How to Use Facebook Groups to Promote Your Product
At this point, when it comes to Facebook pages, it’s safe to say that most are tired of horrendous organic reach percentages. Facebook killed organic reach years ago, presumably as a way to “entice” businesses to use Facebook ads – now, in order to have a successful page post that reaches your full audience, you need for it to be a smash hit (that gets consistent interaction early on, and continues to get consistent interaction as more of your audience sees it), or you need to boost it with an ad. In terms of e-commerce, you’re almost always going to have to resort to #2.
Either one of these options isn’t particularly attractive – after all, isn’t the point of social media marketing to be able to do it consistently, and for free?
Luckily, you can still do just that if you use Facebook groups. Building groups to help your e-commerce brand isn’t as simple as building a page is, but the rewards are massive – in some regards, owning a group with a certain number of members is even better than owning a page with that same number of likes. Companies like Flaunt Boutique attribute 50% of Facebook sales to selling in Facebook groups and the Zig Zag Stripe was able to reach over $6 million in sales partially due to selling through a Facebook Group.
Clearly, when done right, Facebook groups can help businesses promote their products. Below, we’ll go over how your e-commerce company can get started on creating and building your own group, as well as how to take full advantage of your efforts once you have an audience built up.
If you’re sick of Facebook trying to nickel and dime you, but you still want to have success with selling on Facebook, read on.
Deciding on a group and set it up
First thing is first – a group is not a replacement for a page.
The next point to keep in mind is that if you don’t have a massive brand name established, you can’t (or shouldn’t) use it in the name of your group. Doing so will only hurt you – if no one knows your name, very few will join the group with your name in it. Since they don’t know you, they won’t think it’s relevant to them.
Instead, you should think of a topic that’s related to your company that your audience will be interested in discussing.
- If you sell cars, create a group to discuss car brands, new models, car news, and the like.
- If you sell jewelry, create a group to discuss types of jewelry, different looks, good deals, and more.
- If you sell women’s summer clothing, create a group to talk about summer, what to wear, and other girly summer things.
You may see brands combining their names and topics of discussion, but this only works if you are an extremely well-known name with a massive customer base. As an example, Shopify has many groups related to their products and e-commerce marketing in general – they can get away with that only because they’re known.
Groups are nice because eventually, the members will do most of the content curation and sharing for you.
But at the start, you have to be the driving force behind the group’s value, and you need to solely provide value. You can’t start off with linking to your website, even if you’re linking to non-product pages. If you do, the group doesn’t look like a valuable group to join – it just looks like your own little promotional channel, AKA a page.
So, start by putting up content that Facebook users will enjoy. We recommend staggering the different types of content you post, both to keep all types of members interested and to save on content creation costs.
Here are some ideas:
- Pictures and videos – they can be helpful, funny, aesthetic, or anything in between (though, we do recommend putting an emphasis on helpful).
- Polls – ask your groups about something, and everyone will be able to see and gain value from the results.
- Short content – tips, tricks and anything that fits well into a short text-based group post.
The goal, overall, is to provide value. That’s how you get new members, and that’s how you get your existing members invested in your group.
Finding influencers to “do the work for you”
Lots of people are looking to establish themselves as players in a certain industry. You have the opportunity to get these people into your group and sharing content, and it’s much easier than you’d imagine, simply because they want to help you build your group. (Kinda. They want to promote themselves, but as long as they’re sharing valuable information, that helps your group, too.)
Find influencers, then invite influencers to your group directly. Create an outreach template and then send a Facebook message, email, or use some other mode of contact. Since joining a group is so easy and the rewards are potentially so high for influencers, at least some will usually be on board. We’d recommend waiting until you have a decent member count built up so you can catch their attention and make it worth their while. (You can only ask once without being annoying.)
You can also just share influencer content and tag the influencer in the post. He or she will get a notification that you’ve shared, and he or she will likely join the group. As the ultimate goal is getting influencers to post in your group (not just join), we would recommend starting with smaller influencers when your group is small, then targeting bigger influencers once you have a decent member count. It has to be worth their while to post!
Promoting your group – the hard part
Alright. You’ve decided on your group name, you’ve created the group, and you’ve started posting your content. You might get a few joins organically, but you’ll have to do much of the promotion yourself, similar to how you have to do most of your page promotion yourself.
You Can Buy Facebook Group Members Buy Now
Take advantage of your existing assets
- Other social media pages and accounts – post a few updates about the group or link to a post within the group.
- Mailing lists – send a few blasts.
- Website(s) – make a blog post around the group, plus the group in your other pieces of content, or even add something to your design linking directly to the group.
- Anything else you can use to reach your audience (be creative).
The cool thing about Facebook groups is that they are inherently valuable to the person you are trying to reach. So, you don’t have to do a lot of selling like you would if you were trying to promote a product on your site – just tell your audience what the group is, what you will be
posting, and why they would want to join. If you can communicate all of that, and you’re targeting the right people in the first place, you’ll likely get the joins you’re after.
Make people join your group to see content
Compared to an e-commerce conversion, a group conversion is very easy to get.
If you have a valuable piece of content, make it so group members have to join the group in order to download or view it. Then, promote on free channels related to your groups like Reddit, forums, and other places. (The places you can promote will vary based on what industry you’re in.)
- A jewelry-based group could offer a guide on which pieces of jewelry match with certain outfits.
- A clothing-based group could offer a lookbook for the upcoming season (with many different brands included, not just yours).
- A car-based group could offer a piece of informational content revolving around different car manufacturers and what each one does well or poorly.
The above are basic ideas; you know your audience better than anyone. Think about what your customers are really interested in learning or seeing, then create premium, join-required content based around that.
Members interested in value are great members to have. They’re interested in the relevant content, so they will almost certainly be interested in whatever else you are posting in the group, too.
This strategy is going to be your main way to grow your group when you are starting off. After you have exhausted your own assets unless you want to advertise, you need to grow somehow, and really valuable content is the best way to do so.
If you have a budget for your new promotional channel, take advantage of Facebook advertising. You’ll find that a well-crafted Facebook ad promoting a group converts much better than one targeting a page – the value of a group is inherent, so if you can convey the value in your ad copy and you’re targeting the right people, there’s no reason for them not to join. Again, a group conversion is very easy to get.
Make friends with admins of other groups
If you use Facebook groups yourself, you’re likely in a few different ones with the same types of content.
As an owner, you can find other owners with the same types of content, but instead of joining, you cross-promote.
It’s fairly simple – you use the search bar to find other groups, join them, ensure that they are quality groups (and not dead, or filled with spam), then friend request the admins and send them a message asking for a post in exchange for a post.
Most will be more than happy to oblige since they have nothing to lose and everything to gain.
This strategy works best if you find groups with similar member counts to yours.
Note: Make sure their posts get as much interaction as yours do, too. They may have built their groups with the methods below, and those aren’t used groups to cross-promote in (they get your members, but you don’t get theirs).
What you should never do
- Spam in other groups. It’s trashy, you lose the opportunity to cross-promote, and even if you do get members, they won’t be the best you can have.
- Add people without their consent. It’s extremely annoying, and the organic reach in your group is determined by the same factors as the organic reach on your pages is – namely, interaction. A bunch of members and very little interaction means little to no organic reach, which defeats the purpose of starting a group in the first place. High-quality members only!
Rest assured that your group will grow itself, too
If the above sounds like hard work, well, it is. But, it’s just as easy (if not easier) than growing a Facebook page, and getting people to subscribe is often much easier.
And, you’ll also benefit from organic growth once your group reaches a certain size. Others will post and do the work for you, especially if you build up a group of influencers within your group. (But, you should always continue to post value-add content yourself – you don’t want to hand over too much influence to your influencers.)
Transitioning from value-add content to promotional posts
Refrain from posting direct advertisements in your group too often. That’s not the purpose of a group. You can get by doing this once in a while, but do it too much, then the group turns into your mini marketing channel, which your members won’t enjoy.
Instead, find ways to cleverly promote your brand in a way that still adds value.
- Link to blog posts and other pieces of content that are hosted on your own assets. Then, go for the product conversion on those pages.
- Ask questions about your products. A poll asking, “what do you think of my company’s new product” will give you direct feedback and get users curious about your offerings.
- Add your products to pictures, videos, and other value-add content pieces. For example, a clothing company could post a picture of an exemplary outfit, and one of those items could be something that’s available in your e-commerce store.
Groups related to e-commerce are particularly prone to spam and low-quality posts. Other e-commerce store owners and affiliates will try to spam and snap up your targeted group traffic. Don’t let that happen!
- Be very clear on the rules of the group. Consider using a post sticky to convey these rules to all new members joining.
- Lay down the law. Don’t just delete posts from spammers – ban them. If a valuable member starts to spam, give him or her a warning first, but don’t be afraid to put your foot down if the behavior continues.
- Moderate yourself, or hire a moderator. You don’t want arguments between your members or non-relevant posts, even if they aren’t necessarily considered spam. Check in on your group once or more per day to reduce these unsightly interactions and posts.
E-Commerce Facebook Groups Guide Recap
- Groups are a lot like pages, but better. Organic reach is generally higher, users are more invested in valuable groups, and users will sometimes receive notifications when a group member has posted (especially if a particular user is heavily involved in the group).
- Create your group around a topic related to your e-commerce company, but do not include your company in the title (unless you have adequate name recognition).
- Build your group by utilizing your own assets, offering enticing content, cross-promoting through other groups, and even running Facebook ads (if you can afford it).
- Once you have established yourself, begin promoting your own products, but do it in a clever and non-spammy way.
- Moderate your group heavily so that the quality level – and the interaction levels – do not decrease.
Overall, Facebook groups are a fantastic marketing channel to utilize as an e-commerce brand – if you do things right, that is. Get started today, and in a few months, your company will have a solid promotional channel – that is free to market to and very consistent in the results you get from it.
After all, those are the two ultimate goals of social media marketing.