Should You Have a Private Facebook Group for Your Customers?

Case Studies, Facebook, How To's, Ideas

You have a Facebook page for your business, but have you ever considered also creating a group? Even with recent changes to the Facebook algorithm,  Facebook groups are still very relevant.

Businesses and brands have reported massive engagement in Facebook groups that are exclusive to their customers.

By leveraging personal attention and a sense of exclusivity, these users become more involved and passionate about brands opposed to just “liking” a company’s page on Facebook. In fact, many group owners have reported higher group post newsfeed visibility than organic page posts.

Let’s cover a few benefits of private customer Facebook groups, as well as what made many of them successful for big and small business owners.

Immediate Feedback and Input Via Notifications

You may get more engagement in Facebook groups than on pages because users are notified more about group content than page content. For smaller groups, Facebook users are usually notified every time there is a new post. However, as your team grows, users can manually choose in settings to be notified every time there is a new post in the group (much like you can in pages), or to just get the highlights (which is the default).

Apart from this setting for notifications, many group members and admins have reported seeing more group posts appearing organically in member newsfeeds than page posts. This increased exposure usually leads to more feedback on posts in a lot quicker time than pages, depending on audience size.

“-many group members and admins have reported seeing more group posts appearing organically in member newsfeeds than page posts.”

In the above example, a customer, not the company itself, created this Instant Pot Facebook group. There are dozens of posts a day of users sharing recipes or asking for help when they experience an issue. Because it is almost at one million members, it makes sense to only receive the highlights, not every post. Still, I see probably 1-3 posts in my news feed from the group each day.

Provide Exclusive Information to Your Most Active Customers

Though it isn’t required, many thought leaders, like authors or life coaches, use Facebook groups as a “perk” for their customers. Once someone buys a book or membership, they are granted access to an exclusive group.

This vetting process ensures fewer trolls get into the group, and also makes customers feel special because they are getting something no one else is getting. It also helps to promote the group as a lifelong benefit that will often go beyond the material they just purchased.

Admin posts are usually automatically prioritized and can be “pinned” to the top of the discussion section, much like pinned tweets. This is great for admins who want to get feedback on specific products or ideas they have:

Either way, your group doesn’t have to be exclusive to paying customers, but you may find that the content and discussion quality is better. Make sure you have dedicated group admins that can regularly police the posts to make sure they aren’t derogatory or inappropriate. Members can also report posts to admins to make sure they see it.

Garner Content and Product Ideas

Reviewing the questions and discussions users are having in your group can show some surprising insight into what users of your product or service are confused about or need help with. This can help you develop better products, or come out with new content that explains how to best use what you have to offer.

If you see the same questions and topics coming up repeatedly in your group, add it to your company FAQs or do a video or blog post about it. Chances are, if your group members are asking these questions, other customers are too.

Test Drive New Initiatives

A group is also a great place to test drive new initiatives, like live video or giveaways. Because it’s usually more intimate than your social profile pages, you can try new things without the fear of it not going perfectly. Many group members see themselves as part of a community, so when the company or expert shows their vulnerability by trying out new things, it makes them feel closer to the company and its purpose.

If the trial live video sessions in your Facebook group go well, you can expand it to doing a live video to a larger audience, like your Facebook page or even on a YouTube channel. By testing in a smaller group first, you can get more detailed feedback on how it went. Group members are usually more involved in the creation of new ideas, so you’ll likely get more input than you would on a new YouTube video.

“Many group members see themselves as part of a community, so when the company or expert shows their vulnerability by trying out new things, it makes them feel closer to the company and its purpose.”

As Facebook groups continue to grow and foster active and passionate communities around your products or topics, being there in the middle of the conversation is a good way to get more involved with your audience. Be respectful, helpful, and engaging, and you’ll see your Facebook group evolve naturally over time.

Screenshots taken by author November 2017.

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