Facebook is the world’s most popular social network. With more than two billion users stopping by the site every month, there are literally millions of opportunities for your small business.

However, finding success on the social network isn’t always easy, and growing your Facebook Page can be expensive and time-consuming.

Because of this, some have abandoned their pages altogether and instead have turned their attention towards lucrative Facebook Groups.

This week, we’re giving you an introduction to Facebook Groups, and show you how you can use these micro-communities to promote your products and services and grow your business.

Why use Facebook Groups?

The key to finding success on social networking sites is getting your promotional message in front of large numbers of potential customers. Of course, you can build an audience on Facebook yourself by posting quality content, hosting giveaways and paying for ads, but Facebook Groups provide a more cost-effective alternative.

Simply put, many Groups have already been established and have a large, active audience in your niche – packed with potential customers that know nothing about your business.

If you want to reach out to them and get them to know about your business, here’s what to do.

Find relevant groups

The first thing you need to do is search groups that are related to your niche or location. If you are an estate agent, for example, then you may want to join local news and community groups, or groups specifically created for buying and selling property. The chances are that you’ll find a fair few Facebook Groups – last year, more than a billion users interacted with a Group.

Once you’ve found the groups you’d like to target, request to join them on your personal Facebook account. You may be asked a few questions about why you’d like to join before you’re accepted, to set aside the time to answer. Also consider changing your privacy settings so that people can’t see which groups you’re a member of – that way, you’ll be able to join lots in quick succession without looking desperate or like you’re being overly promotional.

Start interacting in the groups

Once you’ve been accepted, start posting. You should aim to post once a day, whether it’s answering a question, getting involved in a discussion or sharing news or valuable content.

For at least the first few weeks, you should avoid promoting your products or services, as you want to grow your authority and show that you’re genuine and want to get involved. In fact, some groups have rules that prevent new members from promoting their products and services, so check through those before you start plugging your business.

Start building relationships

Facebook Groups are different to Facebook Pages – not only are they community-based, but they are centred around discussion and engagement rather than promotion. Because of this, you should aim to build relationships with other business owners and potential customers – the sooner you can establish yourself within the group, the easier it will be to promote.

Address users’ problems

You should never post a straight-up ad in a Facebook Group. Your posts should aim to solve the problems of the group’s users, whether that’s maintaining their gardens, saving money, finding new customers or learning something new. Act as an “authority figure” in your niche rather than a salesperson, and you’ll be likely to convert users into customers.

If your posts provide value, whether that’s entertainment value or information, they’ll be more inclined to trust your business and inquire about your products and services.

Be honest and authentic

No business owner wants to appear unprofessional or downright dishonest, but it can be easy to slip into false statements when you’re trying to sell. You should be honest and authentic at all times – you don’t want to risk damaging the reputation of your business, or worse lose your place in the Facebook Group because of a dodgy sale or claim. Be a good person – it’ll pay off.

Be a good person – it’ll pay off.

Use multimedia content in your posts

Use images, videos and GIFs in your posts, as you’ll generate far greater interest and response than if you were to post a simple text post. Other ways to increase engagement and get people to interact with your content is to use polls, ask questions or try Facebook’s new backgrounds feature, where you can share updates with an attractive background.

Facebook’s new status backgrounds stand out and look pretty.

Link to your website

Another way to boost engagement and generate interest in your business is to link back to your website. Add a call to action at the bottom of your post, direct people asking questions to your blog posts or inform people about your new products and services in a simple post.

That way, if people are interested in finding out what you do, they’ll click through and you’ll have the chance to capture their email address and get another comment on your blog posts.

Promote your giveaways

Hosting a giveaway on your Facebook Page and want more people to enter and like your page? Post about it in your favourite Facebook Groups to let people know, and you’ll likely find that hundreds of engaged Group members will like your page and enter your giveaway.

The amount you spend on social media competition prizes will depend on your budget and return on investment.

The amount you spend on social media competition prizes will depend on your budget and return on investment.

If you’ve really built up a name for yourself in a Group by posting relevant content and engaging with users, then you have the potential for your giveaway to go viral – that’s why it pays to put in the time during your early days of joining the group.

Wrapping up

If you want to grow your business and reach more prospects on Facebook, then take advantage of Facebook Groups. Introduce Groups to your marketing plan and you’ll quickly see just how effective they can be – but remember that you have to remain true to yourself and work on building your “personal brand” if you really want to find success in this sphere.