People ask me every day whether they need a Facebook group or a page to promote their business. Frankly, the answer varies from person to person and from business to business. In this series, we will look at the pros and cons of both Facebook groups and pages. Let’s help you decide if you need one and not the other or if you should be using both of a group and a page.
Let’s talk about groups first. A group is great for many things on Facebook. By far their most popular feature is the fact that posts made in a group will send its members a notification and show up in the news feed. Simply put, it’s a way to make sure what you post gets viewed by your intended audience.
Types of Groups
There are three types of Facebook groups you may host:
- public groups,
- closed groups where anyone can see who the members are but only the members can see the content, and
- secret groups where only the members of the group can see who else is a member and what content is shared.
For example, if you host a local Buy / Sell / Trade group, you may wish for the group to be public so that more people can take part and thus maximize the likelihood that members will connect with each other.
Do you need a public, closed or secret Facebook group for your business?
If you are involved in a business where you want to conduct business as a group but with some discretion, either a closed or secret group may be for you. For example, I host a private Facebook group for women who take part in my social media training. That’s where they can ask questions they may be hesitant to ask in a public forum.
The Upside to Facebook Groups
Groups offer something that you can’t get from a Facebook page; notifications made in groups go out to every one in the group. That is one of the biggest reasons people love groups. You can make sure that you’re reaching your members without having to pay for advertising.
Ideally, your group membership is made up of people who want to be there who have either been personally invited to the group or requested to join. So you have an audience of people who want to see what you have to post. That makes groups an ideal way to build community for your business.
I am a member of several groups on Facebook where I learn a great deal and am free to interact with people sharing a common interest. Happily, I admit that I’ve been able to make new friends as well as to find new people with whom to collaborate as a result of being a member of some groups.
Facebook groups are terrific for building community and finding others to collaborate with.
I have gained clients from utilizing Facebook groups. It sounds perfect, right?
The Downside to Facebook Groups
There is a dark underbelly to Facebook groups. They are often abused by many who simply don’t know not to do the things that they do, and others who know, but choose to do these things anyway. What are these dark, unspeakable things? I call them that in jest, but there is truly a problem. Many people will add you to groups without your permission and use them to spam the group’s members. It’s best not to do that or if you are in the habit of adding others, now is the time to stop adding people to Facebook groups.
Many people will become your Facebook friend to mine your contact list (if it is available publicly) in order to add them to their group. These people neglect proper social media etiquette which in turn is a reflection upon them and their business.
Some people mine your Facebook contacts to add your friends to their groups to spam them.
These people care more about the opportunity to make a quick sale than they do to foster a long-term relationship with you. When I speak to others about their pet peeves about being on Facebook, being added to groups without their permission is always a top 3 on the list.
Facebook Group Etiquette
If you choose to use groups because they can truly give you a great forum to interact with your current and future clients, please do so respectfully. Invite people personally. Allow them to opt-in to participating. When they are there, don’t spam them repeatedly with sales pitches.
Make your Facebook group engaging and not just about a quick sale. This post isn’t geared toward discussing how to make a group engaging. However, a rule of thumb is to give value that your members want. Solve a problem for them. Make their lives better for having been part of your group. Create a VIP environment that makes them feel special for having accepted your invitation.
We will discuss Facebook Pages in our next installment in the series. Stay tuned!
Here’s more great social media content on The Awesome Muse:
Most people would rather be invited to join a group on Facebook rather than being added without their permission. Find out why in our most popular post of all time, Stop Adding Me to Facebook Groups. It’s a pet peeve for a lot of people.
In a similar theme, we have a guest post from The Awesome Muse writer, Kristen Wilson talking about how not to lose friends by over-inviting them to Facebook events.
And if you’re thinking about becoming a blogger, you may enjoy these tips from guest blogger, Aby Moore on how to make money blogging.