Caution When Using Facebook Groups to Connect Your Field

Dear Momo,
Our field seems to really like connecting on our company Facebook “Group”. However we have noticed they tend to engage more there than on the company “Page.”  Should we continue both?

Facebook Groups can be a good way to connect and build relationships between people already in the Group. Groups by nature are more chatty, posts are more viewable than on a Page and are read more often because members are notified of updates.

But there are very good reasons not to sponsor or encourage Groups.

Screen Shot 2013-08-19 at 5.01.33 PMAs much as we love Groups, the primary drawback is they are not public.  All that engagement is lost on your marketing efforts, and the activity in Groups can effectively “cannibalize” your Facebook Page activity.

All this can turn your main Page into a sad, neglected puppy. Aww.

Few things are said in Groups that cannot be said on a Page, so why give up all that great engagement? It is much better to encourage conversations on the public-facing Page — where they are really needed.

I would take it one step further and say that Groups may encourage an “insular” feel for your organization, rather than the “outward” mindset your team should have. If your Facebook marketing includes robust Facebook Groups, prepare for lower Facebook Page growth and for your creative efforts to get many fewer views and shares from the people you most want to engage, your field and their friends.

Weaning the puppy.

If you already have active and established Groups for the field, we recommend actually  shutting them down (gently) or at least weaning your field off them and getting them back to the public Page. If you decide to keep active Groups, don’t actively promote them, try not to engage from the home office other than to encourage interaction with the corporate social accounts. Respond to appropriate Group posts by asking users to re-post on the company Page. Eventually, set a date for the Group to end.

Of course, your field will set up their own and that’s okay. They are not corporate-sponsored so therefore serve a different purpose. Several of our clients have even been successful with company-sponsored “leader-only” groups to encourage collaboration at the top levels. However managing and monitoring this can be a full time job and become unsustainable or a management headache.

Your social media needs you. Don’t undermine your marketing with buckets of closed activity elsewhere.

 

 

 

 

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