With Facebook becoming increasingly pay-to-play I find myself starting to abandon the platform. As my feed becomes flooded with sponsored posts, unappealing viral videos, and a seemingly unending supply of wedding photos from my ex and her new husband, I have a hard time seeing what value Facebook has to offer me. The only real thing that keeps from completely breaking free from Mark Zuckerburg’s clammy embrace is the sense of community I found in Facebook groups.
If you have a Facebook account, you’ve probably joined at least one. Heck, you might have even created one yourself. Facebook groups have the potential to create huge value for your brand by allowing you to keep your customers engaged while also having control over the direction of the conversation.
But how exactly does one grow their Facebook group? Well, it’s not as easy as you might think. Growing your Facebook group takes more than just getting it out there. It requires a well rounded, strategic approach that takes foresight and constant attention. Lucky for you, the marketing experts at GenM are here to give you 9 of our best pieces of advice for anybody looking to grow their Facebook group and ignite your followers into becoming a part of the conversation.
1). Think high level
First thing’s first. If you’re going to start putting time and effort into your Facebook group — you have to be sure you’re in it for the right reasons. Define a clear goal for your group. Do you want to use your goal to promote a product or service? Do you want to use your group to help answer questions your followers have? If so, what questions? Do you want to gain feedback to improve your product? Without a clear goal, defining a direction with which to grow your group will be impossible.
Once you’ve settled on a goal for the group, start thinking about how you will manage your community. Do you want the group to be public or private? Do you want to allow people to post at-will or do you want to approve all posts before they are added to the group? Each decision has its pros and cons and it’s important to weigh all the options and nail down high-level strategy before moving forward with growing and engaging your followers.
2). Use owned channels
Now that you know the direction you want to grow your group in, it’s time to start actually growing it. A good place to start is with your owned channels. If you have a Facebook page, make a post linking your group and pin it to the top of your page. Invite the people who like your page to join your group. Create some Facebook stories about your group and post them. If you have an Instagram account, same goes for there. YouTube? LinkedIn? Twitter? You get the idea. The more you leverage your owned channels, the more impressions you will be able to get on your Facebook group. If you defined your goals for your group clearly and it aligns with your product or service, your current followers should be more than happy to join in on the conversation.
3). Link up with influencers
Influencers are huge in 2019. I mean, they were huge in 2018, but they still are today. Getting an influencer to join your group can be great social proof for your page. Try finding a few influencers who are in the same space that your group is trying to serve and send them an invite and a quick message. If they join your group, make a post welcoming them. If you’re having trouble getting an influencer to join your group organically, you can always try speaking their language and spend a little money to get them to shout out your group, join, make a few posts, etc.
If you’re having trouble finding influencers, don’t think you have the budget, or don’t know how to start negotiating with them — check out our blog post on micro-influencers.
4). Join other groups
See another group that is serving the same audience as yours? Don’t look at it as competition, look at it as an opportunity. Joining a group and getting in on the conversation can be another great way to get people noticing your group. Because the members of that group are already your target audience, there’s a good chance they will join yours. When mentioning your group, make sure you show what sets yours apart from the one they are currently in. Show those members why they would get added value by joining your group in addition to the one they are currently in.
Before you post, read the rules of the group. It’s common for Facebook posts to look down on self-promotion. If there is a rule against it, there might be dedicated threads where you will be free to promote your group. You can even try messaging the admins of the group directly to ask their permission. If you go this route, be sure to focus on the differences between your groups — you don’t want them to think you are poaching members (even if you are).
5). Embrace paid advertising
Since we’re talking ad spend, paid social posts are another great way to get the word out there for your ads. Don’t hesitate to put a little money behind growing your group. It’s a great way to get the ball rolling when you’re just starting out. Be careful though, paid social ads are a great way to spend a lot of money fast and if you don’t know what you’re doing, it can be all for naught.
If you’re pairing with an influencer, you can try out the influencer hack we posted about earlier this year for priming a fresh Facebook pixel.
6). Don’t neglect your followers
Growing your Facebook group isn’t all about getting impressions on your group. It’s important to deliver value to your current members. If your current members are feeling neglected then they are liable to leave your group, not participate in the conversation, or not even have the posts in your group show up in their newsfeed due to lack of engagement. Make sure you’re posting content and engaging with your followers. Deliver content that sparks conversation and gets people liking and commenting. If you have post approvals turned on, make sure you are checking those to let UGC through to your group. Don’t get lost focusing only on the size of your group. If you’re keeping your members engaged there is a good chance your group can grow through word of mouth alone.
7). Deliver quality content
Even though you want to be engaging your followers as much as possible it’s important to make sure that the quality of your content isn’t suffering as a result. If you want your followers to be engaging with your group and stick around for the long-run it’s critical that they are finding value in it. Develop a content calendar so you know what you are posting and when. You can even schedule it ahead of time but if you go this route, make sure you are still actively moderating the group and participating in the discussion.
If you don’t have the time to dedicate towards content creation for you Facebook group, consider bringing on a marketing apprentice to own content in your group and save you up to 40 hours a month! 👩🎓✍️
8). Become obsessed with the numbers
If you aren’t familiar with the built-in analytic tools that Facebook offers, now’s the time to check it out. Facebook offers powerful group insights that allow you to see things like, top performing posts, group growth over time, and active members over time. The best way to judge if you are on your way to your goal is by checking these numbers frequently.
Take a look at your top performing posts and mimic what made them successful in future posts. See when you had the biggest spike in new members and copy the strategy you were using at that time. Historical data is the best predictor of success so use it to your advantage.
9). Hold a contest
Starting to get a lot of new members but they aren’t engaging with your content? Try holding a contest. You can make it randomly selected from the people who like and comment on your post or you can incentive engagement by awarding the prize to the ‘best’ comment each month or the most active users each month.
You probably have a product or service you can give away but if you would rather offer something else, an Amazon gift card is always a surefire way to get people participating.
Facebook groups can be a powerful tool for you to increase engagement between your customers and your brand. They can also be a great way to get the word out there about your brand to niche audiences. If you have a Facebook group and want to start growing it, it’s not as simple as waiting around for people to discover it organically. It requires a strategic, disciplined approach that involves getting it in front of people through owned, paid, and earned media as well as dedication to creating consistent, quality content.