Facebook engagement and growth is becoming more and more important to today's businesses. And not just because of the pandemic, but because of how people are acting online and in virtual social environments.
Facebook's organic reach is down. A lot of people want to blame Facebook — claiming that it's because they are trying to force small businesses to pay for exposure or that Facebook suppresses business posts. But the truth is that organic reach is down because there is so much content on Facebook — paid and organic — that it's hard to get noticed.
People spend an average of 35 minutes or less on Facebook per day. That's not a lot of time to help them see your products, sales, or specials. And most of that time is spent on their newsfeed, not looking up business news.
So what do you do? Just give up on Facebook? High-tail it over to a different platform?
No! Facebook is still an integral part of any social marketing strategy. Facebook marketing still works — if it didn't then there wouldn't be anyone using it and organic reach would still be huge. So the fact that organic reach is down isn't a sign that Facebook just wants you to pay to play — it's actually a sign that Facebook engagement and growth has reached a point of critical mass: it works too well.
Facebook Groups: Where Organic Reach is Still on the Rise
Facebook has been transparent about their goal to make their platform a community-first, group-centric platform. And if you've been paying attention to the last few updates, you'll know that they are making good on this goal.
This means that to help the Facebook algorithm work with you, you'll need to build a community. You can build your community around you page — I know plenty of people who do that successfully. But the easiest, fastest way to gain Facebook engagement and growth in a community is through one of their private groups.
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Laying the Groundwork for Facebook Engagement and Growth
Building a group on Facebook is pretty easy. But building the strategy around that group can sometimes feel a bit tricky. You'll want to start planning for the community before you even invite your first person into the group.
- What type of community will you be building?
- How will you integrate the community feeling?
- How will you ensure new members feel welcome?
- How will you help your members talk to and get to know each other?
- How will you cultivate that feeling of community between you and your members?
Building a Facebook Group — Even a Happening One — Will not Resolve all your Facebook Engagement and Growth Woes
Don't start thinking that by building a group on Facebook, you won't have to work on your page or that you won't have to worry about organic growth anymore. Organic reach on Facebook is down to 0.9% — quite the fall from the nearly 12-16% that we enjoyed back in 2014. Sorry, but building a group won't suddenly make marketing on Facebook any easier.
However, what that Facebook group will do for you is give you a place to engage with and build a solid connection with your customers, and give them a place to want to hang out. The more involved they are within that group, the more likely they will see updates about that group in their Facebook newsfeed. The more they feel connected to you, the more likely they will run to check out your posts and updates — even on your page.
But it is still going to take work and consistent effort on your part to make your group and you page something worth checking out.