Facebook groups are a great way of communicating with subsets of your audience. For example, you might have a page for your entire organisation but want to have different, separate – and sometimes private – conversations with suppliers and customers. Groups let you do this.
There are three types of group:
OPEN GROUPS which, as the name suggests, are open. Everyone can see who’s a member of an open group and everyone can see posts to the group’s timeline;
CLOSED GROUPS where group membership is visible but the posts are only visible to members of that group;
SECRET GROUPS where – you’ve guessed – nobody knows the group exists or can see its posts except, of course, group members.
I’ve set up a closed group for people who’ve been on our social media training courses as a place for the learning to continue after a face-to-face workshop. It’s perhaps how some of you will have found your way to this blog in the first place.
You can only set up a group when you’re logged in as yourself not as a page. But don’t worry there’s a work around. As yourself create the group and then share it on your page’s timeline. Here’s a step-by-step guide with pictures corresponding to each step at the bottom. Click on the image thumbnails to see the full screen version:
- Click on the downward arrowhead in the top righthand corner of the Facebook page and, if you’re not already using Facebook as yourself, click on your name where it says “use Facebook as.” This takes you to your profile page.
- Click on the Home button on the top bar. You’ll find it just to the right of your name. You’ll see a heading called GROUPS in the column to the left of the timeline.
- Click on create group.
- In the dialogue box that pops up give the group a name, add at least one member (well you can’t have a group of one!) and make it open, closed or secret. The closed option is selected by default. Don’t worry too much about who you add as a group member at this stage because you can add more later. You can also invite those outside of your circle of friends by email once the group’s set up. And once you’ve got additional members you can always delete the original member. Click okay to proceed.
- Choose an icon. I chose a mortar board for the social media training alumni group because it seemed vaguely appropriate but you can skip this step. Click okay.
- You can then personalise the group by adding a cover photo (the optimum size is 851 x 315 pixels) and a description.
- CRUCIAL STEP! Because you’re setting up this group for organisational reasons it’s really important you then share this group via your page by clicking on the share button in the bottom right hand corner of your cover picture (or where you’re cover picture would be if you haven’t uploaded an image yet). In the dialogue box click the arrowhead where it says “on your own timeline” and choose instead “on a page you manage.” If you manage multiple pages choose the relevant page and choose whether to post as yourself or as your page where it says “posting as.” Type a welcome where it says “say something about this…” in greyed out text and finally click share group.
Well done you are now the proud owner of a Facebook group for business (even though you set it up as an individual)!
Next time groups versus pages – the pros and cons – plus the day to day running of a group.