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Facebook’s recent announcement that it will change its algorithms for its news feeds is likely to drive marketers to increasingly embrace the social media’s Groups function.

Just recently, Mark Zuckerberg announced that Facebook is developing a revamped news feed algorithm to make content more relevant and engaging for users, reports the Guardian. The new algorithm will seek to place an increased emphasis on content from friends and relatives, which is causing marketers to fret that their postings will get less exposure.

With that in mind, marketers are viewing Facebook Groups as an increasingly attractive option for branding and product promotion. Facebook Groups have moderators, so they are similar to online forums. They can also be highly focused on the types of interests or topics that they revolve around. In total, Facebook Groups reportedly have more than 1 billion active monthly users.

A look at the marketing success of the Instant Pot on Facebook Groups illustrates how powerful the feature can be. The Instant Pot is a slow cooker and pressure cooker that is a top selling product on Amazon.com, reports Inc. The inventor of Instant Pot, Bob Wang, launched the product in 2010 with a low cost marketing plan that continues to build buzz.

Wang initially mailed free Instant Pots to food bloggers and other influencers, many of whom responded by writing favorable reviews. Some influencers even published cookbooks that focused on using the Instant Pot. Even more influential, however, has been Wang’s decision to scrub a proposed email campaign and instead use Facebook Groups.

In May 2015, he created the Instant Pot Community, which has grown to have more than 1.1 million members who use the online service to get new ideas on using the cooking appliance. Other influencers have started their own Instant Pot Facebook Groups, which combined have more than 3.4 million members. The success for the Instant Pot has occurred even though Wang raised no venture capital and spends almost nothing on advertising.

Facebook, meanwhile, has been working to improve features for marketing through Groups. For example, it recently added analytics that can help Group administrators better understand their audiences and maximize responses, reports SocialMediaToday.

Success with Facebook Groups, however, isn’t a shoo-in. Indeed, the rules of social marketing still apply. Broadly speaking, brands need to ensure that their Group content is engaging and not overly promotional. In the case of Instant Pot, for example, Group members benefit from receiving recipes and cooking tips rather than being subjected to constant sales pitches.

One goal is to have Group members become involved with the flow of content. As brands serve as moderators or facilitators, therefore, Group members will be more likely to have a positive association with products being featured, reports ClickZ.com.

Brands should also develop specific content for their Facebook Groups rather than simply reposting content from their Facebook pages. The customized content will help brands enhance their credibility with members, reports Valgeisler.

Brands should also refrain from using third-party posting apps for adding content to Groups. Such apps typically include their logo or a message that the app was used to post the content. Group members, therefore, can tell that the content is being posted live.

Brands should also remove their URLs from images that they post. The idea is that Group members will ask for more information if they see a posting or image that captures their attention.

Last modified on Sunday, 21 January 2018
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