May 2019 marks the start of a major paradigm shift for Facebook and the 80 million small business owners who depend on it to market their products and services. At the annual Facebook developers conference Mark Zuckerberg announced the shift by telling attendees Facebook will become focused on privacy and helping people build spaces and relationships where they can feel free to be themselves. One of the ways Facebook plans to accomplish this is by revamping the site and apps to prioritize Facebook Groups.
Why are Facebook Groups Getting all the Attention?
1.4 billion people are already participating in Facebook Groups. That’s the same as:
- the number of active Apple devices in the world.
- the amount of money Pinterest raised in its IPO.
- the number of new users who will access the internet by 2022.
- the population of China.
UMmmmmm. HELLO! That is a lot of people using Facebook Groups already. With 10s of millions of active Facebook Groups, it shouldn’t be too hard to find at least one you’d benefit from joining. Whether you want to talk about small business social media (shameless plug), you have pet rabbits, or you want to find support from other working mothers, there is a group out there for you.
Are Facebook Business Pages Going Away?
Right now there is no official indication that Facebook will be removing Business Pages. While Facebook Groups might be getting an upgrade, Pages are still the best place to promote your product or service, create ads and build awareness. The question of Facebook Business Pages “going away” has been circulating ever since Facebook adopted the first algorithm to sort your newsfeed. Just look at this question and answer forum I found in a quick Google search…it’s from 2014 and the answer I would give you today is pretty much identical.
And don’t forget the great Facebook Apocalypse of 2018 when everyone thought Facebook was dying and a few started jumping ship. Here we are a year later repeating the same fears and forgetting that we have, so far, survived every change Facebook has thrown at us. Small business owners are nothing if not adaptable!So far small businesses have survived every change, update and curve ball Facebook has thrown at us. We are nothing if not adaptable and we will survive this new focus on privacy and groups, too.Click To Tweet
Does Every Business Need to Start a Facebook Group?
The short answer is “NO!”
The purpose of Facebook Groups hasn’t changed. They are still a place for people to come together to talk about a shared interest or experience. Groups are about creating a sense of community, whether that’s a geographic community (like the Group for my local subdivision) or a global community (like how to find love after divorce). So, no, not every business needs to start a Facebook Group because they’re not meant for you to blast your promotions. People won’t join a group just to see all of your products, or hear over and over about what you offer. A group is a place to have conversations. If you can create a group for your people to have conversations, then absolutely it’s worth considering, but you have to remember, a Facebook Group is all about them, not you!
How Can a Small Business Create a Facebook Group that Works?
There are lots of ways to use Facebook Groups that will benefit your business, but the route to business might be less direct. If you can’t simply post about your new dress or widget in the group, what can you do? Here are some ideas:
- A used car dealership could create a Facebook Group for car aficionados. Members could be encouraged to share their questions, experiences and advice about cars in general, and the business can pop in to engage and offer support as appropriate. This allows the dealership to become the known and trusted expert to the members.
- A consignment shop might create a Group for people who love to recycle clothing. Members could be encouraged to share their name brand finds and fabulous deals from all the shops in their area, but the owner would be able to create events in the group related specifically to their own shop and share their own great deals.
- An art gallery could create a group for art collectors and lovers to share the art in their own homes. This doesn’t mean it has to be expensive art–local and new artists could certainly be encouraged.
- A bank might start a Facebook Group to encourage discussions around money saving tips and strategies.
- A REALTOR could manage a Group for a specific subdivision they might be selling, to encourage all the neighbours to help each other out.
It’s about finding a way to get your people involved in conversations. Figure out what your “thing” is and create a group around that. Remember, a Facebook Group is a way to give your ideal clients a place to discuss the thing that makes them a cohesive group. That could be age, location, love of fashion, ownership of pet pigs, or any number of things. Creating a Facebook Group that works for your business will require that you get to know your customers very well. If you need help in that arena, check out Katelyn Bourgoin, it’s kinda her specialty.
Knowing that Facebook is going to be prioritizing Groups, both in their development and in our news feeds, will you be creating a Facebook Group for your business? What will be the focus? Already have one? Share a link and description in the comments so we can check it out!