What are Facebook Groups you ask? There are a few things that a beginner should know about using Facebook Groups and the most important there are:
- What are Facebook Groups?
- Starting a Facebook Group
- Types of Facebook Groups
- Organizing a Facebook Group
- What can you post and upload in a Facebook Group?
- Benefits of Facebook Groups
What are Facebook Groups?
You’ve probably heard around you people and friends talking about Facebook Groups – what are they finding about in them, what are they selling, what are they buying, how do they help their fellow group colleagues and all.
Just by thinking a bit at these aspects presented, you’d realise that a Facebook Group is basically a community. Of course, they can be created by any Facebook user, therefore they can have different sizes – depending on their purpose. People in these communities came together to help each other in various ways, to talk about certain things, to share similar ideas, to give advice to others. One Facebook user can be more than 6000 groups at once – because he may have that much interests and ideas!
A Facebook Group can be created by adding just a small audience – such as you colleagues at work/school, your sports team, your mom friends and so on – or it can be created by adding a lot more users that have the same interests. For those reasons, Facebook Groups were created in order to bring people together and making their lives easier – one may not want to share a post separately to 30 people in their contacts, but rather wants something less time consuming and more efficient.
Let’s get to the next point.
Starting a Facebook Group
The idea is that, as I’ve said above, you can create a group for various reasons. Whatever you choose, the process of starting a Facebook Group is the same.
First of all, you must have a Facebook account. I mean…do I really need to say this? To create a Facebook Group, go to the down-left part of your screen, near your newsfeed. You will see the “Create” section along with 4 types of products you can create. Among them is the “Group” button – see below.
Right after you click it, a pop-up window will appear (“Create New Group”), asking you to name your new facebook group, to add some people, and to select it’s privacy type (we’ll discuss about this later on). After you add the first name, Facebook will suggest other names right below the “add Some People” box.
Facebook is so clever that it knows people enjoy things to be on their fingertips. That is why it will even let you create a predefined groups; just click on the right/left arrows that are just beneath the “Create New Group” title (see below)
The cleverness of Facebook doesn’t stop there (of course not). Searching for the right predefined Facebook Group, you’ll see that Facebook can actually suggest not only the name of the group, but also people to add in it. So if you have friends that you constantly talk to or with whom you have a Messenger Group, Facebook will suggest you to create a group out of those users.
Another example is based on interests: if you and your friends like the same Facebook Page, Facebook will suggest you to create an intelligently named group “People who like “X”” and add those certain users to the group. Convenient or creepy? You decide. I’ll go for convenient.
Worth mentioning is that you can add a small text (an invitation) so that your future member will know what the group is about, who is inviting them and other key ideas.
If you already are a member of a Facebook group, all you can do is post according to the groups rules, maybe approve posts/members (if the groups allows that. See the Organizing a Facebook Group part for reference).
Let’s go further and explain the types of Facebook Groups you can create.
Types of Facebook Groups
In my opinion, there are two major ways to define the types of Facebook Groups:
- Types of Facebook Groups based on their purpose;
- Types of Facebook Groups based on their privacy.
Facebook Groups types (purpose):
I kind of explained above what purposes people have when creating Facebook Groups, but let me be more specific. Suppose someone wants to hear the news about what is happening in its town, regarding the traffic. That someone can search for a Facebook Group that discusses traffic in a certain area, therefore he/she will be happy to join it and know exactly what is happening.
Another example would be regarding product sales. There are tons of Facebook Groups where you can buy or sell various products. Of course, they are niche specific – one group that sells clothes, one that sells cars, one that sells home goods and so on.
Other purpose for a Facebook Group is sharing ideas. Maybe you are a blogger, a marketer, an entrepreneur that wants to be a part of a community where you can search for ideas, get advice regarding actions, expand your circle etc.
I must say that the most important of these is that Facebook Groups help people create genuine communication, because it is based on something they like or want. If someone is causing trouble in a group, the admin can ban that someone, therefore maintaining a peaceful and respected Facebook Group where people only came to find others like them. They should be quite peaceful, most of the times.
Here is a list of all the Facebook Groups types, based on their theme/purpose:
- Selling, Buying or Exchanging Facebook Groups;
- Traffic Information Facebook Group;
- City Facebook Groups;
- Gaming Facebook Groups;
- Renting Facebook Groups;
- Blogging Facebook Groups;
- Marketing Facebook Groups;
- Entrepreneurship Facebook Groups;
- Design Facebook Groups;
- Crafty Facebook Groups;
- Dating Facebook Groups;
- Sports Facebook Groups;
- Parties Facebook Groups;
- Research Facebook Groups;
- Help Facebook Groups;
- IT Facebook Groups;
- and many others.
In this main category falls also the Facebook Pages Groups or those that are linked to a certain event or company. We’ll discuss about this later on.
Still, Facebook lets you choose between 16 types of Facebook Groups, just by clicking the “…More” button and then “Edit Group Settings”:
You can see that there are 3 types that will enable more features to your group; those are Buying and Selling Groups, Videos Groups, and Social Learning.
For the Buying and Selling Groups, one of the specific feature is that you can create a “Sell Something” Post where you can tell what you are selling, its price and its description, along with photos and even delivery and pick up instructions. This post also includes a button to message the seller.
Other specific part of this group is that you can select the Currency from the Group Settings. See the below image for reference:
The Video Games Groups let’s players find themselves, through the Discussion Window. And let’s the admin to choose games of the group through the Group Setting window. See below:
ATTENTION! If your group is under the, let’s say, Video Games type and you’ve chosen at least 1 game, you can’t change the group’s type unless you delete the game! I tested this while writing this article.
The third special group is the Social Learning Group, where the admin can choose where should the Landing Page Tab direct you: to the Discussion or to Units. See below:
The second main category parts the Facebook Groups into three sub-categories, depending on their level of privacy:
You can choose the level of privacy right from the beginning or you can modify it later on. See below:
The Closed Facebook Group means that every Facebook user can see the group, search the group and see its members. You can’t see the posts and discussions within it, hence you must request to be a member and the admin of the group must accept you. Only after this you will be able to take part in the groups’ discussions.
The Public Facebook Group is the one that lets you see the posts within it even though you are not a member. Later on this article, we’ll talk a bit about Groups Notifications, but right now I just want to mention that if you want to receive notifications from a group, you must be a member of that particular group. And although the Public Group is visible to everyone, you must request to become a member, so that you’ll receive notifications.
The Secret Facebook Group is targeted to those sneaky ones. Just kidding. This type of groups is great if you want to create a workgroup, a school one or just one that doesn’t need new members on a daily basis. These groups can be found ONLY by their members and only them can see the posts inside. Also, only members or admins can invite other non-members to the group. Seems logic considering that there isn’t another way to find the group.
ATTENTION! If you’ll join a Public group, your friends will see this activity of yours in their newsfeed.
Organizing a Facebook Group
This part is only relevant to those that want to create and manage groups.
Once you’ve decided the type of group you want to create, there are a few things you can/have to set up.
The first one is the Facebook Group Cover which in formal cases has to be relevant to your group theme and in informal cases can be whatever you want. Just respect the Facebook guidelines, such as no nudity, racism, violence and other forbidden images.
The Facebook Group Cover size it would be ideal to have 851 x 315 pixels, according to Facebook. In this way, you can be sure that whatever the photo content is, it will be visible, and very important: you’ll have a professional group that people will start to trust right from the beginning.
If you didn’t get to add all the people you wanted right from the moment you created the group, you can add others by clicking the “…More” button and then the “Add Members”, as below:
The second option from the “…More” button is to Manage Groups, where you can see:
- the Admin activity – everything that an admin has modified or posted to the group;
- the Member Requests – where all the users wanted to be a part of the group appear. You can accept/decline them one by one or accept/decline them all at once;
- the various Requests Notification – lets you choose if you want to be notified every time a user asks to join or to see them only when you are visiting the group;
- the Reported by Members – all the content (posts and comments) that your member found offensive or inappropriate. You can choose to delete these or to mute/block/remove the member that wrote that particular content;
- the Automatically Flagged – is where Facebook shows you the content it thinks it’s inappropriate and go against its Community Standards. You can keep the posts only if you approve them, otherwise they will be deleted automatically after 30 days. Of course, you can delete the post and block/mute/remove the member that wrote it.
The third option is Edit Group Settings where you can modify the following:
- The name of the group;
Stop! A fun thing to do here is to change the Facebook Group Icon. Depending on your needs, Facebook lets you choose between 60 icons.
The group type (from Facebook’s list);
- Description – let you members have an idea of what the group is about and what are your guidelines and rules;
- Tags – let your future members find you more easily;
- Locations – same as Tags, but based on location, obviously;
- Linked Pages – if you have a Facebook Page, you can connect it to your group. I must say only if they are related in some way;
- Colour – you can choose between 14 predefined colours;
- Web and Email address – you can have a group contact info with which Facebook will let you create posts and share links. A good thing to mention is that if your group will have more than 5000 members, you won’t be able to change this contact info, so be sure to choose it carefully;
- Privacy – choose whether the group is private, public or secret;
- Membership Approval – choose if every member in the group or just the admin can approve a new member request;
- Posting Permissions – same as the one before, but posts related;
- Post Approval – choose if an admin or a moderator will have to approve every post before it gets to the group audience;
- Story Posting Permissions – same as the Posting Permissions, but regarding Stories;
- Story Posts Approval – same as the Post Approval, but stories related.
Be sure to click the Save button each time you make changes to the Group Settings.
The next option in the “…More” drop-down menu is the Archive Group. This is just a setting and a pop up will appear asking you if you want to, obviously, archive the group. See below:
Archiving a Facebook Group means that no new member will be added, no new posts, likes and other activities. It will be just like at the museum, you can look, but you can’t touch. Still, you can “unarchive” the group at any time.
Furthermore, there is the option to Pin/Unpin from Shortcuts – which means you can have/not have you group close by, in the left section of your newsfeed window.
There is also the option to Link an existing Group and to Create a New linked Group. This will show members right in the group newsfeed the groups an admin recommends. As an admin, you can tell your members why do you recommend this other group. Once you click the Link an Existing Group, a pop up will appear, asking you to choose the group you want to link. See below:
What can you post and upload in a Facebook Group?
As a member of a group, there are various types of posts that you can write in a certain group. We’ve already seen the two special Facebook Groups (Video Games Group and Buying and Selling Group) where you have extra options to choose when you want to post.
The classic options include:
- The text post – write whatever you want, respecting the group rules of course (you don’t want to be removed from the group). The Facebook post character limit is 63,206 characters. That is quite a lot of words, approximately 157 Word pages with a Times New Roman font and size of 12. Just a fun fact.
- The Poll post – along with some text, you can ask you members a question and offer them answer choices. You can even let them add other choices if you want.
- The Photo/Video post – add a photo or a video to you text, for a clearer explanation of what you are saying.
- Live Video – This fairly new Facebook feature is also included in Groups so you small community can enjoy some live videos and you’ll be sure that no one else will see your video
- Ask for Recommendation – Maybe you are searching for a specific thing, in a specific city or area so this type of post (more of a template) will help you ask for the things you want.
There are also the other classic option such as Location, Feeling/Activity, Tag Friends, Tag Event.
Of course you can also add files in your group, almost any type. After that, member will be able to find them right on your post or in the left part of your screen, under the Files tab. You can also create a document if you are in a hurry. Member can or cannot edit that document, it’s your choice. The document will appear as below:
If you need to show the members of your group multiple photos, you are able to Create a Photo Album.
The last major option is about Events. You can easily create an Event and, being in a group, you’ll be able to send quickly an invite to all the members in the group – how convenient!
The Facebook Event can occur Once, Daily, Weekly or Custom.
Benefits of Using Facebook Groups
For a personal use, it is a quick way to keep things organized when talking to a group of people, whether it’s small or big. In a Messenger Group or a Whatsapp one things can get a little messy, as everyone talks and writes instantly, and Documents and Photos can be found harder.
As I’ve said, a Facebook Group is good for school, for work, for close friends or for other small projects you have. Members of a group can receive notifications whenever something happens in the group, if they opt for this. They can choose between:
- receive a notification from everyone;
- receive a notification that includes the highlight of the day;
- receive a notification when only their friends post;
- don’t receive a notification at all.
For a professional use, a Facebook Group is quite amazing, as you can create a specific community, a niche. If you are selling multiple services, you can even separate the groups and create the exact communities you need.
A Facebook Group can also be linked to a Facebook Page, which will give you more credibility. This particular setting has to be made from your Page’s Tabs Section. There you’ll find the “Link your Group” button an all you’ll have to do is to link the specific group. Here is the link from Facebook Help: https://www.facebook.com/help/742706805906818
Another way to benefit from Facebook Pages as a Business, is by posting your Pages content directly to Groups; not to be misunderstood, post only to Groups that allow promotion, and only to groups that have members interested in your services. Otherwise, you’ll risk to be removed from the group, or to even ruin your businesses image.
As a tested tactic, I’ve been posting relevant content of a project of mine in groups with people that were certainly interested in that topic and the reach exploded (from 200 people reached, to 9000+). I’ve posted to 2-3 groups that had over 10000 members and maybe the final reach result isn’t that impressive, but for a small startup, it can mean a lot. Not to mention the conversion we had those days.
The fact that members can opt to receive notifications when someone posts in a group can be even more great and useful for a business. Think that when you are posting to a Facebook Page, you users might or might not see your post in their newsfeed. Taking into consideration the last modifications Facebook made, it is probable that the organic reach will drop – you won’t have that many followers that can see your post, unless they set the See First option directly from your Facebook Page. And this is an extra step that many followers won’t be quick to do.
Use Facebook Groups! In my opinion, we shouldn’t be over them, we should use them even more! I’ve observed that they have been used more and more thorough the last years and that means people have discovered their power.
I hope you can now easily create a Facebook group, link it to your Facebook page or other groups, and all the things I’ve mentioned here are and will be useful to you.
Thank you for reading! We’ll talk more about Benefits of Facebook Groups and other details later this month.