New, Improved LinkedIn Groups for Sales… Facebook Groups

I was always a big fan of LinkedIn Groups but Facebook Groups have changed my mind.

I’ve written about their benefits over a dozen times here on Fill the Funnel. You could find groups for business, professional development, education, hobbies and geography amongst other areas.

My LinkedIn for Sales curriculum featured key ways in which to benefit from LinkedIn Groups. Groups were interactive, busy hives of professionals with like-minded interests and expertise.

Facebook groupsUnfortunately, that was several years ago. Way before the Microsoft purchase, LinkedIn Groups were being stripped of value by LinkedIn themselves. Group owners were hog-tied when the ability to actively manage the content, users and spam that would show up from time to time. By removing most of the ability to manage their groups, spam and unrelated content became common and in many of the larger groups, predominant.

I have been involved in many task forces and panels, organized by LinkedIn and private initiatives in which we discussed the impact of stripping any real value from a group on LinkedIn. Many of the largest LinkedIn Groups had membership in the hundreds of thousands.

I asked a couple of my go-to LinkedIn experts what the current thinking is about LinkedIn Groups for sales.

“I have dropped LinkedIn Groups from my training courses. They are of no real value at this point for a sales person or anyone else for that matter.”

Kurt Shaver- Founder of The Sales Foundry

There are many sales-focused Groups on LinkedIn. I still belong to several of them and yet it has been months since I have even entered one of them. The expression “fish where the fish are” used to apply directly to LinkedIn Groups. That is no longer the case in my experience with LinkedIn groups. They are simply not effective any longer.

The persistent rumors about LinkedIn groups being eliminated have not gone away. Another of my go-to LinkedIn Experts who runs a 38,000+ member LinkedIn group drives this point home when she says:

“LinkedIn does not give me – as an owner/administrator – the tools I MUST have to run an effective consumer support group. Additionally, while LinkedIn groups might still work for blasting content, my experience is that actual engagement is non-existent. I co-moderate one group with 38K members. I sent an announcement out – 2x (the equivalent of a private email) to those 38K members – and had a .00063 response rate. Yes. You read that right.”

Viveka Von Rosen - Founder, Linked Into Business

So is there a place to go to experience the benefits that used to be found in LinkedIn Groups?

There is a much better place to “fish” in a group setting today – Facebook Groups.

I have been telling people for almost 2 years now that Facebook is the next frontier for B2B business to explode. I always get plenty of “no-way – not for B2B” comments and reactions, and I fully expect that to happen. I can’t afford to look at the current state of things. My role is to always be looking forward, peeking around the corner to identify and uncover where things will be happening for sales in the coming months and years. It is very clear to me and many of my clients that they need to be on Facebook – in a big way.

Why are Facebook Groups superior for B2B right now? Because they offer a better, richer, more diverse tool set for both group owners and the members.Click To Tweet

There are three types of Facebook groups

  1. Public Group – anyone can see the group, its members and their posts. These are where you will find general topics and open forums from a wide variety of people. I have not found them to be that helpful for business purposes, though they can be quite entertaining.
  2. Closed Group – anyone can find the group and see who’s in it. Only members can see posts. These are being used quite a bit for “support group” type activities, because you have to be accepted as a member to post thoughts, questions and comments. I am seeing these as very helpful for customer support, associations, or even some prospecting activities and research. By controlling those that are in the group, the group owner controls the quality and focus of the conversation. The owner/admin of the group can add or remove any member at any time.
  3. Secret Group – only members can find the group and see posts. I have found these groups to be the most beneficial for career development, masterminds, and for powerful networking with those who have an interest in the topic or category. It is because these groups are secret, that most people do not even know they exist. It is because the membership AND the content are all invisible that the conversations get real, real quick. Product input groups, new business ventures, industry networking, and masterminds are all prospering with this group format.

Success in all areas of life comes when your mind is open, not closed. Don’t lose out of new opportunities because you are clinging to the outdated view that professionals only are on LinkedIn, not Facebook.

Facebook is the secret powerhouse for B2B! It has been said that the internet IS Facebook and Facebook is the Internet. The big players are already there and enjoying significant results. They are not talking about it - do you have to ask why?Click To Tweet

Consider these stats about the use and engagement on Facebook from Zephoria Digital Marketing:

Updated May 8, 2017

  1. Worldwide, there are over 1.94 billion monthly active Facebook users for March 2017 (Facebook MAUs) which is an 18 percent increase year over year. (Source: Facebook 5/3/17) What this means for you: In case you had any lingering doubts, statistically, Facebook is too big to ignore.
  2. There are 1.15 billion mobile daily active users (Mobile DAU) for December 2016, an increase of 23 percent year-over-year.  (Source:  Facebook as of 2/01/17)  This is hugely significant and shows the dramatic growth of mobile traffic on Facebook.
  3. 1.28 billion people log onto Facebook daily active users (Facebook DAU) for first Quarter of 2017, which represents a 18% increase year over year (Source: Facebook as 05/03/17) The Implication: A huge and vastly growing number of Facebook users are active and consistent in their visits to the site, making them a promising audience for your marketing efforts.
  4. There are 1.74 billion mobile active users (Mobile Facebook MAU) for December 2016 which is an increase of 21% year-over-year (Source: Facebook as of 02/01/17).  
  5. On average, the Like and Share Buttons are viewed across almost 10 million websites daily. (Source: Facebook as of 10/2/2014)
  6. In Europe, over 307 million people are on Facebook. (Source: Search Engine Journal) The Takeaway: This isn’t just a U.S. phenomenon – a worldwide market is available via Facebook.
  7. Age 25 to 34, at 29.7% of users, is the most common age demographic. (Source:Emarketer 2012) What this means for you: This is the prime target demographic for many businesses’ marketing efforts, and you have the chance to engage these key consumers on Facebook.
  8. Five new profiles are created every second. (Source: ALLFacebook 2012) The Implication: Your potential audience on Facebook is growing exponentially.
  9. Facebook users are 76% female (out of 100% of all females) and 66% male (out of 100% of all males). This is stat is one that you really have to think about because it’s comparing the percentage of all females against the percentage of all males who are on Facebook. Sorry for the confusion. To dig a little deeper take a look at this study which does a much better job at explaining the nuances – Source: Brandwatch – https://www.brandwatch.com/2015/01/men-vs-women-active-social-media/) The Takeaway: Since this isn’t a large statistical difference, you should be able to effectively reach both genders on Facebook.
  10. Highest traffic occurs mid-week between 1 to 3 pm. (Source: Bit.ly blog) On another note, a Facebook post at 7pm will result in more clicks on average than posting at 8pm (Source:  Forbes). Go figure.  How this can help you: You have the potential to reach more consumers and drive higher traffic to your site during peak usage times, but people may be more likely to be more engaged in the evenings. This statistic may be a factor when you are planning social communication scheduling. (Also consider that Facebook has a global audience, so you may want to plan around the time zone of your key market.)
  11. On Thursdays and Fridays, engagement is 18% higher. (Source: Bit.ly blog) The Implication: Again, use this information to determine when to post in order to optimize your social media marketing efforts.
  12. There are 83 million fake profiles. (Source: CNN) The Takeaway: Nothing is perfect, so always remain thoughtful and strategic in your efforts. Also, fake or not, these are still potential consumers. There are various reasons for fake profiles, including professionals doing testing and research, and people who want to segment their Facebook use more than is possible with one account.
  13. Photo uploads total 300 million per day. (Source: Gizmodo) The Implication: Again, this is an indication of engaged users; also, it is an indication that there are a lot of photos, as well as other information, competing for users’ attention, so target your efforts strategically.
  14. Average time spent per Facebook visit is 20 minutes. (Source: Infodocket) What this means for you: You could have a short time period to make your impression, so use it wisely with relevant, interesting and unique posts and offers in order to get the most return on your efforts.
  15. Every 60 seconds on Facebook: 510,000 comments are posted, 293,000 statuses are updated, and 136,000 photos are uploaded. (Source: The Social Skinny) The Implication: Again, there are a lot of engaged and active users, but also a huge amount of information competing for their attention, so quality and strategy on your part matter.
  16. 4.75 billion pieces of content shared daily as of May 2013 which is a 94 percent increase from August 2012. (Source: Facebook)
  17. 50% of 18-24 year-olds go on Facebook when they wake up. (Source: The Social Skinny) What this means for you: Facebook is important to these users, and potentially, if done correctly, so is the content you post on it.
  18. One in five page views in the United States occurs on Facebook. (Source: Infodocket 2012) How this helps you: This is a huge market on the web; if you use social media marketing efforts on Facebook well, you could have huge returns to show for it.
  19. 42% of marketers report that Facebook is critical or important to their business. (Source: State of Inbound Marketing 2012 The Takeaway: This is a crowded marketplace, but you can’t afford to sit it out, because odds are fairly high that your competition is there. The key is to use Facebook marketing correctly and make sure that your efforts stand out from the crowd.
  20. 16 Million local business pages have been created as of May 2013 which is a 100 percent increase from 8 million in June 2012. (Source: Facebook). Facebook marketing has transformed how business is conducted, and its use by local businesses to extend their markets continues to explode.

MY RECOMMENDATION:

Start exploring Facebook groups (and Facebook in general) for yourself and your business. You can incorporate video, audio, images, text, sell something, create a poll, create a photo album, create a document, create an event or even include a live video feed all within your group. Then add the power of Messenger into the mix and there is not even a remote comparison to the capability of LinkedIn Groups. 

This is happening folks. Get in front of this now and you will benefit from being a front-runner. Ignore at your own risk and scramble to catch up later.

If you need help or guidance on bringing your sales and marketing presence to Facebook, just ask – I can help.

 

 

 

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