How marketers can use Facebook Groups to foster brand loyalty.

Posted on: 08/16/17

Facebook is doubling down on its commitment to a closer, more connected world. From Zuckerberg’s 5,000-word manifesto in February to his updated vision for the platform, the social giant is set on bringing people together.

In mid-July, Facebook announced that brands would be able to create groups within their Page. We’re really, really big fans of this move for a number of reasons, but more on that later.

These groups are another effort by Facebook to bring like-minded individuals together, encouraging positive interaction with the aim of helping users foster meaningful relationships around brands and topics that they are personally passionate about. This move was introduced with similar goals as Facebook’s recent ‘Latest Conversations’ and ‘Trending News‘ features. It’s a way for people to meet, interact, and share thoughts, resources, and opinions on popular and shared topics.

For a brand perspective, we checked in with strategist Ben Nesvig, who sees opportunity in the feature.

“From a content-production standpoint, these groups are a great opportunity for any brand with an engaged fan base,” Nesvig said. “It’s an opportunity to seed conversations, create content, and target messaging directly towards a very specific group of people. You could also set up groups for A/B testing to see how certain content resonates for different groups of people. That’s incredibly valuable for brands, especially those with a segmented audience.”

If executed correctly, branded groups create a domino effect, where each domino that falls leads back to a core principle of generating and tapping into brand loyalty.

Let’s begin with a big-picture look.

 

Groups create segments within your audience.

Whether through personal values, brand pillars, or product lines, these groups categorize members into like-minded segments. From a brand perspective, social listening will be key, as specific content will resonate better with certain groups over others, even within your own audience.

Additionally, these groups will speak differently and with different tones. As always, the road to engagement lies in the voice of your fans. Find a way to bridge the gap between your brand voice and that of your fans. Finding ways to echo their voice and tone will almost always lead to a boost in engagement, not only from that individual but from other fans as well. They’ll see your brand as one looking to engage with fans, rather than simply promoting and selling a product.

On the influencer and personal-interest front, fans will align with your brand for a variety of reasons, and certain figures generate more loyalty within certain niches than others. For example, Steph Curry and Michael Phelps will appeal more to some groups than others based on personal interests, but both athletes have appeared on a Wheaties box within the past 2 years. Tying back to social listening, understanding how many and why certain fans align with your brand is key in unlocking the power of Facebook groups.

Within these groups, you’re going to see certain voices naturally rise to the top of the conversation. These micro-influencers will naturally start to carry weight within the groups, either positively or negatively. Find the ones who create a positive experience for others within the group, and reward them. These individuals are one free product away from not only becoming a lifelong customer, but also a lifelong, outspoken advocate for your brand as a whole, an invaluable resource in today’s social landscape.

 

Master the power of word-of-mouth.

Brands now have the opportunity to let their fans work for them, rather than the other way around.

People love talking and sharing about their passions, even more so when they can do so with like-minded individuals. If you can prompt people to start conversations about your brand within these groups, your fans will be more likely to carry these conversations and interactions away from the platform and into their everyday lives.

Pro-tip: Find a handful of your brand’s benefits that generate engagement and rally your followers. Divide your audience into groups aligned with those benefits. Create competition amongst the groups. Why? Because now you have people fighting about which positive aspect of your brand is best. They’re literally all arguing about your brand being great, and doing so across several topics. People love to argue about nothing, especially if they can be passionate about it.

Brand example: Remember that Miller Lite campaign where people picked sides on what made the beer great (great taste vs. less filling)? Well, now you can do that for real.

Additionally, group members can invite friends and family to join the party, essentially a personal recommendation to follow and engage with a brand. What better way to drive loyalty and acquire new fans than through word-of-mouth and personal relationships?

 

Now, about segmenting that audience.

Here’s a quick brainstorm on how various brands can leverage the feature.

 

  1. Retailers: Different clothing lines, various product collections, or decoration themes.
  2. Sports leagues: Breakdown by teams, divisions, or conferences.
  3. CPG Brands: Marquee product groups (Breakfast, lunch, dinner) or recipe collections (paleo, vegan, vegetarian, meat lovers etc.).
  4. TV: Based on individual shows, characters or genres.
  5. Beer: Different categories (IPA, Stout, Lager) or qualities (Miller Lite’s “Great taste vs. Less filling” battle).
  6. Fitness club: Specific workout routines (long distance running, cycling, weightlifting, swimming, yoga, etc.).
  7. Social Media Agency: By brand or account teams, or you know, by how cool they are.

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