How to Market Your Small Business on Facebook Groups

facebook-groupsAre you marketing your business on Facebook Groups? If not, you are missing a great opportunity to build your brand and make customers online.

There is a lot of advice online about using Facebook Pages to build your business brands. This is why the first thing business owners do when they get on Facebook is to open a page for their business. Pages are a great way for businesses to create quality content and interact with their fans.

However, the recent Facebook algorithm change may be driving brands to look for other ways to get the most out of the social network. This week, we saw one big brand, CopyBlogger, shutting down its Facebook page. There are also other notable companies that are no longer active on Facebook.

However, small businesses should not get off Facebook just because some authority blogs have done so. Keep in mind that these brands leaving Facebook are using other channels to reach their audience. They have large marketing budgets and perhaps the ROI they are getting from Facebook does not justify spending their time there.

For small businesses with small budgets, Facebook still remains a good avenue of generating traffic and leads. And with Facebook having changed its algorithm, effectively reducing the messages that users see from brands, Groups for business may be the way to go.

Find Facebook Groups

To get started with Facebook Groups marketing, you can either start your own group or join already established groups. I would recommend that you follow both avenues.

You want established groups since potential customers hang out there. On the other hand, your own business group will give you control on the content to share and can be used as a lead nurturing avenue for closing sales.

To start Facebook Group marketing, identify the Groups where your potential customers hang out. Assuming you already know your buyer persona, finding groups with relevant audiences will be easy. Here are some ways to find the groups:

1. Keyword search. Type and search a keyword that your target users are likely to be interested in. Keep the keyword short, preferably one to four words. When you search the keyword on Facebook, you will find a list of groups whose titles have the keyword.

2. Influencer data mining. Find an influencer in your niche and add them as a friend or follow them on Facebook. Under the influencer’s profile, check the list of groups that the person is a member of. Join the groups that are relevant to your business or customers.

3. Facebook Page Comments. Look for a relevant Facebook page with many followers and lots of interactions. On the page, be on the lookout for users that share links to pages or groups. These groups may be relevant to your audience.

4. Use your current customers. If you already have a Facebook page with some fans, ask them which groups they are in. You can get lots of suggestions of active groups that have prospects you can serve.

Select the Right Groups

Finding the right Facebook Groups is not difficult. The main challenge is getting groups with engaged members who are likely to turn to customers.

Make a list of Groups relevant in your industry. From the list, start filtering them to find the gems in the dust.

One thing you will immediately notice is that most online marketing/Internet marketing groups are spammed. You will be better off looking for niche targeted groups rather than general online marketing groups.

Here are some pointers that will help you determine whether you can get value from joining a group:

i) Check whether the group has a cover image. If there is an image, what is it written? The message on the cover page will give you a hint on what the group is about and what members are interested in.

TIP: Avoid groups that are simply advertising “make money systems” or home businesses.

ii) Scroll through the posts on the group and determine the content shared. If there seems to be no clear topic being addressed, the group is likely to be worthless for your small business marketing.

iii) Check the level of engagement in the groups. If a group simply has posts that no one is replying to, then it’s probably a spammer’s paradise. If there are comments, make sure they are relevant to the post.

iv) Auto-posting software is usually a sign of spam. Most spammers or marketers that are not keen on adding any value to the groups use auto-posting software to post their content. Check a few of the posts at the groups and see whether most of them are posted by auto-posting tools.

v) If posts are full of links, then it’s likely that the group is a haven for spammers. Ideally, you want to join groups that have meaningful discussions going on.

After filtering the groups, join those that seem legitimate. For groups that are “Closed”, you will have to request to join first to see the discussions on the wall.

If you have found a few groups that seem legitimate and that have meaningful discussions, you want to check the rules of engagement. Most quality groups forbid members from spamming other members with advertisements. Moreover, there may be restriction on the types of content that can be shared or discussions that can take place.

Reading the rules will save you time and help you know how to use the groups for the best benefit.

TIP: Check the groups and see if you can identify the Admin. If you can, send them a friend request. Befriending the Admins can help you down the road should you want to advertise your business on the groups.

Start Your Own Group

Sometimes, you may want to start your own Facebook group rather than joining others. Starting your own group has a number of advantages over joining other groups.

Perhaps the biggest advantage is that you can control the content on the Group. If you want, you can advertise your business and lead the group in the direction you want.

However, the biggest disadvantage of starting your own Group is that you do not have the audience to start going. You can however quickly build membership if you have a vibrant audience on other marketing channels such as email or blog.

Now that you have built your own group or joined a few where your target audience hangs out, it’s time to start marketing.

First, we will look at how you can market your business on Facebook groups owned by other people.

To be successful with Facebook Group marketing, think of it as a forum. You have to get noticed in the groups to attract any interest from other members to your business. The best way to attract interest is to be helpful in the groups.

Help people get what they want, and you will get what you want. This is a rephrase of a Zig Ziglar quote.

Basically, if you are helpful to other members, they will start noticing you and some will follow you. How do you become helpful? Simply participate in the discussions going on. Provide helpful answers and be honest in your interactions.

You can establish yourself as knowledgeable in your line of business from the answers you provide. Apart from answering questions, provide tips that other group members will find helpful. This is a quicker way of getting noticed in the groups.

In our next post, we will look at the forms of content you can provide to Facebook Group members to make a mark and start building trust.

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