Facebook Groups – 8 Things You Can Do NOW to Improve Engagement and Keep Your Group Hot!
Facebook Groups are an amazing way to connect with clients, cultivate relationships, attract more clients, and keep your business ‘top of mind’ for your clients. In the past few months, many Facebook Groups have seen increases in membership, but a decrease in post views and engagement. Recently, a small business owner specializing in Disney vacations asked me to explain more about the state of Facebook Groups. She, like many group owners, is wondering what is causing this drop in engagement, how to “fix it” and whether or not growing and maintaining a group is worth the investment of time and energy. After responding to her in detail, I realized that this was information that every business and group owners should have… hence this blog post. While many of the examples in this blog are specific to a specific business and group, they can be tweaked to fit any business.
Facebook redesigned its algorithm in early 2018 with the intention of prioritizing posts from groups over posts from business pages. The reasoning behind the redesign was to promote content that encouraged people to connect with each other. For business pages, it meant a couple things; that they had to up their content game (if they wanted ANY chance of being seen in people’s Newsfeeds) by publishing quality content, such as videos that people WANTED to see and share, AND that businesses would have to spend money boosting posts or advertising in order to be seen. So, for the past year, groups have seen a big jump in visibility and engagement. Why then, would some groups be experiencing a decrease in visibility and engagement? The answer is because over the past year, every single business on Facebook has been encouraged to start a group. Just Google “how to grow business on Facebook” and 10 out of 10 hits from 2018 will tell you to ABSOLUTELY start a Facebook Group. The market is saturated with groups, all competing for people’s attention and engagement and all operation from the same playbook.
So…. Is There A Fix?
Yes. Think of your group as a stadium of people who are most likely interested in your services and who have some sort of existing connection to you or your business. They are hanging out, talking to each other and sharing information, and most of them are scrolling through Facebook on their phones. These guys are the warmest audience possible… You just have to get their attention and get them to stop scrolling for a second and look at you. (If you have teenagers, you get where I am going with this.) In the past, grabbing and keeping attention was much easier. Today, you have to be interesting, educating, and amusing ALL AT THE SAME TIME (I know, it sounds exhausting.) Thankfully there are some tools and tricks that can facilitate your effort AND grow your group and hopefully your business!
Is It Worth It?
Hands down, YES. Like I said, your group is a very warm audience that is far more likely to pay you for your service than any random person in the general public. Posts from groups are still prioritized over most other posts, and the more engagement a post gets, the more it will be seen AND the more subsequent posts from that group will be seen.
Try implementing the following strategies and suggestions within your group and watch engagement and reach increase.
Check your Group Insights. - Is there any kind of post that has gotten more engagement than others? Are there any patterns that stick out? Do recommendations, video shares, or questions get more views and engagement?
Check Facebook’s Audience Insights - What other pages do your fans/followers like? Follow and tag them in group posts. Consider sharing their posts to your group now and then.
Publish varying content types. – Don’t be afraid to try new things and put your face out there!
-Try out other video themes like “Behind the Scenes”, “How To”, or simply introducing yourself. Polls can drum up engagement as well… everyone wants to be heard!
-Pose interesting semi-open-ended questions – for example: “I can’t decide between ______ and ______ product/service. Help me!” and ask members to fill in the blanks.
-Ask people to respond with GIFS or memes.
-Post your blogs to group and ask for people’s thoughts and feedback.
- Issue challenges and offer rewards.
-Ask people to share photos and videos that mean something special.
-Ask for recommendations, both local and nation-wide.
Exclusive, group member only offers - THESE ARE VERY SUCCESSFUL!
Tag people - Welcome every new member and ask them a question in your welcome. For example, “Introducing our newest members Joan Smith and Sally Jones! There has been a lot of discussion lately about (issue your group tackles) …” and ask them if they have any insight, experience, or questions of their own.
-Ask a question or respond to a question and tag people who may know answer.
TRICKY TIP (In this example, remember that the business/group owner is Disney vacation planner):
-Search your group for a specific keyword or topic (for example, “Toy Story Park”).
-Find 3-5 members who seem to have some knowledge or experience about it.
- Pose question asking for specific feedback from these specific people, tagging them in post.
(for example: “I have been getting a ton of questions about the new Toy Story Park. I thought it was great and will share my experience in comments. Sue Smith, Jane Doe, Sally Jones, would you mind sharing your thoughts?”)
PEOPLE REALLY LIKE TO FEEL IMPORTANT AND VALUABLE TO THEIR GROUP
Bring in valuable NEW information - Incorporate businesses or groups that may have similar interests/target market and that your groups members may be interested in. For example, @randfshop the R & F Boutique (my infant and children’s clothing boutique– sorry about shameless plug) might be a great fit for my friend the Disney vacation planner.
-Write a joint or guest blog post on “What to Pack in Your Little One’s Suitcase for Their First Disney Trip” and post blog on both websites, business pages and in YOUR group. In blog post, refer to group as source of valuable information and be sure to include group info and invitation to join.
-Post something from other business (cute baby outfit/Disney gear) in group saying, “I saw this and thought how perfect for XYZ Disney Thing/Event”. Tag businesses or pages. Facebook sees this as adding value to group by connecting with entities outside the group.
Remind Customers - Include group information in email signature and advertising.
Check Around - Seems simple but browse other similar groups. See what they use to get people talking and literally do the same thing.
It is 1000% true that creating, owning, and maintaining a successful group can be somewhat time and energy intensive. Still, it is an incredibly valuable business asset. No matter what industry, country, business or content type, a halfway decent post in your group will reach more people and have more impact than that same post coming from your business page. Plus, groups give businesses a chance to connect with customers on a very real and very personal level. Meaningful interactions are priceless in terms of building customer loyalty and mutual empathy.