So you’re thinking of starting a Facebook Group for your business and wondering, now what?
Or maybe you started one a while back but feel like you’re talking to yourself and it’s still just your mom and friends in there.
You probably started YOUR group with the intention of giving your people – that’s your existing clients and prospects, a place to build relationships and a safe environment for them to ask questions and engage with like-minded community members. Am I right?
You also wanted to create a safe space to educate, support, and keep them focused on their goals. I think I might be correct in assuming that as well.
So, you feel like your heart and intentions are in the right place, but NOW WHAT?!
I mean, how do you bridge the gap between just bringing the warm fuzzies to a virtual coffee shop-type space — to having it filled with a highly engaged group of your ideal dream clients, who are also primed for purchasing from you?
THE BENEFITS OF A FACEBOOK GROUP
First, let me point out the most notable consideration for starting a group is that it’s a completely FREE MARKETING TOOL. One that is a sure-fire way of getting your content and offers in front of your ideal clients – unlike Facebook Pages, where it’s getting increasingly harder to do that.
I go into this point in more detail in the recent post What’s the Difference Between Your Facebook Page and a Facebook Group?”
My friend and colleague Alicia Streger, Founder of Fit Pro Essentials says this about FB groups:
“They’re the perfect place to build REAL relationships with your ideal clients and prospects. You can connect in real time, and truly develop that ‘Know, Love, and Trust’ factor.
Facebook Groups allow you to reach your ideal client WHERE THEY ARE… so that you can educate, inspire, and empower your community.”
How to use a free Facebook Group to build community (and get them on your email list)
I want to hit one point home before diving into how to grow your group, as well as how to use it effectively as a business marketing tool…. when should you NOT have a Facebook Group?
Your first goal in your business, if you’re just starting out — is not a Facebook group.
It’s that you get your shit tight. (and by ‘your shit’, I mean your lead magnet, getting subscribers to your email list, etc.)
I don’t want you diverting your attention away from creating your lead magnet (your opt-in) or from creating your nurture sequence – which is the couple of emails that follow after people subscribe.
I don’t want you diverting your attention away from having the capability of growing your email list in exchange for starting a Facebook group.
So, the right time to start one is when you already have a protocol in place for people to subscribe to your lead magnet.
If you haven’t nailed down a way to grow your email list, then you shouldn’t be starting a Facebook group just yet. The reason being is that you simply can’t sell as well in a Facebook group as you can via email.
PROMOTING AND GROWING YOUR GROUP
What’s in a name?
Use the same strategy in naming your group as you do your business, blog posts, programs, etc. Think about what your Ideal Client is searching for. What will resonate and connect with them? What words do they use and identify with? Do that work first to determine what you should be calling your group. It will allow people to “stumble” across your group organically and help your group grow.
How do people join your community?
First things, first. Don’t ever add people to your group without their permission. Instead, invite them.
Here are some places to share the invitation to join your group…
- Thank You pages are a great covert invitation. When someone opts in to your freebie, include a link to your group and include another one in the immediate response email they get with their content.
- You’ve already invited brand new subscribers to join, but what about your current subscribers that were already on your list before the group was started? Include a prominent link to the group in one or more of your emails or even in your regular newsletters.
- Include a tab on your website, something like “Facebook Group” or “Our Community” or something else that’s very simple and direct.
- Include a CTA and link to your group at the end or within your blog posts. Remember that people need to be directed to take action.
- Create a post about your group on your Facebook business page, then pin it at the top. The invitation to join your group is the first thing people will see when they land there.
- Use the Call to Action button on your Facebook Business Page to direct people to your group
- Create posts about your group on all of the social media platforms that you’re active on, and where you know your ideal client hangs out. Be sure to include an eye-catching graphic or your group cover image – which you can easily create in a graphic design app like Canva. In the copy of your post (that’s the text!), be sure to point out who the group is for, and detail the benefits of joining your community.
The key thing to remember is that just like any other strategy, you have to promote it!
What should you be posting in your group?
Ok, now you’re all set to promote and grow your group – but what on earth should you be posting?!
Don’t be tempted to just share everything that you post on your business page – because the two have different functions.
Should you post it? Here’s a quick tip from Alicia Streger…
Ask yourself 2 questions before you post:
- Is this something that will engage my group and cause people to comment, like, or take an action? (what does your group struggle with?)
- Is this going to add value to my community? (what does your group need?)
If you can answer YES to both of those questions, then post it!
It’s all about engagement
A question that I get often is “How do I create engagement in my Facebook groups?” Because they’ll be posting and posting and posting and… *crickets*
You’ve got to remember that these people in your Facebook groups — they’re just people. They’re normal people who like to have really normal conversations.
If you’re only ever posting tips, strategies, recipes, and videos – there’s nothing for them to engage with.
Maybe they’ll hit the ‘like’ button or toss you a heart, but they’re not going to comment or ask you questions or engage with you because there’s really nothing for them to engage with. You want to give them value, but you also want to have conversations.
Ask them questions that you would ask any friend that you were getting to know.
- Where are you from?
- What’s your favourite thing to do on a Sunday?
- What show are you currently watching on Netflix?
- What’s your favourite ice cream?
- What are you reading?
Ask those types of personal questions and you will get engagements because it’s in most people’s nature to enjoy talking about themselves – me included!
So if you’re only ever posting tips and strategies and you’re not being a real person and you’re not engaging with people and you’re not asking questions or sharing little funny things that happened to you or just real life moments, you’re simply not going to get the engagement that you want.
Specific ideas for what to post in your Facebook group:
And like any other content on your website or in social media, consistency is key!
- The first thing that you should have is a pinned post that is either a welcome video (well, hello there beautiful!) or a visual post that includes a CTA to subscribe for a freebie.
The basic idea is to entice every group member to subscribe to your email list (via your opt-in) and for every email subscriber to get an invitation into your group.
- It’s a great practice to provide a personal welcome by tagging newcomers in a weekly post or one that’s somewhat regular. However, this needs to be re-evaluated as your group grows bigger and it may become impossible to keep up with the dozens, then hundreds of people that may be joining your group weekly.
- Questions or surveys – they don’t necessarily have to have anything to do with the group’s focus, and might be just for fun like “If you were an ice cream flavour, which one would it be and why?”
- Run challenges and contests
- Do a Facebook Live within the group OR do a Facebook Live on your business page and share it to the group – this can also include on-the-spot trainings, hot seats and webinars = free high value content! I do regular Facebook Lives in my free community – Take Your Health Practice Online – and find it’s an amazing way to connect with members and really show them my personality and give them a taste of what it’s like to work with me inside my paid programs.
Extra note on Facebook Live – doing a livestream from your business page allows you the opportunity to promote your group within it! Just consider that in any given livestream, there should really only be ONE CALL-TO-ACTION, so every now and then make it one that invites your viewers into your Facebook Group.
- Share curated content that you love and you know is going to create a discussion, evoke some emotions and get a buzz going – not just random stuff, but stuff that again adds real value to the community.
Then, when you’re finally feeling comfortable that you’ve established yourself as the expert and authority in your particular field, and you’ve begun building your Know, Like/Love, and Trust factor with your group – feel free to promote your services, programs and offerings.
But, as a rule, don’t post promotional material more than 20% of the time on any social media platform, and even less in your group – more like 10%.
If the idea of creating even MORE content for a Facebook Group feels overwhelming, you can check out this amazing Done For You Content for a whole year of Facebook Group posts.
I recently interviewed one of my business buddies – Alicia Streger from Fit Pro Essentials about how she has grown and cultivated a super engaged and successful Facebook Group and invite you to check it out for even more tips and suggestions whether you are just considering opening a group or are wondering how to grow one and build on engagement.