Its late 2018 and many businesses are starting to believe that Facebook is losing its magic touch since it’s become increasingly hard to reach their customers on that platform.
However, with over 2.23 billion monthly active Facebook users worldwide for Q2 2018, it’s still the largest social network by far, and an important way of reaching out to your customers, especially in the B2C segment.
As of January 2018, India had 270 million Facebook users, ahead of the United States with 210 million Facebook users.
In this article, I discuss why Facebook is still relevant to your business and why you should be using the Swiss knife of marketing tools – Facebook Groups.
1. The Organic Reach Of Facebook Pages Has Plummeted
In 2018, there’s simply too much content being published on Facebook, making visibility in the News Feed increasingly competitive, says Hubspot.
And this applies even to massive pages with a huge number of fans. In fact, the more fans you have, the fewer will see your updates.
For Pages with more than 500,000 Likes, organic reach could be as low as 2%. This means a Page with 10,000 fans could expect just 650 of them to actually see that Page’s posts in their News Feed. For a Page with 1 million fans, about 20,000 would end up seeing posts.
Also, Facebook now prioritises content from people you know rather than brands and company pages. So you’re more likely to see content from your family and friends than from Facebook pages you’ve liked (which is how it should be on a social network).
For brand pages, Facebook has now become Pay-to-Play. That means you have to shell out money for Facebook ads if you want to boost the reach of your posts.
2. Groups Are Facebook’s New Priority
Facebook’s mission has changed to focus on the activity levels of users and to support the most active so that they can keep building the digital spaces that draw in the masses. Their new mission is to “give people the power to build community and bring the world closer together.”
Facebook announced that an important part of delivering on their new mission was supporting Group admins, who are the real community leaders on Facebook. In fact, Facebook Groups are the new hub for communities on Facebook and many brands are taking note.
3. A Facebook Group Can Become Your Brand’s Focus Group
According to this article by Silverback Strategies, a Facebook Group “segments the audience into a self-selected contingent, which is extremely valuable for brands, especially larger ones. In much the way that targeted paid Facebook ads do, posts within a Facebook Group reach a specific, segmented audience.”
You can use this super-targeted audience as your own personal focus group by creating a Facebook poll in the group to find out what they’re interested in and even doing a soft-launch of a new product or service to get feedback and make improvements.
The Group Discover feature shows Facebook users recommendations for Groups they can join based on their friends, location and interests, so creating a Facebook group around a specific interest or topic can attract Facebook users interested in that topic.
However, it pays to choose your topic and group name carefully. Don’t be overly promotional in your group name or it may repel users. Some of the largest Facebook groups are based around a cause because people generally want to be a part of something larger than themselves.
Creating a group around a cause or a topic that people are passionate about can work brilliantly, as long as it ties in with your brand and message, and your branding is subtle.
4. You Can Build A Community Of Super-Engaged Followers
Facebook Pages are a monologue, whereas Facebook Groups are a dialogue. They can give brands a way to reach out to each person in their community on an individual level.
Your Group can be super-engaged as long as the admins and moderators make the effort to build a lively community. You can make use of a number of tools to boost engagement, such as announcements, events, video, polls and social learning units.
Trainers and coaches can use the Social Learning Units feature to help followers learn new skills by creating an agenda or curriculum and tracking completion of posts.
Make sure you write a comprehensive description for your Group and add a link to a landing page with your opt-in form to build your subscriber list. Offer a lead-magnet to entice your members to subscribe to your list.
Lay down a set of rules for engagement in the Group, depending on the objectives you want to achieve. State clearly what sort of posts are and aren’t allowed and what will get users banned.
To create anticipation for your posts, it’s a good idea to have a calendar for the week so that your followers know what to expect or how to engage on specific days.
For instance, you can post videos on Thursday (one of the best days to publish to Facebook, according to Coschedule), start sharing threads or allow members to post ads on Friday – another day with the highest engagement – and even allow a member to take over the Group for a day.
If you’re asking, “Can I create a Facebook Group from my business page?” the answer is, Yes! Facebook has now allowed brand Pages to create their own Facebook Groups and link the two, allowing brands to tap into the audience they’ve already built with their page.
If you already have a following on your Facebook page, you can invite a limited number of Page fans to join your Group every day and make your Facebook Group bigger that way.
Facebook has also rolled out Group-to-Group linking, which allows Group admins to recommend similar or related Groups to their members. You can use this feature to collaborate with other Groups based on similar themes and get found by their members.
The Group Insights feature allows admins to see real-time metrics around growth, engagement and membership — such as the number of posts and times that members are most engaged.
5. Facebook Group Admins Could Charge For Content
A number of business owners are already using private or secret Facebook pages to offer exclusive content and support to their paying customers. But now you just might be able to charge for your content without ever leaving Facebook.
As the Business Standard reported, on 20th June 2018, Facebook introduced a subscription feature that will allow group administrators to charge members for exclusive content.
Subscription groups were created to make it easier for admins to provide these experiences with built-in tools, and to save them time so they can focus on offering members-only content. Members can sign-up and manage their subscription through the Facebook app for iOS and Android.
Currently, the subscription groups feature is being tested with a small number of groups across a range of interests. Based on initial feedback from these groups, the company will improve the experience before rolling it out for others.
If your company’s business model is based around paid content, you might want to start a paid private Facebook Group.
Important: If You’re a Facebook Group Admin In India
At one time, I used to manage a Facebook group that reached over 40,000 members. Unfortunately, back then, Facebook did not the safeguards to screen people joining the group that they do now.
The result was that, even though that group was for women, a bunch of creepy men joined up and started posting obscene material in the group.
Between running a business and my blogs, it became too much for me to waste my time attending to complaints and removing a bunch of creeps from the group every day, so I exit the group as admin and rejoined as an ordinary member.
Also, around that time, several people in India were arrested for their comments on Facebook or Twitter, sparking outrage. In March 2015, the Supreme Court in India struck down Section 66A of the Information Technology Act, which allowed police to arrest people for “offensive” comments on social networks and other internet sites.
However, in May 2016, the Court ruled that under sections 499 and 500 of the Indian Penal Code, defamation is a criminal offence and that the criminal provisions of defamation are constitutionally valid.
Defamatory acts can include “words either spoken or intended to be read”, signs or visible representations, which are published or put up in the public domain. The offence is punishable with up to two years imprisonment, a fine or both.
This is especially concerning since Facebook Group admins are legally responsible for the content being shared in their group, and they do have some control over who joins their group and what content they share.
Facebook now has control tools available for Group administrators and moderators and removes content that does not adhere to its usage guidelines.
However, it’s always a good idea to have a few moderators managing the content on your Group, and responding promptly to content flagged by members, to prevent obscene, hateful or defamatory content being shared.
It is advisable to use features such as Membership Request Filtering that allows admins to sort and filter membership requests on common categories like gender and location and then accept or decline all at once.
With the Removed Member Clean-Up feature, admins can keep their communities safe from bad actors, by removing a person and the content they’ve created within the group, including posts, comments and other people added to the group, in one step.
I hope this list of reasons to start a successful Facebook group for your business has inspired you to use one of the best and most effective Facebook marketing tools in 2018.
Want to learn how to monetize your Facebook Group? Check out the Facebook Group Domination Masterclass – the complete course for everyone who wants to succeed at monetizing Facebook groups.
Do let me know what you think in the comments below.
This is a version of an article that was first published on Naaree.com
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