Facebook Groups have most recently become one of the hottest trends on Facebook. And while it is an awesome way to segment your customers and potential clients, by creating communities around specific products, topics and services, Groups have become a fantastic way to drive sales to your business.
There are three types of Groups on Facebook:
Some are membership only, meaning you need to be a member of some other program or course in order to join.
Some are public groups and they welcome just about anyone that wants to join and others are totally private and geared for a select group of people.
Here’s how you set up a Group on Facebook….
Go to Facebook.com/groups (make sure you are logged in to your account)
Click on “create group”
You will then be asked to pick the goal for your group.
If I had a local business or an online store I would choose the “Buy and Sell” group goal. If I was planning a family reunion or perhaps a wedding then I would choose the “Get Things Done” goal for my group. For Social Media Mom and this series, I would choose the “Connect and Share” goal for my group and that is the most common group chosen by those with say, blogs and websites.
Next, you are going to choose a name for your group and add at least one person that you want to be in your group. You will not be able to “Create” your group until you add at least 1 person to the group.
You will then be given the choice between 3 different types of privacy settings.
There is a “public” group, “closed” group, or “secret” group that you can choose from. I usually choose “secret” while I am setting things up and getting my images all posted that I want for the group. You can change the privacy settings at any time.
When I am all ready to go with my group, I usually set my groups to “Closed”. Because my group is a special bonus for joining my course, I will look and see if they are actually on my email list from joining the course and if they are then I approve them. In the case of my 31 Days to Master Facebook Marketing Series, I don’t need to see if they have signed up or anything because it is a Group open to all even though I still need to approve them.
A lot of people call a “closed” group a “private” Facebook group. Just make sure you understand that “private” is not going to actually be an option when you are choosing the kind of group you want to create.
Once you decide on the type of group you want, you’ve picked a name, and you’ve added a friend, you can create your group. You will then be able to pick an icon. I am not sure why they give this option but I usually “skip” it.
Your group will then look like this…….
Similar to your Facebook Page cover image, I suggest using Canva to design your cover photo.
However, Unlike the new Facebook Page Layout, Groups still have buttons on the cover photo that will cover up some of your image. These buttons are “joined” “share” and “notifications” as well as some extra dots that give you a drop down menu of some other options, so be careful not to put text on your cover photo that could be covered up by those buttons.
Let’s click on the little box I just mentioned with the dots. In the drop down menu you will be given some options and I want you to click on “edit group settings”. Here you can change from a closed group to a secret group and back to a public group as many times as you would like as long as you have under 5000 members.
Under the Privacy setting you will see your choice of membership approval. Unless this group is for your family reunion or some really tight knit group, I suggest you choose the option that any member can ad members but an admin has to approve them otherwise you are left with all kinds of people in your group that should not be there for whatever reason.
If you would like to use the customized email address you can. I usually don’t because the groups I’ve created usually lead them to my Facebook Page or the Social Media Mom blog and I use my direct email address there.
The Description box is the best place to write what your group is all about and the rules of your group. I definitely recommend writing something that explains to your members what you will and won’t allow to be posted in the group. Unfortunately there are those Facebook users out there that join as many groups as they can just so they can spam so make sure you are clear on what your posting guidelines are. Self promotion is usually why you need these guidelines so this is the place to remind your members that they are here to connect and converse, not to be sold too.
Under “Tags” I would not even attempt at using this feature unless you are highly skilled with Facebook Pages and Groups.
For posting permissions I always choose to allow members, admins and moderators to post to the group. This pretty much includes everyone. Unless you don’t want any conversations going on at all then use this option.
I would be so busy if I clicked the next button that would require my approval for every post by a member. I usually let members have the freedom to post and I trust that they will abide by the rules until they prove otherwise. If you feel like things are getting to be too much for you to handle reading comments and making sure the group is running smoothly, then consider hiring a Virtual Assistant to help you manage the group or perhaps ask someone in the group to help you with moderating comments and answering questions.
One thing I recommend, and I learned this from Amy Porterfield, is that when you start a new group, a good thing to do is to create a welcome video and “pin” it to the top of your group. You can do a Live video or pre-recorded video but either way, to “pin” it you just post your video and then click on the small, gray, down arrow and choose “pin post”. That will keep your welcome video at the top your group newsfeed and everything else will still post but go underneath. You can “unpin” your post at any time.
The last thing I am going to mention about Facebook Groups is really and truly what makes them one of the most important marketing strategies on Facebook…..
Let’s say you have an online course or perhaps a 31 Days series like this one. Whether or not it is a free course or one that someone has to purchase, a Private or exclusive Facebook Group is a huge selling point when you offer it to your students, clients, and subscribers. By giving membership to your Private Group when they sign up or purchase, you are basically giving them personal access to you!
If your customers know they can count on getting to know you and can ask you questions, this often gives them confidence to invest in a purchased course or series that they may otherwise not have wanted to purchase. If you are offering a free course or challenge to build your list, again, a private Facebook Group is a great way to entice your potential customers to sign up and once they get to know you, they will, in turn, buy from you.
It really is one of Facebook’s most valuable tools and people are catching on to all the great ways they can be used to build lists, audiences, and businesses.