Currently, I am preparing to deliver a speech to a group of local small business owners about how I use social media as the founder and CEO of the Indie Business Network. I’m planning to cover three key outlets, at their request: (1) LinkedIn, (2) Instagram, and (3) Facebook.
Of course, there will be a few overlapping themes as I cover each specific social media outlet, especially in regard to Instagram and Facebook. As I continue to sort through my materials, however, I am noticing one area within Facebook that stands alone among the three: Facebook groups. Each of the others has its own unique and beneficial characteristics, but a Facebook group is the only one that delivers a variety of benefits that none of the others can, and each one can benefit your business. Here are six of them.
Benefits of a Facebook Group for Business
1. Events Calendar
While you can share your events on Instagram and LinkedIn, Instagram will not allow you to link directly to an event in the body of your post, and LinkedIn does not have an in-group calendar of any kind. The Event tab within Facebook groups is easy to find on a desktop or a mobile device, and displays your upcoming event dates, times, descriptions, and an accompanying graphic. You can embed as many links as you’d like within each event listing.
2. Live Video
You cannot host a live video on Instagram or LinkedIn. This is a huge bonus that allows you to engage with your customers and fans in real time.
3. An Intimate Ecosystem
If you are proactive about making your Facebook group engaging and informative for your customers, they begin to get to know each other and many form valuable friendships. This allows your brand to become significant for reasons that have little to do with the product or service you offer. People check in to see what is happening in the group not only because there may be a product or service to buy, but because their lives are enhanced by the relationships they form.
4. Sale Option
While you can post items for sale on LinkedIn and Instagram, there is no specific “sale” option within either of those apps. In Facebook groups, you can choose the “Sell Something” option when you post, and include a description of the item for sale, along with the price and an image. Group participants can search specifically for sale postings or discussion postings, making it easy for them to find a product they wish to buy without having to search through discussions.
Asking your customers and fans questions lets them know you care about what they think and are genuinely focused on serving them better. Polls can also give you the inside information you need — direct from your target audience — to fine tune your brand, sharpen customer service or create your next product. While you can certainly ask your followers questions on Instagram and in LinkedIn groups, you cannot create a survey with specific questions that people can answer quickly on the go.
6. A Mobile App
Facebook offers a mobile app that serves as a dedicated space that lets people access their Facebook groups in one place. This is useful for those who prefer interacting largely in groups to interacting via Facebook’s traditional layout. Neither LinkedIn nor Instagram offers anything like it.
As of this writing, the Facebook group mobile app is ad free, so your customers will not see ads for competing products, services, or groups within the app. You can download the Facebook group app on iTunes and Google Play.
There are other benefits to Facebook groups, but I think these are the major ones I have personally found most useful as I lead the Indie Business Network and serve our members. I hope they will help you to leverage a branded Facebook group to grow your business.