Let’s talk about Facebook Group Strategy!
I had the amazing opportunity to be a guest expert on Liz Lockwood’s Podcast, Resilient + Inspired. We talked all about my love of Facebook groups and how having a strategy is key to your success in using them for your marketing funnel.
If you’d not a reader and would prefer to listen to the podcast, it’s down at the bottom of this post!
How I got started with Facebook groups and how it looked when I started to run my business
I honestly don’t remember how I first got started with Facebook Groups. It was one of things where you get on Facebook and you try everything, and I realized that groups were a nice place for meeting people. Keep in mind that this was back in the day, years ago, before the algorithm change of 2013.
It was different then, where you could actually join a group and it was literally a bunch of people with a common interest. Really culture-rich pods of community, which was nice!
And so I kept tabs on the groups that i liked, and I participated heavily. Not so much me running the show, but me being in them as a valuable, contributing member.
And when I started my business, I didn’t have my own group. I only had my email list and my list of groups that I would check into, with my own system so that I didn’t make myself crazy trying to be in all of them at once, and I made a lot of friends in all of them.
I ended up getting a lot of people responding to my emails, asking, “Where’s your group? Can I join your group? Why don’t you have a group?” and I was like, “I don’t have one!”
Groups aren’t what they used to be. They’re still there. And you can still find good quality ones to benefit from.
What Has Changed in Facebook Groups Since I First Started
Unfortunately, a lot of Facebook groups are the same thing as each other. Everyone says, “Oh you have a group, I have a group, I’ll join your group and you join my group and we’ll all join all of the other groups, too.”
So it’s the same people in all of them if you get stuck in that vacuum and don’t branch out.
That dilutes the culture that you’re aiming for.
If you’re running your own, you want certain people in there.
You want certain topics to come up. And it doesn’t work well when everyone is in every group.
We all have this problem, right? You’re in a hundred groups and before you know it, you’re in so many groups you can’t even keep track of them, and you feel the FOMO when you do check into them.
The admin has to control the culture of the group and it takes a while to cultivate it. You want your group to be filled with YOUR people, not just your peers who want to help boost your numbers.
You want to have actual people that you can truly, personally help. Just because your group is small doesn't mean it's insignificant.
[pullquote align=”normal”]Just because your group is small doesn’t mean it’s insignificant. [/pullquote]
Also, don’t get caught up in the metrics! Just because your group is small doesn’t mean it’s insignificant. If anything, you have the upper hand, because you can literally private message every member and have a coffee chat with every single one of them. They’re real people. They’re piping in. Keep it going. Those people matter, too.
I like that I can control my own presence online. Any post that I put online, I can legit say is part of my sales funnel. It’s me establishing myself as a contributor. I like that when you find the good groups, they end up on my bookmarks and I don’t rely on the Facebook algorithm to notify me when something new happens.
I can refer to that group for a particularly sticky topic that I benefit from.
That’s the key — to personally benefit from groups.
I know people will tell you the opposite, that you’re supposed to go in and be of service, but the problem is that that translates into “useless value posts” that don’t really resonate with anyone.
We want to hear about your personal journey and your own questions, because you’re ONE OF US. You’re not just a guru who’s popping in, out of the kindness of your heart, to help the little people and drop some advice and then leave and only share your real self with your 5 Figure Mastermind people.
Try your best to appreciate each group for what it is.
You have control over which groups you spend your time in. It’s easy to join, and it’s easy to leave. It’s okay to private message the admin. It’s okay to PM people (despite the control freaks who say “absolutely no PMing anyone in this group, ever.”
You’re mature. They’re mature. And if someone PMs you with a spammy message, mark it as spam and let them deal with being put in Facebook jail.
It’s more about the relationship building part than the hours and effort and number of posts. You have to get to know each person personally.
[pullquote align=”normal”]“You don’t have to be checked in to your Facebook group all day. In fact… don’t.” [/pullquote]
Tips/Strategy for Shift Your Facebook Group
Take a break. More is not better.
If you get a flat tire, you don’t just press harder on the gas. You get out and you fix it.
So if your group isn’t working, then don’t just keep doing what you’re doing if you’re not getting the results you wanted. Which I think is actually something that comes up a lot when I’m helping people fix their groups.
I ask people who are struggling, “What was your intention with the group?”
They often come back (and I love them for this, of course) with “I just want a really nice community where everyone is free to speak their mind and it feels safe” which is great. We do need that.
But at the same time, I’m going, “So why do you think that you haven’t made any sales off of this sisterhood community where your intention was to provide a platform for them to speak their minds and feel safe?”
Because the intention wasn’t to make any sales!
It was there to have people be happy, feel safe, share openly, and get free tips from you and feel loved, and they do all of the above.
So now what?
(And that’s your responsibility, as a business owner!)
You lead them to make the decision to buy from you.
A loving community can happen everywhere. That can happen at the coffee shop or in an Instagram pod or in a group board on Pinterest.
So if you have a group centered around what you sell and the transformation that you provide for your clients, then use that to create your content, so that it’s a loving community for people who are interested in working with you, and getting that transformation that you are eventually going to offer to them.
The Blasted Algorithm!
For the most part I don’t mind the algorithm. Facebook has good intentions when they put these things together. You don’t want your feed blowing up with all these ads.
So I purposely appreciate that, as a consumer myself, and I think that Facebook is still a good platform, despite what some people may say. I think you can also use the algorithm to your advantage.
What is algorithm friendly?
Well, then do more video!
(And suddenly your organic reach goes up!)
If you’re frustrated that your long ass post isn’t getting much organic reach because Facebook doesn’t like text, then turn it into a video.
People need to hear the same message over and over anyway, and people consume content in different ways.
For example, I’m one of those people who sighs and grunts when I see a good post in a group but it has the “See more” link at the bottom, and the post is SO DAMN LONG that it opens up a brand new tab in my browser because it just can’t even handle loading the long ass post in the same group discussion view.
But then there are people who read the whole thing and end up signing up for whatever it was at the bottom. People consume content differently and have different preferences. So spice it up with some variety and see what works for you.
You can get frustrated with Facebook if you let yourself.
You can get frustrated with how many black dots of old gum are on the sidewalk, if you let yourself.
Calm down. Be an adult. Figure out what you’re going to do.
Common Mis-Steps with Social Media Marketing
Being stuck in the “I’m not gonna post a single thing until i’ve got my plan in place.”
Social media is changing as you speak, read, breathe, and tie your shoes.
There’s no way to plan for it.
What’s more important is getting your own personality out there, and not overthinking it. Stop with the “I have to do all these other things before I can ever tell them about this wonderful gift I have.”
It’s silly. But it’s what we do.
Coaches get hung up on “I can’t allow myself to coach until I create an ebook and a webinar and email list and…” and really, all you have to do it get on there. Open your app. Go live. Talk to me about about something that’s so easy for you to talk about.
It doesn’t have to be nearly as complicated as people make it out to be.
Facebook Groups are Great for Introverts Who Are Empathic, Sensitive, Intuitive, and More.
The great thing for us quieter, more introverted, thoughtful types is that you can literally sit back and watch people talk in a Facebook group.
You can jump in when you want to. You don’t have to be the star. You can contribute in a way that feels comfortable.
And you can HELP! That’s what you wanted to do, right?
One person can post in a group, and although it says one thing, you probably have this feeling that it’s actually pointing toward another thing. Because we have the intuitive ability.
And if you bring it up with them in a reply with something super simple like “Good job on figuring this out. I’m actually wondering about…” and then you interact with them about the thing you know (as the expert in what you do) may actually be the underlying problem.
That makes them notice your engaging response (beyond the “I love that!!!” that most people default to). They benefit from your help. And they’ll probably friend request you or start noticing you more in the future.
That’s how influence works.
Your thoughtful character comes in handy with creating better connections than just overthinking how to create the “best” value post.
Just talk to people. Use your innate skills.
Before Making Your Own Group…
Engage in other groups. See how they work.
Watch how other admins engage and lead, because having your own group is a leadership position. You’re guiding the discussion and the transformation that they get by being part of your group.
You may not have experience with groups. You need to know what you like and what you don’t like.
Like what kind of people you want in your group and what kind of people you absolutely don’t want anywhere near your group.
It’s like getting certified to teach group fitness classes and never having taken one yourself. Or realizing later that you don’t even like group fitness classes, but now you’re stuck teaching one. You know it, they know it, and the group doesn’t last.
Or wanting to be a manager at a movie theater but you’ve never actually seen a movie, or interacted with employees, and you don’t know how it all works. Kind of awkward, right?
You’re the manager. You’re in a leadership position as the admin of your own Facebook Group.
And you’re not getting paid for it, so it had better be something you’re interested in doing, long-term, on a volunteer basis!
Your group is extremely personalized to your own needs and desires
There are plenty of groups that I don’t like. At all. I think they’re lame and fake. And yet they still have raving, loyal fans who buy everything the admin launches. Someone else may love the group that I hate and that’s totally okay. It’s very personal.
A group you think is fantastic may be one that I don’t think is all that great. It’s you deciding that you want a little bit of one group, but with my own vibe, and then I want that aspect of that group, and then combine them all so that your group really feels like you.
When something doesn't feel good, acknowledge it. Take a step back.
And then be honest: in your own world, without the weird spam and useless value posts, what kind of group would you have?
Be more strategic. Set your intentions for your group and stick to it. Don’t feel pressured to mimic what other groups are doing.
Why I made my group the way it was (and then closed it)
I’m active in a lot of other groups. I made the decision to not focus on the “feel good, safe sisterhood” vibe, knowing that I personally attract people from those sisterhood-types of groups and then I bring my own flavor to the relationship.
I don’t focus on the “you’re safe with me” aspect, because I think if you don’t feel safe with me then you're mature enough to not spend any more time around me than you have to. So that’s a given.
Plus, there are plenty of other places around the internet to feel safe and virtually hug and support one another.
I know it sounds mean.
It’s not like you come in and I beat you up or it’s like a stereotypical sorority hazing (no judgement on sororities! I hear they’re super safe and sisterly, too).
We can be friends and sisters and talk about random stuff in other groups where that vibe has been set. In my group, it was about the work and implementation.
And then that eventually led to me closing the group down, because it turns out that I go nuts when people don’t implement. And you’re more likely to implement when you’re paying for access to the training.
[pullquote align=”normal”]You’re allowed to make your group be totally different than what other people are doing with their groups. In fact, I recommend that, from the get-go. [/pullquote]
And when you’re ready to close it, then close it. 🙂 Purely because you want to and you know what you’re doing.
Know where your Facebook group fits into your marketing funnel.
That sounds more complicated than it is. All you need to know is how people get in there (via ads, or you promoting your group, or whatever) and what you want them to do once they’re in there.
You get people in there by making your call to action across all your platforms (your blog, your social media posts, etc.) say “Join my group.”
Then when they’re in there, you interact with them and then you can take them further down that sales funnel. You want them to respond, to invite friends, to get to know you as an expert, to get used to your teaching style, etc, so you tell them to do exactly those things.
Groups will probably change over the next year because Facebook is rolling out a ton of new features. Groups will be changing. It depends on how much you enjoy having your own space or interacting in other people’s spaces.
One perk of groups: tagging people. You get that personal connection, compared to your Facebook page. And it’s awkward to tag certain people when you’re in a group that isn’t yours.
Keep the group and nurture it, as long as it makes sense in your sales funnel and isn’t an extra thing where you’re unclear what the purpose and intended action is for each member. You can’t expect too much of your potential clients, telling them to to follow you everywhere.
Groups are one way they can connect with you, see what you’re like as the expert in your field, and make their decision to buy from you or hire you. It needs to make sense and there has to be a reason for you having a group in the first place.
One Giant “Group Instagram Feed”
You’ve seen them. Everyone’s dropping a beautiful picture of themselves, and some inspirational stuff, and paying no attention to what’s above or below their post.
It’s cool. Sometimes.
But when you get into a group that someone has been talking up and saying it’s so great and supportive and the best place to get the best tips, and then you join it and all it is is people talking to themselves, posting and running and not really engaging, it makes new members question why they joined.
They question why you keep saying your group is the shit, when it’s just one big weird RSS feed of members’ Instagram accounts and no interaction.
And deep down they question if all of your claims (your service, your expertise, and all that) can really live up to the hype.
Not good, eh?
Social Media: The Cultural Evolution
There are plenty of people with businesses. Whether you’re an online business or a brick and mortar, service based, or whatever.
Social media is what our culture is about, right now. Humans use the internet.
They’re not carefully sifting through their mailbox and postcard mailers and saying “Okay, well, who can help me with my business? I hope they bought the right list to send me something today.”
You have to modernize. Social media is how you do that.
It’s cheaper. It’s free. You can be yourself, you can put up content that your fans are interested in and would want to share with their friends (and sharing is super easy, so people do it!).
Let them tag each other and say “This is the girl I was telling you about!” because people are talking even when they’re not on their phones.
And then they DO pull out their phone, and say “Let me show you.”
And well, if you have something on social media then they have something to show — a picture of YOU, rather than your logo or another product placement. And they recognize that you’re a real person and someone who can help them.
Keep it personal and use social media to show the person behind the brand, rather than the features and benefits and awards.
They want to see the behind the scenes things so they can relate to you and they can say, “Yeah, she gets me, and I’m going to keep following.”
What I Wish I Had Known When I Started
Thanks to the internet, you can start a movement for FREE. Aside from the marketing methods and the expenses and stuff like that, we’re living in an age where people are starting movements.
You can directly do what you want to do and make an impact. Stop using the excuse that you don’t have enough power or budget, or reach, or you don’t know enough people.
Everything is possible with the internet and that’s a good thing. It’s how people learn, and it’s how people are expressing their desire to make a difference, so you may as well lead them. They need you.
Use your Facebook Groups to change lives and make your impact!