Facebook Groups vs Facebook Fan Pages

Like many businesses, entrepreneurs, and online personalities, you have probably established and maintained a Facebook fan page. This is where you have built relations with your clients or fans; keeping them in the loop on your industry (80%) and yourself (20%). You have been able to track stats and plan accordingly, but ... with the ever changing algorithms, reaching your audience is becoming increasingly difficult.

Recently Facebook made some changes to their group settings allowing admins to have access to stats and adding new features. These new features are changing the marketing field on Facebook and the opportunity to benefit from it is a lot more feasible than the pages have become. Let’s review a few of these features and how they can work for you.

Access to Statistics

Access to group insights offers a new range of opportunities for those using a group as a base for clients, customers, or fans.

You are able to see a limited amount of demographics and track group membership. Additionally you can monitor group activity at a glance. This allows you to know what content is resonating and what content needs to be reconsidered.

It also allows you to see member activity. Want to pick a VIP client or fan based on activity? Just a quick peek under member details will show you who is most active, along with the number of posts and comments they have contributed.

Announcements Vs. Pinned Posts

Previously, you were able to pin only one post to the top of a group. Generally this post is used to outline group guidelines, announce specials, or to share some other evergreen content. Oftentimes you may have found yourself torn between keeping an old pinned posts or replacing with new, equally important information.

You are now allotted five “announcements” versus one pinned post and these posts can be given expiration dates. This gives you the ability to highlight more important news and information for your followers. You may want to include upcoming events, FAQs, and more, along with guidelines and such. We all know how quickly posts can disappear down a group feed, so this is a very valuable addition.

Scheduled Posts

Maintaining a Facebook group on top of other business tools can be a lot of work. Scheduling posts in batches helps to balance out that work. By using a chunk of time to schedule out posts for the upcoming week or month, you allow yourself the freedom to interact within those posts as they come up. This doesn’t mean you can post fresh content in real time, it just means you will always have a base of content prepared.

This will also have you thinking by the calendar, meaning you are looking ahead and seeing upcoming holidays and special events and giving yourself a chance to be prepared for them. No one likes to realize it’s National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day on the day you were going to start your diet. Tackling holidays and evergreen content always you the time and energy to tacking trending topics as the arise and are relevant to you. Being in the loop is part of what will make you an authority in your industry.

Group to Group Connections

This feature is a great way for a network of groups to cross promote. Whether these groups are affiliated with the same company or share a similar audience, it is a way to build trust and authority by linking with other reputable groups that will benefit your audience.

Additionally, you may wish to add connections to groups outside of your interest that overlap. For example, a group for writers might connect to a graphic design group, a marketing group, and a coffee lover’s group.

What Kind of Groupie Am I?

As an author, I use my Facebook group to engage my readers. I share sneak peeks into my writing, behind the scenes looks into my life as an author, and content relevant to my genres. I can host giveaways, events, and meet & greet type activities with nonlocal readers. I am also able to use the features listed here to make my marketing efforts more effective, my readers happier, and publicists satisfied that I am doing my fair share of reaching out to readers and building my base.

I also use my group as a tool to track my workflow and give myself accountability. I told my readers on Monday I would write five new scenes for this book this week, it’s Friday ... time for an update! Did I write five new scenes?

Are Groups For Everyone?

These methods can be adapted to many endeavors, not just authors. I really feel Facebook groups will replace fan pages in relevancy and interaction. On the website for my company, OWS Ink, LLC, one of my co-workers, Rebekah Jonesy wrote a great article on narrowing down your Facebook experience to keep socializing and running business separate. While this Focus Facebook article was written for authors, the methods are adaptable.

I believe that Facebook groups offer enough customization at this point that anyone could use them productively and efficiently to improve their business relations. I think we will continue to see additional features and improvements that will make groups the go to place for clients, customers, and fans!