So, you’ve been a part of a Facebook group, you’re hearing how great a group can be for business and you’re considering taking the leap to set one up yourself? I’m hearing it a lot at the moment so I’m taking the time to share my top tips that have helped Thrive in Business but also my own 1:1 clients who use groups as part of their marketing and messaging plans. I don’t have a huge group (which I’m cool about as I’m a huge advocate of quality vs quantity) and from feedback and messages I receive, it’s an engaged group with a great community feel.
In late 2017 I set up my Facebook group as I wanted to build a community of like-minded women in business. And as we know, Facebook groups have over the past 12 months, exploded, and I’ve seen many thrive and many fail.
Running a Facebook group can be hugely valuable and can bring success, credibility and a real sense of community. It’s a large part of my own strategy and I’m benefiting massively by hosting a group.
So, let me help you walk through some questions and ideas to help you decide if launching a group is right for you, how to launch and grow it and some top tips on creating engagement.
To launch or not to launch…..that is the question!
First off, before you launch, check in that a Facebook group is right for you, and right for your business. Running a Facebook group definitely isn’t for everyone. It can be time-consuming to both produce content and to admin a group.
Don’t fall into the trap of setting up a group for the sake of it or because ‘everyone says’ you have to have one. Make sure you know what you want from the group and how it fits into your marketing and communications strategy and how it’s going to help you and your business.
- Why do you want to create a Facebook Group?
- What do you want to gain?
- What’s the main topic and reason for people wanting to join?
- Do you want a big community or a small one?
- Are you capable of totally involving yourself in this group?
These are just a few questions to ask yourself. Jot down your answers and analyze them. And once you’ve launched, keep checking back that it’s still serving its purpose or if it needs to change.
Here’s a reminder of what you could benefit from building an engaged Facebook group:
- To establish your expertise – a place to stand out from all the noise on social media. By being helpful, adding value and giving freely, word tends to get out about you and your group and the snowball effect comes into play.
- Helps you to keep up with current events and trends. It helps get insights into current trends and events in your industry by discussing issues and having conversations either with others in the similar industry or your ideal clients in the group.
- A place to sell products & services – yes, it’s ok to sell your wares. In a non-salesy way by building that ‘know, like & trust’ factor.
- Promote events. Facebook groups can be useful if you need to promote lots of events. It’s also a great place to share event photos, video, and other content to help promote the event and activities.
- A place to collect feedback. Need feedback on an idea you have? What better place to to discuss what you’re thinking whilst strengthing relationships with customers and potential clients.
- Communicate and build stronger relationships with your brand ambassadors. With greater access and insight into the value you give and what you can offer will help to make them more inclined to be natural brand ambassadors and connect with others with the same interest.
- Better serve your customers and provide value – A great way to make customers feel special and connect with them is to create a group exclusively for them and send personalized invites. When they join, provide them access to specials, product / service updates and other benefits they would appreciate.
- Supplement video training courses/membership groups. If your business provides online training or sells online courses, having a private Facebook group as part of the package would help your clients. They can ask questions and get additional resources and support. More importantly, it offers the business the chance to create deeper connections with its customers.
So you’ve decided to go ahead and launch a group. What next?
Establishing a purpose and rules of the group
When starting out, make sure you have rules in the group and what your own expectations are of the group. For example, are ‘sales’ posts allowed? Do you ask everyone to introduce themselves when they join the group? Be clear and be firm so everyone know’s where they stand and they can decide if it’s the group for them. It’s ok if it’s not.
It’s often helpful when you have a new group to ask a series of questions before approval to make sure you’re attracting the kind of members you want in the group. Remember, it’s your group so you set the tone, rules and boundaries. In a warm way of course.
Attracting members into your group
You’ve set it up, now it’s time to attract people in.
- Broadcast and share that your group is open, on social media. Use your existing social media networks to get the word out about your Facebook group and its purpose. Your fans and followers will help you get the word out as well.
- Promote the group in your email signature.
- Let your email list know. Let your existing audience know about your new group and its purpose.
- Run an event / course / challenge / webinar in your group to attract more people to join.
- Promote it on your blog with a call to action. And other parts of your website.
- Get involved with other groups where your ideal client hangs out and promote the benefits of joining your group.
- Use a lead magnet as a way to grow your email list and encourage those signing up to join your Facebook group. To keep the conversations going.
- Use Facebook / Instagram paid for advertising.
Next up…creating meaningful engagement within your group
Now you’ve decided to set up a group, onto the tricky task (and it can be tricky) to get members engaged with your group.
Inviting and accepting members won’t be enough. People won’t start to talk unless you do. Engage them in various types of discussions.
Help your members with answers when they struggle with something. Strike a balance where you can between answering it yourself and tagging members who you think can help them answer. What you’re aiming to do is teaching your members it’s OK for them to give advice to other members. Start getting this right and they’ll start helping each other without your input quite so much and will be happy to share their ideas and start discussions. You will have to only be involved in their discussions and let them see that you are there for them.
Here are some of my top tips.
What works for one won’t always work for all, but if you’re looking for ideas this is a great place to start.
Welcome your members. There’s a lovely functionality in your group that allows you to tag new members. A great place to welcome them and give them an opportunity to introduce themselves.
- Create and nurture the conversation. Pose questions – This is a great way to get new and established groups and members engaged and talking. Share your own behind the scenes to get the conversation going. For example, what’s going well / not so well for you, sharing your own routines, tools you use, time hacks, WWYD questions – all whilst asking questions that can involve your members.
- Encourage group posts in emails and articles – Do you send emails with updates on your latest blog posts? Try asking your readers to discuss the post in the group instead of leaving a comment on your blog. Just like I’ll be doing at the end of this blog!
- Polls and A, B, C questions. Sometimes we don’t have time to write long responses…so making a question as quick to answer is helpful.
- Do something special for your members. Your members like to see that you care for them. Your Facebook Group members want to feel special too. It could be a freebie, a checklist, training, whatever you can do in order to help them.
- Post about various topics. Quite often on a weekend I’ll post something that’s totally removed from being in businss. I’m sure you don’t want to bore your members so don’t be afraid to tackle other topics to get people talking and interacting.
- Go live! Just like on your Facebook page, you can go live in your group. Only members will see it and it’s a great way for members to get to know you, for you to get a point across and of course to create that community feel by knowing who’s behind the posts
- Post resources of any kind and encourage members to post theirs. I often ask people to share their blogs, their events, their networking groups, their freebies and once a fortnight – anything goes!
Of course, like anything on any social media platforms, changes are common and with any advice I give, make sure you’re not relying on a platform that you don’t own. Make sure you can continue the conversation with your community, clients and potential clients outside of social media. So in any group, make sure you’re collecting data and able to continue conversations when Facebook decides to change the rules.
I’d love to hear how having a Facebook group benefits you and your business and what tips you have to share with anyone who has one or who is considering starting a group. Come over and join the conversation in my Facebook group (of course), Women Who Thrive in Business
I’m Sam Dixon, founder of Thrive In Business – an experienced Marketing Coach & Consultant to ambitious businesswomen who want to launch, grow and scale their business with flexible marketing support. For a free 30 minute discovery call get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org
And if you’re looking for the support of like-minded women, come and join the conversation on my Facebook group Women Who Thrive in Business