If you haven’t heard, Facebook has changed its focus yet again. Earlier this year at the F8 conference Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg stated: “Groups are now at the heart of the experience just as much as your friends and family are.” So if you depend on the platform as a social marketing tool, you should have taken note and made changes to how you spend your time on the largest social network.
But how can you use Facebook groups to drive traffic to your website and your content?
Facebook Groups – What You Need To Know
Since we do integrated digital marketing for clients across the country, we have to stay on top of the latest changes across all channels online. And because many of our client brands rely on Facebook as one of their digital marketing channels, we had to adapt to the new preference that Facebook has placed on groups within their platform. So we wanted to share some of our experience at utilizing Facebook groups to drive traffic to brand content.
But to be clear, though groups are now favored within Facebook, we are NOT recommending that everyone go start their own group. Anyone that suggests that starting and growing a Facebook group is easy and can be done quickly has lied to you. In fact, it is often NOT a good use of your valuable time. Are there circumstances and brands that could and/or should create a Facebook group? Yes, of course. But for many, you are far better served and will get much better results faster by utilizing groups that already have a substantial community that is made up of your target audience.
Utilizing Facebook Groups For Web Traffic
Let’s go through some of the bullet points to making Facebook Groups a great source of traffic to your website and content. I will cover some of the top-level tips for doing this, but it would be impossible in one article to get you all of the details. All of these steps require time commitment in order to do it properly. If you are not committed to investing the time to do it right, please DO NOT do it. It will only damage your brand and personal reputation.
Here are my Facebook Group tips, but not in any specific order:
Start With A Proper Content Strategy
Without a real content strategy and the ability to pull it off, you will NOT be successful with Facebook Groups. This is an entirely different subject, although directly connected, the details will have to be another article. However, let me just say this, you need to share as well as create content (pics, graphics, videos) that is interesting, funny and/or important to the people in the group. This is required to be effective, so I wanted to get it out of the way first and foremost.
Join The Right Groups
Being effective with groups on Facebook isn’t about quantity, it is all about quality. You will want to join groups that have a lot of active members, not just a lot of members. You will want to join groups that are made up of the exact people that you need to reach. Focus on a small handful of 3-6 groups that meet your criteria and then observe and get to know the lay of the land and what gets engagement and who the players are.
Contribute And Engage Often
Once you have joined and taken some time to observe how the group runs, the attitudes and overall personality of the group (we take about a week or so to do this), start to like and comment on posts that are relevant to you. Start slowly on this and over a few weeks, you will increase this activity. You don’t want to come in like a bull in a china closet, you want to ease in and build connections in a comfortable way.
Don’t Pitch Your Stuff
For a considerable period of time, (week to months) you will NOT want to pitch your products or services in the group. You will instead want to share relevant content that the group will engage with. (see first tip above) You will want to create content that isn’t about your brand but IS about what the group is interested in. *note – The created content we share in groups is usually branded (has the brand logo, etc), even though it isn’t about the brand. It introduces the group to your brand without doing sales in the content itself. Many will start to go look up your website and page, even though you are not yet pitching your stuff. It works.
All business is personal and no place is that more important than on social media. Be sure to connect with individuals on your personal account on Facebook with whom you engage and build relationships within the groups. Remember that social media should be approached in the same way you would in real life, just faster with many more people at the same time. If you wouldn’t do it in person, DO NOT do on social media!
Share Your Brand Content
Finally, if you have done all of the above properly, you can now begin to occasionally share your brand content. This should take weeks or months before this part of the process begins, depending on the group, the type of audience and of course the industry that you are in. Be sure that the content you are creating and sharing about your brand and products provides value to the group and isn’t simply a sales pitch. Focus on solving their problems, not just what you do.
At the end of the day, Facebook Groups offer a tremendous opportunity to build relationships with your target audience, drive traffic to your website and content, as well as get your content in front of members of the group within their newsfeed. But you have to follow a proper process, have an outstanding content strategy, while consistently producing content that connects with your audience. If you follow this path, you will most definitely see a significant increase in website traffic, resulting in new business.
If you need help with your digital marketing, including building traffic through groups, we can help. Let’s talk.