Get up to speed about changes to Facebook and online reach

Different groups have different roles

If you spend any time on Facebook, either for business or personal reasons, you’ve likely noticed significant changes in what content is being distributed over the newsfeed. The reach of most Facebook Pages has been severely reduced while posts from Facebook Groups are getting more visibility.

Facebook’s algorithm has always governed what we see and don’t see in our feeds, using complicated formulas based on things like frequency, currency, affinity and active versus passive interactions.

Earlier this year, Facebook moved to adjust the algorithm to encourage the visibility of more meaningful content.

Mark Zuckerberg had this to say about Facebook’s latest algorithm changes: “You’ll see less public content like posts from businesses, brands, and media. And the public content you see more will be held to the same standard—it should encourage meaningful interactions between people.”

Facebook is explicit about prioritizing content from friends, families, and groups. While I’ll reserve my judgment as to whether or not this move has actually increased the visibility of more meaningful content, it has most certainly increased the visibility of posts from Facebook Groups, and that is worth noting.

There are three kinds of Facebook Groups: open, closed and secret. If you are promoting a business, service or cause, creating a Group on Facebook is an excellent way to create a community around your brand.

A Group puts the focus on engagement between users. Members can ask questions and offer one another tips, insights and advice.

For example, I host two closed Facebook Groups related to my work and the message I want to convey in the world.

The Big Fat Yes Club in an online group committed to supporting members to create lives and businesses they love. It is not a selling group and, although members are welcome to access one another’s services and products, the primary purpose of the group is to provide a positive online space to share dreams and goals and offer insight and wisdom.

Social Media, Mindfully is a group co-hosted with author and speaker Angela Crocker. That group is committed to encouraging ethical and effective social media practice.

What’s important in establishing groups is to be clear about the mandate, and to offer value. Members of the Big Fat Yes Club sign up via email, and receive perks. Members must be approved to join the online group and group policies are clear.

For business or cause related Groups, keeping the Group closed ensure that members have a bona fide interest in your purpose, product or services.

Closed Groups are ones where anyone can find the group and see who’s in it but content is visible only to members.

Selling groups are generally Open Groups, as their goals are transactional (and hopefully transparent—although this is not always the case. Be warned.). The group is visible online and anyone can join and see the content. Secret Groups cannot be searched and are completely private. Membership is by invitation only.

Family groups are often secret, and I have used secret groups to host private coaching circles. I belong to a small secret group for business mentorship and personal development. Facebook Group features have increased dramatically, and different types of groups offer different features.

Consider using Groups as a way to build community, brand loyalty, and online reach.

Vicki McLeod is an author, TEDx speaker, and award-winning entrepreneur. She is a business and personal coach and consultant. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram or find her at www.vickimcleod.

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