The Step by Step Guide to Targeting Facebook Groups

You can't target Facebook Group's using Facebook's standard advertising functionality. But there is a way to extract value.

You can't target Facebook Group's using Facebook's standard advertising functionality. But there is a way to extract value.

We have some bad news for you: you can’t directly Target Facebook Groups.

This is a real missed opportunity, both for us and for Facebook. It's obvious to me, you, the woman next to you, her dog, and the dog’s brother’s brother, that Facebook Group advertising is a huge opportunity.

Groups are a strong indicator about a person. Joining a group is a high-intent action that signals something about you. It's a far more powerful indicator of you as a person than, say, liking a page.

According to reports, Facebook is testing group targeting features. “We have started to test delivering ads to people in Facebook Groups, and will be evaluating the response before determining how we will move forward,” Facebook said in October. We haven’t seen much progress.

This means that Facebook group administrators have a huge opportunity on their hands. Most of the time those admins aren't even aware of the size of the key they hold.

Right now, admins are the only way to 'legitimately' get your offer to members of a group. Contact the admin, pay for access. This is fine, but this method relies far too heavily on finding an awesome group administrator. It's all good when you do (thanks Carl and Vic Deals, hope that Uber deal's going strong). But falls flat when you don't.

So while we're waiting for Facebook to make group targeting possible, STB have another approach. It’s an inbound play where the aim is to have the group members come to you, and we’re going to share it with you right now. Golden step by golden step.

Here we go:

Join the group and figure out what they want

Step One: What does the group want?

Start by asking yourself what the group wants. This is core to the method. This method won’t work for you if you don’t figure out what your potential target group wants. How do we do this? We develop mini user personas to build a picture of the typical group member. You don’t have to go as deep as we do when we develop our Buyer Personas. You simply want to know what the Group member’s common pain points and desires are.

Look at conversations, check out comments. Do some light browsing of a few member's Facebook profiles (if you're friends). Find themes, and pick a problem you’d like to solve for your group.

For the sake of an example, let's imagine we're a dog toy retailer, targeting a Facebook Group called ‘I Love Dogs’.

From creating mini-personas, we can see that training is a common issue. People talk about this a lot. They offer support to each other. Post videos. Laugh. Cry. Get frustrated. All the signs of a great problem to solve.

Let’s aim to create a very specific eBook, titled ‘7 Steps for Getting Fido to Roll Over’.

Step Two: Work backwards

Right, so you know your group and have your planned offer. From here, it’s fairly smooth.

Start engaging with the group. Ask questions that will build conversation relating to your eventual offer. For us, this would be things like:

  • “What have people done to get their dog to roll over? Any tips?!”

  • “Been trying to train Fido to do new tricks lately. Going super well. Anyone else?”

  • Etc.

Engage, engage, record, engage, engage. Take notes throughout this process. Use the information that people are sharing with you to make your offer stronger.

Important: record everyone who is posting comments on your questions. These people are your engagers and will be super useful to you when it comes time to post your offer. The bigger the group, the MORE IMPORTANT these engagers are. More on this later.

Step Three: Create your offer

Write your eBook. Set up a landing page to offer it for download. Crucial step: make sure to set up audience capturing pixels on your page. Ensure you name the audience appropriately. We normally go with a combination of date and group name.

Use a separate landing page and pixel for each group where you run this plan. This helps you to keep your audiences specific and valuable.

Step Four: Promote your offer

Post your eBook to the group. Make the post fits the style of the group. Don’t be salesy. You’re not actually selling anything. Be super grateful for what the group has given you and make this about giving something back. And here’s where those engagers come into play.

Alert your engagers to your eBook. Don’t tag everyone in one horrific name dump. Try to message them, if you can, or tag them in a comment that tells them why you’re letting them know about this. For example: “@John Ringo I thought you might like this after our chat about getting dogs to roll over. Let me know what you think!”

One thing you shouldn’t do:

DO NOT ask for their email address as part of the download process. Be cool. Give these people this eBook for free. By reducing the friction you increase the chance that they’ll share the book with their friends. It will, after all, be a ringing endorsement for your dog toy sales business.

Step Five: Profit from your (and someone else's) hard work

You now have a steady stream of audience growth. Thanks to your specific targeting methodology, you know they’re the people you want. Use them. Test them. Consider expanding your options with lookalike audiences, or other tricks and tools.

The Takeaway

You have to be clever to get benefit from Facebook Groups that aren’t yours. While this may sound like a tactic that borders on exploiting someone else’s group, it’s nothing more than this: Engage, provide value, and profit.

Here’s to stopping the bullshit.

Steffen Rusten