social media how toAre you looking for new ways to network?

Have you considered using Facebook groups to build your business?

Facebook groups offer a proven way to form lasting, productive connections that generate leads.

In this article you’ll discover how to create stronger relationships with customers by networking in Facebook groups.

#1: Join the Right Groups

With millions of active groups on Facebook, there truly is a group for every interest. If you’re looking for networking, you can track down groups within your industry to connect with your peers and prospective customers.

With so many groups to choose from, you’ll need to start with some research to find groups that fit your needs. Start by asking your colleagues and customers what groups they’re active in.

Facebook also offers a “suggested groups” feature that you can find on your top navigation bar when you view Groups from your profile.

suggested facebook groups

Click on Groups from the left side of your profile to see suggested groups.

You can also use graph search to locate groups using the string “groups of people who like TOPIC or PAGE NAME.”

graph search group results

Find relevant groups to join using graph search.

Once you find groups, read their descriptions and see if the group is open to new members. You can then request to join the group by clicking on Join in the top right corner of the group’s page.

#2: Be Genuine and Helpful

To build a solid reputation and real relationships, your goal should not be to sell or promote, but to be helpful. Focus on being of service by asking and answering questions and engaging with other group members.

These activities result in relationships and connections that turn into sales, referrals and partnerships for your business.

#3: Support Your Facebook Presence

Being active in Facebook groups offers a way to help drive people to your Facebook page.

suzi istvan facebook cover image

Suzi Istvan used groups to build her fan base.

Web designer and developer Suzi Istvan has built her business page from 60 to close to over 900 likes in under 10 months purely through sharing in groups.

She attributes half of her 2013 revenue to relationships formed in Facebook groups.

#4: Keep in Touch

Business happens in real time and using a group with customers or other interested individuals gives you a convenient way to keep members informed about products and services and share information.

If you have a question or need clarification, groups let you ask actual customers for input in a casual way.

#5: Convert Prospects Into Buyers

Business coach Rebecca Tracey has created a thriving Facebook group called Uncaged Lifers that she funnels all of her prospective clients into.

uncaged lifers group image

The Uncaged Lifers community on Facebook.

When people join her email list, they are encouraged to join the group. Tracey explains, “My goal was to create community, but my Facebook group has quickly become the number-one source of new clients in my business.”

#6: Provide Customer Support

For online businesses or newer business owners who don’t have a 24/7 customer support network in place, an active Facebook group gives customers a place to connect, collaborate and share.

Build a group to facilitate connections among your customers and encourage brand ambassadors to engage on your behalf.

#7: Promote an Online Event

As prospective customers are likely already active on Facebook, creating an online event for your group is a solid way to generate activity and interest in your business.

The event should be time-limited and offer content or perks your attendees won’t get anywhere else.

Amber McCue from business strategy firm NiceOps used online events based around Facebook groups extensively in 2013. Her last week-long event had over 600 participants and included 5 videos per day on business planning for 2014.

planathon facebook image

Amber McCue’s Planathon promotion image.

McCue’s Plan-a-Thon event focused on selling a 2014 business planner and generating interest for an upcoming self-study program with solid results. She cautions that “results may not be immediate, but I do see a clear relationship among my online events, increased sales and growth of my email list.”

How to Set Up Your Own Group

To get started, go to your Groups page and click on the Create Group button. You will then see a pop-up screen that lets you name your group, add members and set privacy for your group.

facebook group setup screen

Group setup screen.

Simply name the group to get started. To proceed, you need to add at least one person to the group, then you choose the privacy setting for your group.

There are three privacy options:

facebook group privacy settings

Select your group’s privacy settings. Closed groups are popular for business groups.

For business groups, Closed is a good option as you can control who joins, but your group can still be found in search.

Facebook will then prompt you to select an icon for the group.

facebook group icon settings

Choose an icon that will go beside your group name in the groups list.

When your group is set up, manage settings by clicking on the gear on the right-hand side under the header. You will see a drop-down menu with Edit Group Settings as an option.

add people to facebook group

Manage your group using the drop-down menu under the gear on the right-hand side.

On this page, you’ll be able to determine membership settings and add a description. If you go to Set Up Group Address, you can easily customize the URL for your group.

Select the address for the group, which will be and then press OK. That gives you a custom URL for your group:

facebook group custom url popup

Set the custom URL for your group using the Group Address function.

Finally, you can set up tags for your group, posting permissions and post approval if required.

facebook group permissions

Determine group settings including permissions and approvals.

Now that your group is set up, you can add people to the group automatically if you’re friends with them on Facebook, or you can use the URL for the group to invite people to join.

In Closing

Facebook groups offer an easy, highly effective way to connect with prospects and customers within your industry. By meeting people on a social platform they’re already using, you’re able to create high levels of engagement.

The beauty of groups is that they require very little time and you can participate when it’s convenient for you.

How are you using groups in your business? Do you rely on them for networking? Do you have a customer community? Comment below and let me know.

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  • amy gajewski

    Does anyone know how to claim a Facebook business page? It seems as if the Facebook link is broken, and the directions they have listed are no longer valid. Thanks!

  • Victor Manolo Antunez

    “#1: Join the Right Groups”

    Absolutely, it all starts there. I have to admit I’ve been guilty of not thinking strategically with this aspect of FB. I’d join groups because I liked what they were about but because I was a member of so many groups I was contributing little value to them.

    So now I join and or Like less stuff on FB and I think that benefits everyone. I’m not all over the place and the groups I am involved with I’m actually involved with.


  • Maggie Patterson

    Thanks for your comment Vic. Quality over quantity for sure!

  • It would appear that in the new version of Facebook installed today, 03 Jun 14, that there is no Groups button. You will need to adjust your examples and instructions or clue me in as to where it is on the new facebook look.

  • Great tips Maggie, with some very thought provoking points on how Facebook groups helps to build business online.

  • I am not quite sure, Facebook groups have never really worked well for me. Most of the time it is all about spamming, almost nobody bother to check links and topics shared or to reply. Though LinkedIn groups and Google Communities have always produce a lot of traffic and even sales.

  • Maggie Patterson

    My groups are still on the sidebar under my profile. If you click on “groups” you’ll get a page where you can see “suggested groups” – hope that helps.

  • Maggie Patterson

    Thanks Dev!

  • Maggie Patterson

    That’s interesting, I really think it depends on your business, as LinkedIn Groups have been the exact experience you describe for me – lots of spammy and off-topic content. Thanks for the suggestions as groups of all kinds have potential.

  • Glauber Couto

    Someone remember how can i get the group’s IP’s for segmented campaigns with Facebook Ads

  • I did find something called groups in a drop down from a far right Button. Now I will have to look into it.

  • I’ve maintained a Facebook group for many years starting back when there was lots of talk about groups versus pages.

    The group has grown steadily on its own, and outside of some occasional spam, has been encouraging for members and helpful regarding my own promotions.

    Like anything else, you must commit to launch, growth, and monitoring before you decide to begin this venture.

  • Fabienne Raphael

    Thank you Maggie for such useful information on Facebook groups. As you say, it is so important to keep in touch with your group’s members, to be genuine, interact with them, answering questions, adding great and valuable content. Basically, it is also a place where you can build trust and credibility as an expert in your field.

    Facebook groups are also very useful into getting to know what your audience’s needs,
    frustrations or concerns are. Therefore, it is definitely a tool you can use to build your own products, continuity programs, books, etc. You will then be sure, when you create something, that you are right on target. You will get a better response. Your sales will be much better.

    I’ve used this strategy when writing a book, asking my audience what questions they would like me to answer in it. First of all, I had a big participation rate. And
    second, it really helped boost my sales.

  • With the advent of graph search and more efficiently locating the right Facebook groups to join, I think this is a great tool that’s often overlooked. In my experience, most people have migrated toward LinkedIn groups, but I think that there’s utility in both networks, depending on one’s business. I’ve always been a strong advocate for our clients joining groups and imparting valuable information; FB groups are just one more way to reach people and help them solve problems. Thanks for the article, Maggie!

  • Maggie Patterson

    Thanks Shirley – totally agree that you need to be committed to it! 🙂

  • Maggie Patterson

    Fabienne – I love the points you’ve made on engaging your audience and soliciting feedback. Very powerful and sounds like a win with the boost in your sles.

  • Maggie Patterson

    Thanks Jim. As you suggest, there’s a ton of great options for groups – we just need to find the right ones!

  • Joe

    Hi Maggie,
    I just started a facebook page but it seems that I’m not allowed to search or join groups with it?

  • The only thing you can do now is report a Facebook Page to have rogue pages removed.

  • Sherman Joseph

    Can you post in groups using your fan page or do you have to use your personal page?

  • Christine Knight Bailey

    Yeah I need to use your strategy… I’m stretched too thin. Thanks for the incentive Victor!

  • Christine Knight Bailey

    You have to use your Personal Page. But- you can add your Fan Page as your work link in your About section on your personal page and it will show up when anyone in the group (or anywhere else) hovers over your name…

  • Danielle Sastrawan

    how do you ake an image with a clickable link in Facebook groups? I was able to do that a few months ago, but now i can’t or have i just forgotten how to do it? I’d even settle for adding a link then being able to choose the image I want to go with it rather than the default images. All of the sites I’ve searched either tell you how to make a clickable link on fan pages (I need to be able to do it in groups) or it’s out of date and the instructions don’t apply as Facebook has made changes. If you could help me out with this, I would be forever grateful!

  • Virtual Point

    Can you create a facebook group with your business page? Looks like the only option to create a group is through your personal page? I really would like to keep those two separate

  • senseblogger youtube

    E mail me for easy quick group posting program you can use low price only $35

  • cindy

    Thanks Maggie for this article…. but I was wondering…. to join a facebook group you cannot really join it as a page… you have to join it as “your personal page” how do you do if you don’t really want your personal page to interfere with your business? are you joining group as your personal page and then add links to your biz? Facebook has to make it more convenient for businesses to interact with their customers. Please let me know if I am missing something here…..

  • cindy

    oops i had not seen that reply…. thanks for the info…. do you know if it is still the case today since you posted this 5 months ago?

  • Dimitris Voutselas

    Can you join Groups from your Business Page?
    I work in a company with 5 brands hence 5 Pages.
    For each brand (Page) I want to subscribe to several relevant groups.
    How can I do that?

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