As you probably know, SEO is my jam for getting eyeballs on your content initially. But then what? You’ve got to give people a reason to stay, come back, and, most importantly, seek you out intentionally.

That’s where building a community comes in. It’s about creating a space where your ideal audience can connect with you and each other. A strong community gets people Googling your brand on purpose, and in the AI era, that’s gold.

The Power of Facebook Groups

Facebook groups are an amazing (free) community-building tool. And no, they’re not dead—not even close. My group, The Unconventional RD Community, is living proof.

 Here’s a quick rundown of what this group has achieved:

  • Member Milestones: The group was founded in 2017 and we’re now 15,000+ strong (and growing).
  • Engagement Stats: Every month, hundreds new folks join the group and about half also join my email list. 
  • The Stickiness Factor: A whopping 64% of people on my email list are also members of the Facebook group and 76% of the group members see or interact with something in the group each month.
  • Daily Activity: On any given day, 4k to 6k members are active in the group. That’s a third of the group actively engaging with content every day.

But Aren’t Facebook Groups Over?

I hear you. But let me tell you, the good ones are thriving. 

The Facebook algorithm will push your group posts to active members, but you can manually drive engagement as well.

When I email weekly roundups of the best discussions, engagement goes through the roof—over 90% each month!

And that’s all without spending a dime on ads. Just think about what a vibrant, engaged community could do for your brand’s visibility and engagement as well.

Understanding Facebook Groups and Their Unique Value

Before I dive into the potential of Facebook Groups, let’s clarify what they are and how they differ from other Facebook entities like personal profiles, creator accounts, and business pages. 

Each serves its purpose within the Facebook ecosystem, but Facebook groups stand out for fostering community and engagement.

The Facebook Ecosystem: A Quick Overview

  1. Personal Profile: This is what the average Facebook user has. It allows you to connect with friends and post on each other’s timelines. 
  2. Creator Account: An upgraded personal profile that allows you to post business content without creating a separate business page. Ideal for influencers who blend personal and professional content and don’t foresee the need for paid advertisements or additional account managers.
  3. Business Page: The official spot for businesses on Facebook. Think of it as your digital storefront to highlight your services, products, hours, and reviews. While you can share updates, the interaction level is limited compared to groups.
  4. Interest-Based Page: In addition to a business page, you can also create a page that focuses on a niche topic rather than your brand. Great for driving website traffic and diversifying your audience attraction strategies.
  5. Facebook Group: The crux of community building on Facebook. Groups allow you host a vibrant space for discussions that will be automatically shown in the Facebook feeds of your most active members. 

Facebook Groups: Public vs. Private, Visible vs. Hidden

When launching a Facebook Group, you’re presented with a few choices that impact its visibility and accessibility:

  • Public Groups: Open for all to see and join, without moderation. While this maximizes accessibility, it also opens doors for spammers, potentially diluting the group’s quality.
  • Private Groups: Requires admin approval for new members and posts are only visible to members, maintaining a high-quality environment conducive to meaningful interaction.
  • Visible Groups: Anyone can search for the group on Facebook and request to join.
  • Hidden Groups: Only current members can find the group. It is undiscoverable by anyone else. You would need to add members manually to give them access. 

Why Private and Visible Works Best

For business owners aiming to cultivate a high-value community, I recommend setting your Facebook group to Private and Visible. 

This configuration lets you remain discoverable to potential new members but keeps the conversations private to members-only. That’s the perfect balance between exclusivity and growth potential.

How Businesses Can Utilize Facebook Groups

Facebook groups aren’t just a fun place to hang out with your people; they’re also strategic assets for businesses.

Here’s how they benefit your brand:

Benefit #1: Becoming synonymous with community

You’ve probably heard the phrase, “People come for the content, but they stay for the community.” And this is so so true for Facebook groups. 

In an age where everyone’s battling content overload, creating community can benefit your brand by:

  • Cutting Through the Noise: With AI-generated content flooding our feeds, offering something genuinely valuable is key. A Facebook Group gives you that edge by creating a space for deeper, more personal interactions in your niche.
  • Value Beyond Content: It’s one thing to share information; it’s another to create a space where that information lives, breathes, and evolves through community interaction. That’s the unique environment a group offers.
  • Building a Loyal Base: A vibrant group converts passive followers into active community members. They’re more likely to stick around, follow your journey, and support your business because they’re invested in what you’ve built together.

Why It Matters

In a digital world full of quick clicks and fleeting attention, a Facebook Group helps your business stand out by creating a sense of belonging. It’s not just about being seen; it’s about creating a meaningful connection that encourages people to engage with your brand on a deeper level over the long-run.

Benefit #2: Elevating Your Online Presence into a Brand

If you’re like many content creators, you’ve mastered the art of SEO-optimized content. 

You’re pulling in traffic from Google, but perhaps you feel like something is missing…. like that deeper connection with your audience is just out of reach. 

Enter the power of a Facebook group!

By creating a Facebook group for your audience, you’ll get the connection you need to finally go from blog to brand:

  • Direct Connection: Promoting a free Facebook group through your blog or email list opens up a direct line to your audience. It’s a space for real, unfiltered conversations and a deeper dive into topics discussed on your blog, podcast, and YouTube channel.
  • Insight and Engagement: Your Facebook group becomes a lens into your audience’s world. Dreams, fears, frustrations—all laid bare in their discussions. This isn’t just insightful; it’s gold for content and product creation. You’re seeing in real-time what matters most to your community.
  • Content Creation Edge: This direct feedback loop puts you leagues ahead of those relying solely on keyword research. Spot trends, understand pain points, and craft content or products that hit right at the heart of your audience’s needs—sometimes before they even fully realize those needs themselves.
  • Efficiency and Impact: Now that you deeply understand your audience, you can craft evergreen content (like blog posts or YouTube videos) that addresses their recurring questions or struggles. This approach saves you time and allows you to create an evergreen bank of content that can serve both new and existing community members for years to come.
  • Personalization Pays Off: Tailoring your language and offers based on the real conversations happening in your group can significantly enhance your sales copy’s effectiveness, leading to better conversions and a stronger brand connection.

Why It Matters

This isn’t just about adding another channel to your strategy; it’s about fundamentally changing how you connect with and serve your audience. 

Moving from blog to brand means transitioning from a one-way content push to a dynamic, interactive, and deeply connected online presence. It’s about building a brand that not only attracts visitors but also converts them into an engaged, loyal community.

By leveraging the insights and connections built through your Facebook group, you can create and sell your own products or services, giving you much more control over the future of your business.

Benefit #3: Grow Your Email List with a Facebook Group

A robust email list is gold in the digital marketing world. And guess what? Your Facebook group can be an amazing way to organically boost those subscriber numbers. 

Here’s how to make it happen:

1. The Welcome Gate:

  • Strategy: Facebook allows you to ask up to three questions when people ask to join your group. Make one of those questions an invite to join your newsletter, positioning it as a ticket to exclusive content and insights.
  • Impact: You might be surprised by how many people are eager to share their email, especially when they see the value you’re offering.

2. Lead Magnets & Webinars:

  • Strategy: Within your group, regularly introduce new lead magnets, webinars, or any resource that requires an email signup. Tailor these offerings to match your group’s interests to ensure they’re irresistible.
  • Impact: If you’re hitting the mark with your content, expect a steady stream of email sign-ups every time you drop a new magnet.

3. Newsletter Teasers:

  • Strategy: Borrow a page from the Twitter (X) playbook and drop teasers about the juicy tips and insights coming up in your newsletter. Create a buzz around your email content, making people excited to sign up.
  • Impact: This approach can significantly spike interest in your newsletter, translating to more sign-ups from group members who don’t want to miss out.

Why It Matters

Don’t underestimate the power of your Facebook group as a channel for list growth. By integrating these strategies, you’ll be able to convert a high percentage of group members over to your email list, where they will receive direct communications from you straight to their inbox, no matter what happens with any of the algorithms!

Benefit #4: Get More Traffic to Your Content

Your Facebook group isn’t just for discussions—it can also be a strategic tool to drive traffic to your content. Whether it’s articles on your website, YouTube videos, or podcast episodes, sharing your work can give it a significant visibility boost.

1. The Algorithm Hurdle:

  • Reality Check: Unfortunately, Facebook’s algorithm doesn’t love posts with external links. They might not get the same reach as other types of content, but… every bit counts. While it may not match the traffic surge from an email blast, it’s another valuable touchpoint with your audience.

2. Strategic Sharing:

  • My Go-To Move: Instead of just sharing new links to content in the main group feed, I find it’s more effective to weave my content into conversations. When a group member asks something like, “What is SEO?” I can chime in with a comment linking to my detailed blog post or video on the subject.
  • Why This Rocks: This approach does double duty. It positions you as a helpful authority, ready with resources to address your audience’s queries. Plus, it drives targeted traffic to your content, where readers or viewers can dive deeper into the topics they’re curious about.

3. Building an Evergreen Content Database:

  • Long-Term Strategy: Each piece of content you create in response to common questions becomes a part of an ever-growing resource library. Not only does this bolster your SEO efforts by making your content more discoverable, but it also gives you valuable assets to share in your group, via email, or on other social platforms.
  • The Big Picture: Sharing your content in this responsive, targeted way helps you build trust and establish authority within your community. When it’s time to promote a product or service, this trust translates into more receptive potential customers.

Why It Matters

Your Facebook group can amplify your content’s reach. By integrating your content sharing strategy into the natural flow of group discussions, you’re not just pushing traffic to your site; you’re also enriching the community experience with valuable resources. This approach lays the groundwork for a virtuous cycle of engagement, trust-building, and, ultimately, sales.

Benefit #5: Offering Exclusive Connection

Social media often feels like broadcasting to the masses, but a Facebook group is not just another channel for content; it’s a private forum where real, meaningful connections can grow.

Privacy with Perks:

  • Semi-Private Setting: What sets private Facebook groups apart is their semi-private nature. Here, members can share, discuss, and connect away from the prying eyes of their wider social circle. It’s like having a conversation in a room where only like-minded individuals are invited.
  • Encouraging Openness: The option for anonymous posting is a game-changer for many. It breaks down barriers and fosters a level of honesty and vulnerability that’s rare on public platforms. This can significantly enhance the depth and value of discussions within your group.

Leveraging Exclusivity:

  • Tease the Exclusive Content: Sharing glimpses of the types of discussions happening in your group on your public channels can pique interest. It highlights the unique value of joining your private community.
  • Quality is Key: Once people take the step to join, the onus is on you to deliver. The quality of interactions, the relevance of the content, and the sense of community are what will convince them to stick around.

Why It Matters

In an age of information overload and superficial connections, a semi-private Facebook group stands out as a sanctuary for deeper engagement. It’s a place where members can discuss niche topics, share personal experiences, and seek advice without the background noise of the wider internet.

Benefit #6: Become a Go-To Name in Your Niche

Running a thriving Facebook group can position you and your brand as an important player in your niche.

Spotlight on Your Expertise:

  • Central Hub of Discussion: By establishing the go-to group for discussions around your specialty, your brand naturally becomes part of the conversation. Whether it’s SEO, dietetics, tech innovations, or any other field, owning that space where people gather to learn and share puts you at the forefront.
  • Organic Brand Growth: As your group gains traction, members will inevitably mention your name and brand in related discussions, both within and outside the group. This organic word-of-mouth not only spreads your reach but also solidifies your standing as a leading voice in your space.

Boosting Your Search Credibility:

  • Increased Search Visibility: The buzz created around your name and brand doesn’t go unnoticed by search engines. As more people search for your brand in connection with valuable insights or solutions, it signals to Google and others that you’re more than just another site on the internet. You’re a sought-after resource.
  • Legitimacy and Authority: This heightened visibility and the resulting increase in branded searches can significantly enhance your brand’s perceived legitimacy. It’s evidence that you’re providing real value, leading to a positive feedback loop that elevates your site’s authority in the eyes of both your audience and search engines.

Why It Matters:

Standing out online often requires more than just quality content. Running a popular Facebook group provides a dynamic platform to showcase your expertise, engage with your audience on a deeper level, and become synonymous with authority in your field.

Benefit #7: Word of Mouth Referrals Galore

When you’ve built a community that genuinely supports and provides value to its members, one of the most rewarding outcomes is the natural flow of referrals. This is  the kind of organic buzz that advertising can’t buy!

The Referral Ripple Effect:

  • Organic Growth Champions: It’s a fascinating phenomenon, but many group admins, myself included, notice a tipping point where word of mouth becomes the main driver of new members. For my group, tracking entry responses revealed that more folks were coming from personal recommendations than from direct marketing efforts.
  • Unexpected Allies: Interestingly, platforms like Reddit have turned into unexpected referral goldmines. Specific threads recommending my group as a resource for unconventional career paths in dietetics, for example, have funneled a surprising number of new members our way. With Reddit’s SEO boost, these mentions are more visible than ever.
  • The SEO Bonus: There’s a good chance that these organic, branded mentions across forums and social platforms send positive signals to search engines. It’s like the internet’s way of nodding in approval, acknowledging that your brand is not just relevant but also respected and recommended.

The Impact of Authentic Community Building:

  • Sustainable Visibility: What’s truly remarkable is the sustainability of this growth. Even if you dial back on active promotion, a well-nurtured, helpful community tends to keep the momentum going. New members keep rolling in, driven by the endorsements of satisfied members.
  • The Ultimate Conversion Funnel: This isn’t just about growing your group; it’s about building a self-sustaining ecosystem. Members become engaged learners, email subscribers, and, ultimately, customers or clients. This cycle, fueled by genuine endorsements, can be one of the most effective conversion funnels out there.

Why It Matters

This level of organic, word-of-mouth growth is what many brands dream of. It’s about more than just numbers; it’s about fostering a community so valuable that people can’t help but share. And as they do, your brand not only gains members but also earns a reputation as a trusted authority, all while enhancing its SEO footprint. That’s the kind of marketing magic you can’t afford to overlook!

Benefit #8: Networking and Expanding Your Influence

When you’re at the helm of a thriving Facebook group, it can position you as a key influencer in your field. This visibility opens doors, making it significantly easier to network with peers and industry leaders.

Becoming a Thought Leader:

  • Authority Building: Successfully running a group that’s considered the go-to place for insights and discussions in your niche naturally positions you as a thought leader. It’s the kind of credibility that can’t be rushed but can be immensely rewarding.
  • Organic Networking Opportunities: This elevated status makes connecting with other thought leaders more straightforward. Whether it’s for interviews, collaborative projects, or cross-promotions, your group serves as a testament to your influence and reach.

Mutually Beneficial Collaborations:

  • A Platform for Partnership: Once recognized as an authority, you’ll find it easier to engage in mutually beneficial activities with other experts. Your group isn’t just a community; it’s a launchpad for broader initiatives that can amplify your brand and message.
  • Expanding Your Reach: Collaborations, be they interviews with other leaders or joint ventures, not only provide value to your group members but also introduce you to new audiences. It’s a win-win, with every partnership potentially multiplying your visibility and impact.

Why This Matters

Your Facebook group can be a cornerstone of your brand’s growth strategy. As you connect and collaborate with other leaders, your reach and influence grow, further establishing your brand as a leader in its niche.

Benefit #9: Turn Your Facebook Group into a Revenue Stream

Worried that all the effort you’re putting into your Facebook group might not translate into tangible benefits for your business? Fear not. There are several ways to monetize your group without sacrificing quality.

Direct Promotion: The Obvious Path

  • Challenges with Reach: While promoting your products or services directly to your group members seems straightforward, it’s not without hurdles. Facebook’s algorithm often limits the visibility of promotional posts, which might not yield the reach or engagement you hope for.

The Power of Email Marketing

  • A More Effective Strategy: A smarter approach involves using your group as a funnel to your email list. This means offering group members the chance to subscribe to your email list, where you have more control and can engage them with a series of well-crafted emails. This not only builds anticipation and value around your offers but typically results in higher conversion rates than sporadic social media posts.

Passive Income Streams

  • Beyond Direct Sales: Another angle for monetization involves leveraging passive income opportunities like display ads or affiliate marketing. By sharing your content within the group—content that leads back to your site where ads or affiliate links are present—you can generate additional revenue from the traffic and actions taken by your group members.

Remember, the key to monetization isn’t to see your Facebook group solely as a sales platform but as a vibrant community that supports your broader business goals, including list building and indirect monetization strategies.

Benefit #10: Enhanced Facebook Advertising 

While Facebook doesn’t currently offer a direct way to target ads specifically at group members, there is a clever strategy to bypass this limitation.

Leveraging Page Content 

  • Indirect Targeting Tactics: One method involves sharing a video or other engaging content from your Facebook page into the group. Since you can track and target interactions with your page, this approach allows you to include group members who engage with your shared content in your advertising audience.
  • Building a Focused Audience: This technique not only increases the relevancy of your ads but also boosts their effectiveness by reaching individuals already interested in your content and offers.

While this may sound advanced, it’s a strategy worth considering as your group grows and you look for more sophisticated ways to expand your business. It’s about leveraging every asset at your disposal, including the engagement and loyalty cultivated within your Facebook group.

Wrapping It Up: The Power of Facebook Groups for Business

As you look forward to growing your business, consider the power of Facebook groups not just as a tool for engagement, but as a cornerstone of your digital strategy. The potential for growth, networking, and monetization is substantial, but the real value lies in the community you build and the relationships you nurture.

So, whether you’re just starting out or looking to leverage your existing group for greater impact, remember: the success of your Facebook group—and by extension, your business—lies in the value you provide. Keep your audience’s needs and experiences at the heart of your strategy, and you’ll not only see growth in numbers but in the depth and loyalty of your community.

Erica Julson is a registered dietitian turned digital marketing pro. She has over 12 years of experience blogging and building online businesses and has taught over 900 wellness professionals inside her signature program, SEO Made Simple.