Quick Note: In this article we’re going to use Facebook groups for business specifically, however the concept of creating a group can be used in any other platform you feel comfortable with to create your group – LinkedIn, Google+, Forum, etc.
Using Facebook groups for business can be a great way for you to expand your professional network, provided you take care to manage your online persona. But there are other, less obvious, ways to use Facebook to boost your business and your career.
For example, Facebook has a feature called “Groups.” A Group is a community of Facebook users who share a common interest or hobby. The official categories of Group types are: Business, Common Interest, Entertainment & Arts, Geography, Internet & Technology, Just For Fun, Music, Organizations, Sports & Recreation, and Student Groups.
How to Make a Group Successful
The key to successfully using the Groups feature is thinking broadly.
You probably don’t want to create a Group for your business itself – you’d want a Facebook Page for that.
Instead, you want to your new Group to be an online space in which potential customers can interact with one another about things that interest them. You can then use this interaction to improve or create your products or services.
Whom Do You Serve?
Think about whom your business serves, how those people’s interests relate to the business, and create a Group that covers some element of those interests.
If you own a small online craft shop, perhaps you could start a Group about a particular type of craft or crafting technique.
People who don’t have a place to go in order to talk with other people about the things that interest them will likely join your Group if you just provide them a venue.
A very important thing to remember, you shouldn’t look to tie the Group directly to your business. You want to become a spokesperson or representative for a part of your industry. The most important part of the process is to create something that will provide genuine value to people who are interested in things that are related to what your business does.
How to Create Facebook Groups for Business
To create a new Group, login to Facebook and go to the Create a Group page. You’ll need to enter a Group Name, Description, and Group Type.
You’ll have to decide whether group will be “open” (meaning that anyone can see the Group information, and anyone can join), “closed” (meaning that new members must be approved, and even though anyone can see the Group description, only approved members can actually see the wall, discussion board, and other Group content), or “secret” (meaning that the group does not appear in any search results or member profiles, and membership is by invitation only). Since you’re creating this Group for business purposes, you’ll likely want it to be an open group.
When you create a new Group, you will automatically be listed as a Group administrator. A Group administrator has the authority to control both the membership of the Group, as well as what gets posted on the Group’s wall.
An administrator controls membership in two ways:
(1) by approving new member requests (that is, people who’ve clicked on the Group page’s join button) if the Group is a private group, and
(2) by removing members.
Administrators can send messages to the entire group, and edit the Group’s basic information and settings. By managing the Group, you position yourself as a trusted resource, so when people see that you are the owner of a business, much of the goodwill you’ve created is automatically transferred to that business.
As an administrator, you can also add new administrators who have those same powers, although you can later remove any administrators that you appointed. As your Group grows, you can use this power to enlist the help of trusted colleagues.
Above All Remember This…
When your customers are an active part of the community you’ve created, the degree of trust they have in you increases greatly.
Now I’d like to hear from you…have you created a Facebook, or any other group – LinkedIn, Google+, Forum – for your business? How has it helped you serve your customers better and what’s one piece of advice you’d share with someone who wants to create their own group?
Next up we’re going to hear from one business coach who has created two Facebook groups for business and has used them successfully to connect with her audience and grow her business.
Your success is my business!