Mastering Facebook Groups
One of the best kept secrets in marketing these days is the power of a Facebook Group. A Facebook group is so important to the business model that I teach and believe in, this topic may be one of the most important issues in my arsenal of coaching new businesses.
The idea of a Facebook group encompasses almost everything I talk about when it comes to building an audience for your brand. It is such a convenient way to sequester your following in one common place. Everyone's on Facebook! Everyone knows what a Facebook group is. They are free and very easy to set up, and there really is no better forum to get everybody together in.
In fact, there are some businesses now that rely heavily on a Facebook group alone for their full revenue, believe it or not. While I don't think it's always a good idea to “put all of your eggs in one basket” like that, because you should have other ways of reaching out to people and multiple ways of creating revenue streams - but I can tell you that The Facebook group is very important to the business model I believe in.
Facebook groups give you the ability to make a private club that requires people to apply to be part of. Just that concept alone creates some sense of importance or value that is inherent to Facebook groups. You can even require members to answer a question or two before they are allowed in. You would only implement that if it fits your business strategy, but the option is there. I use that principle for one of my software focused Facebook groups. Since I only allow members who have purchased the software, I require them to provide their email address as “proof of purchase” before I approve their entry.
Making a Facebook group only takes a few minutes. There are several links that take you there but the most obvious is the link at the very top of your Facebook feed, where it says CREATE.
You want to name your group something that is searchable. So if your group is about dog training, you want some form of that phrase in your group name. Making it ambiguous will make it difficult for new members to find you when searching for groups of interest.
When you first start, you need to manually add at least one person you know to be in the group. You can't just add yourself. You can add your spouse, significant other your best friend or whoever can help you as a friend on Facebook to be part of this group.
Then you can decide if it's going to be private or not. CLOSED is the most common choice (rather than PUBLIC or SECRET). So, you're probably going to want a closed group.
There are a lot of ways to make membership websites with a lot of expensive membership tools you can buy, but basically that's what you're doing when you're using Facebook's platform (for free) to create a membership. And it's in that group you can post all kinds of things to including articles, videos, images, links and anything else that you can put on Facebook, you can put in a group.
After filling out the form. Your group will be created. Here are some things you’ll want to do:
- Upload an engaging image. Your group’s cover image needs to be appropriate for your niche or topic and engaging to look out. An attractive cover image will make your group more visually appealing. You can create a perfect cover image with a platform like Canva, which has built-in Facebook Cover templates. Make sure your image is something your niche would recognize and compel them to join. You may even want to color coordinate it with your main website’s theme. Perhaps add your logo as well.
- Make a detailed description. Users who find your group through a Facebook search will see what your group is all about. Even though a Facebook group is closed, it still shows publicly as a listing when searched. Make sure you explain what the group is about and why it exists and whom it is for.
- Use Tags. Since groups are searchable in Facebook, make sure you tag your group with appropriate ones. Set these as keywords that describe your group. For example, if you have a blog about dog training, you might use your tags like “dog training,” “dog obedience,” “teaching your dog.” Etc. Facebook will let you know if your tag is allowed as it will appear when you begin to type the first few letters. You may need to edit or modify the phrase to make a valid tag.
- Use a Pinned Post. You can make a post in your group that pins to the top so that it is always “stuck” at the top of the group’s page. This is a great way to provide welcome information, maybe some rules about posting and even another opportunity for a link to your main website or blog. When people join it will greet them and give them an idea of what the group is about.It is a good idea to establish some guidelines for conduct that help govern the conversation. Help people know what they can and cannot say. Remember, it’s a social network and sometimes people need to be reminded to be considerate.
Choose a URL - Another thing you can do is go to the “MORE” menu and then EDIT GROUP SETTINGS. Facebook gives you a URL (link) to your Facebook group – but you can edit that to be something more sensible rather than the default, which is just a long number. This will provide you with an easy-to-read link to give people when you want to invite them to join your group. Note that once your group grows to 5,000 members, you can't change that link. Use this link in your email signature, blog post or other places where providing a link is acceptable behavior.
The next thing to do is to start posting in your group (even though no one is there yet). That way, when people join, they will have content to engage with and hopefully start adding to the conversation.
Ask questions and make posts that invite feedback and input. A Facebook group is a lot like a party…the host needs to help “break the ice”.
As your group grows, you may find certain members are more active or even more helpful to other members. You may consider asking them to act as moderators. You can assign roles for your members by clicking the MEMBERS link in the menu list to the left. The 3 dots next to each member’s name gives you a context menu where you can assign options to individuals:
- Make admin - This gives the user the same privileges you have – be careful.
- Make moderator – Great for active, trust-worthy and helpful members that want to help you oversee the group.
- Remove from the Group – For members that need to go away (this happens, sadly)
- Mute Member – For members that can stay but should be allowed to participate.
A Facebook group one of the most important things you can have in your Arsenal of marketing tools. Start posting your content in your Facebook group with links to your articles on your blog or your website; you post links to your YouTube videos or put the video in the group itself. Link to products that you're promoting. This is a captive audience that has already shown great interest in your content and being part of your audience, so that makes all kinds of sense to use Facebook this way.
Let’s back up a little bit. What if you only have one person and that is your best friend. How do you get people in your group? The same way you're going to grow your audience and get traffic to your website. Promote it. Share it on your Facebook feed, link to it from your blog posts and articles. Put it into your YouTube descriptions. Tweet about it. And certainly, make it easy for your website visitors to find on every page.
Getting traffic to a Facebook group can be much easier than getting traffic to a website because people know what they are, they are free to join and if it's a niche they are interested in, you can entice them with something like you would entice them to go to a landing page.
“Join my Facebook group everybody gets access to my free book or my free video course….”
People also have a way of finding groups because people search for things and Facebook also a search engine. So if you're in a niche that people are searching for… and remember our market research teaches us to go after niche where there's a lot of activity… people are just going to find your Facebook group my searching for keywords and the name of your group. This is why the name of your group needs to be something that somebody would in a search.
Facebook is a social platform and people share things. That means if someone really likes the group and they've got friends that would like it, they're going to share that. They're going to tell others about it and you can invite them to do so.
You should know the people you want to have as part of your audience If you have done your research correctly, you know what they like, what they need, how they talk and what they are looking for. Your target audience is made up of people who respond to your content and help
Make sure you give them good reasons to stay in that audience, and your community will grow beyond your control.
But a Facebook group introduces the social aspect to your following that a blog post or email can’t. It creates a community of like-minded people that can share with each other – not just you. That will create goodwill, trust and loyalty in your audience and for your brand.
- Greg Hughes
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Greg Hughes started experimenting with marketing on the Internet in February of 1996 and has been making a living online since 2001. Greg has helped tens of thousands of small businesses and entrepreneurs create their online presence and assisted them in setting up successful ventures on the web. Some of his clients are the now famous "gurus" you see making tens of thousands of dollars in monthly revenue online.
His expertise in the technical side of Internet Marketing comes from nearly two decades in the web hosting and web design software industry. In 2009, Greg authored the book The Snowball Factor and has subsequently created countless resources, articles, video training courses including the Fanbase Blueprint, The 5 Step Marketing System, Best Kept Secrets of SEO, How to Zero In On A Hungry Audience, How to Create and Sell Digital Products Online and Social Media Blueprint. As the founder of DotComClassroom, Greg provides the resources and training for assisting Internet entrepreneurs with training for creating successful businesses online.