If you’re on Facebook, chances are you’re in a group – consumer, creator or a little bit of both!
Whoever you might be, Entrepreneur, Professional, Re-launcher, Part-timer, etc, there’s something of career interest and value for everyone? With 68% of all US adults already on Facebook, groups are a great place to start conversations, get ideas and advice or simply, learn.
Why Facebook Groups are good for you professionally (as an individual or business)
- Rapidly declining reach of Pages and increase in pay to play.
- Groups appear high in feeds – Facebook has announced that conversations stemming from live videos, private groups, and other highly interactive post types will be among those prioritized in a news feed.
- Great opportunities for conversations, and sharing your expertise to boost your brand.
- Fantastic source of lead generation – members looking to hire post their requirements frequently, and everyday discussions provide valuable career insights and leads.
- Untapped Opportunities for collaborations – Find entrepreneurs whose expertise complements yours to create products, events, offers etc.
- Incalculable learning opportunities, especially if you join a group on a subject that you’re passionate about or need help in growing in a particular direction/category.
In fact, Facebook groups are slowly blurring the lines between professional networking, personal branding, and social media marketing.
So how can you harness the power of Facebook groups to strengthen your personal and professional brand, grow your business or career and widen your network?
Here are 20 actionable tips to enhance your Facebook group experience, whether you are part of one or manage one.
Participants can network smartly and grow their influence – leverage these 10 quick strategies.
Be Focused: Join a few, manageable number of groups that have the highest impact for you. These could be a combination of groups to promote yourself, to seek advice from peers, to learn or get leads from related professionals, and local groups that lead to extending the conversation to in-person etc.
Provide Value: Recognition, opportunities, connections they all follow value. Start with an objective of establishing yourself as a thought leader by regularly contributing your nuggets on a particular topic related to your expertise. On subsequent conversations on that topic in that group, a lot of virtual group contacts might automatically think of tagging you. With one thoughtful answer, you can provide evergreen, searchable value.
Helping is the new selling and it’s a long term strategy!
Be Consistent: Post frequently as much as 1-2 times in each group/week. Consistency builds recall. Most groups have specific interactions on specific days, so utilize a spreadsheet to keep track of days you would like to interact in particular groups. Eg: ‘Tip Tuesdays’ are great ( see image) for sharing your subject matter expertise.
With a clear system, easily wrap up your daily interactions in minutes.
Don’t just link: If someone asks a question that you have the perfect article to share, make sure you first answer that question and provide value before you share that blog (especially if it’s your own and could be construed as self promo). More often than not, people are more receptive and curious if you’ve already provided value and you also build good career karma this way.
Don’t rush in with advice: Let conversations unfold before you add your two bits. This gives you the opportunity to assess the general direction of the conversation and ultimately showcase your expertise.
Monitor your shares: If you’re a blogger sharing your blog link weekly across various Facebook groups, use a custom link shortener that will track engagement by day and give you a clear idea on which days posting in which group got you the most reward, especially if you’re maintaining an interaction calendar (as explained in #3)
When we shared this particular bitlink on a Facebook group in February, we could easily monitor its results from that group.
Search smart: When searching within a group for previous content to resolve your queries, Facebook recognizes multiple search words as separate words. Eg: When looking for work-life balance tips, searching for the whole term will bring up too many results for all 3 words. Instead try searching for just the word ‘balance’- a word that’s used more often with work-life so you will get more targeted results. You can also apply additional filters to your search as shown below.
Post smart: Make it keyword rich. Due to Facebook’s strong search features, each time someone searches for a specific keyword, it’s related conversations pull up. Share your content and tips with some thought on relevant keywords, so that once you’ve added some value on an engaging discussion, the impact reverberates in myriad ways. Eg: As a systems expert, if you share your two bits on the systems that work for you, adding the word ‘tools’ and the specific name of a tool ( say Trello) will help you pull up in searches for all three keywords- systems, tools, Trello.
Keep it current: Know your calendar of upcoming local and world events way in advance and piggyback on them to strengthen the quality of your shares, including using their pertinent hashtags.
Eg: March 8th is International women’s day and March is Women’s History Month. Needless to say, it pays to have women empowerment oriented content in March and with relevant hashtags.
Win with optimism and brevity: Posts in Facebook groups that are crisp, concise and optimistic tend to perform better. as Facebook group users like to see the situation as “glass half full”.
Group ownership can be a great way to garner visibility and traffic.
A Facebook Business Page is important, but small and big businesses alike find garnering organic reach and traffic a huge challenge!
Also read: An Entrepreneur’s Guide to Facebook Pages
Now, more than ever, it makes absolute sense to invest in a quality Facebook group for your business and more businesses are realizing that.
Conversations on groups are essentially around a shared interest and are as a result, much more likely to make their way into the competitive news feed. Businesses can choose wisely and naturally center most conversations around their brand.
Here are 10 smart tactics to increase your business visibility via your Facebook group.
Include a questionnaire for screening when someone requests to join. Keep the questions simple and few in number. Carefully constructed questions can provide great insights at the onset into the mindset of your members. Also adding an optional question at this point, requesting an email is a smart way to build your list with their permission.
As Facebook does not save the answers shared by potential members on the questionnaire, step 1 is exponentially strengthened if you simultaneously record the answers in a spreadsheet. This gives you a fair idea of your group members motivation to join. An added benefit is that this information helps you tag members in relevant conversations pertaining to their need or expertise. This is extremely valuable, and when you tag members, it shows that you remember them and value their opinion. It’s another good way to get them engaging more often.
Park your website links, offers and freebies in your group rules. It’s a smart route to promote non-aggressively, so users know there is no obligation to use these services, but they’re there if required.
Link your group and page to help your most engaged customers and fans find your related groups straight from your business Facebook pages.
Choose a name relevant to the audience and related to your business. Next, develop a recognizable theme for your daily post images. A generic group name like Winning Entrepreneurship will get more traffic but if you choose one around your business name, it adds value to your brand. The Facebook group Mindful Mompreneurs does a great job of personifying their brand colors and theme via their daily group prompts (image below).
Design your cover image with care. Your beautiful Facebook group cover photo that shows perfectly on a desktop, gets partially cropped when viewed on a mobile phone. The phone also overwrites three lines of text on the bottom left of your image. To counter that, we designed our image with a solid band in our brand colors and deliberately divided our image into components that Facebook automatically assigned to our photos depending on the device.
You can also include your url as part of the cover picture. (shown above) This is especially beneficial when your group name does not match your company name.
If your group is linked to a business Page, you can publish a post in your name e.g. Aditi Tandon or the Page (Maroon Oak) can be the author. Scheduling posts authored by a Page gives the multiple admins flexibility to also comment on the daily prompts, thereby boosting engagement.
Regularly monitor your groups business insights (available only to groups with more than 250 members) for data on growth, members, engagement and membership giving you an idea of best days, times etc. to post to get the most visibility for your content.
You can now create specific group rules under the Manage Group tab by selecting ‘Create Rules’. Once populated, these rules are clearly visible to all members under the About section of your page.
Update group settings carefully and regularly. This includes description and tags which allow Facebook to show your group to your target audience. As your group evolves in direction over time, continuously evaluate and update your tags under the group settings to help the relevant audience find you.
As Facebook and its CEO Mark Zuckerberg stress on building communities as a priority, groups are one of the primary ways Facebook has given us to do just that. A sense of community, common interests and personal interactions are the core of being social and Facebook groups are the new force for leveraging this for work too.
As a designer, entrepreneur and working mom, some of the groups in my repertoire for value, support, advice and a future forward focus are Designers Guild, Business Owners Who Think Big, Boss-Moms and Propelify amongst others!
What are your favorite groups?
You can’t use up creativity. The more you create, the more you have.
A Designer and Entrepreneur, Aditi graduated from a top design school and subsequently started her own design and merchandising business. Co-founder at Maroon Oak, she has over 17 years of business experience with Two Dotts, her design consulting company and an Etsy store which serves as an outlet for her gifts and patented product designs.
A mother to a teen and a tween, she enjoys running, dancing and raising her newest baby, a Bichon named Miltie.
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