Without a doubt, one of the questions I am asked most often is “should I set up a Facebook Group for my business?”

Usually, we’re talking about a free Facebook Group with the intention reaching more prospective customers and building the know, like and trust factor.  There are also paid for Facebook Groups – that is groups that people can become a part of by purchasing a certain product, such as a subscribing to a membership club – but in this article, I’m referring specifically to free Facebook Groups.

Where do Facebook Groups fit in?

Groups are an integral part of Facebook, now more so than ever before.  In fact, Facebook themselves have recognised the value of Groups and how powerful they have proved to be in bringing together communities.  This was something that Facebook celebrated at their first Communities Summit in June 2017 and which they continue to talk about and value.

For a number of years now, Facebook Pages have been seeing a continuing decline in organic reach, whilst Groups have become increasingly popular and prominent on the platform so it makes sense why so many Page Owners are considering shifting their focus to Groups.

Making A Strategic Decision About Facebook Groups

This is a question that really comes to the fore every time Facebook announces a change to the Newsfeed algorithm which further threatens the organic reach of Facebook Pages.  There is a lot of worry out there, and in some cases even panic, that it is going to become impossible to reach anyone via a Facebook Page unless you invest money into Facebook Ads.

This is a real challenge which every Facebook Page Admin is facing and Groups are one way to add an extra string to your bow and another means of reaching your crowd.

However, opening a Facebook Group is a commitment and it’s important that you make a strategic decision on this one, as you would with any other aspect of your business.

You need to think it through and be sure that a Facebook Group is the right move for your business right now.

Please, please, please, avoid knee-jerk reactions and side-step the panic and scaremongering that rolls around every time Facebook make an announcement about the Newsfeed!  Make a decision that is right for your business, rather than blindly following what other people are saying you should do because, at the end of the day, it’s going to take work and an investment of time and energy to make your Facebook Group pay off.

Questions To Ask Before You Open A Facebook Group

Running a Group takes time, effort and energy.  It may be a small investment in the early days but bear in mind that as your Group grows the amount of work that you have to put into managing it will grow as well.

If you’re considering setting up a Facebook Group, run through these questions first:

  • Do you have the time to manage a Facebook Group effectively? Remember that, as well as creating content, you will need to manage member requests, respond to comments, moderate member’s posts and invest energy into creating a thriving community. As your group grows, so will that workload.
  • Do you have the time and resources to promote the Group? It won’t grow by magic, people need to know about it so it’s going to take time and a portion of your marketing bandwidth to attract members, especially in the early days.
  • How will you continue to attract new people to your group so that you continue to build your audience? Initially, you can promote the group to your existing Page followers but what happens next? How will new people find out about the group?
  • Where will the extra time and energy you need to manage a group come from? Will it mean less times on other things? If so, is that going to add value to your business or detract from it? Or can you afford to pay someone else to help you, either with the group itself or by taking something else off your plate?
  • How will you ensure that your Facebook Group does not detract from your Facebook Page? Right now, organic reach is far from dead on Facebook Pages.  It is still absolutely possible to reach people without or as well as using Facebook Ads and it’s possible to build an engaged community right there on your Page.
  • Why are you creating this group? Think beyond reach – what is the real purpose of the group, why is it valuable and how will you achieve it?
  • How will you make the group work in tandem with other elements of you marketing strategy, rather than working in isolation?
  • Where does a free group fit into your product suite?  This one is particularly important if you are a service-based business and / or paid groups are already a part of your product suite or you plan for them to become a part of it. How can you ensure that your free group is worth being a part of without eliminating any reason to be part of your paid groups or paying to work with you?

This is not written to put you off opening a Facebook Group – far from it! Facebook Groups can be an extremely effective way of growing your business BUT only if you really think it through and create a plan that ensures your Group is going to add value and not just become a huge drain for you and your business.

There’s no right or wrong answer and no one size fits all solution.

It’s about thinking the decision through, having a plan and being strategic.

You don’t have all the time in the world to spare and I know you don’t want to be wasting it in the wrong places so it’s well worth taking the time to really think it through now.

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