Cartoon People With Technology DevicesThese days a lot of businesses have employees that aren’t always based in the same office or even the same area or, lo and behold, the same country. There are also groups of people that may be connected via a common source, for example the writers here on the Corpnet.com blog.  This post is to show how Facebook secret groups work for Social Media sharing, help and content.

There are several ways for communicating within groups – Skype, conference calls, video calls, emails etc. However sometimes we can’t all be available at the same time – especially when in a different time zone, or perhaps the information that needs to be communicated isn’t that urgent.  This is where I see the value of Facebook secret groups…..and they are free.

These Facebook secret (and private) groups can be looked at as small communities of people with a common interest. I am involved in a few groups for the blogs I write for and also a couple of my clients use them. I find them incredibly useful and far better than “round robin” emails which can get annoying, don’t work properly or are often overlooked or lost in the email stream.

Bear in mind these groups aren’t necessarily intended to be very large – maybe between 5 to 30 people. Any larger and they may get too “busy” for useful participation although group etiquette may help with this – see below.

Starting Off

Obviously, to set up a group you have to be on Facebook already and ensure everyone you want included has a Facebook account too and that you are “friends” with them.  Here are simple directions from Facebook on how to create a Secret group:

  1. Go to your home page and click Create Group in the left hand column. If you have existing groups, you may need to click More before you see this link.
  2. A pop-up box will appear, where you will be able to add a group name, add members and select the privacy setting for your group (choose Secret for the group I am talking about). Click the Create Group button when you’re finished.
  3. Once the group is created, you will be taken to the group’s page. To get started click *˅ at the top right of the page and select Edit Group. From here you can add a group description, set a group email address, add a group picture and manage members.

The Mechanics

To see the groups you are involved with go to your home page on Facebook and you will see them listed on the left. For those that you are actively engaged in and want to follow closely you can make them favourite by hovering over the name until a pencil appears on the left – click on that to edit and choose “add to favourites”. This will move them to the top of the list and when there are comments in it there will be a number next to it – meaning how many updates there are – so you know to have a look.

With a group, you get an email when someone writes a new update in it. If this is an update you respond on then you will receive an email every time someone else replies to the update too. If you don’t reply to it then you won’t hear anymore although it is still there to see in the Group’s stream. This way it keeps you informed of conversations you have an interest in and leaves out the ones you aren’t.

There are several ways these groups can work depending on the type of business or community that you have. Firstly ensure that everyone is connected on all Social Media by sharing their Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+ links etc.

Requests

If you have written a post that you want shared on Twitter then the easiest way is to create a tweet on Twitter that you want retweeted, copy it and share it on the group page. Creating it on Twitter first helps to ensure that the tweet is no more than 120 characters so it is easy to retweet and also it shortens the link. Also don’t forget to credit yourself so you get recognition in the Retweets.   If everyone is connected on your other Social Media channels they can easily share there too using your links.

Don’t just mention you have a post written with a link. People rarely have time these days so make it simple for them with a ready-made tweet that they can copy and paste – less that 120 characters as mentioned plus a shortened link and credit to the writer.

Sometimes you’ll be requesting your group members to comment on your posts to get the ball rolling. Often a post with no comments is like an empty dance floor – no-one wants to be the first up. Perhaps you’ll have put the post on Bizsugar.com and want to request votes – just copy the URL of the post on Bizsugar.com to make it simple for your group member to vote with one click.

Help

Presumably, this group will be peers with common interests so you may want to pick their brains about something you have a problem with. There is always someone that knows something you don’t so it’s often advisable to ask if you are stuck.

Crowdsource

I find these groups perfect for getting expert comments to a question that can then be turned into a blog post – crediting each person that comments of course. These can happen quickly if everyone responds and you get excellent information for the post you want to write.

History

A Facebook group holds all the status updates and comments so they can be checked back on simply. For example, if you have been on holiday or offline for a while you can simply scroll back through the comments to catch up. I found this very useful recently when joining a new group and checking back through the comments I was able to get up to speed quite quickly on what was going on.

Group Etiquette

Keep the cute pictures and mundane information about your life for your personal profile – these groups are only going to work if they aren’t cluttered with too much chat. Obviously, it’s good to chat sometimes and have a laugh but treat these groups as a source of information to be shared and keep on track. The more un-needed information there is in the group the more people won’t bother checking it.

Summary

These type of groups, when used well, create a great community spirit not just within the group but also for your business, blog or whatever.  I know from experience that they work incredibly well for social media sharing, crowd sourcing, help and advice and I’ve also made some good friends. Distance is no object these days.

I’m sure there are a lot more useful features to these groups so please let me know any tips that you use yourselves.


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