Facebook can be a great business tool if you find the right groups to join. By joining groups, you can expand your network past your business Facebook page. Facebook groups can offer you a way to promote your business or provide support to others in your field.
Deciding which Facebook groups to join is determined by your business goals. You will likely want to join many different groups to expand your network of like-minded business owners, find business support, and of course increase your sales.
In any of these cases, you will want to know basic group etiquette to improve your chances of making the most of your Facebook group experience.
Start by setting up a business Facebook page if you haven’t already.
Types of Facebook Groups to Join
If you are looking to promote your business and be recognized as a leading expert in your field, find groups that align with key areas of your business.
For example, if you are selling handmade products, you know which products work best for you, you know how to sell your products at craft fairs and on Etsy, and you also know the in’s and out’s of basic accounting. These are all areas someone else in your niche is likely trying to figure out for the first time, or maybe they are having difficulty in these areas.
You can find a group that fits each of these unique areas that you are an expert in. You, as an expert in your field (or at least more experienced than a newbie) can offer free and informative advice on the group page by responding to inquires posted by other people.
If you are a newbie, you can join these groups and learn from people who have more experience than you.
Look for groups that have been created by your peers for your peers. These groups are usually by invite only and you will likely need to find people on a similar level of experience. If you can’t find a group that fits your needs, start one yourself and invite peers that you can learn and grow with.
For instance, if you are new and just starting out with your business, you probably won’t be able to find a group of experienced and successful people who will let you join. They are there to grow their own business and won’t want to spend time training a newbie.
You will want to find a Facebook group that has people you can learn and grow from in your particular niche and with at least the same amount of experience and success as yourself, if not more.
Find Facebook groups that your customer is likely to go. This is where you promote your products and services for sale! You can do this by either literally posting your stuff for sale, or you can offer some advice or help someone with a question they have and slowly, yet strategically, work your way into being perceived as someone that might have a solution to their need. When you offer advice, you can offer to private message the person if they seem like a good lead to you to further the conversation, or find a way to provide a link back to your site.
There are a lot of groups that you can join to promote your products without being spammy. Spam is bad and if you spam any Facebook group, you’ll likely get banned.
Let’s say you create beautiful graphite portraits. Post your work for sale on group pages that support graphite artists. This will of course depend on the group page rules, but you can usually find groups where you can either post your art for sale directly on the page with the price listed, or at the very least, you most likely would be permitted to include a link that will take people directly to your shop. In this case, you're not selling to the other artists in the group, but you are selling to people visiting the group page to buy art.
There are many like-for-like groups which may seem tempting to join to increase your Facebook page likes. There are a lot of varying opinions on this subject on both ends of the spectrum. I personally do not like this type of group, though I’ll admit I have tried it before just to see what it was all about.
Basically, you post a link to your site on the group page with a note that goes something like this: “Like for Like!” or “Like my page and I’ll return the like!” or, my personal favorite, “L4L”. Let’s just say I didn’t stick around on this group page for long. Not only does your page and notifications get spammed, but you do not get quality people liking your page. They won’t stick around for long, and they definitely won’t be buying anything from you.
So what’s the point? Having a large number of likes definitely improves your standings with your peers, with your future customers, and with people that want to partner with you. There are a lot of advantages to having a large number of likes but it depends on your goals and your marketing strategy.
Etiquette for Facebook Groups
- Offer advice and help others.
- Be sure to link in articles written by other people in addition to yours (good rule of thumb: for every two times you post your material, post one by someone else).
- Read the group page rules and stick to them.
- Make sure any rules that are established are enforced by the administrator. If not, then you might want to find another group.
- If you run a group page, pin the group rules to the top of the feed. Send out a reminder of these rules frequent enough depending on the number of members. This helps remind your current members, but also helps inform the newbies.
- Be polite and professional.
- Don’t spam.
- Don’t be selfish and just ask for help with your problems (see #1 under the Do’s).
- Don’t be a know-it-all and respond to every single question. Let others in on the action.
- Don’t post inappropriate material or use inappropriate language.