Groups: The Next Big Thing
Facebook is a constantly evolving platform, with new features rolling out on a regular basis. More emphasis continues to be placed on Groups as Facebook begins to shift its focus to creating a communal experience for users. Now Group members can consist of both personal profiles of users and business Pages. That’s right - Pages can join Groups now, too!
Before diving into the deep abyss of Facebook Groups and the opportunities that accompany them, let’s cover the basics. The key difference between a Facebook Page and Group is the function and the way users interact:
- Groups function to form an online community of users that share a common interest and enables users to openly interact with one another through posts and comments.
- Facebook Pages function to represent a business and its product or service, rather than the interest of a topic and the community that represents that topic.
All in all, Facebook Groups are essentially online communities. These communities are public, closed or secret. Groups can be joined upon the approval of a Group admin or automatically without approval. Some Groups require users to answer qualifying questions to determine approval, while others take a more laid back approach by letting users join without qualifying them first.
Everyone who is a part of a Group can engage, post, comment, and view content. Posting restrictions for group members are available where all posts by users require admin approval before they are published. This is a way that Groups can manage the quality of content that is being published. To keep users engaged in their Groups, Facebook is defaulted to automatically notify users when a new post is published in a Group.
Expanding from Pages to Groups
For businesses, Groups can be leveraged by creating a community that is relevant to a service your practice offers. This works best for services that cater to a niche audience with a specific need or want that your service can satisfy. It gives businesses an opportunity to establish authority and expertise by linking your practice’s business Page to the Group.
Groups also appeal to users’ self-image, as they are formed around a common interest that is relevant to a users wants and needs. This leads to another key difference between Pages and Groups. Pages offer users something to “like”, whereas Groups offer users an opportunity to “join” something and become a part of a community.
Create a community around your brand by creating a Group.
Aside from appeal tactics, Groups take a psychological cut into the purchase decision process by honing in on the interest of a user before creating awareness of a product or service. This is because Groups cater to a common interest of users, building an online community of alike users.
Interest is a vital aspect of any purchase decision, which comes about before considering the purchase and after becoming aware of the service. Businesses now have the unique advantage of capturing an audience’s interest and then making them aware of their service. This will help to streamline the purchase decision process, since the audience is already interested in what the business has to offer.
The Jones Effect
For Groups to function effectively, the value that users derive from Group engagement must go beyond the satisfaction they can otherwise find by browsing the web for information on the topic or interest the Group is based on. The real value of Groups comes from user interaction. Businesses and brands can create a unique selling point or differentiate themselves from their competition by creating a place for users to come together online.
When it comes to marketing a service, it is vital to place emphasis on the value and benefit that a service provides in meeting the needs of a consumer. Groups provide a manageable platform for users to share their personal value and how they benefited from a service in an authentic way that other users can relate to.
Simply put, Facebook Groups are a breeding ground for the Jones Effect, which motivates users to take action. Jones Effect is defined in social learning theory as one person's action motivating another person to take the same action in the form of mimicking. This reduces cognitive dissonance, which increases brand loyalty and the likelihood of future referral.
For example, Caitlyn is extremely interested in skin care and has always wanted a facial. Caitlyn is a part of several skin care-related Facebook Groups where she can learn more about skin care treatment. She saw a post that a member shared in a Group for a discounted facial at a local med spa. Caitlyn read a comment from Kendall, another group member, who elaborated on her amazing experience with getting a facial from that med spa. Kendall encouraged other users to get a facial too, because hers was “so amazing”! Caitlyn read the comment, clicked on the offer, and claimed it by submitting her information. Her level of cognitive dissonance was reduced since she even knew who she wanted to give her the facial, thanks to Kendall’s reference.
If Caitlyn saw the same promotional offer and wasn’t in a safe online space with alike users that shared a common interest, the likelihood of her converting would be much lower than of her converting in a Group. Jones Effect is infectiously motivating, especially in a Group setting that enables it.
The point is clear: Groups will help to grow your business. So, now it’s time to set one up!
Form Your Tribe
Setting up a Group is very similar to setting up a Business Page. First, you name your Group, select the privacy level and invite users to join! Once you have created your Group you can classify it, upload a cover photo, provide a description and add locations to your Group to gain more visibility among users in your target audience.
When updating your settings make sure to choose the right Facebook group type. Types were recently limited to: general, buy and sell, gaming and social learning.
Beyond the basic setup, Groups enable member approval restrictions, qualifying questions and rules to maintain the prestige of your Group. This is an especially important aspect of brand reputation management for businesses that want to link their Page to the Group to create brand awareness. Groups can add Linked Pages so the logo and Page information of the business that runs the Group appears on the Group page.
Now that your Group is all set up, it is time to grow your audience and build a community. But first, publish a few posts to the Group so users can gain a better understanding of the Group’s function. There are several ways to grow your Group’s audience. Try using a few of these tactics:
- Invite users who “like” your linked Page to join the Group.
- Have admins invite friends from their personal profiles.
- Share content from the Group to your linked Page and other platforms your practice is active on to build awareness among your existing audience.
- Share the Group link in published content to the linked Page encouraging users to join.
- Embed the invite code in an email or newsletter to relevant patients and clients.
Our team of experienced Social Media Specialists helps clients create, build and grow their online community through Facebook Groups. Are you ready to build a community around your brand? Contact your IMC or Page 1 Solutions at 303-233-3886 to get started today.