Now, that’s not to say that there aren’t some potential downsides to using AI. The most natural application of the technology for small business owners is a chatbot that can augment and improve your customer service. That means the bot would be interacting directly with your customers.
Scary? Maybe a little. But there are some serious benefits to using AI to go along with the risks. It’s important for you to understand both, so you can make an informed decision about whether AI is a worthwhile investment for your business.
The Pros of AI
Let’s start with the good news. Finding ways to have artificial intelligence interact directly with your customers can offer you some big rewards. Here’s what you need to know.
No Holidays or Time Off
The first plus of using AI for customer service is that AI isn’t human. That means it doesn’t need time off. It can be available to your customers around the clock, 365 days a year. If a customer needs help, your chatbot or virtual assistant can be there to offer it.
In the long run, you can save money on customer service because a chatbot can be programmed to handle a high volume of incoming requests and you won’t need to pay it a salary or benefits.
No Human Error
Another big benefit of incorporating AI into your customer service is that it can, if programmed properly, eliminate human error and make your customer interactions completely consistent across the board. That means no more flustered employees or inaccurate responses.
Even the best employee can be forgetful or have a bad day. A chatbot won’t have a bad day because they’re not programmed to have one. You can be sure that every customer who uses your chatbot will get the same professional, accurate information, every time.
Arguably the biggest positive associated with using artificial intelligence is that it can help you collect accurate and actionable data from your customers in real time. Since traditional customer research can take a huge amount of time, this is a huge plus and one that you can definitely use to your advantage.
You can learn which issues are causing trouble for your customers, which products they like the most, and at what times they’re most likely to buy from you. You can also use the data you collect to improve the programming of your chatbots and make your customer service even better than it already is.
What’s your brand’s personality? Whether you’re formal or casual, funny or low-key, you can program your AI solutions with the language and personality that fits your brand. Since it can be difficult to screen employees and figure out how they’ll cope in a high-pressure situation, chatbots can be a good way to even things out.
The beauty of AI programming is that you can build variety and personality in with the right scriptwriters and programmers. You might not be able to imagine a chatbot with personality, but I also think you’ll be surprised by how much can be done with good programming.
These benefits are no joke. If you properly design and program your chatbots, they can help you elevate your customer service, build loyalty, and increase sales.
The Cons of AI
The pros are undeniable, but what are the downsides of having AI interact with your customers? There are several, and not surprisingly, they correlate with the pros I’ve already mentioned.
Round the Clock Monitoring
The first potential downside is related to the 24/7 nature of chatbots. A chatbot, even a well-programmed one, can’t handle ever potential customer problem. In fact, part of proper chatbot programming is making sure that the bot knows when and how to get human assistance.
Reading between the lines, then, there’s a need to have a human agent on call to back up the chatbot. That means that you’ll still need some human support and people who are willing to be on call even after hours.
Lack of Improvisation
Chatbot programming can do a lot – but it can’t do everything. In fact, one of the biggest downsides of using AI for customer service is that AI can’t improvise. It can only do what it’s been programmed to do.
In nine out of ten cases, that’s probably going to be fine. But what happens if a customer isn’t fluent in English or asks a question in a way that’s unfamiliar to the bot? You’ve got to be prepared for the likelihood that some customers, some of the time, will find dealing with a bot to be frustrating.
I already told you that AI can collect data and that can be a huge benefit. But, of course, any time you collect data you’ve also got to store data – and that can leave you vulnerable to hacking.
This isn’t really a downside so much as it is a warning. If you are going to use chatbots for your business, make sure to take appropriate security measures and use encryption to protect your valuable data.
The final potential downside is the sort of worst-case scenario that we all think of when we think of AI. It’s that a bad actor could find a way to manipulate your chatbots or virtual agents to make them work in a way that is contrary to your interests.
Some manipulations may be relatively harmless, but the danger is that, since chatbots use machine learning to improve their performance, they may pick up bad habits from some users. You’ll need to be prepared to be on the lookout for problems and correct them immediately.
You’re not hiring HAL…
Using AI to interact with customers can do a great deal to help your business grow. The key is to put yourself in a position to reap the benefits while also protecting yourself from the potential downsides associated with AI.
If you’re familiar with Google’s methods, then you know that they hardly ever comment on updates or share relevant information about them. That means that marketers and SEOs have to guess what’s going on.
That can be tricky, but it turns out that this latest update can be summed up with three letters: EAT. Let’s talk about what they mean.
What Does E.A.T. Stand For?
Google’s E.A.T. algorithm has been given that name because of the three key things it prioritizes. They are:
The trick, of course, is knowing what things Google’s looking at and what you can do to improve your results. Chasing organic traffic was already difficult. In fact, only about 9% of content gets any organic traffic from Google.
How to Demonstrate Your Expertise
The best way to demonstrate your expertise is to update and optimize your author biography and About Us pages. These pages give you the opportunity to let readers (and Google) know who you are and why you’re an expert.
You should have a biography page for every contributor to your blog. Their byline should link to their bio. The bio should include:
The same thing goes for your About Us page. On the page, you can still explain the usual things like how and why you started your business. In addition, make sure to mention:
How to Demonstrate Your Authoritativeness
The next element of E.A.T. is authority. Here are the most important things you can do to signal your authoritativeness to Google.
How to Demonstrate Your Trustworthiness
It’s a common saying that trust needs to be earned. That applies to marketing as much as it does to anything else. In other words, trust isn’t something you can wish into being. You must give people reasons to trust you.
Reputation management plays a big role in trust. When people review your company on sites like Yelp or Google My Business, what do they say about you? How do you handle negative reviews? Do you have quality testimonials on your site? Each of these things plays a role in establishing your reputation online.
The same is true of social mentions. It’s essential to keep track of when and how your business is mentioned on social media.
Finally, you can build trust by having proper security on your site. That means installing a security certificate and using encryption to protect your most important data.
Other Quick Fixes for E.A.T.
In addition to the things I’ve mentioned above, there are some other important steps you can take to make the most of Google’s latest update.
You are what you E.A.T.
It’s natural to be nervous about a major update like E.A.T., but my takeaway is this. E.A.T. is a huge opportunity for local businesses to build their brands and provide their customers with the best possible content while also building trust and authority. In other words, E.A.T. updates can help you attract new customers and make your existing customers appreciate you in a whole new way.
And, if you’ve been ignoring all trends in favor of the tried and true, then guess what? 2019 is the year to shake things up.
Now, I’m not saying that you need to jump on every trend as soon as you become aware of it. I am saying that I’ve noticed that a lot of small businesses aren’t taking advantage of the big trends – the ones that, for better or worse, aren’t going anywhere. And with that in mind, here are 7 trends that you can no longer afford to ignore in 2019.
#1: Artificial Intelligence
I wrote about artificial intelligence last month, so you already know I think it’s important for small businesses to embrace this technology.
In marketing, the use of AI in the form of chatbots has taken root and many small businesses are adopting it. The bottom line is that a well-programmed chatbot can improve your customer service and increase sales.
AI is also becoming increasingly important in the field of marketing analytics. You can use it to make market predictions and get ahead of the curve as your audience’s preferences change and develop. And, let’s not forget that programmatic advertising – which uses AI to automate ad buying – is on the rise.
One-size-fits-all marketing is rapidly becoming a thing of the past. While there’s still some benefit to targeting ads to a large audience, the trend increasingly is toward the kind of one-to-one marketing that Amazon has done brilliantly for years.
If every visitor to your website is seeing the same content, it’s time to think about how to personalize it. You can do that using cookies that make recommendations based on a user’s previous activity on your site. Or, you can allow users to choose the type of content that they want to see. Either way, the goal is to make every customer feel that you’re speaking directly to them.
Incidentally, the same trend should be applied to email marketing. Sending emails that are triggered by a customer’s behavior is three times more effective than sending batch emails – something to keep in mind in the new year.
#3: Influencer Marketing
Ad blocking has been a challenge for marketers for years now, but the recent stats show that it’s now impacting mobile advertising as well as desktop. What can you do to get around it?
I’ve written about influencer marketing before, but it really has proven to be one of the best ways to engage with potential customers without needing to worry about ad blockers. It uses influential social media accounts that appeal to your audience.
It can take a bit of trial and error to find the right influencers but once you do, influencer marketing can be a cost-effective way of attracting new customers to your business.
#4: Video Marketing
If you’re not making marketing videos to share with your audience, it’s time to stop pretending that video is too expensive (or too technical) to be worth your while. Research shows that businesses who use video marketing grow 49% faster than businesses that don’t. How can you ignore that?
The good news is that video doesn’t need to be expensive and you don’t need to be Spike Lee to make a terrific marketing video that will attract new customers. Even a simple Facebook Live session where you take questions from your followers can help you grow your business.
#5: Social Messaging Apps
Did you know that every month, businesses exchange 2 billion (that’s with a B!) Facebook Messenger apps with their customers? That’s not just a trend – it’s a tsunami.
Using social messaging tools like Messenger or WhatsApp can help you connect with customers on a personal level. And – hearkening back to the first trend I mentioned – artificial intelligence can help you do it.
Creating a chatbot for Messenger or any other app is a relatively easy (and affordable) thing to do. A lot of companies use chatbots to suggest products or answer simple questions. That means that using messenger apps is an extremely effective way to connect with your existing audience and attract new potential buyers for your products and services.
#6: Voice Search – smart speaker
If you’ve said “Okay Google” or asked Siri, Alexa, or Cortana to find something for you online, then you know that voice search is here to stay. In fact, researchers estimate that 50% of all searches will be voice searches by 2020 – and that means that it’s time to optimize your web content for voice search now.
You can start by using the language of voice search – optimizing for the terminology that your audience is most likely to use. You may also want to start thinking about audio-only ads. It’s probable that you’ll start hearing sponsored content on Alexa before long. This is an opportunity for you to beat out your competitors who may be lagging in this area.
#7: Social Media Stories
If you’ve logged onto any social media account lately, you’ve probably noticed something: stories. Facebook may prompt you to add to your story, and other platforms – including YouTube – have jumped on the trend.
A social media story is temporary content that can be used to trigger your customers’ FOMO (that’s fear of missing out.) It’s ideal for seasonal promotions and deals, and it can be a great way to engage your audience. If you’re not already using social media stories to connect with your customers, 2019 is the year to start.
Trends aren’t all fleeting…
It’s one thing to avoid jumping on a trend bandwagon at the first opportunity. But ignoring the 7 key trends I’ve outlined here in 2019 will put you in a tricky position if your competitors are using them.
Ask other people
Ask your friends, your family, or your current page followers. You can get talking to anybody about the page or group you're running and see what they have to say. Or just see what comes up in conversation when you talk about your niche topic. Even if you don't use their exact ideas, it's a good way to pick up some new thoughts and concepts.
Create a big list
Sit down and create a huge list of everything you can possibly think of that relates to your page, profile, or group. If you're running a group on furniture, you can write about decorating many different venues, such as wedding halls and churches, family homes and retirement homes, businesses and offices, shops and stores and everything in between.
You can write about furnishing a place for the first time or buying new items. Give your readers ideas about how to do things, when to do things and what they can buy to do certain things. And don’t forget to start with the very basics, too. Even things that sound simple to you might be useful for readers who are complete beginners to your niche.
Read other social media pages, groups, or profiles
You should never copy content from others, but it's a great way to get some more ideas. General ideas cannot be copyrighted, so unless you're taking something word for word or using somebody else's photographs, you don't need to give anybody credit. You might not only get ideas about what to write about, but you could pick up some tips about how to structure your posts, how to make them more friendly or how to design the post to make it easier to read.
Use books and magazines
Books and magazines are great sources of post ideas. As with the previous tip, make sure you don’t copy anything – simply use the books and magazines as inspiration. Sometimes all it takes is scanning a table of contents to get the juices flowing. Magazines are also great for figuring out what’s popular right now in your niche.
And there you have it! 4 easy ways to come up with more content for you fans, followers, and group members. Remember content is king, so don't skimp on what you are offering your viewers!
But guess what? There’s one thing that you’re probably not doing that could help you connect with customers when they’re most likely to stop by your business. And you might not even have considered it.
I’m talking about SMS messaging, more commonly known as text messaging.
More than 2.5 billion people worldwide own a smart phone that’s capable of text messaging. That’s a staggering number – and it begs the question:
Why aren’t more small businesses using text messaging for marketing?
Texting by the Numbers
Text messaging has the potential to be a marketing superstar for your business. To get an idea of just how effective it can be, check out these statistics:
People send and receive text messages. They give them priority over other communication, and they spend more time texting than they do talking on their phones.
In other words, text messaging is arguably the best way to ensure that the people in your target audience read what you send them.
Advantages of SMS Marketing
You know people are likely to read your text messages – but what are the other advantages of incorporating text messages into your marketing mix? Here are five that I think are key:
How to Get Subscribers for Your SMS List
By law, you cannot send a text message to anybody who has not signed up for your list. That means that you must find ways to attract new subscribers. Here are some helpful suggestions to get started.
The first and potentially easiest way to find new subscribers is to add a cell phone field to your existing opt-in form on your website. You can include a message letting people know that if they choose to provide you with a cell phone number, they’re agreeing to receive text messages from you.
Another option is to promote your SMS list in store with large print posters, flyers and other print media encouraging your customers to sign up for exclusive discounts & offers. Make sure to mention what some of those exclusive offers might be.
You may also want to send out an email to your current email list and give your subscribers a link to sign up to receive text messages from you. Here again, it’s a good idea to tempt them by letting them know you’ll be sending out special coupons and deals via text message.
Using these methods, it shouldn’t take you very long to build up a sizable SMS messaging list.
Tips for Successful SMS Messaging Campaigns
Text message marketing has a lot in common with other forms of marketing. To be successful, you must conceptualize a strong campaign based on your knowledge of your subscribers, create compelling content, and track your results. Here are some tips that may help you.
The bottom line is that if you’re not using SMS messaging to reach your audience, you’re missing out on a chance to build brand loyalty and increase your sales. Text messages are inexpensive to send and easy to write – and they can help you grow your business.
And that’s the lifetime value of each loyal customer you attract with your marketing campaigns.
You know that it costs more to attract a new customer than it does to retain an existing one – but how much can you really afford to spend to attract a new customer?
Knowing the lifetime value of your customers is the key to creating a workable budget for marketing. That number should dictate how much you spend. Spend too much and you’re losing money in the long run. Spend too little – and you’re missing out on an opportunity to grow your business.
How to Calculate Your Lifetime Customer Value
Don’t know how to calculate the lifetime value of your customers? Here’s a simple, five-step process to get to the number you need.
Let’s look at an example. Here are your raw numbers:
Next, you would subtract your average purchase frequency rate from your average purchase value to get $397.33, your customer value per year. If you kept your customers, on average, for 10 years, your customer lifetime value would be $3,973.30.
That’s a very simple example but it illustrates the point. This business has a lifetime customer value of nearly $4,000.
How to use Customer Lifetime Value in Marketing
You know your customer lifetime value – now what?
The short answer is that you’ve got a piece of information that can help you attract more customers and make better use of your marketing budget.
But… what does that mean in practical terms? Here are some actionable ways to use your CLV to your advantage in marketing.
Identify Your Most Profitable Customers
If you’ve been tracking unique customer data, then it’s worth your time to crunch the numbers and learn about who your most valuable customers are.
For example, you might look at your LCV by:
Identify Your Most Profitable Marketing Channel
You should also calculate your most profitable marketing channel based on the number of new customers you acquire.
Perhaps you have been running marketing campaigns on:
Increase Your New Customer Acquisition Spending
It costs more to attract new customers than to retain existing ones, but once you know your LCV, you may discover that your new customer acquisition spending is on the low side.
You don’t need to send your spending through the roof. However, you can and should look at what you’re spending compared to the LCV you’ve calculated. If you’re spending only a tiny fraction of the LCV to acquire a new customer, it may be worthwhile to spend a bit more in that area going forward.
Allocate Your Marketing Budget to Maximize Customer Value
Your lifetime customer value might not be as high as you want it to be. The good news is that there are things you can do to increase it.
For example, say that you have learned that the people who follow you on Facebook are your most engaged and profitable customers. That’s great information to have.
Instead of sinking money into something that might not be getting you a big return, you can allocate more of your marketing budget to Facebook. Some if may go toward attracting new customers, but you should also spend some trying to get existing customers to buy more frequently and spend more money.
One way to do that is to offer return customers discounts or to create a loyalty program. If you can inspire your existing customers to buy more often, then you’ll be driving up your LCV every time they do.
At the same time, incentivizing your existing customers may also attract new customers to your business. You can encourage your followers to invite their friends to your page or allow them to share a discount code or coupon with their friends.
Your Customers Are Valuable
Every customer you have contributes to your company’s success and profitability. Understanding just how much each customer is worth to you can help you do a better job of attracting new customers, increasing their lifetime value, and maximizing your profits.
Artificial intelligence, if programmed and used properly, can help you increase your sales, enhance your customers’ experience, and manage your business more effectively. Here are 5 things you can do with artificial intelligence starting now.
#1: Expand Your Customer Service
There’s no denying that there’s a link between customer service and sales. Customers who are happy with your service are more likely to buy from you again. They’re also likely to recommend you to their friends.
Adding a simple customer service chatbot to your website can do a great deal to improve service. It can:
#2: Learn About Customer Behavior
One of the coolest things about artificial intelligence is something called machine learning. It’s what programmers used with the famous chess program, Deep Blue, that defeated chess champion Gary Kasparov.
Machine learning is something that can help you gather data about your customers based on their behavior and purchase habits. Basically, it’s like retargeting with a kick. You can already target customers based on past purchases and behavior. Adding AI to the mix just means that you can gather more information and use it new ways.
80% of marketers know that personalized content is more appealing to customers than generic content. Using AI tools like Convertize and Nudgify can help you tailor your web content to an individual visitor, providing them with the information and guidance they need.
#3: Provide Product Suggestions
One straightforward way to use chatbots to increase sales is to program your chatbots to make product suggestions when customers are shopping on your site.
This idea makes it possible for you to increase sales by letting customers who are engaged with your chatbots know about products they might not otherwise find. Basically, you’ll be turning your chatbots into personal shoppers for your customers.
A client who buys a set of cookware on your site, for example, could get a recommendation for a coordinated set of cooking utensils or even a cookbook or apron. The idea is similar to what Amazon does when they display the “People who bought this item also bought” links when you view a product on their site.
This type of programming is a bit more involved than a simple customer service chatbot, but it can pay off in increased sales.
#4: Improved Productivity
If all of your customer service is provided by employees at present, then adding AI to the mix can help you save their time – and give them more time to spend more time with customers who are at your place of business and ready to buy from you.
Think about it – if one of your sales staff must monitor social media messages or customer service tickets, they’re taking time away from customers who might need personal guidance to make a purchase.
Properly programmed, AI chatbots can deal with simple customer service requests by helping people check the status of an order, reset a password, or track a package. Your employees will spend less time on repetitive requests and more – at least in theory – with customers who are ready to buy.
At the same time, you’ll be improving your customers’ experience by giving them quicker service than they would get from an employee. And, if an employee does need to step in, your AI solutions can provide the information they need to provide top-notch service without asking the customer to repeat themselves.
#5: Respond to Customer Needs
Do you know what your customers want and why they want it? If you don’t – or if you’re only collecting detailed information from your customers sporadically – then you can use artificial intelligence to expand your knowledge of your customers and do a better job of giving them what they want.
Keatext is a tool that collects positive and negative customer feedback in real time. Instead of waiting for someone to call with a complaint (or the occasional compliment) you can get the information you need immediately.
The benefit here is that you can adjust what you are doing to provide customers with the experience they want. If people are confused by your website’s menu or unclear how to check out, you’ll know about it and can fix problems as you identify them.
There might not be an immediate link between this kind of customer feedback and sales, but in the long run, it can make a big difference in your conversion rates and your bottom line. Monitoring what your customers think about your site or social media pages allows you to make the kind of incremental improvements that will, in the long run, result in more sales.
The Robots Are Here…
The bottom line is that artificial intelligence is here to say. Big companies have latched on to it as a way of improving customer service, streamlining productivity, and increasing their sales. You don’t need to have a huge budget to take advantage of the benefits of AI – and by adopting it now, you can get a leg up on your competitors.
Right now, potential customers are online looking for your business. And you might be missing them.
Scary thought, isn’t it?
Let’s face it, there’s a ton of content out there. It can be hard to find what you’re searching for – and if the content you’re producing isn’t providing what the people in your target audience need when they need it, then they’re likely to end up with one of your competitors.
What is a Micro Moment?
Google coined the term Micro Moment to respond to what they saw as a growing trend. You already know that most consumers in the US are tethered to their smart phones 24 hours a day. But they’re more intensely engaged at some moments than at others.
A Micro Moment is a moment when a consumer is intent on finding something. They want a quick answer or solution.
Google identifies them as:
In other words, a Micro Moment is a moment when a consumer is ripe to learn, experience, and buy things. It’s the ideal time to capture a new customer because they’re already in the right mindset to engage with your content.
There are some interesting statistics to back up the importance of Micro Moments. For example:
What You Need for Micro Moment Marketing
Gathering information about its customers is important for every business. You might have a small business with only one location, but you still need to understand who your customers are and how to use the data you collect to your advantage.
Some of the data to collect includes:
You also need to understand how customers typically approach buying a product like yours. What information do they need? Where are they likely to go to get it? And – most importantly – how can you capitalize on their habits to draw them in?
Micro Moment Best Practices
There are some simple things you can do to engage your target audience in one of the more than 100 Micro Moments they experience each day.
Let’s start with Google’s definition of a Micro Moment. During a Micro Moment, customers want to know something, do something, go somewhere, or buy something. That means that, in order to capture their attention, your business must:
How to do all three? Well, here are some suggestions:
The most essential part of this process is knowing when your customers are likely to experience a Micro Moment. It might be when they’re making dinner plans or trying to get their kids ready to go back to school. The more information you have, the better able you will be to capture their attention and convert those Micro Moments into sales.
Micro Moments Are Fleeting
The human attention span might be shrinking, but that just means that you have new opportunities to engage with your customers in the way that’s most useful to them – and most profitable to you. Taking the time to understand Micro Moments can help you attract new customers at the point when they are most ready to buy from you.
Need to market your products and services? Great news! Today you have, right at your fingertips, a great way to connect with your audience that takes word-of-mouth marketing to a whole new level.
It’s called Social Media. It’s an amazing way to get traffic if you know what you’re doing. The fact is, today, you need social media to get traffic. It’s simply become too big a part of our lives. The impact is probably just as big as or bigger than Television was when it first came out on a wide scale.
What’s more, all you do to get more traffic with social media is to engage with others by sharing amazing content, commenting, and sharing. It really is that easy.
But before you do anything on social media, you have to be sure your profile on your preferred platform is complete and conveying the right things to your audience.
Today, a social media profile can either make you or break you.
If you haven’t given a lot of thought to your profiles, then it’s time to pay attention to them (before you do anything else).
Most people, before following, liking, or friending you on social media will click and look at your profile to ensure that you’re the type of person they want to follow.
Not only that - potential clients, customers, and employers look at social media profiles to determine whether or not they want to do business with you. Thankfully, it’s not that hard to make a good profile and you can use components of any profile on one social media network, tweak it and use it on another. After all, you want your profiles to be cohesive across all channels.
Making a wow-worthy profile is an important component in being active in any community. Now you’re ready to start putting your content out there!
To be successful, use story-telling images, original blurbs, memes, and even live events to get the word out about your products and services. Always make the content you provide easily shareable, optimized for search engines, and laser targeted to your audience. Then, ensure that you never forget the important social aspect of social media, engagement.
Engagement is essential to be successful on social media even if you do run paid advertisements. Answer comments, make valuable suggestions, and freely help people. As you become known as a problem solver you’re going to get even more traffic from your social media marketing efforts.
It’s one of those things that you can’t control… or is it?
It turns out there’s a super-easy (and FREE) way to connect with both existing and potential customers on Facebook without paying to promote your content. It involves creating a Facebook group to promote your brand. Here’s what you need to know.
Group Content is Prioritized Ahead of Brand Content
The first thing you need to know is that Facebook has downgraded content posted by company and brand pages. However, it still prioritizes content from groups.
Why? Well, the short answer is that people must voluntarily opt in to a group.
You might be thinking that users have voluntarily followed your page, too – and that’s true. But Facebook views groups differently than pages. It has to do with the purpose of a group:
A group’s purpose is to promote conversation and build a community.
You might want your page to do that, too, but Facebook assumes that the primary goal of a page is to sell a product or service. That’s an important distinction.
In other words, by creating a Facebook group, you can build your brand and engage with customers without worrying that members won’t see your content.
Not convinced? There’s actually research to support the idea that groups are a better way to reach your audience than pages. A study by Digiterati revealed that groups get approximately 50% more reach than pages.
Creating a Group is Easy
You can create a Facebook group from your personal Facebook page. In fact, the process is very similar to the one for creating a Facebook page like the one you have for your business.
Simply go to the upper, right-hand corner of your Facebook page and click the little down arrow there. You’ll see an option to Create Group. Click it and follow the steps.
It’s important to choose a memorable, brand-specific name for your group. You don’t want to give it the same name as your page, but you do want it to appear in the search results when people search for your business.
The title should be inspired by the content you’ll be posting. So, if you run a dog grooming business, you might offer dog care tips and incorporate that into your group name, like this:
Fancy Dog Groomer’s Dog Care Advice
In other words, combine your business with name with some compelling, buzzy words to make people want to join your group.
Invite People to Join
You’ve created a group… but what’s next?
That’s easy. It’s time to invite some people to join. Here are some easy ways to jump-start your group and get new members:
Create Compelling Content
Once you’ve created your group and invited some members, it’s time to create content. Remember, the primary goal of group content is to drive engagement. You want members to be talking to you and to one another.
Facebook has a tool to create Welcome posts. Underneath Members on the toolbar, click Write Post. Facebook will automatically tag up to 100 new members (in this context, new means that they have joined in the past seven days) in the post. If you prefer, you can write a general welcome post and ask new members to introduce themselves in the comments.
Here are some other suggestions for engaging group content:
Social Learning Groups
Do you have the kind of business that lends itself to the creation of video courses? If you do, you might want to check out Facebook’s new Social Learning Groups feature, which enables groups to add video courses to their group pages.
To add courses, go to the Edit Group Settings tab and choose Group Type. Then, select Social Learning Group from the menu.
From there, you can create new Units for your courses. They can be optional or mandatory, and if they’re mandatory, users will see a progress bar to track their accomplishments.
The great thing about this feature is that you can upload courses or webinars you have already created or create new content. You can find a full guide on how to use this feature here.
Groups Are the New Pages
The bottom line is that Facebook Groups are to businesses today what Facebook Pages were five years ago. They offer an inexpensive but effective way to connect with current and prospective clients, build your brand, and grow your business.