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social media how toAre you looking for ways to engage directly with your customers?

Have you thought about joining social groups on Facebook, LinkedIn and beyond?

Joining the right social groups allows you to connect with your customers by answering their questions and sharing valuable information.

In this post you’ll discover how to choose the best social groups for your business.

vet social media groups for prospects

Discover how to vet social media groups for prospects.

Listen to this article:

#1: Look for Real Discussions

The most important thing to look for in a social group is discussion. You’re not looking for posts; you’re looking for posts with comments. This signals a group whose members are actively engaging with each other.

facebook group post

Look for groups where members are actively engaged in discussions.

In other words, you want to steer clear of the link farms of social groups. These are the ones where members stop by to drop a link to their latest content or sales page, and nothing more.

Note that groups that allow people to share links can still have engagement. It’s the groups that have zero engagement and lots of links that you’ll want to avoid or leave at your earliest convenience. Sure, you could drop your own links into those groups, but chances are no one is listening.

#2: Consider Groups Your Competitors Join

If you’re having trouble finding social groups to join for your business, take a look at what groups are listed on your competitors’ profiles.

Start by visiting your competitors Facebook profiles. Click on their About tab and scroll down to see if they have any groups listed publicly on their profile.

facebook groups listed in a profile

Check out your competitors’ Facebook profiles to see if there are any groups listed.

You can find a similar listing of groups on some LinkedIn profiles. Note that some LinkedIn users can see who has visited their profile.

linkedin groups listed in a profile

Look for groups listed on your competitors’ LinkedIn profiles.

Also check the About tab on your competitors’ Google+ profiles to see if they publicly share the communities they’ve joined.

google+ communities listed in a profile

Check out your competitors’ Google+ profiles for any communities they belong to.

This research should point you toward groups that will be great for your business to participate in to find customers, colleagues and partners.

#3: Make Sure Your Customers Are There

To ensure that the groups you’ve joined are home to your customers (and that they’re actively engaged), do a quick preview of engaged member profiles. You can do this by hovering over names of people engaged in discussions in Facebook groups.

preview of facebook user's profile

On Facebook, hover over a name to see a preview of that user’s profile.

You can scroll through discussions on LinkedIn to see the headlines of discussion starters or hover over names in the comments or discussions. Both will usually include job titles and company names.

preview of linkedin user's bio

Hover over a LinkedIn username to see that person’s job title and company name.

On Google+, hover over names of Google+ users to see their taglines, many of which will also include job titles and company names.

preview of google+ user's tagline

Hover over a name on Google+ to see that user’s tagline.

This research should ensure that your customers are participating in discussions within a group and help you figure out the right people to start engaging with yourself.

#4: Go Local

Whenever you’re searching for great groups for your business, don’t forget to go local in your search. Even if your business isn’t solely local, you’ll likely find great local groups on Facebook, LinkedIn and Google+ that focus on helping businesses refer other businesses.

facebook search for groups

Search for local groups on Facebook and other social platforms.

In many cases local groups tend to be more heavily moderated than general groups, making them invaluable.

#5: Try Paid-Entry Groups

Another option when searching for social groups with strong engagement is to focus on groups that require some form of payment to enter. This includes the use of paid products, courses, subscriptions, memberships, masterminds, events, conferences and other premium points of entry.

facebook group

Consider joining paid-entry groups.

To find these groups, ask yourself what premium resources your customers would buy. These groups likely are filled with the customers you want to connect with; ones who’ve shown they’re willing to invest in premium education, products and services.

Go Beyond Social Networks

Don’t just rely on the top social networks to connect with your customers. Look beyond social networks for forums, Q&A networks and other online communities within your industry. These also offer a wealth of opportunities to engage directly with your ideal customers.

online community

Look outside social networks to find online communities focused on your industry.

Just like social media groups, you’re looking for places where your customers are engaging with each other about topics related to your business. Skip the communities that have excessive spam and aim for those that are moderated and have lots of discussion.

Tips for Getting the Most Out of Social Groups

Here are some additional tips for getting the most out of engagement in social groups for your business.

Keep Your Social Profiles Up to Date

On Facebook, you should have your current job title and company included and publicly visible in the Work and Education section on your About tab.

facebook profile

Make sure your job title and company are publicly visible on your Facebook profile.

On LinkedIn, you should have your current job title and company name or a tagline of what you offer to customers as your profile headline.

linkedin profile

Include your job title and company or a tagline on your LinkedIn profile.

On Google+, include your current job title and company name or a tagline of what you offer to customers on your About tab.

google+ profile

On your Google+ profile, include your job title and company or a tagline.

These settings will ensure that people who see a great comment by you in a group discussion can easily learn more about you.

Follow Group Rules

Most moderated groups will have a set of rules to abide by. Be sure to read the group rules carefully so you always remain on the moderator’s good side.

In Facebook groups, you’ll likely find the rules in the right sidebar description of the group or in a pinned post at the top of the latest discussions.

facebook group rules

Facebook group rules typically are listed in the description or in a post pinned to the top.

In LinkedIn groups, click on the About tab to learn more about the group’s rules. You can also look in the box on the right side of the About information to see if the group has official group rules.

linkedin group rules

Look for LinkedIn group rules on the About tab.

In Google+ communities you’ll likely see the group rules (or a separate link to them) in the About This Community box at the top right of the community.

google+ community rules

Check out the About This Community box for Google+ community rules.

Avoid Self-Promotion

Participate in groups by starting and engaging in discussions, while avoiding self-promotion. The goal isn’t to promote your business in groups directly. The goal is to demonstrate your skills and expertise through discussions so people in the group want to learn more about what you and your business have to offer.

The exceptions to this rule are groups that specifically allow you to promote your business. Some groups allow you to post about your business so members can learn more about you, and others have special “promote your business” days or posts that you can use for promotion. Look for these opportunities in groups with high engagement to get your customers’ attention.

Leave Groups That Aren’t Helpful

Leaving groups that aren’t beneficial to your business is especially important on Facebook, as group posts tend to get a lot of coverage in your news feed. Also leave unhelpful groups on LinkedIn, as you’re limited to joining only 50 groups total.

What do you think? Do you use social groups to promote yourself or your business? Which ones have you found to be the best? Please share your thoughts in the comments!

how to vet social media groups for prospects

Tips for vetting social media groups for prospects.

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  • Cristina

    Really great article! Thanks for these tips!

  • Thanks Cristina! 🙂

  • SO much motivation to join groups, so little time! Lack of time is exactly why I’ve never become an active member of any group 🙁

  • Kristi – excellent tips. Thank you! I particularly like the first tip, ensuring that there is real discussion. I have received personal invitations (I’m thinking of a couple of G+ communities) and thought (in error) that it was a group with real engagement. Also, the groups/communities I’m thinking of had thousands of members. Duh! When I looked back at who invited me, it wasn’t actually the person I thought it was and it appeared that it was a fake account. And, the groups? All bots, promotion, and multi-post spam (0 engagement). So, that particular tip of yours was a real favorite 😉 Thanks, Deb

  • Kristi always delivers! Fantastic perspective! The discover of groups and how to determine which ones to join are often overlooked by website owners and even SEO experts. Well done as usual, Kristi!

  • Couldn’t agree more! 🙂

  • Thanks Deb! Real engagement makes a huge difference in the results you get from groups. 🙂

  • Thanks Pj! 🙂

  • I’ve found Facebook groups to be the easiest to participate in. Of all the networks, that’s the one most people are on the most, regardless.

  • Hi @kikolani:disqus maam,
    Thanks for this post. Social groups are like public hubs where you can meet and talk with people that are interested in what you are interested. Thanks for these tips as they will help to find more convertible and focused groups from the main social networks 🙂
    Have a great time 🙂

  • Thank you great Article !

  • SHREE RANJANI DHEVI MURUGESAN

    yes, understanding the target audience is necessary to identify your social groups,Linkedin is great for b2b and b2c as they have n number of groups related to your business interest….twitter is great for content marketing and sharing in my case.
    Thanks for the great information.

  • Kristi, my presence on FaceBook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Google+ is far from optimized. Your post provided me with some very useful tips to move in the right direction. Thanks!

  • Ajay Sain

    The article is very great and thanks I like theses tips