Facebook has altered its algorithm countless times since its inception. However, it wasn’t until 2018 that the networking giant updated its formula to center content on friends and family rather than spam from businesses.
This decision put millions of brands in a bind as they tried to optimize marketing strategies and reconnect with consumers. How would they compete with loved ones? By creating Facebook groups, of course.
Millions of these virtual communities now exist on the social media platform, and they’re growing every day. Here, brands and consumers share ideas, deals and resources to create high-quality content. In turn, these interactions boost engagement until they land you a higher spot in peoples’ news feeds.
How can your company achieve and maintain this kind of success? There are quite a few ways to grow your Facebook group. Here are just a few of the most effective.
In this article
- 1. Post Links Everywhere
- 2. Craft a Pinterest Graphic
- 3. Generate Page Likes and Invites
- 4. Send Newsletters
- 5. Make Rules and Screen Applicants
- 6. Choose a Catchy Name
- 7. Host Giveaways and Contests
- 8. Offer Exclusive News and Early Access
- 9. Form Partnerships to Cross-Promote
- 10. Hop on Facebook Live
- 11. Ask Questions
- 12. Keep Posts Trending
- 13. Promote Positivity
- Staying Ahead of the Curve
1. Post Links Everywhere
One of the best ways to grow your Facebook group is to make it more accessible to your target audience. Think about it. If you had to exit an app, open another and conduct a web search to join a company’s Facebook group, you probably wouldn’t — and neither will customers. Make it easy for people to find and join your group by posting a link on your website. Add it to the main menu or a sidebar, so it’s visible and clickable.
You can also post links on both personal and branded accounts to increase viewership, click rate and subsequent memberships. Add a shortened URL to your Instagram bio or include a hyperlink under your email signature. YouTube, Snapchat and TikTok also allow users to embed clickable links. Anywhere your audience is, that’s where your link should be. The more places you share it, the more likely your group is to grow.
2. Craft a Pinterest Graphic
Pinterest has quickly become a source of inspiration for creatives everywhere. Now, everyone from average Joes to CEOs peruses the app on a daily basis. Thus, Pinterest is an excellent place to advertise your Facebook group on the sly and win more leads. Use a free online tool like Canva to create an eye-catching graphic for your group. Then, upload it to Pinterest with hashtags that target your particular audience.
While this simple hack could easily generate hundreds of new members by itself, you could attract even more people by pinning the same graphic on Twitter. Include a few words about the group or why your followers should join. Then, add a call to action and a clickable link. Because images are more engaging than plain text, your group may very well experience an influx of new applicants.
3. Generate Page Likes and Invites
How many likes does your Facebook page have? Twenty? Two million? Every single one represents another potential Facebook group member. They’re already interested in your brand, so what’s stopping them from joining? Take your chances and put the invite out there. Direct messages promising exclusive news and deals tend to be more persuasive than generic invites, so feel free to get a little personal.
It’s worth noting that Facebook won’t allow you to invite everyone at once. In fact, you’ll only be able to send about 50 invitations each day. Once you reach the limit, focus on generating page likes. Start a campaign and post lead ads to redirect Facebook users to your page. Experiment with a few copy and ad variations to find the most effective one. Then, get back to inviting your ever-growing list of followers to the group.
4. Send Newsletters
First-time buyers deserve to feel appreciated. After all, they just gave their hard-earned money to a brand they may have only just discovered. Now’s your chance to wow them by offering even more bang for their buck. Send a newsletter to welcome newcomers and point them toward your Facebook group. Entice them with exclusive offers and deals only available to members.
You can take a similar approach to those higher up on the marketing funnel. For example, some of your target audience will express interest or intent to purchase by subscribing to blogs, video channels and other content-heavy platforms. Because your Facebook group offers more exclusive information, they’ll be more apt to accept an invite. Use previously collected email addresses to send newsletters detailing group membership and how it might benefit them. Then, watch your group grow exponentially as more people accept invites.
5. Make Rules and Screen Applicants
It’s your sole responsibility as group administrator to make and enforce rules, outline expectations and screen applicants. While these additional obligations can become more time-consuming as you admit members, investing energy early on is key to creating a positive, professional space. It will also minimize spam and keep everything organized so members can easily find important information concerning discounts and special offers.
For instance, one of your rules might ban self-promotional content like ads and links to third-party sites. Another could address participation requirements to encourage active engagement and ongoing conversations. These rules should weed out those bent toward noncompliance. However, thorough applicant screenings can also ensure the right people join your group so it can keep expanding and attract new members.
6. Choose a Catchy Name
It may be tempting to name your Facebook group after the brand it represents. However, many users will hesitate to join such a group because it looks more business-oriented and less approachable. Thus, it’s important to choose a catchy name that’ll pique audience members’ interest and entice them to join. What are potential customers looking for in an online community? How might your products or services meet their needs?
Optimize in terms of search and opt for a keyword-heavy name. For instance, if a brand specializes in online marketing, they might create a group and call it the Social Media Marketing Society to attract those interested in the topic. Because Facebook filters groups based on size, quality and location, these keywords can help your group rank higher on the results page, allowing more users to find and join the community.
7. Host Giveaways and Contests
Everyone loves free stuff, which is why giveaways and contests are so effective. Even small businesses can host these online events, as they’re relatively easy to organize and implement. All you have to do is use a template to create a contest, list the terms and conditions and declare the prize.
Leave the event open to nonmembers or require Facebook users to join the group before participating. You can also grow your group by asking participants to tag friends and family or share the post to win additional entries.
This strategy will expose more people to the contest, your brand and the group, thereby increasing your reach — and your potential. Also another great way to promote your giveaway or contest is through Facebook ads using a Facebook ad template.
8. Offer Exclusive News and Early Access
There are three types of Facebook groups — secret, open and closed. Secret groups are unsearchable and open ones allow anyone to join, neither of which facilitates healthy sustainable growth. Closed groups, however, walk a fine line between the two as entrance often requires administrative approval. This need to have some sort of qualification to gain admittance to exclusive news, special deals and early access events often incentivizes people to join.
However, the only way they’ll ever know about these perks is if you include them in marketing content. For example, Fabletics often advertises two pairs of leggings for $24 when shoppers opt into a free VIP membership. This way, even people who’ve never heard of the company can join and enjoy instant gratification. If they stick around, they’ll also receive early access to new items and exclusive details about sales, restocks and discounts.
9. Form Partnerships to Cross-Promote
Those within a Facebook group will often use the platform to share advice, reviews, recommendations and relevant content. However, brands will benefit even more when they expand their audience and partner with like-minded groups. In this case, you must analyze your demographic and consider the audiences’ shared interests.
For example, a business specializing in skin care might partner with one that sells razors for sensitive skin. However, if consumers want to purchase a kit that includes products from both companies, they must join both Facebook groups. Cross-promoting during giveaways and occasionally sharing one another’s content are just a few more excellent ways to form a solid partnership and grow your group organically.
10. Hop on Facebook Live
Facebook launched its live video feature in 2016 and, since then, it’s had a huge impact on customer engagement. More than 80% of adults prefer live video from brands as opposed to social media posts, and 87% said they’d be willing to watch Facebook live broadcasts if they included more behind-the-scenes content. Luckily, you can provide just that by going live on your group’s news feed. Just remember to promote it beforehand so members can free up their schedules and tune in.
Take your viewers on a behind-the-scenes tour, interview a celebrity, or offer a sneak peek at upcoming products to tantalize your audience and give them something to look forward to. Respond to comments and reactions in real-time and invite more viewers to share their opinions. Then, sign off with a call to action like “invite your friends to the next livestream” or “click the link above to purchase.” Doing so will keep them engaged and encourage word-of-mouth advertising.
11. Ask Questions
Why should you ask questions in your Facebook group? Taking polls, requesting feedback, and posing questions encourages others to share knowledge and resources. Their responses create an organically positive environment and increase overall engagement. This back-and-forth exchange only contributes to the group’s overall growth.
Essentially, Facebook uses artificial intelligence to determine which pages and groups have the highest engagement rates. If yours happens to outrank the competition, you’ll appear closer to the top of Facebook’s search results. Asking questions may hold the key to tricking the algorithm into boosting your rank. Once they do, your group will likely expand so long as you continue to make inquiries.
12. Keep Posts Trending
Digital marketing experts and advertisers who frequently maintain a higher rank tend to prioritize engaging posts. Their efforts ensure that the most popular or useful information keeps trending and reaches as wide an audience as possible. However, bolstering a trending post requires more work than simply paying Facebook for a boost. You must personally engage with whatever members are reacting to and commenting on it.
Take a slow and steady approach and only comment on one or two people’s responses or opinions at a time. Wait half an hour, and then respond to a few more comments. Repeat the process until you’ve replied to everyone or the post has run its course. Ultimately, Facebook will reward you with a higher ranking in search queries and point more users in your direction whenever a promising candidate comes along.
13. Promote Positivity
With everything going on in the world today, it’s good practice to keep things light and upbeat. Make your online community a positive place to be by using emojis, gifs and a more personal tone. The occasional joke or satire can also break the ice and welcome an influx of new members.
As you create a safe space for people to share their thoughts and interact with each other, you also make an ideal environment in which to receive feedback. Because members are there voluntarily, they most likely enjoy engaging with your brand and other consumers who feel the same way. Thus, they’ll be more apt to leave glowing reviews. Their collective positivity will shield you from extreme negativity and cast your brand in a better light, which can assure new members of your legitimacy and increase overall growth.
Staying Ahead of the Curve
Roughly 47% of marketers say developing social strategies to support business goals is a top challenge. If you focus on growing yours now, you’ll be one step ahead of the majority.
This level of preparedness could ensure long-term success because, years from now, you won’t have to think about how to boost engagement. Instead, you’ll be analyzing the latest algorithms, hiring more administrators to manage content and, most importantly, welcoming lots of new members.