Are Facebook Groups The Future Of Facebook?
The Short Answer: Facebook Groups are the future of Facebook for businesses. They're places of safe and free expression, where brand's customers can find help from the brand or eachother.
In the 2019 F8 conference, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg opened up the conference by saying, “Today, we are going to talk about building a privacy-focused social platform”.
Traditionally, Facebook is anything but private. Everyday we scroll down on our feed to find people in our network telling us about what is happening in their lives.
Today, Facebook’s emphasis is on community building through closed groups. Zuckerberg said, privacy gives us the freedom to be ourselves. He wants users to mirror the way they communicate with their friends and family from the comfort of their own home.
The problem that most of us are wrestling with is Facebook’s is hardly known for keeping private details secret. The most recent example of this was the Cambridge Analytica debacle.
During a 2016 election campaign, Cambridge Analytica, a political data firm gained information on more than 50 million Facebook profiles and used it to manipulate voters. Shortly afterwards, Facebook lost a million of its daily users.
The Changing Face Of Facebook
Facebook shifted from being a social network used by friends and family, to being used increasingly by businesses. Research by Hootsuite shows 98% of businesses use Facebook to market to prospects and customers.
However, the focus of Facebook’s news feed is changing. You will see less posts from your family and friends, and more personalized posts and updates from your Facebook groups.
Zuckerberg said that there are “millions of Facebook users that belong to groups. Once they join the groups that they find meaningful, that’s how they use Facebook. And today, 400 million people belong to a group they find meaningful”.
Do Facebook Groups Work For Business?
Before Facebook’s F8 conference, Conde Nast Traveler magazine decided they would do something a little unconventional on Facebook.
Rather than sending out promo codes and click-bait photos, they created a closed group called “The Women Who Travel Facebook Group”. The group is for “female travel lovers to join in conversations about what it means to travel as a woman today”. This group is still around today and it is thriving.
To gain entry applicants need to explain why the group is important to them, and show they understand the group rules. Today the “Women Who Travel Facebook” group has over 151.4k members.
And that’s not all: three quarters of its members are active daily. Due to the success of their initiative, they have extended their Facebook group across many of their other brands including New Yorker, Vanity Fair, and others.
What’s The Difference Between A Facebook Business Page And A Facebook Group?
Facebook’s focus on building meaningful groups is an enormous opportunity for businesses to build their brands into communities.
These groups are places of safe free expression where brands can get a feel for what people involved in their industry want. They’re also mutually supportive environments where customers can ask their questions and get advice from other members or from employees of the brand.
But, why do you need a Facebook group, if you have a Facebook Page for your business? The answer is they serve two different functions.
A Facebook business page is a place for businesses to post useful updates and information. You can also add helpful apps, services, collect audience analytics on engagement with your posts, and share content.
Facebook Groups are communities or places where people gather together that are founded by individuals and self-built to share common interests, perspectives in an environment that its members trust.
In some cases they can be fanbases of rock groups, popular icons or youtubers with large followings. The administrator can choose if the group is either public (exclusive to a section of a brands audience) or public where anyone can join.
What’s The Difference Between Public And Private Facebook Groups?
Public Facebook Groups Vs. Private Groups
Whereas public Facebook groups are open to anyone becoming a member of the gathering or community, Private Groups have barriers to entry. To become a member, people need to answer specific questions about why they want to join a group.
Even if you are not a member of a public group, you are free to post comments or any content that you like. In private groups, administrators moderate all comments and content that members post. The openness of public groups makes it challenging for brands to monitor every time someone posts something. The more exclusive a group, the more trust and credibility each member will automatically have upon acceptance.
What Are Advantages Of Facebook Groups For Businesses?
Connect Directly To Your Customers
If you open a private group where you have the say of who becomes a member, your group is likely to have loyalty and a strong connection with your brand.
Members can interact with your brand and each other. This builds a feeling of community. Having a Facebook group gives you an opportunity to gain real insights from members. You can ask for their feedback, learn from it and apply it.
Build long-term Relationships With Your Customers.
Inviting brand ambassadors and repeat customers to join your community and interacting with them frequently shows you care what they think and feel about you. This builds their loyalty and trust.
Boost Your Organic Reach
Facebook’s algorithm is built in such a way that posts and shares in Facebook groups are more visible. The more you engage with members from your group the more it will increase your organic reach on the Facebook newsfeed. This alone builds brand awareness.
The Right Audience Is Highly Targeted
If you ask someone to follow your Facebook business page, they can always decline; this is a common struggle when setting your business page up. However, when someone gains entry to a private Facebook Group, they are part of the same community where members share similar passions, can exchange perspectives, and gain knowledge for one another.
Group Members Questions Generate Content Ideas
One challenge for companies is to keep coming up with new content ideas that relate to their target audience’s challenges and pain points. Just like popular social forums like Reddit or Quora, Facebook Groups are great platforms to get inspiration from commonly answered questions asked by group members.
Bottom line: Facebook Groups are the future of Facebook for businesses because customers can freely express their ideas, ask questions, and offer mutual support to others; this enables brands to have a clear idea of what their customers' pain points and what they are passionate about.
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Jonathan Gordon is the chief writer and PR liaison for an HR firm. His passions are creating inspiring and engaging content. Jonathan has a love for learning about new industries and acquiring new skills. Jonathan is also a trained classical and jazz pianist and loves meeting new people and is open to new experiences.