Facebook recently revealed that there are now 1.04 billion users using Facebook Groups as of December 2015. Woah!
Such a noteworthy number definitely makes you stop and think about your use of Facebook Groups as a small business.
In fact, you might be thinking “Should I be using Facebook Groups in MY business?”
It’s a good question.
I think before answering it though, it’s important to make the distinction between Facebook Pages and Facebook Groups.
What’s The Difference Between Facebook Pages and Facebook Groups?
I like to think of Facebook Pages as your shop front. It’s the place where people can walk on by and find out what you are all about. In 2016, it’s an expectation that if you are a business, you’ll have one and for many customers looking for you, this is where they will come first.
Facebook Groups on the other hand are more like an inside community. It brings a number of people following your business together into a group where you can all interact with one another.
A Facebook Group can be open, closed or secret so you can restrict the group membership and who can/can’t join. You have full control unlike Facebook Pages.
On a Facebook Page, it’s more about a business sharing their message whereas on a Facebook Group, again, it’s more about all that community interaction.
A really simple way to think about it is talking at your customers vs. talking with them.
So Facebook Pages vs. Facebook Groups: Which is better?
They’re different and they tend to serve different purposes.
It is worth noting they are both indexed by search engines so as far as search engine optimisation goes, they both benefit.
Facebook Pages are typically how your current customers will find you and contact you if they have any form of enquiry.
Groups do tend to have more of a personal feel so depending on your business or industry, your customers might not always want to join a Facebook Group. They may prefer keeping the relationship a little more discrete.
Example If you’re a Podiatrist. Your customers will be happy to send you a message and book their appointments via Facebook Page Messenger. They may not want to join a group full of other people who also visit your clinic.
As always, it comes down to relevancy and purpose.
The Difficulty Of Facebook Pages…
Facebook Groups can help overcome some of the difficulty with Facebook Pages.
Right now, it’s hard for small businesses trying to generate big results without paying for advertising. It’s not that these businesses aren’t creating good pages with good content (which helps). It’s just a case of Facebook limiting the number of fans that see these posts. This can lead to businesses putting in all a lot of work with very little return on that time investment. The top of mind awareness just isn’t the same.
Members of a Facebook Group have a specific group news feed which means there’s a place where they can see all the posts you do put out. They can respond to you, the owner of the group but they can also respond to other members.
This is another difficulty of Facebook Pages. It can be hard to build up solid relationships on a Facebook Page and have conversations even if you are a well engaged business. Groups are more about the conversation and the ability to bring people together is value added to your proposition aka. you get the credit.
We know the importance of nurturing these relationships so that people start to buy into what our business stands for and what it represents… because then the sales come.
Speaking of sales.
You Can Now Sell In Facebook Groups
Facebook recognises the growth in businesses using Facebook Groups and are starting to integrate more and more features that make it easy to sell products straight from Facebook.
The benefit to Facebook here is that it encourages both users and businesses to stay within the platform. The benefit to you as a business is that it makes it a lot easier to sell.
The other way you can sell right now is through the creation of a paid Facebook Group whereby people have to pay and sign up via a sales page in order to access the group. You can then use the group to offer exclusive discounts, teach, mastermind, insider research etc.
So this makes it all sound like Facebook Groups are a pretty exciting place to be right?
They are and you might want to consider adding one to your social media strategy BUT I think it’s also important to look at the big picture and what you’re trying to achieve. I wouldn’t necessarily recommend creating a Facebook Group at the expense of your Facebook Page. As I mentioned previously, having a Facebook Page is an expectation from customers now. Also, like the example showed, it’s not always appropriate to have a Group.
I’d say think about the direction of your business, what the purpose of the group would be and how those two tie together. Ultimately, you’re marketing efforts are done so with the intention of getting a financial return on that investment. It has to make sense.
It’s also a good idea to check out some other great Facebook Groups and see what they are up to, even if it’s just for inspiration.
I’m 100% bias here but I’d also love to encourage you to sign up to the C4 Community Facebook Group. Just click the little image below ;)
I do hope this answers your question.