Owner of The Women 360.
If you’re a Facebook user, chances are, you’re in at least one Facebook group. Facebook groups are popular. In 2021, a joint study conducted by The Governance Lab at NYU and Facebook’s Community Partnerships team was published. The study found that “1.8 billion people use Facebook Groups every month.”
Additionally, the report found that people “can experience a strong sense of community from membership in such groups despite the lack of physical proximity.” As a business owner who runs two Facebook groups (one for my entrepreneurship coaching and training business and another for my wine club business), I can attest to that finding.
If you’re a business owner, Facebook groups can be a powerful tool for community-building among your target customer base, and by extension, for growing your business. Here are five strategies you should use as you build and maintain a Facebook group for your business.
1. Decide Whether Or Not You Want To Focus On Your Exact Market
In my experience, there are two general approaches for building a member base for your Facebook group. The first is focusing on your exact market. For example, if you’re a photographer, you can center your Facebook group on all things photography. The second approach is focusing on a niche that’s not a key part of your business, but that’s a common activity that different people are interested in, such as reading.
I’ve used both of these approaches. In my Facebook group that’s tied to my core business, the members, who are women entrepreneurs, have the same mission—to run thriving businesses of their own. They want to exchange advice, and if they want more support, they can turn to my business. The pathway from member to customer is more direct.
With the second approach, the pathway from member to customer is indirect. My Facebook group for my wine club is one I started as a way to cultivate leads for my mortgage lending business, but that wine club has since turned into a business of its own. Even nowadays, however, the wine club Facebook group is a way for local community members to bond over a common interest and make friends. They get to know me as well in the process, and if they need my entrepreneurship coaching or mortgage lending services, they know they can ask me.
Most business owners will find they’ll earn a higher and faster ROI if they center their Facebook groups around their target markets, but the approach you should take depends on your specific situation. You can also take both approaches if you wish.
2. Educate, Entertain And Motivate Consistently With Your Posts
The key to running a thriving Facebook group is to educate, entertain and motivate your members consistently.
It’s safe to say that the majority of people scroll through Facebook to be entertained. Find and share entertaining topics that are relevant to your group, such as funny memes and videos and “what happened to me today” stories. To educate people, identify content that you think your audience can learn from and apply, such as news articles focused on your industry. And as for motivating your members, you can’t go wrong with motivational quotes and stories.
As long as the material isn’t negative or inappropriate, it should be safe to use. I personally avoid using political and religious content and recommend the same for other business owners (unless they run a group that’s political or religious in nature).
Come up with a posting schedule and stick to it. If you don’t post consistently, you risk members getting bored and leaving the group.
3. Encourage Conversations And Interactions
As you post, encourage conversations and interactions. Try to help members get to know each other. For instance, every week, you can post the names of the new members who have joined and encourage everyone to comment welcoming them.
Take that approach with your entertaining, educational and motivational posts, too. For example, if you post a motivational quote, you can ask your members a question: “Has your life experience proven this quote to be true?” You should also communicate to your members that as long as they follow your group’s posting guidelines, they can post questions and interesting content as well.
Get involved in conversations as much as possible—it builds your trust and authority in the eyes of your members. Even a simple “Thank you for sharing!” in response to someone’s comment can go a long way. The magic happens when people interact with each other—and don’t limit that magic to the Facebook group itself! Organize virtual and in-person events, such as webinars, speaker series or fun outings.
4. Prioritize Giving, Not Taking
Avoid explicitly selling your company’s products or services in your Facebook group.
You can use the 80-20 rule for this (although I like to keep it to 90-10 in my groups). You can explicitly sell your company’s products or services 20% (or 10%) of the time. The rest of the time, focus on giving to your group’s members. When you provide value without asking for anything in return, people will feel more comfortable around you and more drawn to you. Then, when you do decide to sell explicitly, they will be more likely to be interested in your paid offerings.
As part of giving to your members, you should also provide them opportunities to share about themselves and market their own businesses, such as letting them comment about their business under a designated post every Monday or even featuring members and their businesses as a way to encourage engagement. As members comment and learn more about them, you can identify potential opportunities to market your company to them.
5. Set Rules And Enforce Them—And Consider Getting Help For Group Moderation
I briefly mentioned guidelines earlier, but I can’t stress enough how important it is that you have rules for your Facebook group and enforce them. Enforcing the rules doesn’t necessarily mean you should remove someone from the group (unless, of course, they said something inappropriate, abusive, etc.). Instead, you can directly message a user and gently remind them about the rules.
Running a Facebook group can be extremely time-consuming. If you’re in a position to do so, consider paying someone to help you with comment moderation and other tasks, such as member approvals.
With good moderation and good conversations, your Facebook group will be well on its way to becoming one of the biggest drivers of revenue for your business.
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