How brands can leverage Facebook Groups to improve engagement

How brands can leverage Facebook Groups to improve engagement

Facebook’s latest algorithm change brings a big opportunity for brands to leverage Groups for community building. Here’s how to improve your Facebook strategy.

Facebook has decided to update their algorithm to highlight meaningful interactions from family and friends over Pages. This is affecting the organic reach for Pages that won’t be able to reach the same audience anymore.

Brands and marketers have immediately started thinking how to maintain a successful Facebook strategy. The key phrase in Facebook’s update was the focus on “meaningful interactions.” Facebook wants to highlight engaging conversations and this should become the primary focus for brands. If you’re not already creating engaging content, then it’s useful to adapt your strategy now.

One of the winning features after Facebook’s algorithm change has been the increase in highlighting of Group conversations across the news feed. Facebook Groups serve as the ideal place to start a conversation with other like-minded people. That’s why Facebook has decided to show more of these threads on our news feeds.

What does this mean for brands?

How brands can use Facebook Groups

Facebook has recently introduced a series of new tools to improve the experience for Groups Admins and Members:

  • Group Insights: a report for each Group that makes easier the management of the content and the members
  • Improved admin tools to bring all the features in one place
  • Group announcements: admins can now post up to 10 announcements at the top of their group
  • Group rules: it becomes easier than ever to set up a section of Rules for your group
  • Personalisation: admins can pick their own color of display for their group

There are many ways that brands can use Facebook Groups to benefit from the focus on meaningful interactions.

It seems logical to explore the idea of creating their own Facebook Group. In fact, many brands have already done this and the results seem to be encouraging in most cases.

These are the key things to consider before creating a Facebook Group:

  • Think of your audience: examine if a Group can improve the relationship with your target audience
  • Decide on your goals: think of the reasons that you want to create a Group and keep these in mind when drafting your strategy
  • Plan community management: assign your admins and be prepared to dedicate time to community management once you start a Group
  • Set rules: create rules to avoid having any problems with unexpected posts
  • Keep the conversation going: set up a strategy on how you’ll keep the conversation going to keep the group active

Brands can use Facebook Groups to:

Improve engagement

If you’re struggling to keep your target audience in one Facebook Group, then you can create smaller vertical groups.

For example, Unilad has created an Adventure Group to focus on people who love to travel and it currently counts more than 11k members.

This way the relevance for the members is increased and you’re able to create a niche group that can be engaging. It can also attract a new audience that may not already like your Page, as the members may bring more of their friends with the similar interests.

Thus, the focus on creating a Group to increase engagement can also lead to a growth that may not have been achieved through your Page.

Create a community

One of the best uses of Facebook Groups is to build a community of people that share similar interests. The difference with a Facebook Page is that the members feel that they have the freedom to share content, start a conversation, or ask for advice. Your brand can still be an admin, but the members feel more comfortable than a Page. This way, a brand can find the Page’s lost organic reach, while it can even win a new audience once the community keeps growing.

A nice example of a Group community is Mashable’s idea to create a Group for their ‘Social Good’ niche page. The Group is named ‘Decent Humans’ and it focuses on random acts of kindness and positive stories around the world.

Members feel part of an inspiring community and they are eager to share their own favourite stories of the day.

What’s interesting is the fact that the Group’s name is focusing on the community and it has no affiliation

Promote content

A popular way for brands and publishers to promote their content is to involve a Group on their Facebook strategy. Groups tend to be more engaging and they have more chances to show up on users’ news feeds. This means that the reach can be higher.

A brand can be creative by asking for feedback, offering a preview to new posts, or even providing exclusive content for their Group members. What’s important is to keep in mind that a continuous promotion of your content won’t necessarily have a warm reception from your Group members. It’s important to add value, curate content from other sources, or even encourage members to start a conversation and share their own favorite content.

This way the Group becomes more interesting and the promotion doesn’t become too obvious for the members.

The Washington Post has created a group named PostThis where they post content around political journalism. In a similar way, Bloomberg has created MoneyTalks to encourage the community to share content around financial news.

This is a great opportunity to invite influencers, experts, or any person who might be interested in the topics. You can even create a community while you’re also promoting your own content. This leads to multiple benefits and it can turn out into a key part of a successful Facebook strategy.

Grow subscriptions

Another great way to use a Facebook Group is to build your audience and increase your subscriptions. There are many publishers that have started exploring the use of Facebook Groups as part of their strategy to monetize their content.

This can be in the form of sharing exclusive content, promoting the existing one, or even offering the group as a benefit for a subscription or a paid membership.

The Atlantic, for example, has launched a membership program that also involves exclusive access to a Facebook Group. The members are able to preview content, offer feedback and start conversations with members and editors.

This is an idea that will probably attract more publishers, as an attempt to keep up with the latest trends while launching new subscription models.

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