4 Things Small Businesses Should Know About Facebook’s New Groups

First off, you need to know that unlike Pages, Facebook’s new Groups are not made strictly for brand promotion. But, that doesn’t mean you can’t get some value out of them, either by using them to reach out to would-be clients or customers, or to facilitate communication and community inside your company.

Here’s a few things you need to know about how Groups can be used by your business.

1. Groups Are Made By Users, Not Your Business

Formerly, businesses would set up Facebook Groups that customers or clients could join for updates, promotions and other helpful information. Facebook has now moved that function over to Pages, which are specifically made for promoting brands and businesses.

The new Groups, however, are not intended for promotion. Users add each other to Groups to create communities based on interests, careers or other commonalities. Groups can also reflect real-world social groups — for example, a clique of close friends, or a family.

You have to be friends with someone to add them to a Facebook Group, so forming a Group to promote your business isn’t practical, and probably wouldn’t be widely welcomed.

2. You Can Market In Groups, But Take It Easy

You can request to join an existing Group, and if you’re admitted, you’ll be able to post items to the group’s news feed. Here, you could promote your services, but we advise against a direct approach. If users wanted to receive promotions directly, they’d “Like” your Facebook Page.

We recommend a more subtle approach such as hosting events (concerts, tastings, or what have you) that might be of interest to the members of the Group, then post notifications about the event in the feed. Don’t overdo it, or word it like a sales pitch and you should be fine.

Even better, engage in Group discussions and add something to the community besides a pitch. If you can find a Group of ideal clients or customers and demonstrate that you’re a considerate and reliable source of information, that can go a long way towards building a positive image of your brand in their eyes.

3. Groups Are Ideal for Internal Communications

Arguably, the biggest opportunity for businesses in Facebook Groups is the facilitation of communication and community inside the company.

You can add your company’s employees and partners to a Group, set it to private, and use it as a free alternative to something like Yammer (a popular enterprise-focused social network).

Employees can then share updates on what they’re working on or pass links and other items around that might prove helpful to the organization as a whole. You can also use Facebook Groups  to make company announcements.

4. You Should Get Focused with Groups

Because the new Groups feature was designed for intimate settings, the setup is ripe for targeting and interacting with very niche audiences, such as consumers who may wish to leave reviews on a platform with which they are comfortable, event groups for people attending certain conferences or seminars, and groups for employees who may wish to ‘live chat’ with company figureheads.

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