Facebook’s power as an advertising platform is well-established at this point, and with good reason. While Facebook’s penchant for collecting personal data on its users is a point of contention in the world of privacy, that data collection allows Facebook to offer incredibly targeted advertising.
Being able to direct your ads with pinpoint accuracy is an incredibly appealing prospect for advertisers because, ultimately, paying to show an ad to someone who has no interest in the subject matter is just a waste of money.
In other parts of Facebook, Groups has emerged as one of the leading platforms for community building and discussion. While sites like Reddit are still popular, the accessibility and ubiquitousness of Facebook have made it the go-to place for creating new communities.
But can you put ads on them?
There are a few ways to approach advertising on Facebook groups, but for just above every way you can think of asking this question, the answer is yes; you can put ads on Facebook groups.
Of course, we’re going to dive into this subject with a bit more attention to detail, so if you’d like to know more, keep reading!
What Are Facebook Groups?
Let’s start from the beginning. If you’re not familiar with Facebook groups, you could be missing out on a valuable promotional tool, or even just a useful social tool.
Groups give users a way to break off their Facebook experience into managed portions, as well as interact with like-minded people outside of your immediate social circle. For most users, Facebook comprises largely of real-world contacts—friends, colleagues, and family members—with the wider world being something they prefer to keep separate from their Facebook feed.
Unfortunately, this rather excludes users from using the power of Facebook to find people interested in their favourite TV show, movie, book, boxer, or anything else you can think of.
Enter Facebook groups.
Groups allow Facebook users to interact with other users who have a common interest without the need to “friend” them, meaning they can still keep their private Facebook lives private.
Groups can have varying degrees of exclusivity, from open groups that anyone can join to groups where members have to be accepted, and even invite-only groups. Groups can also have different levels of visibility also, such as groups that anyone can view irrespective of whether membership is open, to groups that can only be viewed by members.
Why Advertise On Facebook Groups?
If you know anything about advertising, you will already be able to see the potential of Facebook groups for advertising. These are essentially collections of users who have clustered together around a common interest. They are also engaged users, meaning they are making the effort to visit the group rather than being a passive audience that is being shown things they might not be interested in.
If you, as an advertiser, have something to advertise that meshes with a particular Facebook group’s subject matter, you are pretty much guaranteed an audience that fits the correct demographic for what you’re advertising.
Advertising on Facebook Groups
So, we’ve established what Facebook groups are and why you might want to advertise on them, but how do you go about it? There are two primary ways to advertise within a Facebook feed, be it a group or the regular feed, and they are regular posts that happen to be promotional or Facebook ads.
Facebook Ads gives you a good deal of control over where your ads will eventually show up, and that includes Facebook groups feed placement. Unfortunately, Facebook Ads does not presently offer a way of targeting a specific Facebook group with your ads, so you can’t just say, “only show my ads in X group!”. What you can do is ensure that Facebook groups placement is selected, and then tailor your target audience to match that of the audience in your desired group.
It’s far from a perfect solution, of course, but using the official Facebook Ads platform will give you far more in the way of performance metrics than any other method you might try.
These kinds of ads will show up with a tag stating that they are sponsored, and users will have the ability to tell Facebook they’re not interested and don’t want to see the ad again, so it pays to put as much thought and research into your desired target audience as possible.
So you can certainly use Facebook Ads to advertise to Facebook groups, but you will not have the ability to target specific groups or get guarantees on where your ads will ultimately turn up. This should be an issue if you do a good job with your targeting parameters.
Advertise in the Group Feed
Another option is to post your promotional content in the group as you would a regular post, but beware, there will often be restrictions on this kind of post. For one thing, many groups explicitly prohibit ads and other promotional content from being posted under any circumstances. In these groups, you could try contacting the admins as they may be prepared to make exceptions in some cases, but you can guarantee that posting an ad in such a group without explicit permission will result in the ad being deleted and probably you being banned from the group.
Other groups may allow ads but will likely have rules regarding what can be posted, and may also require you to get permission from the admins before posting.
In any case, it’s best to join the group you are considering posting an ad in and actively participating for a while before attempting to post any ads. Members of the group will be more receptive to an ad from someone who is actively participating in the community than someone who has just joined and started posting promotional content out of the blue. It will also help you to get a real feel for the type of group it is, which in turn will help you more accurately judge if the group is the best place for your ads.
Other Uses for Facebook Groups
If, after reading that, you have landed at the conclusion that Facebook groups aren’t necessarily the best home for your ads, that doesn’t mean you should abandon groups altogether as a promotional tool.
If you have a skill or expertise that you have built a service or business around, you can still use groups to drive traffic where you need it to be, even if ads are not allowed in the group in question. By finding a relevant group and actively participating, sharing your knowledge and helping people out, you will gain a reputation within that group that can be directly parlayed to customers or clients. If the members of the group come to know you as someone with the expertise they need, they are more likely to come looking for your products or services outside of Facebook.
If you take this approach, it is important to make sure your Facebook page is full of useful information, such as links to any necessary websites. You should also keep it up to date in terms of posts. If you run a YouTube channel, make sure the latest videos get posted there. If you write a blog, link the latest posts. If someone from a Facebook group you are part of decides to come looking for your products or services, they will nearly always head to your profile first. You want to make sure they find what they’re looking for when they get there.
Facebook Groups as Promotional Tools
So far we’ve been mainly concerned with using existing groups for promotional purposes, but you can also start your own group with promotional reasons in mind.
Like any attempt to use social media as a promotional tool, you will need to offer people something inherently valuable. Starting a group and just posting ads and links to your other content might work if you already have a large following, but for someone with a more modest fanbase, it will be an uphill battle getting people to join a group that it’s just full of ads.
Much like the above advice to participate in the group and establish yourself as an authority, starting a group around the subject matter you want to promote and actively helping people can lead to members searching you out.
As with almost all strategies for using social media to promote things, advertising and promoting through Facebook groups needs a careful approach. Always strive to remain relevant—posting ads in a group that isn’t interested in the subject matter will just be a waste of your time and/or money.
Beyond that, don’t expect to get traction just because you’ve posted something. If you are joining a group to promote things, be sure to participate in that group first and establish relationships with the members and build a reputation first. Then, when you do promote things, it will not feel disingenuous and exploitive to the people you are promoting to.