Most businesses have a Facebook Page in 2016.
However, most do not have a Facebook Group.
The difference is that a traditional Page doesn’t encourage communication amongst the community in the same way a Group does.
Your Page is where the business shares posts and people react and engage with that content.
In a Facebook Group… people, not brands, start the discussions and engage with one another.
Here’s an example of a Facebook Page post we did on our Page.
This got 9 likes and 1 comment for engagement.
I posted the same exact video to a private Facebook Group of digital marketers and here’s the response I received:
This received 55 likes and 15 comments on my post inside the Facebook Group.
The reason is the content (video production) is much more in line with that Group.
It’s also different responding to a person instead of a brand.
Now, let’s cover a couple reasons why a Facebook Group is advantageous to your business.
Reason #1 – Increase customer retention
Under Facebook’s terms and conditions you cannot collect money for access to your Facebook group.
What you can do, is make the Facebook Group a bonus service available only to your paying customers.
If you offer some sort of monthly service such as a gym membership you can monitor the Group so only active customers are allowed.
A Facebook group allows people to create connections, ask questions, and give advice to other members.
This creates a sense of community and makes it harder for a customer to leave your business because in turn they’re leaving this community that they’ve built a connection with online.
Reason #2 – Improve leads and sales
In the last example we talked about a gym that only allows paying customers to be in the group.
You can also go a different route and use your group as a lead gen source.
Let’s say you create a group with 100 happy customers.
Then imagine you open your group up to 10 people who could potentially be customers one day.
If one of those 10 people were to pose a question about your service there would be 100 people ready to say how awesome it is.
You essentially create a group of “brand advocates” and slowly drip in potential customers to be indoctrinated by the people who love your brand the most.
Reason #3 – Customer insights
Ever been out to eat and someone is complaining about their food but when the waiter comes they say everything is fine?
The comfort level that patron has telling friends is different than the comfort level telling the business how they feel.
It’s just a different dynamic.
In a Facebook group you can get unsolicited feedback and insights into your customers because of what they’re asking about and bringing up.
Those insights may not come from a survey or direct ask from the business.
Listen to your community and you can learn quite a bit.
Tips for starting your group:
A Facebook group might not be for everyone.
In fact, we don’t use this strategy for Of the Sea and I wouldn’t recommend a driveway sealing business to start a Group to help connect customers.
No one will care.
Just like no one will care about the bakery and their Group.
… that bakery could start a weekly running group and invite runners to join their Facebook Group as well.
Then runners can connect over a shared passion and motivate one another and the bakery is the brand creating that sense of community.
What to do next:
First, decide if creating a group makes sense for your business or not.
If it does, decide what the purpose of the group will be. Will it be open to anybody (bakery running club)…
… or will you use it as a retention tool for your subscription service (gym)….
Once you have an idea of how the group will be run you can upload emails into the group to search for Facebook users you’d like to ask to join.
Spur conversations, create weekly updates, and encourage people to keep the conversation going.
Best of all… it’s 100% free, so your risk is very low.
Good luck and be creative in ways to engage your community.