How to Set Up a Private Facebook Group (and why they can be a good idea!)

How to Set Up a Private Facebook Group (and why they can be a good idea!)

Many people we liaise with are under the impression that having a Facebook page and posting on it is a form of promotion for their business. It is, but it’s important to note that a Facebook page is very much a ‘pay to play’ environment meaning unless you are regularly and strategically boosting your content or have a rare and highly engaged audience, it is unlikely you will get more than 1-2% reach with any given post. 

To put this into simple terms, if you had 100 Facebook page followers, only 1 or 2 of them will see any post you are going to the trouble of creating and scheduling UNLESS you are putting money down on your posts. 

In contrast, Facebook groups naturally achieve better reach and engagement because Facebook’s algorithm prioritises content of groups in people’s feeds over pages. The reason for this is that Facebook presumes that if you have joined a group, this is content you are probably keen to see, whereas you may have liked or followed a business page, but do not necessarily want to keep hearing from you. 

The increased visibility and the community-driven nature of groups make them a powerful tool for businesses and organisations looking to cultivate a more engaged and active audience. There are many practical applications of this. 

You could run a membership organisation and use a page to explain who you are and what you do and encourage people to become members, but you offer a group for people who are paid members. 

Or perhaps you are a school or other educational institute and have a page to showcase the school’s general activities, but a group for the current cohort of staff, students and parents to share important and intimate updates such as ‘don’t forget school photos are on Monday!’ 

In yet another example, perhaps you have a business page to tell people generally about your business, but a group for your paying clients, your VIP clients, or those who have bought a certain service or product from you i.e. a mentoring program. 

With all of this in mind, setting up a private Facebook group can be a powerful way to build a community, foster engagement, and provide exclusive content to a targeted audience. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to set up a private Facebook group and more reasons why you should consider doing so.

Why Set Up a Private Facebook Group?

  1. Exclusive Community Building:
    • Create a space for like-minded individuals to connect and share ideas.
    • Foster a sense of belonging and community among members.
  2. Enhanced Privacy and Security:
    • Provide a safe environment where members can share freely without worrying about public visibility.
    • Control who joins the group and what is shared within the group.
  3. Targeted Engagement:
    • Engage with a specific audience more effectively.
    • Share tailored content that meets the interests and needs of your group members.
  4. Value Addition:
    • Offer exclusive content, updates, and interactions that are only available to group members.
    • Enhance member loyalty and retention by providing value-added services.
  5. Feedback and Insights:
    • Gather valuable feedback from your most engaged audience.
    • Gain insights into member preferences and interests for better content creation and marketing strategies.

Key Steps to Set Up a Private Facebook Group

1. Define Your Purpose and Goals

  • Purpose: Clearly define why you are creating the group. What value will it provide to members?
  • Goals: Set specific, measurable goals for the group (e.g., community engagement, customer support, content sharing).
  • Moderation and management: Do you have the people to create content specifically for the group to foster conversation, moderate where required, and manage the group i.e., block spammers, decline non-relevant people seeking entry etc (note, sometimes just 1 person will do all of the above and this is realistic, subject to how well trained they are, how many group members they are, and how active the members are). 

2. Create the Group

  • Log in to Facebook: Use your personal profile or business page.
  • Go to Groups: On the left-hand sidebar, click on ‘Groups’ and then ‘Create New Group’.
  • Group Name: Choose a name that reflects the purpose of the group.
  • Privacy Settings: Select “Private.” You can also choose to make the group visible (anyone can find the group and see who’s in it) or hidden (only members can find the group). We recommend going or hidden.

3. Customise Your Group

  • Cover Photo: Upload a visually appealing cover photo that represents the group. Use a program like Canva to create a relevant group cover photo. Things to include on the cover include your organisation’s logo, brand colours, key message and a relevant image. Here is an example of a cover graphic we created for a client recently:


  • Description: Write a detailed description of the group’s purpose, rules, and expectations.

    This is important because it sets expectations for people considering joining your group, and is what you lean on to manage your group on an ongoing basis. A well-defined description helps potential members understand the group’s goals and what they can expect to gain from joining. This clarity attracts the right members who are genuinely interested in the group’s focus. It can also ensure the content and discussions remain relevant and aligned with the group’s objectives, maintaining the group’s integrity and value. Setting expectations for the type and quality of content that is acceptable ensures that discussions remain meaningful and valuable to all members. You can update these at any time so don’t stress too much about getting them perfect. 
  • Group Settings: Customise settings such as membership approval (automatic or admin approval), posting permissions, and group rules.

We recommend having admin approval for new members to ensure a level of control over who is entering your group or not. If they don’t live in a relevant location or seem to have any interest in what you do, they are likely a spammer, so don’t be afraid to ask them their reason for wanting to join, or simply decline them. For instance, I manage a group for my old water polo club in Wellington, New Zealand and have had requests for people to join from Pakistan and Nigeria which are not water polo-playing countries therefore these were politely declined!

4. Invite Members

  • Initial Invitations: Invite relevant family friends, colleagues, or customers who you think will benefit from and contribute to the group. Don’t just invite for numbers’ sake. Relevancy is key.
  • Promotion: Share the group link on your other social media platforms, website, or email newsletters to attract more members. To get your group link open the group and copy and paste the URL as can be seen below.

5. Set Up Group Rules

  • Create Rules: Clearly outline what is acceptable behaviour in the group (e.g., no spamming, respectful communication). Facebook makes this super easy by recommending. Clearly stated rules also help prevent conflicts and misunderstandings by setting expectations for behaviour and interactions. This fosters a respectful and positive environment. When members are aware of the rules, they are more likely to adhere to them, reducing the need for constant moderation and interventions by the group admins. Clear rules and expectations hold members accountable for their behaviour and contributions, promoting a sense of responsibility within the community. Detailed rules help create a safe and welcoming environment where members feel comfortable sharing and engaging.Clear rules about what constitutes spam or self-promotion help prevent misuse of the group for irrelevant or disruptive content.
  • Pin Rules: Pin the rules post to the top of the group so all members can easily find and refer to them. Pinned posts appear at the top of the group feed, making the rules the first thing members see when they visit the group. This ensures that all members, new and existing, are aware of the rules. Members can easily refer back to the pinned rules without having to search through posts, ensuring that the guidelines are always accessible.

6. Post Content Regularly

  • Engage Members: Post regular content that adds value to the group. This can include tips, articles, videos, and discussion prompts. Remember, this should be different content (usually) to your page and the keyword here is ‘value’.
  • Encourage Interaction: Ask questions, create polls, and encourage members to share their own content and experiences. If you don’t ask for engagement, you likely won’t get it!

7. Moderate the Group

  • Monitor Activity: Regularly check group activity to ensure members are following the rules and staying engaged.
  • Respond Promptly: Address any issues, answer questions, and interact with members to maintain a positive environment.
  • Remove Inactive or Problematic Members: Ensure the group remains a valuable space for all members.

8. Gather Feedback and Adjust

  • Feedback: Regularly ask for feedback from group members to understand their needs and preferences.
  • Adjust Strategy: Use feedback to improve the group’s content and engagement strategies.

Conclusion

Creating a private Facebook group is an effective way to build a community, engage with your audience, and provide exclusive content in a secure and controlled environment. By following these key steps, you can set up a private group that adds significant value to your members and helps achieve your community and business goals.

Want help?

We offer a service of establishing new Facebook & LinkedIn groups for organisations including hosting a consult, creating the necessary graphics, establishing your settings, group rules and inviting relevant admins, and providing a handover. We also offer content production and community management services for established pages and groups. 

Contact us for a quote.

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