By Anna McDermott

Maybe your company has overlooked Facebook Groups, but they could be an untapped resource for you to expand your business. On The PR Maven® Podcast, Nancy spoke with Skylar Welch, a loan officer at Acadia Lending Group, and Skylar shared how she picked up three new buyers in one month through referrals from a national Facebook Group.

Skylar Welch, a loan officer at Acadia Lending GroupThis isn’t surprising. In this Forbes article, it says “In the past year alone, Facebook Group membership is up 40 percent, with 1.4 billion people — more than half of Facebook’s massive user base — now using Groups every month.” The article also mentions how Condé Nast Traveler required people to apply to their Facebook Group, explaining why they wanted to join. By making it harder to join, the publishing company made their Facebook Group far more appealing and competitive.

While LinkedIn is the professional network favorite right now, Facebook Groups still have a lot to offer, if you join the right ones. And that can take some research.

First, search for a topic or industry you’re involved with, such as real estate in your state, select Groups and a list will appear of groups you can join. If private, you’ll have to join them before you can vet them, but if they are public you can see right away how useful the group might be. Look to see how often people post and how quickly people join the conversation or answer questions. Does the discussion seem smart and helpful? Are spam posts removed quickly? It’s pretty easy to spot a group that won’t be of use to you.

Once you’ve joined your group(s), introduce yourself, telling others a bit about your professional background. Posts where you are clearly just making a pitch usually don’t work well. Professional groups are a community for support and advice — not just to sell your product. For that, create your own Facebook page.

If you join in group conversations regularly — with good advice or thanking people who responded to your questions — your online reputation will grow. This can lead to referrals for you or you might hear about an opportunity you could have missed.

The PR Maven® Podcast is presented by Marshall Communications, creator of The Marshall Plan® strategic process. The Marshall Plan is a fully customized document using our 65 proprietary steps and leads to playbook for your success. If you think your business or organization would be a candidate for a Marshall Plan, you can take our Marshall Plan quiz to find out. Visit