social media how to

Do you want to create an online community?

Have you considered a Facebook group?

Facebook groups can support your community-building and marketing efforts in a number of ways.

In this article you’ll find three ways to use Facebook groups for business.

use facebook groups for business

Discover 3 ways to use Facebook groups for business.

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#1: Create a Community Around an Event

She Takes on the World introduced Facebook groups to their business last year. The company runs a community for female entrepreneurs called the Conquer Club, which is a paid membership program hosted on a membership website.

In fall 2014, the company was gearing up to launch the Conquer Summit, a free 9-week business training series featuring weekly video interviews. To build a community around the event, She Takes on the World created a Facebook group for everyone who registered for the free training.

The Conquer Summit group on Facebook has over 6,700 members. During (and following) the summit, it provided a space for community members to interact with Natalie MacNeil, host of the summit and CEO of She Takes on the World. Members also networked with one another, making connections, discussing content from the summit and more.

conquer summit header

She Takes on the World created the Conquer Summit group to support a multi-week live event.

“One of the things we really noticed during the Conquer Summit was that in a lot of cases, it was easier to communicate with people via our Facebook group than it was by email,” explains MacNeil. “We found that having the group in place during the event helped create a more personal connection with our clients and provided an added level of support.”

The Conquer Summit group has also created strong connections, with members around the world meeting in person. “We’ve been surprised at how many members have met up. It’s been cool to see those people meeting for the first time because of the power of our community,” said MacNeil.

#2: Launch a Group for a Program, Product or Service

When graphic designer Marie Poulin set up a Facebook group for the beta round of her Digital Strategy School, she had no idea what to expect. She quickly realized how much extra value that group added for her and her students.

“The Facebook group has been a tremendous success, more so than I ever could have expected. I’ve had members tell me that they are cancelling memberships with other groups because they are getting so much value [from ours],” said Poulin.

During the beta round of her program, Poulin was able to get real-time feedback from participants on what they needed, what they liked and what they didn’t like. The feedback enabled her to improve and adapt her Digital Strategy School before launching the next round.

digital strategy school group

The Digital Strategy School group offers support and feedback.

The group is designed to be a safe space for members (who are mostly graphic designers) to discuss all things related to their working process, handling client situations and getting feedback on whatever they need. It’s a place where members can have honest conversations about the industry.

That personal touch and relationship with participants has helped Poulin establish herself as a leader in training for creative people running digital businesses.

Within the group, members have created strong relationships with one another by answering questions, sharing resources and brainstorming ideas. “Being a service-based professional can be scary, and no one wants to admit they’re struggling with a client or even a creative process. Within the group, they can bring that to the table and get the help they need. I’m not sure we’d have that level of trust or support without a Facebook group in place.”

#3: Build a Networking Group

If you’re having a hard time finding groups that are a good fit for your needs, don’t be afraid to create your own. Two years ago, Jules Taggart and Sandy Sidhu couldn’t find a group that best served their needs as female entrepreneurs, so they created a low-cost networking group called Thrive Hive.

thrive hive header

Thrive Hive is a networking group for women.

The group offers networking and learning opportunities for women who are building both traditional and online businesses. Taggart explains, “We noticed that in so many groups we were lost in the shuffle, as they were just too big or didn’t offer a lot of value. There was so much pitching and promotion, and no true discussion.”

Thrive Hive’s online networking has also evolved into offline networking as well, with three in-person retreats and members meeting up all over the world.

How to Find and Join Groups

Groups offer a way for you to network on your schedule with the specific people you’re looking for. There are hundreds of thousands of Facebook groups for every type of business—from photographers to software developers.

If you aren’t sure where to find groups, start with Facebook Graph Search. You can easily identify groups using these three searches:

1. Search for groups that have members who like a specific Facebook page. For example, search for “groups joined by people who like Social Media Examiner,” as shown below.

group search

Search for groups joined by people who like a specific Facebook page.

2. Search for “groups joined by my friends,” as shown here.

group search

Search for groups that your friends have joined.

3. Search for groups joined by people who are members of a specific Facebook group. For example, search for “groups of members of Alt Summit Winter 2015,” as shown below.

group search

Search for groups joined by people who joined a specific Facebook group.

You can also simply ask your friends and peers what groups they enjoy being part of, because not all groups are created equal. Some groups are more promotional in nature, while others have strict promotional guidelines and focus on a specific topic.

Take the time to find groups that align with your business needs and understand what they offer. For example, if you’re looking for a group about podcasting, you could search for “groups about podcasting” in Graph Search and find a variety of groups to choose from.

group search

Search for Facebook groups based on a specific interest.

In the results for the podcasting search, some of the groups are for paid programs, and others, such as She Podcasts and Podcaster’s Hangout, are open to all podcasters. It’s a good idea to read the description before you request membership.

group about description

These are the group rules for the She Podcasts group.

Over to You

Facebook groups are a great opportunity to grow your business. The total number of people using Facebook groups is increasing steadily. In October 2014, Facebook reported that 700 million people use Facebook groups every month, an increase of 200 million from the previous January.

What do you think? How are you using Facebook groups in your business? What wins or challenges have you experienced? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

how to use facebook groups for business

Tips to use Facebook Groups for business.

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  • Melanie

    Can you start a group using your business profile page? I only have ever been able to use my personal page which is not ideal.

  • I started a group in November on a whim – didn’t think it through, didn’t figure people would join, but wanted to throw it out there as a place where my readers could connect privately (because nobody wanted their ex from high-school reading about their baby sleep woes on FB). While new it’s been a rousing an unexpected success! The 2K+ people in the group are HIGHLY interactive and engaged, both with me and each other. It’s great to see strangers reaching out to support each other. As for the benefit to me, I’ll admit that yes it is a bit of a time sink (I’m trying to put more boundaries on when and how long I hang out in the comments), HOWEVER I’ve gotten fantastic feedback and insights from the group members. You could even say INVALUABLE.

  • Jules Taggart

    Thanks for the shout out for Thrive Hive, Maggie! I am finding that I spend far more time and energy in Facebook groups than I do on my business page. The conversations are richer and the connections feel stronger. Great tips here on finding valuable groups and building relationships!

  • I started a group for my online business in January, and my sales have doubled! It has been such an amazing space for me! A friend in the business is using some of my ideas, and is now not going to lose her business before her loan comes through this summer. Groups are great!!

  • Maggie Patterson

    You can do it using your personal profile only, but you don’t need to be friends with anyone so you can keep clear boundaries. Thanks for reading Melanie.

  • Maggie Patterson

    That’s amazing. I love your story. Thanks for sharing it.

  • Maggie Patterson

    Thank you Jules! Thrive Hive is such a valuable resource!

  • Maggie Patterson

    Really – I love that you’re rocking it. Way to go.

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  • treb072410

    Thanks for sharing @disqus_iWAi3y2vKR:disqus , this could be really useful for people who just started business..

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  • Hi Maggie, thanks for your post. I’d like to share my experience working with FB groups. I own a group since 2010 and I manage to grow my business using it. The group today has 12k + members and it’s the main marketing tool of my business. It’s a great mkt strategy indeed.

  • Guest

    I started working from comfort of my home, working various basic jobs that only required a computer and internet connection and it is a life-saver for me… It’s been 6 months since i started this and i had profit in total 36,000 bucks… Basicly i profit 80 bucks/hourly and work for three to four hours a day.And great thing about this is that you can determine your own working hours and you get a paycheck weekly.

  • Maggie Patterson

    That’s awesome Rafa! Is it an industry group? On a specific topic?

  • Lois Moncrief

    Maggie, Great Job! Thanks for sharing with us.

  • Yes Maggie, it’s actually a very specific topic, about study & travel for Brazilians in Canada. We leave the group open for experience exchange between people that have lived abroad, people that are currently living abroad, and people that are planning their trip. We also promote workshops and have exclusive promotions for group members. It works really well.

  • Jo Ann Post

    Hello… This is a great article. I am looking to grow my gifting business. I am reaching out to companies… marketing execs, HR, owners… do you have any ideas for a group? What could I offer as engagement? I consider business thank yous an extension of marketing. I would love your thoughts. Thank You…

  • Geniece Brown

    Hi Maggie. I have been wanting to start a facebook group for a while around email newsletter marketing. I had a group at one point on linkedin but it turned out to be an epic fail and got overloaded by spammers so I closed it. I know that part of the reason is I didn’t have a good set of rules and guidelines in place for who the group was for and ‘do’s and don’ts.’ Just not sure how to start it out properly to get the right people and have an engaging, fun-learning atmosphere.

  • Maggie Patterson

    Thank you Lois!

  • Maggie Patterson

    I think the key is figuring out where they need support related to what you do. So in your case – do they have a hard time coming up with ideas, do they need peer support? Focusing in on what you can offer that they can’t get anywhere else would be a good place to start.

  • Maggie Patterson

    Great question Geniece! Laying out the guidelines from the starts is an absolute must, as you need to set the pace for what is and isn’t okay. The people I interviewed for this article had lots of ideas around this and expressed that it was so critical to the group running efficiently.

    In the FB group that I run, I have a strict no-promotion policy that’s clearly articulated (and they will get removed if they are spammy) along with suggestions and ideas for how exactly for them to get the best out of their engagement in the group. Things like give more than you take, google it first – then ask the group. You’re in charge so you can set the rules and create a place that’s fun and high value for the participants.

  • Geniece Brown

    Awesome! Thanks Maggie.

  • kaanchan

    Hi Maggie, thanks for an insightful article! Just wanted to know if you could follow up with a post on guidelines… I would like to run a group for personal stylists and users of the mobile app we are about to launch. Would be helpful if I got some indications on the kind of things to watch out for and pre-handle via the guidelines. Thanks again!

  • Angela Mastrodonato

    I think this is such a great idea – using FB Groups for business. Unfortunately, I found out that I need to use my personal page to create a group as well, which I agree is not ideal.

    The challenge is, I’m doing this for a client, and Facebook won’t even let me create the group until I invite some of my friends! I don’t want my friends on my client’s Facebook group, especially since my client is a local business and none of my friends live in that local area!

    Have you found a way to create a FB book group without inviting any of your friends? I would love to hear it!

  • Hi Jules,

    What best practices do you recommend for a company’s employees to participate in industry related groups without using their personal accounts? I have toyed with the idea of creating “dummy” facebook accounts for this purpose; for example Company-Name_Eric. I understand my employees reluctance. I have one employee that started posting to groups about a year ago, it’s been very successful, however, his personal account is now all business. Do you have any suggestions?

  • Hi Maggie,

    What best practices do you recommend for a company’s employees to participate in industry related groups without using their personal accounts? I have toyed with the idea of creating “dummy” facebook accounts for this purpose; for example Company-Name_Eric. I understand my employees reluctance. I have one employee that started posting to groups about a year ago, it’s been very successful, however, his personal account is ruined; it is now all business. Do you have any suggestions?

  • @afmastro:disqus, that sounds odd. I’ve setup lots of groups without ever having to invite anyone to join the group first before it could be created. Can you reach out to me so that I can try and help?

  • @efwoodchek:disqus, I wouldn’t go the route of using dummy accounts. It’s against Facebook’s TOS to do that. As for using their own personal accounts, is there a reason why you wouldn’t want your employees to do this? You mention someone did this and now it is all business. I’m wondering if they just weren’t using their Facebook Profile enough? What do you mean by this? Can you elaborate? I’m a part of a lot of groups and my profile is a mix of personal and business – it’s something I expect to see when I’m viewing my news feed.

  • SteveHards

    Creating dummy personal accounts is against Facebook’s TOS and will get the person’s proper account banned if FB catches up with it. Business Page admins are anonymous, but people in groups, including the admins, are not. It’s a matter of transparency. People in groups should have a right to know who they are communicating with.

  • SteveHards

    With you on this @ckarasiewicz:disqus. I was just scanning this thread when I saw @efwoodchek:disqus’s duplicate post (!) on this and replied along the same lines before I saw yours. Group posts may appear in one’s newsfeed, which is helpful, but they don’t appear on your timeline unless you have shared them there.

  • No worries @stevehards:disqus.

  • Hi @ckarasiewicz:disqus and others, I have a related comment and question to @efwoodchek:disqus’s if anyone wouldn’t mind chiming in.

    I’m starting a Facebook Group/focus group for a magazine podcast we’re launching. My co-host and I will regularly contribute content to the group of fans. But I don’t want to use my personal account, but instead my public person/journalist page. I haven’t found a way to do so.

    Is this possible– for a Facebook Public Person Page to post in a Facebook Group?

    My goals:
    Build the podcast focus group
    Keep my personal profile intact
    Build my Facebook Page

    Any feedback and ideas much appreciated!

  • @shelbyskrhak:disqus, for now, no. You have to use a Facebook Profile when you’re in Facebook Groups. I think they do this because that’s the natural way of interacting in a group setting. i.e. Think about when you were in a group setting. You may have been meeting with other business owners, but you’re not meeting as your business, but as a representative of your business. My getting to know the people in the group personally, this can help lead them to want to ask questions, learn more about your business. Typically, if you’re looking to build your Facebook Page, you would do that as an offshoot of sharing content – potentially in a group setting. Share content from your page on your profile, in a group (read the rules of the group to see if this is allowed) and so forth. Don’t forget about promoting your page on your website/blog and to your email list as well. This should help broaden exposure to drive people to your Facebook Page over time.