In June, Facebook changed its mission statement to “bring the world closer together” and CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced that “we want to help 1bn people join meaningful communities.”
One of the ways Facebook is apparently going about trying to accomplish that is with the launch of Groups for Pages.
Previously, Facebook Pages and Facebook Groups were separate entities and weren’t connected, but thanks to Groups for Pages, that’s no longer the case. Here are some things brands need to know about Groups for Pages and what they should keep in mind when evaluating whether to take advantage of them.
Brands can create new Groups or associate existing Groups with their Pages
Brands interested in employing Groups can do so in one of two ways: they can create one or more new Groups that are associated with their Pages or they can associate existing Groups with their Pages. To do the latter, a Page administrator must be an administrator of the Group being associated.
Groups for Pages could help brands build communities of “super-fans”
For brands aiming to turn their Likes on the world’s largest social network into more meaningful engagement, Groups for Pages could be one of the more powerful tools Facebook has offered to date.
When Facebook began testing Groups for Pages with select beta testers earlier this year, chief product officer Chris Cox stated, “This is one of thousands of interesting examples we heard of super-fans who wanted to be a part of the day-to-day discussion of the decisions inside the walls of an organization they care about, and more importantly to connect with everyone else who felt the same way.”
The new functionality could pave the way for clever deal making
For brands looking to build true communities around their brands and brand assets, it would appear that Facebook’s new functionality has created an opportunity to do so by partnering or acquiring existing Groups.
For instance, a brand like Red Bull, which owns a Formula One racing team, could partner with or acquire one or more existing fan Groups to bolster its Red Bull Racing Facebook Page.
Moderation is a big issue and shouldn’t be overlooked
With brands more concerned than ever about brand safety, using Groups could be a tricky proposition. After all, while Groups offer a greater opportunity for brands to create engagement on Facebook, brands will realistically need to ensure that they moderate them, either internally or through an external vendor providing outsourced moderation services. If they don’t, it’s possible that Groups could be hijacked by users who post offensive content.
The burdens of moderation will vary somewhat by Group size and activity level, but because Facebook Groups are open 24/7 and it only takes one or two people to cause trouble, brands using Groups for Pages will have to be vigilant no matter how large or active they are.
Custom Audiences can’t currently be created to target Group members
Facebook Custom Audiences are one of the social network’s most powerful advertising tools and there is no doubt that many brands using Groups for Pages would be intrigued by the possibility of creating Custom Audiences around Group members. Unfortunately, brands that decide to add one or more Groups to their Pages won’t be able to create Custom Audiences of members they can target Facebook ads to, at least for the time being.
If, however, Facebook changes this, brands might find that the ability to create Custom Audiences (and Lookalike Audiences) of users engaged enough to join a Group could be a compelling reason to give Groups for Pages a try.