5 Useful Features of Facebook Groups

Picture of Aliza ShermanAliza Sherman is a web pioneer, author, and international speaker. Sherman is the author of 8 books about the Internet including The Everything Blogging Book, Streetwise Ecommerce, The Complete Idiot's Guide to Crowdsourcing and Social Media Engagement for Dummies.

5 Useful Features of Facebook Groups

You probably have a Facebook Page for your company, but do you have a Facebook Group? Facebook Groups are ideal for conversations between members. They are topic-specific discussion-based forums with some features you won’t find on your Facebook Page. You can link a Facebook Group to your Page.

Why would you want to set up a Facebook Group? Some ways Facebook Groups can be beneficial include:

  • Providing more interactive customer service to your existing customers with the added benefit of facilitating customer interactions so they can help one another.
  • Building community around a topic related to your company to attract more people and turn them into customers. For example, a party supplies company could have a Group on party planning, showcase their expertise, and weave in relevant products to promote sales.
  • Communicating with your “Superfans” or “Brand Ambassadors – customers who love your products and are willing to share information about your company to their Facebook friends.
  • Getting customer feedback or organizing a virtual focus group to gain insights about your products or services from a customer point of view.

When you create a Facebook Group, you are automatically an Admin of the Group with the power to elevate other Group Members to an Admin or Moderator role. Admins have the ability to change Group Settings while a Moderator cannot. Both Moderators and Admins can approve or deny membership requests and posts in the group as well as remove posts and comments on posts and remove or block people from the group, if warranted.

Facebook provides some features in Groups to help you manage the community. Here are four that you can use to support your community:

1. Level of Privacy

You – or your Facebook Group moderator - must be Facebook friends with someone to invite them to one of your Groups. You can set up three different privacy levels for your Group. Secret means that nobody will see your Group until you invite them individually. Closed Groups can be seen in Facebook topic-related searches but someone must click a button to request to join the Group and you are able to accept them or not. Open Groups are seen in search and there is no approval process.

2. Asking Questions of New Members

When someone Likes your Facebook Page, you don’t know a lot about them. When someone joins your Faceook Group, you can ask them up to three questions about themselves to gather additional information including their email address to add them to your email list (with their permission, of course). At this time, there is not way to access the answers after you’ve accepted them into the Group so make sure to screenshot or copy their answers and paste into a document as needed.

3. Encourage Participation with Badges

A technique for increasing engagement among any members of a group that translates well to the digital space is “gamification” – adding game-like features and rewards to group interactions and communications. Facebook added a Badges feature to Groups to add an icon next to members’ names that signify various “levels” or to identify their roles such as for Moderators and Admins. Some “levels” include New Member, Conversation Starter, Founding Member, Visual Storyteller, Greeter, and Rising Star. Badges can stimulate motivation to participate.

4. Add Sections to Your Group

Facebook let’s you add several sections to your Facebook Groups to add interactive features including:

Mentorship Providing a way for members to share knowledge and support one another.

Social Learning Units where you can assemble group resources for easier access to encourage learning.

Instant Games where Group members can engage in game playing within the group.

5. Uploading Files

While you can’t upload files to Facebook Pages, in Groups you can upload files – including Word documents and PDF files - up to 100MB in size. Most file formats are supported. Music files and executable files are not allowed.

The features available in Facebook Groups are meant to support interactions and to support members. If you’re looking to more closely engage your customers, a Facebook Group might be a useful addition to your Facebook Page.