How many Facebook groups do you belong to? Stats are hard to find, but I bet the average person is in at least two or three. And I’ve seen people who are in 80 or more groups, which I suspect (from looking at their profile description) means they have a hidden agenda.
It’s likely we’ve all experienced the pleasures (“Love the new online friendships I’m making!”) and pains (“Those @$#&# self-promoters!”) of Facebook groups. We join and then quickly leave a particular group, yet other groups make us want to stick around for months or years.
My experience being in and managing Facebook groups dates back many years and includes a nonprofit board (I set up this group), my church (I was a member), a goal-focused group for women (I was a member), and several groups I was connected to when I attended a health coaching school. (I set up and managed two groups for my fellow classmates and was a member of several other student-focused groups.)
Have you thought of creating a private Facebook group for your business? Particularly for self-employed consultants, there can be benefits for doing so.
Here are things to consider if you go this route:
- Facebook groups are free and easy to set up. You may already know this, but it bears repeating. Facebook (at least for now) doesn’t charge you anything for setting up a group. And doing so is very easy, but you can always google around for the latest tips. Here’s an article I found today.
- There are different types of groups. Facebook explains it best here — so I’ll keep it brief: Facebook groups can be Public, Closed or Secret.
- Some Facebook group features may frustrate you. As long as you don’t mind the built-in quirks and limitations to groups, they can be great. For example, Facebook auto-changes certain notifications when groups get larger than 250 members — a fact that may or may not matter, depending on your group’s size. This Social Media Examiner article explains group features and limitations you may not be aware of.
- Groups work well with special programs. Groups can be set up for the short-term or longer, depending on what the group supports. For example, a health coach could use a private Facebook group for her 21-day cleanse participants. Or a business consultant could offer a longer-term group where they connect their business-owner clients with other like-minded individuals.
- Two (or 10) heads are better than one. Just like the offline world where you’re not expected to have all the answers, it’s the same online. Give your group members the opportunity to answer one another’s questions and resist the urge to always jump in. (Oops. I bet I’ve been guilty of that in some of my groups.)
- On a related note, you’re large and in charge, but you can get help! As the administrator of your Facebook group, it’ll be your job to post regularly and keep people connected by monitoring and moderating discussions. I know from experience that this can take up a lot of time! At some point, you will notice certain group members supporting one another without you having to answer a question or moderate a discussion. You may want to share admin duties with an active member (someone who has proven him/herself over time) — and it’ll be up to you to decide if this is something they’d do for free or if you’ll pay the person for his/her help.
- A large, vibrant group reflects well on the group owner. We’ve all heard that there’s power in numbers. Same thing with Facebook. A group of like-minded individuals focused on similar goals will collectively move the group forward. And this can reflect well on you and your business! The opposite of this can be true, too. A poorly managed group may make you, as the face of the group, look bad. Better to close up a group than leave it abandoned or sorely neglected.
Facebook group for business are not appropriate for every business type (like a physician’s practice), but they could be right for you.