Twitter Killer? Why Your Business Should Make a Facebook Group

SMS Text

Facebook launched their newer version of Facebook Groups back in October 2010. But it wasn’t until the last couple months of being personally involved in some very active and engaging Groups allowed me to see their business potential.

If you have a Facebook Page for your business, non-profit, or hobby, let me explain why you might want to consider adding a Group to that social media effort as well:

  • Groups Are Stickier Than Pages
  • Groups Are Fun
  • Groups Are What Twitter Might Have Been
  • Groups Aggregate Your Most Active And Influential Fans

Groups Are Stickier Than Pages

By sticky, I mean you get people coming back more often. One of the weaknesses of Facebook Pages is that, because of EdgeRank, you have to get a Feedback rate of 1.0% or more (2.0% to 4.4% is quite possible) for all your post types (status, photo, video, etc.) IF you want 70% or more of your fans to see your posts. Otherwise, only 20-50% of your fans are seeing your posts. That’s a lot of pressure, and frankly, there are times you want to post something that isn’t going to get a lot of interaction on Facebook.

But with Groups, every time someone posts or comments, the entire group is notified. This can get excessive, and some members may want to turn off email notifications:

We’ve already seen Facebook walk the line with privacy and user autonomy, and this has definitely been a controversial example. Maybe in the future they’ll change this. But for now, it’s a benefit to any promoter.

One of the really spammy aspects of it is that you can just add any friend to a group and they have to opt out:

This isn’t an action I recommend. It’s better to invite people to the Group’s URL via email or Page wall post than to just add people.

Groups Are What Twitter Might Have Been

As far back as 2008, people were hoping Twitter might better thread tweets into conversations that groups of Twitterers could follow. Hashtags are, in part, an inadequate solution to this. Friendfeed did a better job with it but never took off. Same story with Google Buzz. Facebook Groups solves the problem and on the most popular social media platform in the world.

Twitter has other uses and is public, but may see a drain over time as more people join engaging Facebook Groups.

Hey I don’t know, it’s possible! Facebook is already 10-20 times the size of Twitter (it’s very difficult to accurately nail down how many people are really using Twitter). But at the very least, FB Groups offer a great alternative to Twitter for easy to follow conversations.

Groups Are Fun

If the group is focused properly, it will be an amazing, fulfilling, addictive outlet for the group users. I’ve talked elsewhere about how to get better Page feedback rates by “Selling The Dream”, the audience’s #1 common passion or goal. If you make this dream the focus of a Facebook Group, you’ll have people who are very passionate talking to each other many times per day. This is the basis of every successful club in history. If Pages are the fan clubs on Facebook, then Groups are the crazy super fanatic core.

If you love Star Wars, you should be a Star Wars Page fan. If you love arguing with other Star Wars fans which Star Wars episode was the best, or in what order the six episodes should be watched, you should be in a Star Wars Facebook Group.

Groups Concentrate Your Influentials

Facebook Groups are so heavily interactive that unless you turn off email notifications and aren’t on Facebook very often, you’re going to get involved. And I mean, you’re going to read and/or post at least several times per day. Those notifications up on the globe in the Facebook navbar are like crack. In the same way that kids run down the stairs on Christmas day, that we open mail hoping for something good, that we open email hoping for some good news, we click on our Facebook notification globe to see that people like us or our comments or have said something interesting. It’s social crack.

Scientists used to dream of a perpetual motion machine, and some may still dream of cold nuclear fusion power, but in the social media realm, the Holy Grail is a simple, viral, self-perpetuating community. Facebook Groups can take a niche group’s passion and, given its aggressive notification setup, very quickly create a self-sustaining community of conversation. Read some opinion on that here.

I’ve been involved in three Facebook Groups (not counting the ones where discussion never really started), and the two most mature and successful get hundreds of comments and likes per day. A month in one of these groups feels like three months. Family members start asking what these secret groups are and if they can join. Ripple effect.

Today, I created a new Group for a Page that has 5,500 fans. I announced the new Group in a post on the Page. Within six hours (on a Sunday), I had 46 fans ask to join the group, and three separate good quality conversations going on between them.

The Business Application of Facebook Groups

So what does all this have to do with business? Well, if you have to ask, you may not understand the social media marketing process, so let me tell you how they help you.

Social media is not direct marketing. It helps you with, among other things:

  • Awareness
  • Customer Loyalty
  • Repeat Business
  • Word of Mouth
  • Product Research
  • Market Research

Facebook Groups can:

  • Concentrate your best customers and prospects in one place
  • Solidify their relationship with you
  • Increase the chances they buy from you again
  • Lead them to bring other prospects to you
  • Give you feedback and new ideas
  • Help you understand them better, which helps you market more effectively

Those may not be top priorities for a struggling or dying business (first make sure your website is getting sales and you’re getting great ROI from AdWords and organic search), but for any business that’s doing well, these things help you take it to the next level, create a competitive advantage, and secure your business’s future.

Brian Carter
Brian is author of The Like Economy: How Businesses Make Money With Facebook and Facebook Marketing: Leveraging Facebook's Features For Your Marketing Campaigns, How to Get More Fans on Facebook, and LinkedIn For Business: How Advertisers, Marketers and Salespeople get Leads, Sales and Profits from LinkedInBrian has 12 years experience as a freelance consultant and digital marketing agency director. His hands-on business experience, cutting edge insights, background in improv and stand up comedy culminate in a keynote speaker, and social media trainer who leaves every audience not only entertained, but armed with powerful strategies and tactics.
Brian Carter
Get the latest news from Search Engine Journal!
We value your privacy! See our policy here.
  • Pixelrage

    It’s really too bad that we can’t have vanity URLs with FB groups – but a big ugly URL instead!

  • Thomas

    The new groups still feels a bit spammy to me. I’d probably be one of those people who turned off the group notifications. LinkedIn can get annoying with this as well.

  • Bobbygizzle

    What has happened to SEO Journal. It actually used to be good! This is very poor journalism. Twitter is going from strength to strength and is going anywhere anytime soon.

    Bad attempt at linkbaiting!

    Sort yourselves out and reports some real news or research like SeoMoz

  • Katlin

    My main issue with Groups from a user standpoint is the fact that anyone can add me, I cannot opt in or out first. Hopefully FB changes that soon.

    From a business standpoint this is a very interesting idea…I’ll have to roll it around in my head for future use. 😀

  • Michael Real

    Ideally, if we are to gauge the main objective of Facebook Groups, it is really helpful for businesses and people who opt in for that particular page. But the way it was designed for member gathering and interaction allows a lot of room for abuse thus a lot of people are turned off with it.

  • g.evans

    Im a much bigger fan of the way groups used to work on facebook. Nowadays its just people ‘liking’ everything to become a ‘fan’ of it. This seems to have taken over the old way where you simply just joined a group and shared your opinions on that topic.

  • Anonymous

    How it was designed to collect and interaction between members allows plenty of room for violence which many people are put off by it.

    Motorcycle Parts