A recipe for gaming Facebook with Groups
It’s been a little over six weeks since Facebook announced significant changes to the way you see brand content in your newsfeed to prioritise personal posts. I’m grateful I no longer see wall-to-wall Unilad posts every time I open Facebook – there’s only so much laughing I can do before my stomach hurts.
Advertisers and brands have felt the purge of these algorithmic changes, with a massive reduction in reach on global brand pages, affecting both organic and paid media. With lower engagement rates, agencies and in-house brand teams moved quickly to re-work their creative social strategies.
There’s one special space on Facebook though, once thought of as the underbelly of the social network, that now comes out in shining glory: Facebook Groups.
Facebook Groups, which can be either public, private or secret, depending on how vocal your audience wants to be about their affiliation with you. As the ability to reach your audience, even if they follow your page, diminishes, Groups let you reconnect with them and form a community.
As the appeal of Groups grows, so will the functionality. Groups can be customised to uniquely reflect the owners of each sub-Facebook community. Brand pages can now create their own Facebook Group pages too. Click the three dots button on your brand home page and choose the Create Group option and start from there.
Soon you’ll be able to use:
🔷Admin tools to manage member requests, Group Insights and more in one place
🔷Group announcements where you can post up to 10 announcements that appear at the top of your group, ranking the top posts
🔷Personalisation where you can add a personalised colour scheme similar to Messenger chats
But the winning feature in Facebook Groups is that it has a strong presence in users’ feeds. Have you seen this too?
So, what’s the difference between a Facebook Group and a business page?
A lot. A group is where you collect, add and develop advocate communities. They’re like little towns with specific interests within Facebook such as TV shows, sporting or mothers’ group. They’ve taken a while to grow, but over time have become a staple for building communities on Facebook communities.
And engagement is through the roof. Why? Facebook includes Groups in your newsfeed and users are subscribed with an auto-opt-in within the algorithm in your newsfeed. Anytime someone posts in a group that you’ve subscribed to and you haven’t opted out of ‘all notifications’ then you’ll see every post into that group, in your newsfeed, every day. Now that’s powerful.
Take a minute as a brand or marketer to think about this. You have a specific message, awareness campaign or product to get across. What’s a quick inexpensive way to do this on social media? Facebook Groups. But, don’t take my word for it, if you’re already in a group you’ll have seen in recent weeks how they’ve encroached upon your newsfeed in among your beachgoer friends and photos of your family. It’s now a staple diet of your newsfeed triaged in Facebook’s algorithm.
In last month’s post, we mentioned how brand pages will not appear as often as they once did in the newsfeed. Brand pages will need to pay to have their content seen. Organic reach is barely noticeable since January. So get creative, think about investing into a Facebook group. What the group looks like, its mission, its relevance and how it will resonate with your audience.
Here’s a recipe for success in a Facebook group.
Part 1 – Audience is King
- Create a Facebook group with a name, a bio for the about section and rules.
- Generate a custom Facebook web (URL) link
- Set the privacy or prestige factor of the group open, closed, private
- Set the expectation of the rules within the group to moderate behaviour
- Build your community with the right followers
- This could be your email list
- Fans of your brand or organisation
- Leave a post on your brand page with the group link or send an email out to your base
Part 2 – Content is Queen
- Concept ideas for social media
- Experiment with formats likes gifs, videos, slideshows and carousels
- Be clever with your content – create calls-to-action, create conversational topics around your brand
- Pull at people’s heartstrings or emotional hooks
- Reward your audience by calling out great user-generated content
Don’t want to create a Facebook group?
You have some other choices with your brand page to guarantee success. Create great content with your agency or in-house and set a monthly paid budget of minimum $1,000 for brands, $200 for not for profits and small biz. If you don’t do this you’re wasting valuable time on Facebook as a business or organisation. Though there might be one other thing you could do…
One last ingredient for success for your business and brand page
Ask your audience to mark your brand page as ‘see first’ which is an option that appears when you click on the ‘Following’ button – though it’s a double opt-in request.
Facebook Groups will generate strong engagement results. Groups provide a direct to home connection with everyday consumers, voters and communities. Everyone has a mobile and almost every Australian uses Facebook on their phone at home. You don’t have to get into the group, but you will gain value and engagement with your brand by adding Groups into your marketing and communications mix.