Facebook groups are quite a rage these days. People join groups to find like minded people, to discover new interests and hobbies, and also to network and find clients. Yes, Facebook groups can be used for both business and pleasure.
You may be a part of a half a dozen (or more) Facebook groups yourself. If you are an entrepreneur, then I bet you hang out in the same circles your entrepreneurial friends do, and if you don’t, you should, because that’s where it’s at, and you are definitely missing out.
If you are already a part of few business groups, you can see the potential of having your own group and using it to grow your business.
But it might be that you are not sure how to start one, or how to run one so that it thrives. You have seen groups that are ghost towns and you don’t want the same to happen to yours.
It could also be that you don’t know if you have what it takes to create and run a successful Facebook group. If that’s you, and you are curious, then this post is for you.
Let’s dive in.
Why start a Facebook group?
There are many benefits of starting a Facebook group.
First, a safe place for like-minded people to connect. This is the number one reason why there are thousands of Facebook groups out there and why new ones keep popping up.
Secondly, while nobody is saying email marketing is dead, businesses are finding Facebook groups to be the place where people go willingly. This is a great opportunity for you to get in front of them without being intrusive.
Instead of writing emails, post short, relevant pieces of content regularly and people will get to know you intimately. Not only do they see you post, but they also get to interact with you in a fun manner. They can comment on your threads, comment on other people’s threads, see you respond to you and others. Nothing can beat that.
You can ask people yes/no questions. You can get feedback on your upcoming courses, products or coaching programs. You can get people excited about a launch.
No wonder why people get addicted to their groups. Both participants and members, alike.
Set the commitment
The first thing you need to decide is whether you have the time and the inclination to run a Facebook group. Facebook groups take up lots of time (at least in the beginning when you are growing them) and you have to be in there – a lot – to facilitate your group.
You will be posting new topics to encourage participation, and responding to other people’s threads. You will also need to promote your group so people can join.
All of this takes time. If you are ready to do this, then you can create a public Facebook group and keep it free. You can grow it to as big of a group as you like. Kimra Luna runs a Facebook group called Freedom Hacker’s Mastermind that has 27 THOUSAND members. It is a closed group for new entrepreneurs and you have to make a request to join.
Ask yourself, why do you want to start this group? What do people get when they join? Support, help, a friendly community?
If you are very busy, or if you don’t want take on the responsibility of growing a large group, you can offer paid Facebook groups with your programs. These groups are highly sought after and add additional value to what you are offering. They can help get you more clients and customers because people want to be a part of your paid community.
What group is right for you?
Private groups are not searchable on Facebook. You have to invite people to join or give then link to request access. These groups are best for paid communities attached to a program or a course, or stand-alone.
Closed groups. They are searchable but people need to request access. Depending on your group settings, group members can add their friends to the group. When members post inside the groups, the conversations do not appear on their friend newsfeeds which make this the best option. People feel free to talk about whatever they want, without worrying about getting their mum or best friends reading their posts.
Public groups. They are public and anyone can join. Usually these groups are not moderated and are filled with spam. What you post in a public group is also shown to your friends regardless of if they are part of it or not and that would deter many people from posting.
Some people want to know what’s the difference between having a Facebook page and a group, and should you have both. The answer is yes.
Facebook page is the official page where you are sharing your content, paid offers and also running your ads from. You are talking ‘at’ the people, and not ‘with’ them which happens in a group. In a Facebook group, the dynamic is totally different. It is a conversation anyone can start and respond to.
Also pages are public and doesn’t give the feel of a close-knit community.
How to promote your group?
Basically, you would grow your Facebook group just like you would grow your email list. Once the group gets momentum, members can spread the word for you.
To begin, ask people to join your join when they sign up for your email list. You can do that on the thank you page.
Send an email out to your existing email subscribers and ask them to join your brand new, fabulous Facebook group. Then from there, you add a link to join after every email.
You can’t run ads to Facebook groups but you can run ads to a landing page and ask people to join your group there.
Promote the heck of your group on social media, on your Facebook page and also every time you appear on a podcast, do a webinar or any other promotion.
Lastly, you can promote your groups in other groups but be vigilant of their policies. If they allow a thread to promote your offerings and groups are okay, do it there only. If they have a promo-free policy, be service to other people and build your authority so they come to associate your name with what you do. Once you become well known, people will start following you and joining your groups without promoting them explicitly.
Create group policies and guidelines
When you start your group, be sure to fill out the group information. This appears at the comment and people can see it easily. This is to let people know what the group is about and set expectations from the get go. If your group has a strict no-promo policy, mention it here because not everyone is going to read your group policies.
In order to create group policies, read up on the group policies of some of the other groups you are a part of. This way you can create your own policy and include things that resonate with you and leave the rest. Try to be as clear as you can in your policies so you don’t have too many people asking for clarification all day long.
Group policies are really good for enforcing group rules. If people break the rule once, take a screenshot of their post and gently remind them of the group policy, if they do it twice you can give them a warning. It’s totally okay to kick people out of your group if they are disrespectful in any way or disregard your group policy.
As your group grows, it will become hard for you to be active inside the group and keep track of everything. You will miss things and won’t be able to stay on top of all the issues. Solicit some help.
Hire people to moderate your group and take care of the members. Don’t try to get help from your spouse or a friend. Get a moderator or a VA so they can focus on the job. Try to choose people from different time zones so they complement each other. Moderation is key, if you don’t moderate or remind people of the group rules, it will quickly become a spam fest.
Nurture your group
Engagement is key to growing a successful Facebook group. And in the beginning it can seem like an uphill battle.
You have got to be in there every single day, multiple times to post updates, ask questions, run polls, share resources and doing everything you can to engage people and get them comfortable so they start sharing as well.
Your posts will set the tone of the group so be mindful of that. Also, respond to every single post by members, especially in the beginning when you have 50 people in the group. Some of the earliest members of your group can turn into brand ambassadors for you down the line so cultivate those relationships.
As your group attracts new members create a specific type of post for each day of the week to set up expectations and have people looking forward to them. For instance, you could do healthy Mondays, winning Wednesdays, Promo Fridays.
For important topics and threads that take a life of their own, email people on your list to come participate on them. This will remind people to join who haven’t already. If you run free challenges and free courses for people to opt-in to your list, you can ask them to share their results in the groups also.
Ask members to interact. Encourage them to give shout outs to other people, or share their latest blog post, or share something personal. Ask people where they are from or to share something unique about them.
Stream live into your group or post videos. This is a great way to connect with members and foster participation.
Your group will attract people of all sorts of personalities, temperaments and traits. You will attract people who are introverted and you will also attract people who are shy. Don’t put pressure on people to participate. As a general rule of thumb, most people will NOT participate in the group and just lurk away. That is okay. Do not push them but create a friendly, supportive environment so when they feel compelled to ask a question or share something, they will.
As your group grows, the feed will move quickly and some posts will rush by so quickly that people will miss them. Or, sometimes threads are worded in a way that they don’t get many responses. Always make a point to be helpful there. Tag others who might be able to help out.
With new members, you are bound to attract people who are freebie seekers. They will ask you questions that require a good chunk of your time and thorough preparation on your part. Direct these folks to your ‘Work with me’ page. Commenting on most threads should not take up more than few minutes of your time. If they need detailed help with their unique situation, or ask information that you only share with paid clients, tell them.
The simplest way to keep things organized and peaceful is to attract your ideal client in the first place. Here’s a trick, choose a name for your group that tells people what’s it about so only the right people are interested in joining which means less work for you.
As your group grows, there will tons of useful information being shared inside it.
Get your support people to compile threads by topic into files and upload those into the files section. With time, this will also grow into a highly useful resource for your group members.
Also encourage people to use the search function. Point them to the popular threads where things were discussed at length so new members can learn from it.
So there you have it!
I have given you the pros and cons (mostly pros) to starting your own Facebook group for business. Yes, initially it will seem like a substantial time commitment, that is for sure, but the rewards are worth it.
Brand recognition, authority status, credibility and a super loyal following … these are only some of the things you can expect from running a successful Facebook group.
So, want to give it a try?
Got any thoughts? Share them with us in the comments below!