Whether you’re a die-hard fan of The Bachelor or a burgeoning urban planner, you can find a niche Facebook Group that caters to your interests, ensuring that you’re never more than a click away from an active Group of like-minded people. But what exactly are Facebook Groups, and how can you take advantage of them to build your brand, engage your audience, and drive your marketing plan?
Simply put, Facebook Groups are high-tech message boards. They allow Facebook users to communicate, share interests, and express opinions about… well, pretty much anything you can think of. Anyone is allowed to create a Facebook Group, and the person who creates a given Group can control who is allowed to join.
There are three types of Facebook Groups, each with their own distinct purposes:
- Public Groups are just what they sound like: These Facebook Groups are open to anyone who’s interested in joining, and your Facebook friends may see which Groups you decide to join. Public Facebook groups are very similar to Facebook Pages, but Groups give you the flexibility to post types of content that aren’t supported with Facebook Pages.
- Closed Facebook Groups are more private. Closed Groups can be found by anyone, but to join, you have to be approved by a moderator. A closed Facebook Group allows its members to communicate freely with one another without the worry that someone outside said Group will look at what’s being shared and posted. If you’re the creator of a Closed Facebook group, you can even set up qualifying questions that must be answered by every prospective group member before they’re allowed to join. These questions can help you ensure that the members of your closed group are actually interested in the type of content you’ll be posting.
- Private Facebook Groups offer more security than any other type of Facebook Group: These Groups can’t be found by other Facebook users, and only members can see what’s going on within the Group. Private Facebook Groups are a great way to plan a surprise event, aggregate interested parties to show them properties and receive feedback, or just talk with your friends without worrying about your privacy.
Once you’ve created (or entered) a Facebook Group, you can communicate in many of the same ways you’d engage with people on your Facebook Newsfeed. You can post statuses, pictures, videos, comment on other people’s posts, and poll other Group members.
Why Should I Use Facebook Groups?
Facebook Ads are the talk of the town when it comes to using Facebook as a marketing tool, but Groups have proven themselves to be integral in increasing engagement and creating new, more personalized content for audiences in all industries. That’s not all, though: In fact, Facebook has reported that more than 200 million users are involved in “meaningful” Facebook Groups (where “meaningful” groups are defined as “communities that become a key part of a user’s experience”).
Beyond the opportunities Facebook Groups present to market yourself and your business, Groups also allow you to engage with your community. So much work in this industry comes from building positive relationships, and engaging regularly with your audience in a Facebook Group does a lot when it comes to building the perception of you and your brand within your community. Building goodwill in your community leads to lifelong relationships and, for the more business-minded agents out there, a broader pool of potential future clients and leads.
Is Creating a Facebook Group for My Business Worthwhile?
Creating a Facebook Group is a great business decision and the first step in any worthwhile Facebook Group strategy. First, creating a Facebook Group is one of the few valuable marketing efforts you can engage in at no monetary cost. Once you get members of your community to join your Facebook Group, there’s also a substantial opportunity to develop a new community of potential future clients. When compared to an average Facebook user, members of Facebook Groups are more engaged by default. Joining a Facebook Group requires a level of active intent not found other places on Facebook, so the people who have chosen to join your Group are already interested in you and what you have to say.
While Facebook Groups may be places for conversation and discussion, they also present some unique opportunities to drive traffic to your website. As the moderator of your Facebook Group, you have the power to share what you want, when you want. Sharing links to your listings or recent blog posts as part of your Facebook Group strategy is a surefire way to get traffic to your website, which can have a direct impact on future lead generation efforts. Depending on the size of the group you create, you even have the option to create a Facebook Messenger group chat where you can all message back and forth instantaneously, adding yet another way for your audience to engage with you.
Every agent’s Facebook Group will look different. For example, if you’re finding a home for a client with a large extended family, you could make a Secret Facebook Group, invite family members, and post listings in order to receive feedback from your client. If you’re interested in taking a different approach, you could create a Facebook group with you and any former clients who are interested in keeping tabs on your business. This type of group is focused more on ongoing engagement, but would also allow you to reach out and solicit feedback from former clients easily.
Should I Join Other Groups?
In a word: Absolutely. Joining hyper-local, subject-specific Groups is a great way to continue engaging with your community — it can also be a great way to get eyes on your website. There are local Facebook groups for just about everything: Whether it’s a group of moms from a local elementary school or a Facebook group for fans of a local trivia night, local Facebook groups are a figurative goldmine when it comes to expanding and engaging your audience. Seek out any Groups you’re interested in, but you’re likely better off looking for Groups with higher numbers of members. More members lead to more potential traffic and more potential leads!
When posting in a Facebook Group, it’s important to think about content that people want to see: After all, posting a link to a listing with no surrounding context is a quick way to convince people that you’ve only joined to “spam” the group with your listings. Your posts in your chosen Groups should be conversational, and you make a concerted effort to post content that’s relevant to the group’s focus. If you have a blog, your Facebook Group strategy should focus on tailoring new content to the interests of some of your newly-joined Facebook groups. People are hungry for relevant content, and by driving traffic to your website and establishing yourself as an authority on a given subject, people are more likely to remember you down the line. The Group format also allows for you to engage with other Group members in a thoughtful discussion of the content you’ve shared, further building those relationships you’ve sought out.
So — what are you waiting for? It’s time to take your newfound Facebook Group strategy and put it to good use in your community.