Several years ago, Facebook Groups were a way to promote your business. Not anymore. Businesses are now found on Pages, not Groups. Groups are used to socialize, talk about a common theme, and share other types of information. But that doesn’t mean that Groups are dead to small business owners. Here are 5 ways you can still use groups to promote your business.
1. Find Your Customers
Find groups that are related to your business. If you sell boats, look for groups for boaters, cottagers, or fishermen. Your business may not have an obvious community, but think hard about your target market and you will find something.
The most important part is to make sure you join groups you can contribute more to than just information about your company.
Pro-tip: Use Facebook’s Graph function to find groups you should contribute to.
2. Be an Expert, Not a Salesmen
You’re not there to sell. You’re there to join a conversation. And nobody wants a sales pitch wedged into a normal conversation. Being too sales-y is the fastest way to alienate group members, waste everyone’s time, and possibly get removed.
“If users wanted to receive promotions directly, they’d “Like” your Facebook Page,” wrote Samuel Axon from Mashable.
“If you can find a Group of ideal clients or customers and demonstrate that you’re a considerate and reliable source of info and insight, that can go a long way towards building your brand in their eyes.”
Pro-tip: Look for questions you can answer without mentioning your product or service.
3. Respond to Criticism
Your instincts may be to ignore or report negative comments directed at your company. You may see these while you’re trying to help someone, or maybe someone attacked your company before you even joined.
Either way, this is an opportunity to turn a critic into a fan.
Pro-Tip: Acknowledge the complainers specific gripe, then invite them to message you privately to resolve their issue.
4. Set up Your Own Group
You can still set up Groups to complement your Page.
You can set up a Group to help announce a new product rollout, or an upcoming event.
Another smart option is setting up a group to deal with just customer service related issues.
“Having a dedicated group for customer service queries can help you provide more responsive customer care, and can offload some of the strain from your Page,” advised Jayson DeMers at Forbes.com
Pro-Tip: Make sure someone is monitoring your dedicated Groups to ensure customers get timely answers.
5. Know How to Measure Your Results
The most obvious wins are new leads or sales from the people you interact with in Groups. But a lack of these doesn’t mean you’ve wasted your time.
Measure your results in thought-leadership. Being a helpful expert may lead you to get offered an interview, or guest blog opportunity. These are always an amazing chance to raise your company’s profile and establish yourself as a thought-leader in your industry.
Pro-Tip: Be realistic for the first few weeks or months. It takes a while to build traction in the social space.
How is your business using Facebook Groups? Let us know in the comments.