How to Use Secret Facebook Groups to Enhance Your Business

social media how toOne of the most underutilized features of Facebook for businesses is the Secret Group.

A Secret Group is easy to create and manage, and it is perfect for small-group interaction.

Keep reading to discover powerful ways these groups could help your business.

Facebook originally created Secret Groups for people to have small, intimate interactions with family and friends, but Secret Groups are also perfect for small businesses, coaches and professional development, like mastermind groups.

Why Secret Groups?

Most people think of Facebook Business pages when they think about Facebook, but businesses sometimes need private spaces for working, coordinating schedules and developing marketing and advertising ideas with a small group of people.

groups

There are three types of Groups on Facebook.

It’s true that G+ (Google+) has created a system of Circles that allow for private conversations, but there are some nice features that Facebook has embedded within Secret Groups that are not as easily utilized in G+ as it currently stands. I’ll explain those Facebook features in a moment.

There are three types of Facebook Groups:

  • Public (Open): everyone can see the Group, find it in a search and make posts
  • Closed: everyone can see the Group, but only members can see (and make) posts
  • Secret: only members can see the Group, see and make posts

But how secret is a Facebook Secret Group?

When you create a Secret Group, no one, except the members of the Group, will be able to find it in a search and no one will be able to find any trace of it on your personal or business Facebook profiles. And Secret Groups are not indexed by Google.

Even if you send someone the URL of the Secret Group, they will not be able to see the Group page. It’s that secret. I have even posted a Secret Group’s URL on a post in another Secret Group and no one could see the actual link at all!

You will get Facebook notifications (and/or email notifications—more on that in a moment) for each post from any member. And those posts will show up in your news feed, which can be a bit confusing until you notice the little lock icon next to any Secret Group post. So no one can read those, unless they are looking over your shoulder!

And if you choose to receive email notifications of posts to the Group, you will be able to reply to those emails and have your reply go directly to the Group comment for that post.

lock icon

You will see posts to your Secret Group in your Top News Feed.

Features of Facebook Secret Groups

There are several features that I have enjoyed with my Secret Groups that any small business could use. They are:

  • Group Chat: everyone in the Group can use the Chat feature at the same time. So you can have a conversation around complicated subjects to work things out without having to pick up the phone or back-and-forth emails. As far as I know, you can’t use this function on a mobile device (mobile browser or app) at the moment, though.
  • Shared Document creation: the whole group can have input on one document and be able to edit what other members have put on it. This feature is similar to using Google Docs, and can be used to refine promotional text, press releases, responses to controversy, etc.
share

Create a document that all the members can edit.

  • Private photo sharing: members can post photos that no one else on Facebook can see. For example, Secret Group members on an advertising team can discuss which images to use on an upcoming campaign. They could create albums with the name of their upcoming advertising campaigns and put several images in them to discuss in the comments or in the Group chat. You can tag the photos, but only with the names of the members of the Group.
  • Shared email address: Facebook lets you create a custom email address you can use to email posts to the Secret Group page. You can email text and images. I’ll show you how to create that special email address in a moment.

How can a small business use a Secret Group?

Looking at these features, how can small businesses and coaches use a Secret Group? Here are few ways:

  • If you’re a manager with staff who live on Facebook, you can create a Secret Group to keep in touch about hours, shift substitutions, emergencies and all sorts of things that a manager would normally use email or text messages for. Everyone can check the Secret Group posts for morning updates and these messages won’t show up on someone’s personal wall.
  • If you have a remote virtual team working on a marketing project, you can use the Group Chat feature to work through ideas that come up randomly through the day that only need a couple of minutes of attention in the same way you would use Google Chat or any IM system.
  • If you have a crisis management team using a Secret Group, you can take photos on your smartphone and send them directly to the Group using your private Group email address. You completely bypass the upload and tag process you normally use for Facebook photos. You can create group documents for how to handle a particular crisis for ready reference and be able to announce a group chat time that immediately shows up in the member’s Top News Feed.
  • If you are a personal development coach, using the Secret Group system is great, even if it is a bit convoluted to get a fully Secret Group, as you will see. First you need to create a Closed Group. That way you can give out the Group’s URL and then they can click the Ask to Join the Group button (top right of the Group page). You don’t need to be personal Facebook friends with potential members for this to work. Then once everyone is a member of the Closed Group, you can change the Group setting to Secret (how to do that coming up).

Assuming you already have a personal Facebook account, follow these steps to create a Secret Group:

  1. Go to http://facebook.com/groups
  2. Click the green Create Group button.
  3. Give the Group a name and choose the icon with the dropdown arrow.
  4. Add any members who are your Facebook Friends by typing their names. You’ll see their account pop-ups; select to add them to the member box.
    If you will be including members who are not your personal friends, make sure you create a Closed Group first, then change it to Secret once all the members have joined.
  5. Select the Privacy Setting and click the Create button.
create group

There are only four easy things to do to create a Group; choose an icon, give the Group a name, select members and choose the privacy setting.

create group

You can choose from a standard list of icons for the Group.

create group

Give the Group a name and start to add members who are already your friends.

If you selected to create a Closed Group first, send the URL for the Group to the people you want to invite. The URL will take them to the Group page, where they’ll see an Ask to Join the Group button (top right corner of the page). Once they click that button, you (as an admin of the Group) will see their request on the right column of the Group page.

To approve people who have asked to join the Group, look on the right side of the Group page for the section called Requests. You can click the Add or Ignore link for each person who has asked to join the Group. Once everyone is in, change the Group setting to Secret. You can see how to do that next.

Adjusting Personal and Group Settings

To adjust your personal notification settings for this new Group, click the Edit Settings button at the top of the page, and select if you want to be notified when a member posts, when a member posts or makes comments, when a personal friend in the Group posts or only posts that you have made comments on.

You can also check or uncheck to be sent an email for the notification choice you made, and decide if you want to be sent chat messages. After you have figured all that out, click the Save Changes button. I suggest that you unselect the email notifications and just use the built-in notification system Facebook provides, but that’s my personal preference.

edit settings

Edit your personal settings for notifications.

To adjust the Group’s settings, look for the link in the right column called Edit Group. When you click this link you have options to:

  • upload an image that will be the Group’s profile image
  • change the privacy setting (from Closed to Secret, for example)
  • select to have only admins of the Group be able to approve members (highly suggested for all Group organizers to check this box)
  • create a unique email address for the Group—click this button to create an email address that you or anyone in the Group (if you share it with them) can use to email text and images to the Group wall. You just need to add text before the @groups.facebook.com link. For example, GoldMasterMind@groups.facebook.com. If your proposed name is already taken, you will be able to change it until it is unique.
setting

These are the settings you can adjust for the Group.

 

setting

Edit the Group settings and create a unique email address for the Group.

Now you can create posts, upload photos, add links, create group documents and have conversations, all within the Facebook “cone of silence” or under the “cloak of invisibility”! I can hear you say, “But nothing is completely secret on the Internet.” I would agree with you, but as far as I can tell, the proverbial cloak works really well with Facebook Secret Groups.

I am a member of a few Secret Groups, one of which contains all the authors (of which I am one) of a certain recently published book. Our Secret Group was a lifesaver during the writing and editing phase of our book.

Because of a tremendous amount of overlapping subjects and text in the book, we were able to sort things out within the Chat, Group Chat, Posting and Image Uploading features of the Group. And we bonded very deeply over posts, comments, rants and raves. Knowing that no one else could see what we wrote helped to relieve the frustration and stress of a very demanding project.

What do you think?

What is your experience with Secret Groups? Have you used this feature yet for your business? Do you see any possibilities with a Secret Group for personal development? Leave your comments in the box below.

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About the Author, Phyllis Khare

Phyllis Khare is the author of Social Media Marketing eLearning Kit for Dummies and co-author of Facebook Marketing: All-In-One for Dummies. She's a regular columnist for several physical and digital social media marketing magazines. Other posts by »




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  • http://lettersfromlaura.com Laura Wagner

    Excellent article Phyllis! I didn’t know. I could use a secret group for my website clients. It might be so much easier for them to share photos and content with me. I’m going to try it out. So cool – Thank you!

  • http://phylliskhare.com/ Phyllis Khare

    Thanks Laura! It works really well for the kind of group you mention. Good luck with it – and let me know how it turns out!

  • http://about.me/jkiss James Kiss

    Fantastic article. Great idea! This really turns FB into a group collaboration tool. Thanks for sharing this.

  • http://www.thewordchef.com/ Tea Silvestre, aka Word Chef

    I’ve been using FB groups for a few months now (ever since they launched) and find them great for networking. First, I joined a few open groups. But seeing the power of this, I started a few of my own. Neither of them are secret, but they are closed. One is for a mastermind group I started, and the other is for gathering my target market together in one place (Foodiepreneurs) so they can network, share resources and get to know me better, too. I love them!

  • http://phylliskhare.com/ Phyllis Khare

    Thanks James – that’s exactly right! 

  • http://phylliskhare.com/ Phyllis Khare

    And now you can create a Secret one for your closest mastermind people where you can really open up and share knowing that it won’t show up anywhere else!

  • http://MarketingNinjas.com/ Jeff Schneider

    Great article Phyllis. I use Closed Groups with my social media marketing workshop students as a place where they can continue to interact and share ideas with each other. We have had a few small issues with other people being invited into the group, so I think I will try the Secret Group method for the next one. Thanks for sharing!

  • http://phylliskhare.com/ Phyllis Khare

    Thanks Jeff — and as  reminder — if you want to have your new Group completely Secret you’ll need to first be Friends with everyone who will be in the Group. Otherwise, create the Closed Group and then once everyone is in, change the settings to “Secret.” 

  • Geri Lafferty

    Who knew?  Thank you so much for sharing this information.  As a virtual assistant, I am always looking for tools to allow clients to share information with me, and privacy has always been a concern.  I am going to give this a try — and share this post with my clients and colleagues. Thank you again.  Love it!

  • http://www.basati.com Basati

    Group privacy is getting better and better and so with other features. It’s because of the competitions.

  • DivineDiva2011

    Interesting stuff! I never thought about using that space for business on facebook but it’s a great idea! 

  • Jenica

    What if you want to add more people to the group later? Do you need to change it back to closed, invite the people, get them in and then change it to secret again? Is that even possible? Can you not invite people to a secret group? Or only if they are your friends on Facebook?

  • http://twitter.com/BusinessPartnrs BusinessPartners

    Awesome. Most entrepreneurs and business marketers probably weren’t aware of this helpful feature on Facebook. Thanks for sharing.

  • http://phylliskhare.com/ Phyllis Khare

    Fabulous! I love it when I inspire someone to try something new! Let me know how it works for you.

  • http://phylliskhare.com/ Phyllis Khare

    True. 

  • http://phylliskhare.com/ Phyllis Khare

    Good question Jenica. If you have a Secret Group and later want to add people you would need to be personal Friends with them on Facebook. I’m looking to see if they only need to be *Subscribed* to you for this to work. Since this function is still new — it’s hard to say for sure. I’ll try to find out and report back.

  • http://phylliskhare.com/ Phyllis Khare

    Thanks. You’re welcome!

  • http://spectralightsms.com/ Mark Madere

    Thanks for the great info Phyllis! I was just pondering starting a group for the homeowners in our development to share their questions and concerns about the builder. This is an excellent way to do it without all the family and friends of the group members (as well as outsiders) reading the complaints.

  • Guest

    Thanks for the great info Phyllis! I was just pondering starting a group for the homeowners in our development to share their questions and concerns about the builder. This is an excellent way to do it without all the family and friends of the group members (as well as outsiders) reading the complaints.

  • Abby L Barnhart

    We use a secret group to get feedback from members of our company’s Advisory Council. Really useful!

  • http://www.webinarlistings.com/ WebinarListings

    Can’t members of a secret group invite others? That’s what makes me nervous… you think it’s secure to those you first invite, but then if others invite people they shouldn’t, it’s no longer secure.  Am I correct on that, or is there a way to make it so only the admin can invite new people?

  • http://twitter.com/ChristinePilch Christine Pilch

    I built a secret group with just myself, my mother, and my sister, all spread out across the country, to plan my wedding. I added photos of my dress, flowers, potential venues, etc. We discuss details, and I get the help I need without countless phone calls and emails. And everything is in one place. It’s working great!

  • http://twitter.com/ChristinePilch Christine Pilch

    If the box is checked that only an admin can approve/accept new members, the concern about members inviting unwanted others to the group goes away.

  • http://phylliskhare.com/ Phyllis Khare

    There is a checkbox under the Edit Group link that says, Membership Approval:Only admins can approve requests to join. but in all things — test this before you really go live with it. I have learned that with Facebook and all social platforms it is really important to test and check things.

  • http://phylliskhare.com/ Phyllis Khare

    This is (I believe) one of the main reasons the Secret Group was built, but using it as a business can be just as helpful! Congrats on your wedding!

  • Yassin

    Dear Tea,

    what other tools would you suggest to be added to this private community?

  • Yassin

    Dear Jeff,

    what other tools would you suggest to be added to this private community?

  • Yassin

    Thank you dear Phyllis for this article.. I’ve been looking for such an article for a while.

  • Yassin

    Dear Christine,

    what other tools would you suggest to be added to this private community?

  • http://phylliskhare.com/ Phyllis Khare

    Great – I hope it helps.

  • Eriic Carter

    A very thorough article! Thanks for your time and expertise :)

  • Trswendt

    Thanks for the article. I didn’t know about Secret Groups. My only concern is that facebook seems to share my other information with their “partners”.  I wonder how truly private the information we might share with a secret group would be.

  • LB

    Loved this thanks! Just helped us come up with some alternatives for our non profits fan page! Awesome!

  • http://www.ellenfinkelstein.com Ellen

    Thanks for a valuable, thorough article! I belong to a secret group but didn’t know how it worked. It’s a mastermind group and the interaction inside it is fantastic, yet safe.

  • http://phylliskhare.com/ Phyllis Khare

    Perfect! Glad this helps.

  • http://phylliskhare.com/ Phyllis Khare

    This is a very good question – one beyond my insider knowledge :-) I do know it seems to be disconnected in so many other ways – as I mentioned in the post. I don’t think Facebook would modify the ads you see based on your Secret Group posts. If I had the time, I would test that out! Maybe post a lot about Coke or Pepsi in a Secret Group and see how my ads change…

  • http://phylliskhare.com/ Phyllis Khare

    My Secret Groups are my favorite thing on Facebook. I think the next evolution would be to have video chatting for the Secret Groups — on my Facebook Wish List!!

  • TeriThompson1

    I just started using Secret Groups for my Social Media Communications class because my students are very concerned about their “cool” Facebook factor.  This way, we can communicate and their personal brands will not be tarnished with posts by their professor!

  • Sb

    Phyllis, quite simply you are my hero! I needed to learn this by mid-next week yet couldn’t find a resources.

  • http://phylliskhare.com/ Phyllis Khare

    Yes – this is one of the best ways to use it! A business could use it for the very same reasons.

  • http://phylliskhare.com/ Phyllis Khare

    wow – your hero?! You just made my day. :-)

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_CUQ5GYDCJK7RYXGYQFJGX6NQ6U Wholelife

     We can see from the comments that this application is really being used and is helping different kind of businesses to interact with their customers or workforce privately, but this has limitations. How do you think this will evolve? and will businesses  start to demand more than just sharing comments,wiki-docs etc….?

  • http://phylliskhare.com/ Phyllis Khare

    Yes – and I hope it does evolve! In my comments to Ellen above – I would really like to see video chatting for secret Groups – similar to Google+ Hangouts. But that being said, it is really quite functional as is.

  • http://www.thewordchef.com/ Tea Silvestre, aka Word Chef

    Yassin – FB has already got lots of great tools that can be used with a private community. I like to use the Questions post for very short bits of market research. But if you’re using it to build relationships Phyllis has pretty well outlined what to do…get to know each other, share tips, resources and other opportunities. Work on projects together. The list is really endless.

  • Jessica

    I have a question. I have a business page with clients and whoever decided to follow things said on my business page. I would like to increase “chatter” or input from my clients. How could creating a secret group help me with that? I’d like as many as  possible help with a way to (well the goal is to increase the clientele). I guess it’s hard for me to see how to work on that. Any suggestions?

    I have created a group/account I guess for massage therapists in the area on FB as well and it started off with participation and now…dead most of the time. If you use this group as a private group (which I’m not sure I want it to be) it would be cool to have group chats.

    Thanks for sharing the information…maybe its just been a long day, trying to see how I could apply it and having a block.

  • http://MarketingNinjas.com/ Jeff Schneider

    Great advice. Thanks Phyllis!

  • http://MarketingNinjas.com/ Jeff Schneider

    Hi Yassin! Not much that I can add here. I don’t have a lot of experience using groups other than what I mentioned in my comment above. For business and marketing, I use Pages and there’s a huge selection of apps available for Pages. I particularly like Involver’s YouTube app, and North Social makes some awesome apps too in my opinion. Sorry I couldn’t be of more help  :(

  • http://mommylace.com/ Lace Llanora

    This was an excellent walk-through on secret groups! :)

    I’ve seen blogging communities utilise this on FB to share blog posts, reviews, and events.
    I remember I was previously using a similar platform on Google, perhaps it was just Groups.

    Does anyone else think it is a good idea for secret groups to be used to reward Facebook Page followers? On a note that they can get in this exclusive group for certain actions on the page?

  • http://www.online-business-virtual-assistant.com/ Shilpi Roy – Virtual Assistant

    Great post. Came to know how Secret groups in facebook can be used effectively for business. Thanks for the  share….
    Shilpi Singha Roy
    Facebook fan page – http://on.fb.me/i9Oifw
    http://www.online-business-virtual-ssistant.com/

  • David Wilks

    This is a ‘deal breaker’ for me with my planned usage so I’m also extremely interested in your response. If membership is locked at the time of throwing the ‘secret’ switch it (for me) kills an otherwise great FB  function.

  • Bikuri

    Awesome post, thanks for writing it!

    There’s another way that I use the secret groups on Facebook. I’m a developer, creating a website to help the U.S. military community enjoy their base more – http://www.atmybase.com

    I created a secret group, as a think tank to brainstorm/test features on the site… where I invite only the most vocal members [of AtMyBase] to participate. I think it helps make them feel a bit more “special”, by involving them in the very early development phases of new things coming to the site.Plus, their feedback at every step is amazingly helpful. I highly recommend every developer do the same.

  • http://www.blake.co.za/blog/ Jade

    Great post Phyllis, it is a very good idea. Thank you for sharing. 

  • Neha

    Very informative article…! Very well written…!

  • AKINYEMI

    Thanks for this article, i want the Secret Facebook Group too. Kindly help me out. Thanks.

  • http://phylliskhare.com/ Phyllis Khare

    If you are Friends with the people you want to add — you can keep it Secret.

  • http://phylliskhare.com/ Phyllis Khare

    Perfect use.

  • http://phylliskhare.com/ Phyllis Khare

    To my mind, a  *Secret* Group is meant for an active small group of people working on a particular project. It really isn’t for marketing. It’s more of a way for businesses to be more organized and effective. 

  • http://phylliskhare.com/ Phyllis Khare

    Yes — that could work to, but as noted, if you want to add people to the Secret Group they would have to be approved by the admin.

  • http://phylliskhare.com/ Phyllis Khare

    Bravo! Excellent use of the Secret Group!  

  • http://phylliskhare.com/ Phyllis Khare

    Try to follow the steps in the article. I tried to make it as clear as possible. Good luck!

  • http://twitter.com/deand Dean Dowd

    great article Phyllis. I think G+ does this a lot more gracefully.

  • Mike Pascale

    Holy moley…What a cool (and for once on Facebook, truly useful) function! How did you figure all that out? So much of FB is hit or miss for me as there’s no customer service. But I’m glad you found this so I don’t have to immediately join Google Fuss and start over.

    Perfect for aolists, imaginators, silentiaries and epopts! For me, a very useful took in the creative biz; as you noted, I can show multiple clients ideas simultaneously without flooding their email boxes with files. I wonder what the limit is on photo/file size, though. If it’s larger than my ISP allows (10 mg), that would help even more. (Although I could always post a YouSendIt link.)

    Anyway, that’s a long way of saying THANK YOU, Phyllis!

  • https://www.linkedin.com/in/vincentamari Vincent

    Personally wouldn’t use FB for this, instead setup a WP with buddypress giving access to select users only.

  • http://phylliskhare.com/ Phyllis Khare

    As much as I really love G+, I think the FB Secret Group is better for certain things. It really is a different post to compare and contrast — maybe I will write that one next!

  • http://phylliskhare.com/ Phyllis Khare

    I agree. It is really a great way to do support certain businesses! I first found out about Secret Groups when I wrote a book with two other co-authors. We needed a place to talk quickly, share quickly and privately rant occasionally! Good luck with your project!

  • http://phylliskhare.com/ Phyllis Khare

    I’m a big fan of WorkdPress and BuddyPress is great, but I have noticed that some people are more comfortable having this function on Facebook. It all depends on where your members want to be.

  • Libby

    Great article and thanks for sharing. My only concern is if it’s another way for Facebook to gather information (and as users feel it’s private, perhaps delicate company information) and use the information, after all everything a user posts is Facebook’s to do what what they like with it.

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  • http://www.gileswells.com/ Giles Wells III

    Great post Phyllis. 
    I have a group of my own but never used it this way before. Will definitely try it out.   
    Thanks for sharing. 

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  • Chiayinting

    Very keen to go try this to facilitate discussion within the company but some information can be sensitive. Can the secret group be deactivated or deleted when the occasion calls for it? Does anyone have any idea?

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  • http://www.wegetnoticed.com Marcus

    Great idea Phyllis, oddly I’m actually a part of a few secret Facebook groups but i’ve never considered it for any of my own projects! Actually, i’d love to know of any good social media private groups if any one has any? My email is marcus@wegetnoticed.com – let me know :)

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  • Vincent Tervooren

    Great post Phyllis, I’m the social media manager for an important swiss watch manufacturer and I’ve tried using secret groups from day one when I started the job to keep in touch and exchange ideas/ best practices and guidelines with the marketing managers of our sub-agents across the world. However I’m having a hard time getting people to actually use the group as a more open way of sharing information and asking questions related to social media than by email. 

  • http://phylliskhare.com/ Phyllis Khare

    Great! Hope it works for you.

  • http://phylliskhare.com/ Phyllis Khare

    Yes, you can delete a Group. And with all things, if you have extremely rare or sensitive documents that are residing online – copy them to a secure server or to the cloud. 

    To delete any type of Group, delete all the members, then delete yourself. The Group will then disappear.

  • http://phylliskhare.com/ Phyllis Khare

    Yes – I completely feel your pain! I have several clients who prefer email (which to my mind is extremely inefficient for the type of information being shared). Maybe you can think of some type of incentive to use the Group… 

  • Stephen

    I was originally Googling to see if using a Facebook page, group or even personal profile would be best for a project I’m working on.  Whilst that question still stands, you have answered a question that I hadn’t yet Googled about a separate project.  Now that is quite an impressive feat!  What I also love about this article is that it’s current and beautifully written!

    I knew nothing about these ‘secret’ groups and am now considering using one to share information with a subscription-only audience.  It seems a far better method of communication than an e-mail to a list of subscribers.  Also, the content is only of value for a short period of time and would give the users somewhere to meet, give feedback and support each other in real time.

    Users pay for the subscription, so it’s important that only people whom have paid are able to access the information.  As I believe has already been mentioned, the ability to add and remove members whilst keeping the group hidden is vital.

    Should you write a similar piece on the similar offering by Google+ you mention, I would be very keen to read it.

    THANK YOU SO MUCH!

  • http://phylliskhare.com/ Phyllis Khare

    Glad we were able to help you in your project! 

  • http://studentofsocialmedia.com Gisele

    Wow! There is a college course in social media?

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  • http://www.Slimandfitfast.com/ Kristi Frank

    Phyllis-

    Great article!  thank you!  What is the maximum number of participants allowed in a ‘secret group’??  I was thinking of using it for one of my paid memberships…  do you think that’s doable?  any way to charge within the facebook interface? 
    xo  Thanks so much!!  
    Kristi Frank

  • http://phylliskhare.com/ Phyllis Khare

    You can use a Store app – Like Payvment to create a Buy Now item. Then send the information about the Group in the receipt. This is a little beyond the scope of this article — but it is all doable! Good luck – let me know how it turns out!

  • http://www.DavetteBrown.com Davette Brown

    This is a great option! A group I was in recently closed because someone inadvertantly shared a link with a nonmember.  This would have protected the site owner and us.  I’m going to use this on my site eventually.

  • Tom

    Great article. Very good insight. Thanks

  • http://twitter.com/deand Dean Dowd

    awesome phyllis

  • http://twitter.com/deand Dean Dowd

    awesome phyllis

  • http://www.getmotopress.com/ Emily Williams

    My MotoDesignBlog group was Open, but after reading your article I changed it to Closed. Thank you for the information, maybe later I create a Secret group for bloggers :)
    Keep up a good work :) )

  • http://www.getmotopress.com/ Emily Williams

    My MotoDesignBlog group was Open, but after reading your article I changed it to Closed. Thank you for the information, maybe later I create a Secret group for bloggers :)
    Keep up a good work :) )

  • http://phylliskhare.com/ Phyllis Khare

    Glad we could help! 

  • http://phylliskhare.com/ Phyllis Khare

    Glad we could help! 

  • Coachbetty

    Thanks Phyllis! Is there any limit to the number of people who can join the group?

  • Anne Web Agent

    Wow! That’s really interesting. Now i know that there’s a more secure way of using FB for business. The network really came up with tons of great ideas.  Its a huge help especially for those who work via the internet. Thanks for the post.

  • Lisa

    Hi Phyllis, thank you for that info it is very useful and well written.

    Maybe you can help me with secret and closed groups,  is there a limit to the amount of members you can have in a secret group and also a closed group?  I have been told that once you reach a certain amount of members in a closed group it automatically becomes an open group and i wondered if this was the case with secret groups too.

    Many thanks,  Lisa

  • http://phylliskhare.com/ Phyllis Khare

    no limit – at this time, but Facebook has a pretty vague reference to other limitations after a certain number join – “When a group reaches a certain size, some features are limited…” And as far as I can tell this has mostly to do with changing the type (Open, Closed, Secret). 

  • http://phylliskhare.com/ Phyllis Khare

    You are welcome!

  • http://phylliskhare.com/ Phyllis Khare

    I have researched this and not found anything that would indicate this would happen. 

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  • http://twitter.com/capspeers CAPS, Inc.

    Wow. This is just what I need for our Advisory Committee. I’m working on setting one up right now. What a timely tip.

  • http://twitter.com/avmasters Anne Masters

    I can’t express how thankful I am for your article and this wonderful, extremely useful discussion. I’m going to see if you’ve written any followup posts, i.e., the FB vs Google+ idea from above.

    I think this is particularly useful with groups of people who are already comfortable with FB though one could provide extensive instructions. FB is ubiquitous and my specific group members would most likely all be FB users already. I know a large part of my “audience” is not familiar with wikis or forums.

    Do you know if there is a limit on the number of secret groups you can have at any one time?

  • S Oliva

    How can I create a secret group with members that are not my friends in Facebook.  I’ve tried and it doesn’t work…

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  • http://twitter.com/D_Elms D_Elms

    Phyllis – I have started and been involved in a couple of secret groups.  The one thing I didn’t notice you addressing (and sorry if you did) – is it is possible for members of the group to SHARE posts outside of the group, which could defeat the purpose of the group.

    I suppose if everyone in the group is aware and approves of the re-post (i.e. you’ve crafted your message and want to release the info to the wider world) it would be OK. 

    But if it is a group for discussion that is meant to be kept “eyes only” a rogue member could start posting out of the group, yes?

    Thanks if you know the answer – Deborah

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  • Debraottway

    how do my invited guests know I have posted something onto my Secret Group Wall. Does it show up on their old facebook wall somewhere so they know to look at my Secret Group Wall.

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  • jjm55

    How can I insert on-line references in a Secret Group? I was thinking of something similar to what an individual “likes” in public FaceBook where any Secret Group member can add/share usefull on-line references.

  • Chasity

    Will this only work for personal profiles?  I’ve tried to do it through a Business Page and it doesn’t seem to work …

  • http://www.littlethingsmontessori.com.au/ Ltm1

    Hi,
    I have made a secret page but don’t know how to let members know how to get there.  I can’t find anything that asks me to invite them.
    Also once they have access to the secret group is it easy for them to go between the main page and the group?
    It is tricky knowing what happens at the other end of FB.

    Just as a side question..why do the reply boxes always go at the bottom????

  • Iris_arriola

    i have a queatiom how do i get my chat going back up for my group my  members a not able to chat

  • Your Secret Friend

    I set up a dummy account with a neutral name and all privacy settings to “only me”. To join my secret group, I first befriend the candidate with the dummy account, add the candidate to the secret group (the dummy account is admin of the secret group) and then unfriend the new member. No traces whatsoever.

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  • Dee

    Very well written.  I am trying to change my secret groups profile image and can only get the drop down of preset icons.  Can I still change the image or has facebook changed that option?

  • http://twitter.com/seocc01 Suncy chen

    Great post, i will creat a group as you advice. Thanks for sharing.

  • Synergyjl

    Can I set up a secret group as a business (using my biz id), or can a group only be set up w/a personal profile.  When I tried to set the group up with Biz Profile, FB stopped the process, and directed me to move forward with a personal profile id. 

  • Anita

    My understanding is that it can only be through the personal page.  Given that it seems you can’t have a business page without the personal page anyway, I just use my personal page as a platform and then have 2 secret groups – one business related and one personal.  I don’t store any posts or information on my personal page.

    This might be harder to do though if you already have an active personal page??  Mine wasn’t used.

  • Susanchisholm7

    Is it possible to convert a facebook business page which is public to a secret or closed group? I have some wonderful comments on the business page and don’t want to lose these, but need to make the page private. There has been some unfortunate ‘liking’ of a large number of photos on the page by some inappropriate people with objectionable profile photos and content on their walls.

  • http://www.getnutrifit.com/ Christie

    Im a bit discouraged…I’m trying to create a group stemming from my Business page. It’s just not working. Can I only create a group from my personal page? Why is this? I’m hung up on just this first step. When I go to “create a group” and log in from my business page….it just redirects me to my business page, with no group creation. How is it possible to have a business page completely separate from my personal page?

  • Dan Ewah

    Hi Phyllis – I’m looking to build a secret group where i’ll host my clients, is it ok if i tell subsequent clients to like me on Facebook first, so i can be able to invite them to my secret group?

  • http://phylliskhare.com/ Phyllis Khare

    Yes, you would need to do that if you want to keep the Group Secret. 

  • http://phylliskhare.com/ Phyllis Khare

    Hi – sorry for the delay in replying! this post continues to be pretty popular it seems! To answer your question; you can’t use a Share function of a post inside a Secret Group. That said, any member can copy and paste anything and create a regular post as a status update. 

  • http://phylliskhare.com/ Phyllis Khare

    Hi – sorry for the delay in this reply! Maybe you have already figured this out, but to answer the question, when you make a post in a Secret Group it shows up in the News Feed of the Members. But no one else can see the post (unless someone is standing over their shoulder and looking!).

  • http://phylliskhare.com/ Phyllis Khare

    Sorry for the delay in answering this question! I’m not quite sure what your questions is, but if you are asking can you Share something that posts inside the Group – then Yes! When you click Share at the bottom of any Facebook post you can use the dropdown to select a Group. Just start typing the name of the Group and when you see it, select it and craft a message. The Shared post will show up in the Group for others to comment on – and those comments will be Secret. Hope this helps!

  • http://phylliskhare.com/ Phyllis Khare

    Right, you have to create a Group through a personal account…at the moment. :-)  

  • http://phylliskhare.com/ Phyllis Khare

    Sorry for the delay in answering this question! If you are Friends with the person you want to invite to the Secret Group just look for the Add Friends to Group field in the top right corner of the Group Page. 

    And if I understand your question about the reply boxes…if you are talking about replies inside a Facebook Group, the most recent comment will pull the question to the top of the Page. It is dynamic based on the most recent activity.

  • http://phylliskhare.com/ Phyllis Khare

    I know it is frustrating! Currently, you can only create a Secret Group from a personal account. Please do not try to hack this by creating a personal account with a Business Name. If Facebook sees this they will delete this type of account. It also sounds like your created a “Business Account” which no connection to a personal account. I generally don’t recommend people do it this way because you lose the ability to Like Comment and Share. If you need to create a Secret Group and want to move off Facebook, you can try sgrouples dot com. Good luck!

  • http://www.getnutrifit.com/ Christie

    Thank you for your answer. And you are right I didn’t link my personal page to my business page. I wanted to keep business and personal things separate. But my business page is just so different from how I use my personal page. Can I some how go into the settings and link it to my personal page now? I really appreciate your help. Facebook is more complex than I realized. 

  • http://www.thewirelessincome.com/ Marcin

    great post, thanks for the clear explanation

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  • http://profiles.google.com/dennisjhunter Dennis Hunter

    Except that the primary use I have seen of these groups is for dope dealers to contact clients when a shipment arrives, and they want arrange a purchase. Small business?  hmmmm…well, I guess…most teens aren’t running small businesses, and they are far and away the biggest users.

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  • Bingo

    The only problem with groups (secret or not) is that any member can add their friends to the group.  You have to trust every member that they are not going to give the “secret” away.  You can’t always rely on others…

  • Ordnance Battalion EOD

    So I have a facebook page created as a business.  I can add and see Groups when logged into my personal account but when on the business account – I can’t see anything that deals with Groups.

    Can a business page add Groups?  And if so, how can I pull up Groups that have already been created?

  • rayrain

    Is there a way to approve posts by group members to prevent drama from starting amongst a company private page?

  • Raghavasdr84

    Amazing

  • Firesde3a

    This would be great, if it worked as advertized here. When I try to create a working group for my organization and add volunteers to the membership, this isn’t allowed for people not on my personal friends list. I don’t want everyone in this group added to my friends list, so that option, as described, does not work. 

  • Russell Webster

    Hi Phyllis
    This has been tremendously useful and thanks for keeping answering questions. I was stuck on the Busiess page issue but your advice has sorted that out for me.
    Best WIshes 

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  • http://www.facebook.com/colin.eveleigh.3 Colin Eveleigh

    Hi Phylis

    This has been very helpful in helping me set up a group forum for Everyday Mindfulness. I don’t know if this question has been asked/answered before, so forgive me, seems like a dumb question perhaps, but I was wondering what happens when a private member of a private group ‘Likes’ a post in the group. Does that get to be seen by everyone the person is connected to on Facebook or just the members of the group? If it’s the latter, there doesn’t seem much point. But then I suppose some people might ‘Like’ something as a shorthand way without having to make a comment.

    Thanks!

    Colin

  • Concerned re FB controls

    It’d be nice if FB actually made private links to invite people to a group so we didn’t have to change from Closed to Secret.   Is it not the case:   when a person joins a Closed Group,  it will show up in their news feed or in their groups category?   (Yes,  they can change their settings,  but why should they have to just for this one group)    And whence, the Group really isn’t that secret afterall,  if that is the case.

  • Swhitedebs

    This is a really good article. It is the only place I have found explaining how to invite people (not friends) to a secret group.  Love the illustrations  – Facebook should have such clear instructions.  Thank you for taking the time to create this helpful post.

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  • Surf Reyes

    Great sharing! Now I just set up a secret group for our family. Then I was heckling members who were just viewing (as indicated by “Seen by…” which when clicked showed the list of silent viewers) but were not expressing appreciation through the like button! My brother gave this alibi (which I would like to consult with you if there is any truth to it) :

    “Did you know? Consequence of “Liking”: I’m not a Facebook expert but I think when you click “Like,” what you “Like” gets posted on your personal Facebook timeline, which is usually not “Private.” So what is “Liked” in a private corpusreyes group is no longer private. The brother of Mark Zuckerberg was reported to have complained why a private photo of their siblings during a holiday gathering came out in public. Apparently, someone in the family “liked” it and the photo spread out to friends and onwards. (Not really a compromising photo, just opening gifts I think.) Long story short, once you “Like” something even in a “Private” group, it’s on its way to public distribution within a few ripples of “Like” clicks, even if you’re a Zuckerburg. So when I don’t want something to show on my personal timeline, I don’t “Like” it, even though I like it :)

    Sounds like a lame paranoid excuse…but I would like to hear your expert view. Thank you!

    Surf Reyes

    Philippines

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  • Stefenie

    I am late in the game on this, but can a Company Page make a private secret group or does it have to be a personal page?

  • jhansi

    My friend left my group. How can I send a second invitation?
    Unfortunately, you will not be able to send a second group invitation to the same friend. The person will have to request to join the group again.

    In ds case: if the group is “SECRET” , how to reinvite the same friend

  • http://www.themedicinetree.com/ Lev Natan

    Thank you Phyllis, I was setting up a group for just this reason, and it wasn’t working because I started it as “secret.” After reading your article, I switched it back to “Closed” until everyone joins. Thanks!

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  • http://www.everywomanover29.com TrudyScottNutritionist

    This is a great post! I’m a member of many private and secret groups but haven’t set up my own until now and I just set up my first private group for an Emotional Eating group class I’m running. I may change it over to a secret group – I’m not sure yet. Thanks!

  • http://www.cmsspeaking.com/index.html Catherine Heeg

    Great ideas, Phyllis. Can a group be created from a business page?

  • Claudestephane

    Nicely organized article. What a shame I hadn’t searched for it 2 yrs ago. It’s it possible to create 2 groups, one open, one secret, with one way link embedded in the secret group page? I believe there is a moderator function, but don’t know if moderator can only approve/disapprove postings before they appear, our whether moderator can edit proposed posts before posting occurs. Your thoughts welcome

  • Jackie

    I am a hair stylist and use a private group for my clients. I’m having one problem, only 12/25 clients or “group members” are seeing the posts. I don’t post often, not into spamming people. When I do post it’s usually an important announcement as in my days available for the week or vacation times. I’ve tried “if you see this post please like it” and explained why, and the max I’ve had is 12. Any advice?

  • jackie

    i’m sorry, I meant to say my group is set to “Private”.

  • Tamara Grand

    I’ve already created a Secret Group for an upcoming online service of mine. I should have read this article first :) I don’t want to have to add all my participants’ email addresses by hand. Is there a way to revert my group to Closed, then follow your advice and make it Secret once everybody’s email has been added? Thanks for all the fabulous information!

  • Joel Hoffman

    Thank you for all this information,
    I am thinking of setting this up as a “water cooler” for our remote company. I have a couple questions I did not see addressed.

    1. Can we add people once it has been made secret?
    2. If someone leaves the company can I remove them from the group?

    Joel

  • Sheri

    at one time I could see when a person looked at the posting in the secret group, did FB stop that service or is it a setting I need to change?

  • Darren

    I loved your article Phyllis. Thanks for writing it. I have one additional question though. If you have a secret group and you are trying to promote it for members of a particular industry. Other then using the “email invite” feature (you can’t submit your own text) that is built in, is there a way you can get a link to the page (group) in order for them to submit to join? Or, maybe, you have other ideas of how to promote it?

  • Glenda Buklis

    I am in the process of learning how to do business using FB. I was appalled when someone I have not friended was able to put the my FB news feed into a group webinar. I had put the ” friends only” control. Apparently, this didn’t matter. What if somehow these Secret groups could also become not so secret? It seems that if someone I have friended friends someone else, that 3rd party can access my FB through my friended party.

  • http://www.MarketingBlogger.com/ David Frey

    I use secrets groups extensively. I wish they had a way to send an email to an email list (not through the fb group email invite function but through YOUR email system) to invite people to sign up to the secret group.

  • Mindy L.

    Problem. Is it possible to add non-friends? This is the trouble that I am having.

  • Anita

    I have not noticed any difference in the types of ads on main pages, secret group.

  • Anita

    This is a tricky one and I would be happy to hear if there is any way around it but to my knowledge there isn’t.

    What I do is get the person to send me a friend request (as you will be aware secret groups have to come off a personal page – unless something has changed) I have my personal page privacy setting set to friends only so when they go to send friend request they can’t see anything……When I accept their friend request it means they have a brief access to my page, so……..
    1. I go to the group page first so I’m ready to go
    2. click accept
    3 very quickly hit add to group button
    4. very quickly go to group member and put cursor on that person to bring up the choice to ‘unfriend’.
    Un-friending will still allow the person to be in the group but not one of your friends.
    I also tend not to do it as soon as the request comes in so they have probably gone anyway.
    This process means they are friends for about 3 seconds.

  • Mindy L.

    Thanks for answering, Anita.

    I’d say that Facebook needs to fix this one.

    They should allow Admin a special url that will take the person to a page where they can somehow join.

    Thanks again

  • http://www.ginacarr.com/ Gina Carr

    I agree, Phyllis! I use secret FB groups for many of my special groups. I have found them to be very efficient and helpful. Great article.

    Here is another way to use secret Facebook groups: I have one that is just for myself. That way, I can “store” links, photos, etc. so that they are easy to search and retrieve.

    Thanks.

  • GeraldineBown

    Thanks Phyllis! I have just come across this excellent article. As it is 3 years old I see – has anything changed, do you know, about Secret Groups? One of my clients is piloting my online coaching programme for aspiring women leaders and I want to create a Secret Group for the 17 women so we can chat about the modules using this group. If I set up a Closed Group and then change to a Secret Group when they’re all in, then the client wants to pay for more programmes – how will I get these new people into the group? Is there a way?

  • Larry

    If I create a closed group and add all the people, then change it to secret. if I need to add more people can I switch it back to closed , add the people and then switch it back to secret?

  • Marley

    Can I add members to a secret group later after initial set up
    or do I have to revert to public or closed group and then reconvert to secret group to add members?







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