7 Facebook Group Tools and Tips to Build an Engaged Community

Facebook Groups are getting a lot of attention lately, especially as organic reach on Facebook Page is declining.  In this post I share Facebook Group Tools and Tips to Build an Engaged Community.

Are you thinking about Starting a Facebook Group? Here are 7 Facebook Group Tools and Tips to Build an Engaged Community
Image by Shutterstock

This Post was Updated on 25th September, 2016

Facebook Groups can be a great way to grow an engaged community and generate more traffic, shares and sales.

I have been the admin of a number of groups, some with a dozen members, some with thousands (You’re welcome to join our Visual Content Creators Group right here).

I have seen Facebook Groups work in dozens of scenarios.

I’ve seen them build thriving communities.

So,  I am definitely an advocate of Groups and have a few Facebook Group Tools and Tips to share with you.

But, with so many people jumping from Facebook Pages to Groups, it’s worth knowing a few things about Facebook Groups.  Firstly,

  • They shouldn’t replace your Facebook Page, but instead, provide another way for your community to find you and engage with you (and each other).
  • Facebook Groups take time to set up, manage and moderate.  Which is why you should consider the tips in this post before starting one!
  • They can become a very important part of your business, building engagement and community, driving traffic, shares and sales to your website… so treat them with the respect they deserve.  Don’t just start a group because it’s the “thing to do”. Start one with a strategy in mind.
  • Faceboom Groups can be a great place for people to come together around a combined subject or cause. Groups can be built around:
    • a topic or subject in your industry
    • a mastermind
    • a community cause
    • a group of paid members for a program or service.
  • There are 3 different levels of Facebook Groups – Public, Closed and Private (we will discuss them below) and you need to choose one that suits your goal and your audience.

 

7 Facebook Group Tools and Tips

#1  Type of Facebook Group

As I mentioned above, there are 3 main types of Facebook Group. These are:

  • Public or open (anyone can see the members and their posts and can join)
  • Closed (anyone can see the members but they can’t see posts and have to request to join or be invited by an admin)
  • Private (only those in the group can see that it exists. You have to be invited or added to join). It’s secret squirrel stuff.

Facebook Group Settings - 7 Facebook Tools and Tips to Build an Engaged Community

The type of Facebook Group you choose will depend on your purposes for setting up the group in the first place. And you can change the type of group in your settings.

Generally, a Public Group is great for a common cause or discussion where you want people to discover the group easily.  When someone posts in this group, their friends may see a notification “Donna posted in ____ Group” with a link to the post so people can see it.

If you don’t want your posts to be public, then consider one of the other group types:

  • Closed Groups allow you to check who you are inviting or accepting into the group – it gives you more admin control. These also work well as bonuses for paid programs whereby you can allow someone access to the group as a member of your program or membership site.
    • Please note that it is against Facebook’s terms of service to “charge” to use Facebook features, including Groups.  So it needs to be a bonus or some other arrangement. Do not charge a fee for someone to be in a Facebook Group. 
  • Private Groups are great for small groups, family members, friends or projects you want to keep secret.  You can always make them “Closed” or visible later using the Privacy Settings in your group, as in the image above.

 

#2  Pinned Posts

This tool I love! It is especially great for group admins like me. The reason?  It allows you to “pin” a specific post to the top of the feed, so it is the first thing that shows up.

You see, there’s one thing that can be a little hard to get used to with Facebook Groups. Posts are not just chronological.

This is how it works:

  1. In a group, the last “post” that has had any activity sits at the top of the group “newsfeed”. This means that if someone posts a post, it will go to the top.
  2. If someone comments on a separate post, that post will jump to the top. And so on. In a larger group this means that the posts move thick and fast, and new posts are intertwined with old posts.

It can be great for seeing the latest comments but somewhat frustrating for a Facebook Group Admin. What if you want to give certain posts priority to be seen by the group members?

By including Pinned Posts in groups, Facebook have solved the problem of how to keep the important information “up front and centre”.  Just like the pinned post on your Facebook Business Page, this is how it works:
  • To pin a post simply choose the drop down menu on any post and choose “pin post to top” – you will be asked to confirm if you want to replace any old post.

Here’s what a pinned post looks like (see.. it says “pinned post” at the top)… and it sits at the top of the Group Newsfeed:

Pinned Post - 7 Facebook Group Tools and Tricks to Build an Engaged Community

The pinned post will stay pinned to the top of the group page – fixed in position regardless of who posts afterwards.  Some things to remember:

  • Unfortunately, you can only pin one post at a time, so make sure it counts.
  • Another thing to bear in mind is that the pinned post will not show automatically on mobile view and users in your group may not realise that they have to click on “View Pinned Post” to see it, as follows:

Pinned Post on Mobile

Therefore, If it is something really important and you don’t want mobile users to miss it, it may be easier (if it will get a lot of engagement) to post it freely on the wall and let it “float” at the top of the feed.

And yes, I wish Facebook would bring back multiple pinned posts for this reason!

It would be nice to have one “welcome” pinned post and one spot you can pin another post to show something important, an event or announcement.

But for now, we have one Pinned Post, so use it wisely.

#3  Facebook Group Admin Files

This is one of my favourite Facebook Group Tools.

It’s actually a group of tools or resources you can use within your group to help members understand the group, what it is about, the group rules and more

When it comes to admin documents, the main Facebook Group tools you will want to know about are:

1. Group Description

This is where you can add a blurb about the group, including basic group rules.  Make sure you add this at the time you start your group. You have a decent amount of space to add a description and you can link to other file documents.

Whenever you update this, it will appear in the newsfeed too, so it’s a great way to keep members up to date with any group or rule changes.. and it will go out on the newsfeed to group members (if Closed or Secret) or group members and their friend (if Public).

Facebook Group Rules Update - Screenshot - 7 Facebook Group Tools and Tips to Build and Engaged Community

2.  Files – this is where you can add files and documents about the group for group members.

I use this feature a LOT. For example, in our Visual Content Creators Group we have documents for:

You can add documents for anything you wish!

The native Group document creator actually looks pretty nice (it has the same builder as the new Facebook Notes feature). Or you can upload a PDF if it is a document you don’t want it edited by anyone else.

Here is a screenshot of the documents or Files we have in our Visual Content Creators Group at present:

Visual Content Creators Facebook Group Admin Files

3.Photos – this where you can find Group Photos.

Photos works like any other Photo manager on Facebook – it keeps a records of photos posted on the newsfeed by you (the Admin) or by members and you can view them in categories of Photos, Albums or Videos.

 

#4  Search

Have you ever been in a group and seen a great post, link or comment and you think “I must come back to that”?

But then you lose the comment in the group posts when you come back to it?

Or perhaps you have been looking for your own comment in the group but can’t find it in all the posts?  You need to use the Search function!

It’s one of my favourite Facebook Group Tools.

Go to your favourite group. Let’s use my Visual Content Creators Group as an example:

Facebook Group Search

Take a look at the image above.  See the little red circle? That’s it. The search function.  Here is what this great little tool can do:

  1. You can search on the name of a Group member.  All of their posts will come up. Brilliant!  Especially if, like me, you often see a post and want to return to it but then forget what it was or you can’t find it!
  2. You can search on any word.  So, if you want to find all the posts that mention a particular topic, you can just type it in!  Posts containing that word will come up in the search results.
I use search ALL the time when managing a group, and in groups I am a member of too. Don’t forget to use it!

 

#5  Events

Another of the Facebook Group Tools you might want to check out is “Events” within your Facebook Group.

These can be handy if you are having a meetup or a webinar.  Like a pinned post, they help to highlight something important.

This will allow you to reach more group members as well.

You find the Event tab at the top of your group and you set it up like any other event.

Create a Facebook Event in Your Group

 

#6  Video and Live Video

A great thing about Groups is that everyone can add video and even go live in the group.  This can be great for having guests present to the group or doing mini-trainings.

You can do the following with video in Facebook Groups:

Just make sure you are very clear about the rules for video in your group if it is a large group.

Many large communities have a rule about no-live streaming in the group (other than admins) to allow for moderation of content.

However video and Facebook Live can be a HUGE asset for a group so be sure to consider creative ways you can use it, especially as an admin.

 

#7  Admin Tips and Tools

There is not a lot involved here when it comes to tools, but there are a few tips you need as an admin.

  1. Have more than one “Admin” member. This helps if you can’t access your account but also if your group grows, it’s handy to have a back up person to moderate the group.
  2. Get very clear on your Group Rules as they make it much easier for you to grow your group of moderators (and moderate the group) if you are clear from the start.  Many a large group has been abandoned because it became too hard to moderate.  Post the rules up in your files and in the description!
  3. Encourage your group members to report posts they feel are outside of the group terms. This will save you loads of time rummaging through every post and helps members to feel that they are truly part of the community. In a larger group where you can’t vett everyone thoroughly, you will get spam. Let your members give you a heads up about it.
  4. Get very clear on your settings – decide if you will allow members to add people, if they need admin approval, who can post on your group wall.  These are all in the “settings” section of your group. For example, here is ours:

Facebook Group Settings Example

 

BONUS HACK:  Chronogical Post View

If you want to show your group posts in chronological post order, type * in the search bar.

You’ll see the group’s posts in chronological order!

 

For more information about Facebook’s FAQs about Groups:  Check it out here.
Are you using Facebook Groups? In this post I share 7 Facebook Group Tools and Tips to build an engaged Community.
Like this Post? Pin it for Later.

Over to You!

If you are a member of a Facebook Group or you have your own that you are an Admin for, use these Facebook Group Tools and Tips to get a better experience (and results) from your participation in the group!

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Donna Moritz

Visual Social Media Strategist at Socially Sorted
Donna is the founder of Socially Sorted, a Top 10 Social Media Blog Winner in 2015 & 2016, and winner of the 2014 Best Australian Blogs Competition (Business Category). Donna helps businesses, bloggers and entrepreneurs use visual social media and content strategy to get more traffic, shares and sales in their business. She is a contributor to Entrepreneur Online and Social Media Examiner and has been featured in Forbes, NBC, Yahoo, the Huffington Pos, Entrepreneur and Problogger.
  • Eau-Vive

    Thank you! Glad to be learning new ways to make Facebook more of a tool & less time-consuming… Great easy to follow tips!

  • You are very welcome Eau-Vive. It is so great to know it is helping you out as much as it has helped me. Thanks for the feedback and expect more time-saving tips and tricks!

  • I didn’t know about the pinning option. I have a love/hate relationship with posts being bumped up when a person comments on them.

    • Ha ha yes totally Richelle – I so agree with you – it makes it so hard sometimes to follow the chronological vs popular thread! Thanks for the feedback. Hope pinning helps you ebb on the side of love vs hate!

  • Celena Ross

    there just seems so much to learn about Facebook on a weekly basis! So thanks for this. Little bits of information at a time, are easily absorbed!

    • Thanks Celena – it is great to get the feedback, as I have been finding that posts with one or two easily actionable tasks having been getting great feedback, so I will definitely do more of that (that’s how I like it too!). Have a great weekend!

  • Ooooh….loving that PIN feature on groups! That would have been very useful this week, I must read your posts the moment they are written, I might miss something that will be useful. I’ve just subscribed so I don’t miss anything! Thanks Donna…. xx

    • ha ha ha that’s funny! Glad you can use it now Krishna! My newsletter updates have all the posts for the week (plus usually one extra ninja strategy of some sort) and the other way is RSS. I do love the pinned posts though! I use it a lot in a couple of groups that I am admin for. It’s awesome! And the search function is definitely helpful too….more of the same coming this week (for Pinterst and visual marketing) so stay tuned!

  • Beth Soler

    Great information thank you for sharing. I really like the search feature that I never knew existed.

    • Thanks Beth – it’s great, isn’t it! Have fun with it!

  • I know about these features and I love the search box! I haven’t yet used the pinned post feature, but do like the idea of keeping important info at the top of the page.

    • I agree Leanne – the ability to keep important info at the top of the page is huge for group admins – lots of possibility – have fun with it!

  • Unfortunately pinned posts are now limited to one at a time

  • Waseem Muhammed Khan

    The Amount of SPAM on my page can give anyone the strongest headache. I’ve been on it for the past 3 hours deleting SPAM. This is painful.

  • Isabelle Fay

    Facebook grows worse minute by minute. There was no need to remove the option for sorting posts in a chronological order by date.

    • I agree Isabelle – this post was written a couple of years ago, but I do find it challenging in groups as people who write a post can have their post dropped down immediately as soon as people comment on other posts, which are then moved to the top. Chronological is better in many ways.

  • Geraldine M

    when i try to change the group photo using group photos previously posted i only get an option to use the last couple of photos and i really want to use some of the older photos posted. I use to be able to do it but this option seems to have changed any ideas ??

  • ? Tools. I need to know how to sort group posts by date because it’s driving me crazy. Now THAT would be a tool I could use.

    • Haha I had totally missed this comment, sorry – but YES I totally agree with you. We just updated this post as it gets a lot of visits still, and I wish you could see posts by date, not “last comment” …..if you find that magical tool, let me know!

      • 2 years later and still looking. I’ve reported it and complained to no avail.

        • haha yes, I think it’s a very long shot as Facebook seems to like the constantly dynamic newsfeed vs chronological. But you can only try…

          • Here’s a fix. Type * in the search bar and it will organize the posts by date.

          • That’s super clever Senica – I just was talking to someone about it last week and they said the same thing. It’s not a very well known hack for sure. I’ll add it in!

  • Wanda

    The search tool/button for my groups doesn’t seem to be working now since Nov. 13th. I can’t even enter my name/get my own post in groups to show up, or it says No Results on some members names I’ve entered.I have to go to All Members & search it there to make sure the person is still a member,anyone else noticed it or have a fix they know about as I’ve found none?

  • Marcus

    Hi is there a way to post to multiple groups at the same time? As it’s a pain shareing one by one. Thank you

    • Yes a lot of tools allow it but personally I don’t do that as it can go wrong – like for instance this morning we had someone multiple post into my open group and it was a webinar promotion and we don’t allow promotional posts – my assistant would have deleted it but and potentially banned the user because of the type of post but I recognised it was one of our usual contributors and it may have been a group post – and it was. Just be wary of posting the same thing out at once. If it is to sell something or some sort of affiliate link it can backfire. But if it is content, then yes it is possible and not such a bad idea, though I would still recommend choosing a tool that allows you to schedule the posts so they go out at different times.

  • @VeganFreeze

    Can you schedule the beginning of a comment yet?

  • Christy Buchman

    Donna – Is there any way to clean up posts to a group made over xx days ago? There are hundreds of posts and we’d like to remove the old ones without have to go through the infinite scroll. Thank you!

    • Hi Christy – as far as I know you would have to do it manually – just not sure why you would want to delete old posts if they are not spam or inappropriate? Unless you are wanting to change the focus of the group but if that’s the case I would just start posting a lot of new content – the old content will move on down the feed pretty quickly.

      • Christy Buchman

        Sorry, Donna! I should have explained. The group is actually a sellers group where individuals can post items for sale. Unfortunately, after the item has sold, the sellers don’t always go back and remove the item that is no longer available. It takes quite some time to manually go in and remove the sold and no longer listed items. Just thought there might be some ninja trick I didn’t know of. Thank you so much for your response!

  • Those are two good tools. Does anyone have any outside tools?

  • SS

    Is there a way that I can gather all my group posts in a certain area (groups, interest, folder…etc) and take them off my timeline?

  • Thanks for the information and together,we shall do more

  • Lisa Hyden

    How do I become admin of a group that has no admin?

    Add Me To That GROUP. I will Help you to Make you ADMIN.

    • Hi… I actually have no idea what you are talking about sorry!

  • Meir C

    @sociallysorted:disqus An important note about the bonus hack at the end of the article:
    Searching in group for asterisk (*) does indeed sort the posts by the chronological time of posting (regardless of “bumping” comments), but it certainly doesn’t list all posts.
    I’m not sure what’s the filter behind it, but I compared the ‘*’ search results to the real group feed (a super active group of 140k users) several times, and I found out it skips a lot of posts.

    • Thanks and yes that would be totally expected for a group that size… It would be a mean task to order posts in a group with 140k users. But for smaller, reasonable sized groups it seems to work well. I doubt it’s perfect but I’d rather have it than not have it.

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