Facebook Groups: Connecting Your Community

In my blog post from last August about Growing Your Facebook Business Page, I noted with some amazement that by the first quarter of 2017, Facebook had 1.94 billion active monthly users; by the fourth quarter, that number jumped to 2.2 billion! Of those 2.2 billion individual users, one billion belong to Facebook Groups.

Facebook has long held to its original mission statement, which committed the platform to giving “people the power to share and make the world more open and connected.” There is no question they still do that, but in 2017, Facebook introduced the company’s new mission statement which envisions providing, “people the power to build community and bring the world closer together.”

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This focus on building communities and groups, is a natural evolution of the way we interact every day. Groups can galvanize new possibilities, and forge new, active, and important webs of connection.

Create Your Group
Anyone can create a group. Chances are, there’s already a group out there rallied around your particular interest. Do your research before you create your own group. Type your interest in the search bar at the top of the page and choose “Groups” from the list of possible search categories.

Groups can be small, just you and your siblings, or you and your office mates, or a much larger community of like minds in your industry. If you find groups related to your business or interests already exist, join up! Plugging into a group offers insights into trends and discussion you otherwise might be missing, allows you to keep an eye on the conversation, and provides an opportunity to present your brand’s perspective.

Set your notifications to alert you whenever there’s a new posting so you can stay on top of the conversation, at least for a little while.

Attract Like Minds
When you begin to set up your group, you'll need to decide on a name that resonates with the community you’re looking to connect with. Search for names you think work best to make sure they haven’t already been taken.

Make sure whatever name you choose clearly represents what your group is about. It's not necessary to make a single catch-all group, you may want to create smaller, more individualized groups focused on specific services or products your business offers. For example, TV networks have groups for their entire network, and separate groups for individual programs.

Invite people to join your group. Colleagues, employees, friends and family will help get things started. Spread the word by cross-promoting your new group on other platforms and reaching out specifically to active contributors to your Facebook Page or similar groups; let them know you’re creating a group that you’d love them to be a part of.

Privacy & Personality
There are three types of groups on Facebook, depending on the group's privacy settings:

· Open – Anyone can view the group, its members, and their posts.

· Closed – Anyone can view the group and its members, but only members can see group posts.

· Secret – Only members can see the group or any of its information.

Set the privacy of your group to reflect how you want the group to interact and conversations to unfold. As the group evolves, so can your privacy settings. You may start open, but want to close up a bit as your group really expands.

Finally, you’ll want to personalize your group. Go through the group settings to make sure you’ve provided all the information, photos, and images you can to customize and brand your group’s Facebook presence. Start populating your group feed with relevant content, and engage in any conversations that get started and gain traction.

Promote the conversation by asking questions, or asking specifically for input or advice. Conversations are the foundation of connections, and connections are what hold your group together.

Still unsure? Join my Facebook Group, and have a look around!  Behind the Scenes of Social Media

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