The group is “Private” and asks prospective members “applying” to join what their favourite bubble tea flavour is, and how they heard about Bubble Tea Club (see the example above!). The Group has all kinds of content, and almost all posts are from members of the community (rather than Bubble Tea Club team members, who mostly comment and reply). An example is new Bubble Tea fans sharing their first creations: And customers asking for recommendations about adjacent products they might buy (good opportunity for Bubble Tea Club to gather intel about new products they might stock!): The Facebook Group has a very different vibe, where you often see customers answering each other’s questions (like above) compared to a typical Facebook Page where only the brand answers questions/comments from community members. Scheduling content to Facebook Groups with Sked Social Now that you’re up to speed with everything there is to know about Facebook groups, let’s take a look at how Sked Social can help you streamline your workflow by allowing you to schedule posts to all of your Facebook Groups. If you’re already familiar with how to post on Facebook with Sked Social, scheduling posts to Facebook Groups should be a breeze. The process works in much the same way. Start off by adding your Facebook Group to Sked. There is a small extra step – for privacy reasons you need to add our ‘app’ to your Group. See how to add a Facebook Group to Sked Social. Then you can get going and schedule your Group content alongside other social media accounts – Sked also supports Instagram Business accounts, Facebook Pages, Twitter accounts, Google My Business locations, LinkedIn Pages and Profiles, and YouTube channels. Here’s an overview of how you can upload and schedule content to social accounts including Groups with Sked: If you have any questions, feel free to ask our team in our live chat or join one of our regular intro webinars. We’re here to help!