Facebook Groups: New CRM?
Written by Lyndon Morant & Ciarán Norris
Facebook Groups: New CRM?
Facebook recently launched Groups, a tool that enables you to “group” your friends with other
like-minded people and then filter who receives what messages, photos, and other content. In
short Groups enables you or a brand to segment your friends and its fans and tailor all
subsequent messaging. All you need to do is simply tag a friend or fan to include them in a
Group. It is a major move away from Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg‟s original vision of
breaking down privacy barriers; in his words: “The days of you having a different image for
your work friends or co-workers and for the other people you know are probably coming to an
end pretty quickly”.
Each Group will have today‟s Facebook experience but with bespoke content: info page, a wall,
photos, notes, etc. Facebook has added a new „docs‟ tab, which replaces notes and resembles
a wiki page; some are suggesting that this feature quietly challenges Microsoft‟s Word and
Google‟s Documents. Furthermore, Facebook has added email integration into their platform,
which accelerates its desire to become tomorrow‟s main communications hub.
How will Group‟s effect brands? At the moment Facebook has made it clear that Pages remain
their main “open” brand platform while Groups is mainly for consumers. However, brands can
create “Groups” via proxy individuals and characters pages (e.g., Alexander Orlov representing
Compare the Market). In such scenarios brands could replicate their CRM models by
establishing various groups for different customer segments; e.g., a credit card company
could create a “premium” Group for its most valued customers and create bespoke, exclusive
content for that audience. Facebook has also updated their Open Graph API with the new
Group functionality so brands could manage brand Groups off-site.
Brands should note that at the moment Groups lacks the robustness of most CRM platforms;
in fact people can be added to a Group by any of their friends, with no option to accept or
decline this action. Furthermore Group members also receive notifications of all actions within
the community, and can‟t stop people re-adding them if they choose to leave; to such
unwitting audiences brands need to be careful that they are not perceived as spammers.
Long-term the Groups will evolve to include more features and functionality. Brands need to
evaluate their objectives and monitor this evolution to assess when and whether to embrace
Groups. In the meantime we would recommend that at a minimum brands monitor Groups
that are set-up around their brands, and engage constructively where value can be added.