Building a quality audience using Facebook Groups

Facebook recently changed the way groups work and although there are many advantages when it comes to marketing your business there are also some disadvantages.

The way groups used to work was that someone would set up a group, invite people to join and start discussing things, creating events etc. But importantly as an admin of a group you could send a message to every single group member at once, whether friends of yours or not, it was like an email campaign within Facebook.

With the new version of groups this is not possible, if you are admin of an old group you still have access but groups started since the change at the end of last year, do not.

One of the disadvantages of the old groups was that people could join them and then never think about them again! (unless the group’s admin used the message function to communicate with you!). This is because there were no notifications of things that happened in the group and even if a friend of yours posted on the wall of a group you were both members of it would not show up in your news feed. In fact the only time anything to do with the group would show up in news feeds was when someone first joined them, seriously limiting the possibility of them going viral!

If you want to use an old style group to promote your page on Facebook, the best way is to comment on other people’s posts, politely, and add a link to your page. This way the person that wrote the post will at least get a notification, although no one else will, so doing this frequently is important. This is very time-consuming however.

You can also write blog posts that show you know your field and post them onto discussion forums but the quickest way is to look to see who the administrator of the group is and approach them. They may agree to sending out a message on your behalf, they may even allow you to become an administrator yourself which would allow you to message as often as you like, I know I don’t need to remind you to use this privilege regularly but not over frequently! If you are the admin of an old style group maybe you could offer to do the same in return?

New groups have one very important feature that allows membership to grow very quickly. They give you the ability to add anybody you think would like to join, and you don’t need their permission to do this. Although this can also means that it can diminish very quickly and you risk irritating the very people you want to prove valuable too.

One way to avoid this is to send a message to each person before you add them to let them know what you are doing and why, and letting them know how they can leave if they wish too. Good manors, but very time-consuming!

You could also add a paragraph saying this to the introduction that all the group members will see. This solution isn’t as personal but it’s better than nothing, once the group is established you can remove this.

New groups do have the distinct advantage of notifying members whenever anything new is posted which keeps interaction going. You can post any promotion, link announcement or discussion safe in the knowledge that people will know something’s been posted and may well go into the group to se what’s happening and view your post. This being so make sure you offer them links to your page, blog, website etc as often as is appropriate.

So what types of groups should you look for? Well that depends on your business, if I manufactured dolls house furniture for example, I would join a group for doll’s house enthusiasts.

It’s also often a good idea to join groups that are geographically based, the county I live on has plenty of these and being a member of them certainly has it’s advantages as people often want to do business with other local businesses.

Building your audience is often the most time-consuming thing about social media, which is why so many people neglect this area, but spending even 30 minutes a week will reap results. But if you want to reach a lot more of your ideal clients now instead of in 6 months or a year then please feel free to call me!

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About GemLThompson

Gemma Thompson is the author of the best-selling “The British Book of Social Media Marketing”. She is a full time social media consultant and loves helping businesses grow. When she’s not working she can often be found watching Dr Who with her teenage daughter or indulging in a spot of inept D.I.Y (but no, she still hasn’t managed to make her house bigger on the inside than it is on the outside!)
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