Say hello to your new best friend in the digital realm of marketing: Facebook groups.
There are more than 2.23 billion monthly active users on Facebook and with over 90% of social media advertisers using Facebook as their go-to platform, marketers need to begin seeking other outlets to connect with their audience. With a recent Facebook algorithm change, the platform now prioritizes “meaningful interactions” and “relevant content,” and marketers find themselves constantly seeking opportunities and tactics to achieve engagements that matter. One solution? Private Facebook groups to connect and speak to your fans on a separate platform. It’s no secret that the Facebook newsfeed is moving towards a place where family and friends come before brands (*marketer sheds tear*), and groups are the ideal place for those interactions to happen.
To put it simply, Facebook groups are highly attractive to brand marketers—particularly those in the entertainment industry—because they provide an opportunity to directly communicate with fans in an authentic manner. Remember how we were all taught to get to know your audience and speak to them in a way that matters? Here’s your chance, marketers!
* Full disclaimer: Facebook groups are never meant to replace a Facebook Page. Rather, they are a tool used to support the page itself and provide a community for fans to interact with one another. They provide a digital outlet for members to ask questions, post about events, generate conversations, share photos and links, etc.
How do Facebook groups play into the recent algorithm change? Groups offer active engagement metrics such as reads, which differ from passive engagements like views. That means any active participation by customers and users via comments or post and discussion creation should be rewarded in the newsfeed. That is why when you are scrolling through your personal newsfeed, you’ll often see more group discussions than brand posts. Marketers are also able to receive great insights to the groups they manage. Metrics available for viewing include peak-time posting, psychographic and demographic data, and read data.
Now that we’ve established what exactly a Facebook group offers for a brand, business or public figure, let’s break down a few examples:
Example 1: JamGrass TV (JamGrass TV Family)
Aside from diving into the golf course and snowplow industry, EPIC Creative has jumped head first into the bluegrass and jamgrass music industry. What started as a passion project is growing into a sponsorship-funded adventure—JamGrass TV is the premier online destination to experience FREE live and recorded concert footage for all your favorite bluegrass, jamgrass and folk-rock concerts.
This venture account of ours has taken the bluegrass world by storm—and utilizing social media and videography is at the forefront of our success. As we grew our following and fanbase, we decided that it was important to create a private Facebook group for JamGrass TV to connect with our audience and offer a place for music lovers, artists and venues to connect and garner friendships.
Though our Facebook group is smaller than some, the platform has a tight-knit group of folks who enjoy discussing the music, live streams and upcoming concert tours of their favorite bands. This has provided our brand with an opportunity to get closer to our audience, make them feel appreciated, let them cherish the feeling of community and togetherness, and connect with them on a more personal level.
Example 2: Northwest String Summit (Northwest String Summit Family)
Next up on our example list—you guessed it—a bluegrass music festival. Northwest String Summit is the premier bluegrass, roots and Americana music festival of the Pacific Northwest that EPIC Creative has been offering a helping hand to this festival since 2010.
Before this year’s festival, our team presented them with the idea of implementing a private Facebook group to help festival-goers connect with one another, chat back and forth before the event and share other music-related content. This digital space has created a thriving community for festival-goers to ask questions, get assistance before the happening event and share their experiences with other members. The group is extremely active during the festival. Members use the platform to connect with new festival friends, or for those who cannot attend feel as if they are there with everyone by seeing each new post.
The results? A large (roughly 1,600 users) group full of meaningful interaction and engagement that screams success. The Facebook group has proven to be a successful strategy for this brand.
Example 3: Yonder Mountain String Band (Yonder Kinfolk)
While brands and services can leverage Facebook groups to interact with their audiences, so can public figures and artists. Yonder Mountain String Band (YMSB), an American progressive bluegrass group from Colorado, has leveraged the group as a form of earned media. Although YMSB is not the sole owner or even moderator of the community, they are able to jump into the conversation and directly communicate with their fans. The Yonder Kinfolk Facebook group is a go-to destination for YMSB fans to join forces and connect over one common love.
So, how does this all tie together? Facebook groups have proven to be successful for the three pages listed above. These pages have leveraged the use of groups not only as a way to interact with their fans, but also to support a platform for fans to engage with each other. These groups are a tactic that is rapidly growing in the social sphere. It’s a free platform that enables brands to connect with their audience and helps instill the ideas of trust and authenticity. Consumers and fans trust real people. When your brand’s content is being spoken about or engaged within a community-focused space, the audience is going to relate to and trust your brand more.
Word to the wise: Start brainstorming ideas on how you can leverage Facebook groups for your brand or business. Need help? Let’s chat.