6 Guidelines for Running a Social Media Group for Your Business

There’s the social media page and then there’s the group—and there’s a big difference. While there’s no knocking the page as the social platform’s “home” for your brand, the group is peoples’ go-to destination for conversation, camaraderie, and support. Read on to learn how we approach the running of a social media group—and what it takes to make yours a success.

Bringing “Social” Back into Social Media
Social media started with one-to-one online communications. Think back to the online chat rooms and Myspace. People were making connections! Evolution did its thing and businesses started tapping into the mass communications potential of social platforms. They’d create a company page and start posting, or maybe run some paid ads to drive traffic back to their website…

These are not bad things, but one has to wonder if it was draining some of the social energy out of the social media experience. Were people really talking?

Well, evolution has done its thing, again. The social media group—the Facebook group, LinkedIn group, or Google+ Community—has brought person-to-person engagement back to the platforms. Companies have gotten the memo and are successfully leveraging groups to “get social” with people. Imagine that!

Get Your Group Up and Running
While the social media page still stands, creating and cultivating groups is what’s bringing real live people together around a shared brand experience! Let’s do this!

The most common types of company groups are:

  • Employee groups – coworkers (e.g. sales teams) can collaborate, swap ideas, share stories, and ask and answer questions.
  • User groups – people who use a particular product or service (e.g. computer software) can connect to troubleshoot, talk about best practices, get and give advice, etc.
  • Member groups – customers of subscription or membership-based products or services (e.g. health club) provide support and trade tips.
  • Focus groups – targeted customers get together to provide feedback for marketing research purposes.

Once you’ve identified the type of group you want to create, follow our guidelines for making the most of it.

1. Make it exclusive
Groups are not for “everyone.” You want to collect people who have something specific in common—they’ve signed up for the same program, they’ve purchased the same version of your product, or they’re customers who live in the same geographic area. By giving members access to other people who have similar traits, they’re more likely to connect with others’ posts and open up about their experiences. It’s more personal. It’s exclusive. And people like that.

2. Keep it private (not public!)
Don’t let just anyone in. Make it invite-only. Or, as Facebook calls “closed” or “secret.” Even if social platform users are able to search for and find your group, uphold some sort of membership requirement based on some of the exclusivity parameters we just talked about. You can do this with qualifying questions: when someone asks to join, make sure they’re actually employees, customers, members, etc. Plus, existing members will feel more comfortable participating in the group when random people aren’t popping in and out.

3. State your mission
It must be clear to members why they’re participating in the group. Set their expectations. Are they there to support each other on their journey? Are they there to help each other solve problems? Are they there to answer specific questions? Use the “about” or description section of the group and be explicit. Establish the group with a focus, a reason, a purpose…and your members will follow.

4. Publish your guidelines
Social media groups need to have stated rules and policies regarding acceptable (and unacceptable) posting and commenting behavior. Pin these so they’re easily accessible. And enforce them! Remind people what they’re there for and remove people who cause problems.

5. Make it member-driven
This is key: this group is their group. Yes, you are creating it for them, but it’s their place to share information, ask and answer questions, and connect with fellow members the way they want to connect. While you may end up with some sales as a result of the group, the group itself is not your place to sell. It’s not that you can’t post items to the group, but let your members take the lead and see where they take it.

6. Monitor (don’t police)
Remember we said, this is their group? Your members are doing most of the posting and collaborating. By all means, watch and read and pay attention—step in when necessary. If things get rowdy, use your administrative strong-arm and take action. If things get quiet, go in there are start a conversation or share an interesting tidbit of information.

If you’d like to talk about your social media strategy and find out where groups might fit into the mix, contact us!