The internet and social media are a huge deal nowadays; I always reiterate this. Let me lay out some statistics to put some things into perspective. Over 4.5 billion people actively use the internet. That is roughly 60 per cent of the total world population. Over 70 per cent of all internet users are active on social media. Then over 90 per cent of businesses are using social media. This simply means that if you are not already using social media for business you are seriously lagging. In this article, I am focusing on giving insights on how to best use social media groups for business.

Know Your Platforms

Social media platforms are tailored differently thus they are not universally applicable. For instance, when it comes to creating groups we have platforms such as Facebook, LinkedIn and WhatsApp. You must know these platforms well enough to know when and where it is appropriate to use for business. The most common social media groups are those on Facebook and WhatsApp. LinkedIn is unique in that it is largely for formal and professional people. Thus creating and managing a group on LinkedIn entails highly professional approaches. The most easily and cheaply accessible platform, especially locally, is WhatsApp. It is expedient to have groups on both Facebook and WhatsApp because of the interoperability between the two platforms.

Do I Join Or Do I Create?

This is a pertinent question which depends on the nature of your business. There is a wide range of groups on different social media platforms. For instance, on Facebook, there is what is called closed groups and also open groups. Essentially when one creates a group they dictate how they want it to function. Thus most groups have specific rules and codes of conduct. Whilst some are open-ended and give you room to post anything, most do not have that liberty. That is why creating your group is the best approach.

The same goes for WhatsApp groups where some can be joined via group links whereas some require that you be added by an administrator on the group. The simple answer to the above question is yes to both but you must exercise discretion. Take advantage of both but do not create too many groups. You can join as many just as long as they allow the freedom for you to sell your brand. Do not be overly concerned with posting ads all over; it is strategic to simply build relationships that you can leverage on later.

Clear Goals And Objectives

Whether you are creating a group or joining one, have clear goals and objectives. Do not be obsessed with filling groups or joining groups for the sake of just numbers. Focus on material quality rather just numbers. You can have separate groups for different purposes. For instance, you can have a general group where you interact with existing customers and prospective ones. You could also have a group for say, loyal customers or for affiliates (like when you are running an affiliate program). When you set the goals and objectives of a group it makes it orderly and productive. It is just like the adage, “if you stand for nothing, you will stand for anything”.

Engagements Are Imperative – Two-Way Communication

If you join pre-existing groups, find ways of announcing your presence. You must, of course, adhere to group rules and guidelines so that you are not booted out. There are ways that you can make yourself relevant through participating in discussions on groups. However, having your group(s) is the best strategy. Once you do that you must cultivate engagements. You must ensure there is two-way communication with people in the group. There are so many insights you will draw from having rich engagements on a group. Some people fall prey to the temptation of just posting and posting whilst ignoring people’s reactions and comments. You can schedule your days for various items e.g. Mondays (Product Reviews), Tuesdays (Presentations), Wednesdays (Question and Answer Session) and so on. Your business will flourish from the invaluable insights you will get from this.

Posting Framework – Less Is More

Whenever you post something, make it sweet and short i.e. cover essentials in an alluring manner. People easily ignore long posts so avoid them by all means possible. A post of at most 100 characters (meaning less is even better) has been found to perform the best in terms of having high engagements. Post frequency is also a key issue which does, of course, differ given the context. Typically, the recommended post frequency is at most 3 times a week. There are exceptions to this obviously but posting too frequently is not the best approach. A post must have ample time to be seen before another one comes.

Links, Images And Videos

Studies have repeatedly shown that these 3 metrics drive engagements up. Wherever possible find ways to incorporate them in your posts. As a business, you might be having a website, other online platforms, business partners, and so on. Incorporate outbound links in your posts and also have inbound links elsewhere that drive traffic to your group(s). Add images and videos to your posts to make them more captivating. Research has shown that adding a simple image to a post enhances the value of a post thus making it more likely to be seen and interacted with.

Social media groups can be a rewarding experience for businesses if properly used. For instance, you can create a Facebook group or WhatsApp groups and end up having a network of tens of thousands of people. Marketing your brand becomes an effortless endeavour and you will be having people adding value to your business at zero cost. You can check out groups by other people to learn how best to rollout yours. Many people are yet to realize the infinite value of WhatsApp in business – I urge you to take it more seriously.