Guest blog: Facebook’s hidden feature that (most) brands are missing out on

As Prime Time goes through its terrible twos, I need a ‘baby sitter’ every once in a while and I’m pleased to announce that Garth Beyer, Madison-based writer and Public Relations Strategist, has taken over this week.

Focused on telling stories, running through trend-making PR strategies and trying new things in life, he puts his trust in those who say “…we’re doing things a bit differently.”

Garth BoxThanks to our expert for sharing the low-down on the most commonly underrated social media features:

All the talk around Facebook is about paid ads, likes vs comments, sponsored posts and click-through rates. Facebook Insights gets you to focus on producing more content that matters by showing what best resonates with followers. And we all know Facebook is a well-massaged platform for clickbait. There is, however, a highly underrated feature of Facebook that brands and businesses aren’t leveraging.

Tribes: Win One Member, Win Them All

Facebook is a remarkable source to gain new followers, new consumers, and new loyalists. Brands that are regional specific (think of your local brewery) tend to do extremely well on their pages.

It’s feasible and profitable to curate a community of local people interested in being part of a tribe. Thus they interact with one another on the Facebook page, a sort of online, but public gathering.

I’m interested in the brands who have no boundaries, no geographical limitations (think headphone brands or the majority of mobile apps), and I’m interested in the private tribes, private conversations, the place on Facebook where a community can interact, but not be exposed to constant promotion, paid ads, sponsored posts, etc.

Brands aren’t recognising – especially start-ups – the potential Facebook groups have on introducing their product to a group who will likely buy based on a single recommendation.

The beauty of tribes – especially private ones – is when one member buys into what a brand is offering, and if it’s remarkable enough (more on that toward the end of this) the rest of the tribe will follow suit and follow the path to purchase. Facebook groups develop by bonds of trust between people of influence, the perfect target audience.

Calling All Influencers And Infecting Your Own

On a fairly recent episode of UnPodcast, Scott Stratten and Alison Kramer discussed a travel Facebook group Scott is part of. In the group, they share apps and devices with each other that make traveling easier.

When I was in college, Katy Culver, a UW-Madison Professor, had a Facebook group of prestigious professors I watched her often visit when she needed trusted advice. In the group, they share helpful tips, links, and, yes, products!

Naturally, to leverage profits from private Facebook groups, brands will have to cross a few road blocks.

Most simply, how does a brand insert itself in a private group? 

  1. Target those in Facebook groups in whatever ways you see fit, perhaps through a survey. (Who’s not going to brag they’re part of a private influential group
  2. Use a current loyalist to start a Facebook group around a theme. Ask an avid loyalist of your headphone brand what their passion in life is, start a group based on that, and naturally a recommendation of the product or service will be made.
  3. Start a group yourself and invite top influencers to join: a sort of invite-only group wherein you ask the influential you’ve invited to invite influential people they know, and so on.

I currently don’t have a ‘best option’ scenario as this form of unmeasurable marketing has remained, to my knowledge, unleveraged. There aren’t any immediate case studies available.*

The idea is to find a Facebook group influencer who shares a problem with their other tribe members that your product or service solves.

However, if that’s all it took, it would be too easy…

Are You Worth Talking About?

Now we’re to the grit of how best to use private Facebook groups to your brand’s advantage.

The product or service you’re offering has to be remarkable, it has to be worth talking about, it has to put the users, the consumers, and the first-time-experiencers in a position where they want to share how amazing the product or service is.

If you’re a brand, you’ve got to showcase your product or service in a way that makes users feel like they get to live in the influencer spotlight – that alone will fill them with enough confidence to share the product or brand.

At its simplest, the brand needs to communicate the problem it’s solving and treat everyone as if they are a top influencer; as if there’s a private tribe back home they will go talk to about their personal brand experience (because there is!).

That’s what it really comes down to for all platforms, isn’t it? Value and remarkability.

Successful talked about brands start with the “why we matter” first, then build off that. The unsuccessful ask after they’ve created something.

Stay Positive And Make Something Worth Remarking About.

*If you are or know of a brand that is leveraging private Facebook groups, please let me know! I would love to have a conversation with you or them about the best ‘option’.

Catch up with Garth by visiting The Garth Box and following him on Twitter >

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