The Benefits of Joining a Facebook Group for Local Businesses and Brands
If you own a brick and mortar business or a brand with a product/service for a specific area, then this article is directed at you!
Most every community has local Facebook groups. The purpose of different groups might be for buying/selling various items, a forum for neighbors, uniting locals with a common interest, etc. Bigger cities will have more groups and diversity, but local Facebook groups aren’t hard to find.
Facebook groups are valuable on a number of fronts. Facebook groups can be used to help fill an opening/staff your business, keep you informed of community happenings, help you keep tabs on potential competitors, advertise and more. Facebook groups are also often where your target demographic could be. People that move to a new community are desperate to find recommendations for new doctors, babysitters, repair services, you-name-it. The people that physically live in a community are going to find a way to exchange information, ideas and gather online. Community and local Facebook are a great starting point for taking the pulse of your potential clients.
Read the Rules
Before you go into a Facebook group with advertising guns blazing, read the rules. Most successful groups have some sort of rules so that the group isn’t just an endless series of MLM (multilevel marketing) posts. Guidelines help make Facebook groups enjoyable for members. A potential rule might be that individuals can only post about their businesses on a certain day of the week or groups might ask members to post hiring ads in a certain thread. Some groups have different themes for different days of the week.
The best first step to take when entering any group is to observe. Just because you can’t post about your business, doesn’t mean you won’t get value from the group. You could even belong to some groups solely for the purpose of observing. Observing provides you with the opportunity to view the thought processes, questions, wants and desires of your target audience or local community. You are gaining first-hand reconnaissance on how to market your brand. You can see where your brand stands amongst competitors, what others think of your brand and what your potential client’s value and are searching for. Some groups may be more valuable than others, but take the time to listen before posting anything so that you can stay in tune with the community.
Recruit Other Voices
The owner of a business isn’t the sole arbiter of information about that brand. Recruit help in the form of trustworthy employees or loyal clients to help you advertise your brand. You may be able to ask some happy customers that you are friendly with to leave you a good review or to recommend you to their neighbors within community groups. Sometimes the most powerful voice isn’t yours! Don’t shy away from using an outsider to help convey a message about your brand, granted that your source is both positive and trustworthy.
Be helpful! Your primary objective may be promoting your business, but if you can help others along the way, it won’t hurt your reputation. Perhaps you can donate product or service to a local worthy cause or simply recommend a business that you have used and found helpful in the past.
Staying Behind the Curtain
You will have to decide whether you want to be a public persona for your business or whether you want to lie low and observe. If you don’t have a lot of time to continually monitor your online presence within a Facebook group, it may be best to simply open your ears. Facebook groups can be a great tool for getting the word out about your brand, but they are equally great for social listening.
Facebook groups aren’t a new community invention, they are just an example of community taking place online. If you want to learn more about how micro PR could benefit your brand, contact us here.