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Emilee Delaisse's picture

Improving Engagement Through Facebook Groups

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In January, Facebook updated their news feed algorithm to focus more on content from friends and family and less on content from pages (think: news organizations, retail sites, etc.). You may notice that your post aren’t getting as many likes or shares as they were before. It’s not that people don’t like your posts but rather they just aren’t seeing them. This makes it more difficult for advertisers to reach their consumer, but it really highlights the importance of creating relevant and effective campaigns.

According to Facebook, content will be prioritized in a number of ways that focus on “meaningful interactions.” This means you want to create content that engages the consumer and gets them actively interacting. But, one question remains: What exactly does “meaningful interactions” boil down to? Here are the five top ranking factors for the Facebook algorithm:

  1. Comments: Pages whose posts prompt conversations between friends will get priority over those that do not incite comments.

  2. Reactions: If a user takes the time to hit the ‘love’ icon or other icons besides the ‘like’ icon, that post will receive a minor boost in the News Feed.    

  3. Comment replies: Just as stated before, posts that prompt conversations will get a boost. This includes replies to comments.

  4. Sharing links over messenger: If a user shares a piece of content to their wall, that’s great. But what’s even better is if they take the time to send it to a friend (or a Group of friends) over Facebook messenger.

  5. Engagement on shares: However, if one is to share a post on their wall, it is more likely to get boosted if the share itself gets comments and reactions.

Other factors impacting post ranking are time spent on content, when that content is posted, story type, completeness of profile page, and how informative the post actually is. It’s also important to note that “engagement bait” posts, those that entice readers to share, like, or comment will be demoted within news feeds. So what can marketers do to make sure their posts are seen?

Using more video, asking questions, or investing in an ad budget, are all great options, but one of the most underutilized tactics is Facebook Groups. Facebook only recently made it possible for a brand to create a Group and unlike your standard Facebook Page, Groups are more democratic. A user’s post is weighted the same as a branded post. This means that brands rely on audience engagement to foster a sense of community. All this sounds great, but what are some the benefits to using Facebook Groups?

Building Trust

This is arguably the most important benefit of Facebook Groups. Building trust around your brand is paramount as trust has become one of the strongest drivers in how consumers choose products, services, and which organizations to support. If used correctly, creating a Facebook Group will establish credibility around your brand by word of mouth. People are much more likely to trust content from peers than from the brand itself. In addition, commenting, posting, answering questions and generally interacting with Group members builds rapport and, in turn, trust.

Uncovers Credible Audience Insights

With enough Group members, brands can begin to uncover patterns among their audience. Not only do Groups provide the basic demographic of members, they also capture what they’re talking about: their pain points, opinions, and interests. These insights can inform larger platform strategies. In many ways, Groups provide more valuable information about audiences because they are actively engaged rather than consuming content passively on Facebook Pages. Pulse checks are important for businesses to stay current and relevant to customers.

Groups can also help pinpoint brand super fans. These people can provide product feedback and influencer opportunities.

Notifications

Facebook Groups bring the advantage of bypassing the content armageddon of the news feed. New Group posts show up in the member’s notifications which increases the chance that it will be seen. However, be careful with the amount of posts—if member’s notifications are flooded, they are more likely to disable them or even leave the Group. To keep this from occurring, make sure your brand is providing valuable content that members want to see and don’t mind getting a notification from.

Testing Ideas

If you’re wondering if people would be more interested in blue or red sandals, Groups offer the perfect platform to test ideas, use polls, and receive feedback from your audience. Not to mention, they also provide a fast lane to reach people who are very likely to buy your product or services.

Lead generation

When it comes down to it, businesses need to make money. Fortunately, with the above benefits, Facebook Groups can provide lead generations that help increase the bottom line.

Before you create your own branded Facebook Group,, check out these tips, tricks, and things to avoid when establishing it.

  1. Make a closed Group: Closed Facebook Groups often foster more engagement than public Groups because people are more likely to post or comment when they know it will only be seen by like-minded individuals. In addition, the exclusivity of a closed Group keeps it safe from spammers while upholding an intelligent and respectful atmosphere.

  2. Don’t make the Group solely about your brand: Put bluntly, people most likely do not want to discuss your brand. However, let’s say you own a hiking store, you could create a Group about the best hikes in the U.S. By providing valuable information, people are more likely to remember your brand when they need a new pair of hiking boots. Creating the Group through your brand’s facebook page, allows for your brand to be advertised on the right-hand side. If you are truly worried about getting your brand name out there, then you can include it in the title of the Group (eg. Best Hikes in the US by Joe’s Hiking Store).

  3. Listen to the community: The community may organically discuss other topics or even talk about other brands. Instead of stifling the conversation listen to what they have to say and incorporate it into posts, insights, and your target market.

  4. Let fans lead the conversation: Your brand’s role is to provoke conversation when discussion dies down. Fan post should make up 70% of the discussion within the Group.

  5. Be prepared to moderate: Create official community guidelines and ensure that people do not violate them. Even if you decided to create a closed Group, there will be people who troll.

  6. Don’t Push or sell: People intentionally go to Groups because they want to discuss with likeminded people. If your Group becomes overly promotional, people may stop participating and leave the Group. However, brands should consider providing exclusive experiences that Group members can’t get elsewhere. This will allow people to feel special and keep them engaged in your content. Essentially, you want to give people a reason to join and stay in the Group.

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