Wednesday, 23 September 2015

HOW TO USE FACEBOOK GROUPS FOR BUSINESS

As the last quarter of the year streams in, there are signs that Facebook has a lot to celebrate this year. Having bought over Instagram and WhatsApp in recent years, it appears the investments are already showing signs of good returns.

According to a recent report from App Annie, Facebook Inc. now accounts for 40 per cent of the world’s top 10 most downloaded applications. Products on the list of top 10 are Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram and Facebook Messenger. In African user report, Facebook released figures of its active users in Kenya, South Africa and Nigeria. The index says about 4.5 million Kenyans use the platform each month; 12 million monthly active users are in South Africa while 15 million Nigerians are monthly active users on the network.

In another release, its second quarter global user performance reports, Facebook says 1.5 billion people use its platform monthly, 800 million use WhatsApp while about 300 million people use Instagram globally. It also mentions that about 850 million of its users are either owners or members of one of Facebook Groups.

Facebook Groups is not a new product. It has been used by many people for personal and business reasons. The feature allows you to bundle friends into packs, thereby making communication and collaboration within the groups simple and more effective. It works like a small inner Facebook circle.

Facebook Groups makes it easy to connect with specific individuals, like family members, teammates or co-workers. Groups are dedicated spaces where users share updates, photos or documents and discuss with other group members. Facebook groups are either closed, meaning that only the people invited by the members can join, or secret, meaning that no one but the people in the group can access it. Depending on your business objective, you can adjust the setting of a group to suit your purpose.

Facebook Groups is one of the few talked-about features of Facebook, but it remains a powerful tool for helping entrepreneurs and businesses to promote their products; support customers and provide services. Whether it is yours or someone else’s, how can you use it to promote your own business?

Train others
Training and practical workshops are becoming a big business in Nigeria, and Facebook Groups can help you to provide training in a controlled environment designed to support businesses.

Because you can control user access and permission, you can get people to pay for the training in exchange for access to the page. Others can also use Facebook Groups for non-commercial training programmes. For example, if you run a blog training programme, you can use the group to answer questions, provide supplementary training as well as forge deeper relationships among members of the group.

Provide customer service support
Facebook Groups is great for means of adding value to your customer relationships.
Facebook Groups can become a closed knit group where you can provide customer service and support to everyone within the network. While Twitter is a popular and simple platform for customer relation, Facebook Groups ensures that your customers are not lost in other conversations, which Twitter cannot help. Most times, secret Facebook groups are used for customer service, especially when the aim of the platform is to limit the number of people who have access to the group and to limit indexing through search engines.

Manage team communication
Facebook is a great way to build and nurture teams. Most employees and business are now creating Facebook groups for team bonding, work and play. Facebook Groups could be a great way to manage projects and teams; communicate with virtual interns and assistants and ensure that workflow is properly, especially when there are team members who work remotely.

As with any other social media networks, care needs to be taken especially when you are leveraging employee personal social media accounts for business. Having the right policies in place will help to educate your employees, protect your business and define the kind of information you share with the team.

Test your new ideas with a close team
For people who love to generate ideas by the seconds, a Facebook group can prevent you from wasting money trying on ideas that may not work. Mastermind groups are groups designed to help and support members of the group in achieving their goals. Having a super team willing and ready to support and provide feedback to one another is a great way to test an idea. Do you want to receive feedback on a new idea or business? You can share with your team and receive instant feedback about the product.

Establish expertise
Creating a Facebook page is great for personal branding, and to become an authority in your industry. Once you have decided to do this, all that is required is to create a Facebook group or join an existing one. Once people begin to ask you questions and you can provide answers, either directly or indirectly, people will begin to recognise you and your group. (punch)