TL;DR: Facebook Groups are relatively untapped resources for engaging with niche audiences. They’re easy, yet effective tools for fostering brand loyalty — just ask the brands and media companies below.
ICYMI (you probably didn’t), Facebook announced that it’s made changes to its algorithm, which sent the marketing-sphere reeling. Facebook’s news feed algorithm update will prioritize posts that “spark conversations and meaningful interactions between people.”
So, what does this mean, exactly? It means that brands need to give their engagement strategy a Face(book)lift by leaving vanity metrics such as likes, comments and shares behind, and instead focusing on constructing an immersive experience for audience members. We recommend that brands begin this shift with something simple, but effective... creating Facebook Groups.
Last summer, Facebook shared that page administrators would also have the ability to create Groups within their pages, potentially bolstering brands and media companies’ efforts to build engagement with niche Groups. Facebook Groups are included in their exclusive “prioritized pack” of features.
For this reason, a handful of brands and media companies stepped up to create Facebook Groups for users to interact with other brand loyalists, old and new.
HBO’s Big Little Lies Official Group has more than 33,000 members, and these members continue interacting with the page on a consistent basis for a full year, even between seasons.
What’s the Big Little Deal here? HBO recognized an opportunity to reform passive viewership into active “fan-ship,” resulting in the conversion of non-viewers to viewers, in addition to greater interest in the hit show across the board. If we’re talking numbers, the page’s engagements have gone as high as 2,000, and the group is still growing: this shows both series and bigger brand loyalty.
PBS Newshour and The New York Times Books
Facebook Groups can serve as a brand’s main hub for getting to know its followers — this is what PBS and The New York Times did successfully, recognizing their audiences and determining that they share a common interest. They identified the connection and took advantage of it.
Naturally, brands should know their followers as well as they do good friends, asking: What are their favorite things? What makes them happy? What should we avoid talking about to keep them happy? If brands think of their social media presence as a person rather than an organization, they’ll have an upper hand when adapting to Facebook’s latest algorithm update. Connecting with audience members through Facebook Groups is an approachable way to build lasting “fan-ships.”
PopSugar Fitness created a Be Well — Self-Care With POPSUGAR group to serve as “a space for [its] community to share their wellness and self-care tips, struggles, and advice,” according to group monitor and fitness editor Gina Florio.
This a prime example of how brands can meaningfully connect with audiences and guide them straight to their product, or website in PopSugar Fitness’ case.
This must leave you wondering, what is the common thread between these three examples? These brands and media companies are capitalizing on shared interests in a seemingly authentic way. What human doesn’t enjoy spending time sharing about what they love? It’s human nature, and that’s what Facebook wants more of on its platform.
I’ll say this a little louder for the people in the back: Not enough brands and media companies are utilizing Facebook Groups even though they are effective (and free) marketing tools. Facebook Groups have the ability to create real engagement with loyal audiences, outside of just links. There is an opportunity to further this conversation.
Finally, forming a Group is a surefire way to tap into niche audiences, while also forming and nurturing long-term brand-consumer relationships that’ll make Facebook happy (hear that, Zuckerberg?).
If looking for other ways to engage with your Facebook followers, using Facebook Live is a sound way to meaningfully interact with followers and be prioritized in Facebook’s News Feed. Read this post about using Facebook Live most effectively.
Interested in using Facebook Groups for your brand or organization? Shoot us a line or message! We’d love to support your social media marketing efforts, especially in the wake of recent Facebook changes. That’s one of the reasons we do what we do — we never get bored.