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The Starter Guide to Facebook Groups for Business How to use a modern forum to grow your audience.

By Kim Walsh Phillips

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Adam Berry | Getty Images

Remember forums?

Delphi Forums, one of the first, started in 1983. Forums provided an early version of social marketing, gathering together others to discuss common interests and causes. While Delphi still exists today, most forums don't. They are difficult to grow and maintain high levels of engagement from members. Think about it -- those who start forums are asking potential and current members to spend time each day doing something they don't normally do, which is going into the forum on a separate site and engage in conversation. Not easy.

Let's put this in perspective. Delphi started in 1983 and has 4 million members. Facebook started in 2004 and has 2 billion.

And Facebook wants to give you no excuse to leave.

Initially as an alternative to forums and to create more community amongst its members, Facebook created Facebook Groups. These sub-groups within Facebook can be created by any individual or business on Facebook. They allow you to create group messages, conversations and community. You can either keep them completely open, closed but discoverable (when you have to approve all members joining), or secret (that you can only find with a link).

When it comes to business, Facebook Groups are a powerful tool. Here are a few of Facebook Groups' many uses:

  1. Benefiting customers: Facebook Groups can be offered as a benefit of being a member of an organization or a customer of a business. A restaurant can create a Facebook Group where recipes and local events are shared with its customers. Or a realtor can create a community group for its clients to have a gathering place to share town information and resources. Our marketing association, Powerful Professionals, uses Facebook Groups as a bonus for enrolling in some of our top-tier courses. Try and use Facebook Groups as a bonus for your customers that will set you apart from your competitors.
  2. Gathering members/attendees: Facebook Groups can be used to create engagement, relationships and partnerships via members of your group or association, or attendees of your upcoming event. We have an association Facebook Group for Powerful Professionals and members can post questions, ask for resources or share tips and strategies with each other. It is also a way I can personally connect with our members. You can also use jump into your own Facebook Group to foster relationships amongst your attendees of an upcoming event or conference.
  3. Promoting others: Occasionally, we will help support another business' launch of their book, product, program or service, sharing their promotion with our email list. To ensure we provide value, we have created a Facebook Group for discussion during the launch period. Leading with value with the Facebook Group, we were able to build trust with our list, which in the end, produced more sales. In a recent launch, competing against hundreds with larger lists, we ended up in the top 10 of partners promoting the event. If you have or plan to support other people's launches, try creating a Facebook Group as one of your key promotional strategies.
  4. Promoting books or product launches: When launching a new book, we create a "Pop Up" Facebook Group ahead of the launch. It helps build buzz and creates a gathering spot for book discussion engagement. This goes a long way in fostering superfans, who are vital in word-of-mouth marketing. Before you launch your next product or publish your first or next book, try creating a Facebook Group to help in your promotions efforts.

You can use Facebook Groups to attract more leads, create customer engagement or launch your next batch of fans to grow your business? That's why you should build Facebook Groups into your next promotion plan and see if this free platform can become one of your secret business growth strategies.

Kim Walsh Phillips

Founder of Powerful Professionals

Kim Walsh Phillips went from 32 clients to over 11,000 in less than a year and founded Powerful Professionals, a business coaching company that has been scaling consulting and coaching businesses. Phillips is the best-selling author of The No BS Guide To Direct Response Social Media Marketing.

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