Your business can now join Facebook Groups, and here's why you should

On the 7th of February this year, Facebook announced that businesses now will be able to join groups and community discussions, meaning they now have a lot more opportunities to network and engage on Facebook. Whilst this feature has been around since September last year, it had limitations on it until now. The businesses admin used to be the only person with who could engage in groups on the business account. However, now everyone who has access to the business page has to chance to interact with the community. Swinburne Honours Student Hannah Tempany investigates what advantages this new change gives businesses and what some of the concerns circulating around it are.

Why has Facebook made this change?

This new feature Facebook has implemented is a big one for businesses.

For a company to engage with the community, they used to have to join a group and interact on their personal profile. Companies and businesses want to engage with their audience, but how do audiences even know who they are when personal accounts are being used? Exactly. Hence IMO this is a well overdue change.

Businesses who join groups can now engage with communities and more importantly, relevant audiences to their brand. They now have the opportunity to really delve into the community management world and connect with people on an approachable level. On the contrary, this feature will also give brands the opportunity to defend themselves and do some damage control in group posts, if an issue ever occurred.

Businesses who join Facebook groups that are relevant to their brand are providing members to a new service they may be interested in, leading to more Facebook page likes as well as organic site traffic, instead of random friend requests or inboxes, you might have used to receive from using your personal account.

Concerns of the change

“With great power comes great responsibility?”- Uncle Ben.

The argument here is the amount of self-promotion, inauthentic and spammy behaviour that could now occur within these groups. Of course, there is an urge to promote your brand in every (free) way possible. But that isn’t really the purpose of these groups.

Sure, you could slip in the old promotion here and there, but the main purpose is to engage and attract new consumers, in an approachable, organic manner. By replying to comments and engaging, you’re positioning and putting your brand in front of a group of defined people. Jon Loomer predicts that “more low-quality group content is coming. It’s easy to predict.” But, if self-promotion does occur, then admins of these groups can simply restrict it and provide guidelines for joining.

Sounds great, but how do I actually find these groups?

 
giphy.gif
 

Finding both current and active groups on Facebook can be a challenge when starting out. Luckily for you, Facebook serves you up some tailored recommendations for groups to follow. First, head to the left-hand panel of your newsfeed, where you will find the groups section.

sidepanel.png

You will then be redirected to a list of suggested groups to join. (you can tell I’m a student based on mine) From there, you should then take some time to read the criteria of the groups, make sure they have active posts in them, are situated in an appropriate location and have a decent amount of group members in them. If the groups you’ve found tick these boxes, you’re good to go.

Screen Shot 2019-06-20 at 3.17.17 PM.png

A prime example of a solid group to join. Note how active this group is, the scale of it, and the group rules.

Screen Shot 2019-06-20 at 3.28.35 PM.png

Assuming you’ve been accepted to going to the group, you’ll need to build credibility through relevance. This means spending time in the group, participating in discussions, contributing to the group in a positive way.

Screen Shot 2019-06-20 at 3.28.42 PM.png

Why is no one talking about the audience benefits...Yet...

Yes, there are hundreds of groups with more than 1 million members, but the really exciting opportunity for brands are often smaller groups that represent a core audience, topic or geographical area. There is a lot of talk about engagement opportunities and abusive promotion, but why isn’t anyone talking about the huge audience benefits?

Facebook groups are amazing platforms to gain credible engagement with defined and relevant audiences. We should be treating groups to be highly-focused newsfeeds. This essentially means higher organic reach and engagement.

Anything else?

Facebook is also now rolling out more management tools for admins of these groups and providing a more effective content strategy. This includes notifying admins when group rules have been violated. Group admins will also be able to filter activity logs by date range and search through membership requests by name, allowing the group experience to stay pleasant and nice.

Some of HJ’s favourites

We have collected a few general groups you may want to check out.

1. Kmart Hacks and Decor- Turns out Facebook was right, this one pretty good.

2. The Voice Australia 2019-  GO JACK VIDGEN

3. 7news Melbourne-  Don’t have time to watch the news? This group will keep you up to date

4. Richmond Tigers Serious Supporters Group- I dare you.

Conclusion

If your brand hasn’t done so yet, you might want to think about joining some groups. They are an important part of the Facebook experience and your social media marketing plan. allow your brand to connect, engage and participate in discussions relevant to your brand, amongst defined audiences. Groups  also provide more opportunities for organic growth and brand awareness.