Many entrepreneurs create a Facebook page for their business, expecting it to be a goldmine of engagement, referral traffic and sales. Unfortunately, most business pages fail and turn into a dead zone. To make pages work, you need to run paid ads, placing them directly in front of your target audience.
It’s difficult for most businesses to create an engaged page without an advertising budget. Also, most consumers view a business page on Facebook as an advertisement. This leads to frustration and many business owners abandoning Facebook. Rather than do that, switch your focus to building a Facebook Group for your business.
It’s a viable way of building a highly engaged community of individuals who are likely to be interested in your business. I recently created a closed group, E-Commerce Rockstars, because I truly believe Facebook Groups provide several benefits. Here are five reasons I decided to create a group, and why you should also consider it.
1. It provides more personal engagement.
The majority of business pages on Facebook lack the type of engagement the page owner craves -- likes and comments that fuel the discussion. This is where a Facebook Group thrives. The right discussion can really take off because it’s not as intimidating as a business page.
Most consumers don’t want to join the conversation on a post made by a business, but if it’s in a group setting, that barrier is removed. It gives you the opportunity to be more personal. You are the face behind the group, not a company name and logo. Consumers want to engage with a person, not a company.
2. Drive focused attention to a call to action.
In a group, you have the ability to pin a post to the top. This is a great place to put a call to action and guarantee you draw eyeballs to it. You don’t want to throw up something overly spammy, but an invitation to join your newsletter is perfectly fine, especially if you provide value to the group members.
Not every group member is going to jump on your offer immediately, but if you remain value-focused, you will see group members join that want to receive more of your content. I am a member of several Facebook groups, and I have been converted on pinned posts in the past simply because of the value offered within the group.
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3. Receive immediate feedback from polls.
Groups are a great source of immediate feedback, and if you build a niche group from the beginning, the feedback you receive will be extremely valuable. By creating a poll in your group, you can receive feedback on any subject matter or question you might have.
This can provide beneficial for every business -- from consumer brands to B2B businesses. “Facebook Groups allow you to poll your members, and receive feedback as well as start a conversation around any topic. From product concept feedback to customer experiences, it’s a source of the most raw and honest feedback you can find in an online environment,” says Steven Zeldes, CEO of AvaCare Medical.
I’ve seen several successful polls in groups that I am a member of on product design, packaging and price-points. It’s generally high-quality and valuable from a business owner’s point of view.
4. Announce offers.
I created my e-commerce focused group to gather entrepreneurs that build online businesses for several reasons -- bounce ideas back and forth, share experiences, ask questions and create a community of the best in the e-commerce game.
I also did it to announce an offer down the road. Creating this group gives me a highly targeted audience to present the offer to when that time comes. But, that is a long time away. In the meantime, I’ll be focusing on creating a value-packed community. Without that element, nobody will be interested in the offer.
5. Build trust by providing value.
All four points previous discussed above require one element—trust. Without trust, you won’t have a highly engaged group, you won’t drive interest to your call to action, your polls won’t receive feedback and any offers you announce won’t be well received.
To build trust, you must provide value. Things like sharing first-hand experience, answering questions and simply providing the community can all help strengthen the relationship between you, your members and your business. Holding question-and-answer sessions and creating exclusive content for your group are just a couple examples of how you can provide added value.
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This article originally appeared on Entrepreneur.com. Minor edits have been done by the Entrepreneur.com.ph editors