In 2015 we grew a Facebook group to 45,000+ members without spending money on advertising, then at the beginning of 2017 we shut it all down and started again.
You’ll see why coming up soon, but for now let me backtrack to where it all began.
I remember when we first launched our online business, the only people commenting on our blog were our parents and one weird uncle!
For some reason, my business partner (and wife) mistakenly thought that when you start your website, you instantly get access to an audience of people wanting to hear your every thought.
In reality, you have to EARN the right to that kind of audience.
The Interaction Leads To The Transaction
Accordingly to this study back in 2013 from the Online Marketing institute, that year it took 7-13+ touches to deliver a qualified lead.
Although I agree that it’s important to increase the number of interactions you have with people in your market, I also think the QUALITY of those touches should be something to think about as well.
For example, there’s a big difference between someone who reads a 10-minute blog post, vs someone who double taps an Instagram post.
We learnt this lesson very early on and decided to shop around to find the best ways to interact with people in our marketplace.
That was when we came across Facebook groups.
The Tale Of Two Groups
In fact, the reason we started a Facebook group was because the reach of our page was starting to drop significantly.
We launched the group in April, 2015 and within the first 3 months, it grew to over 5,000 members, many of which interacted on a daily basis.
By the end of 2016, the group had grown to over 30,000 members and consequently we increased revenue 4-fold as a result.
As the group continued to grow, we started to notice some chinks in the armor. More and more members were joining in an attempt to promote their own business, which is something that we didn’t want to have happened.
By the time we hit 45,000, the group had grown out of control and was no longer serving our business needs.
This led to us making a decision to reset the group with a whole new set of rules that would dissuade anyone from joining just to serve their needs instead of the needs of other members.
This guide is dedicated to the strategies we have used to successfully relaunch a group that has grown to 13,000+ members, many of which have now become our customers.
Now, because there is a lot to get through, I’m going to focus on the best strategies only. If you want to learn everything, I wrote this full guide to Facebook groups which covers it all.
Creating A Facebook Group For Your Business
It may seem rudimentary, but when you first start a Facebook group there are a number of things you have to get spot on from the beginning in order to grow in the right direction in the future.
There are 3 main things you have to keep in mind:
- Naming your group (I recommend either naming it around your brand or your niche)
- Creating a description and setting the rules
- Ask questions
Today I’m going to focus on the ask questions as these will play the biggest role moving forward.
When someone requests access to your group, you can set a maximum of 3 ask questions by visiting the group settings area.
When setting these questions, we’ve found the following to work the best:
- Do you agree to the rules of this group?
- What are you struggling with the most right now?
- Did you sign up and get your free download?
The first question is simple and is designed to get people acknowledging there are in fact rules they must abide by in order to become a member. You can read our rules here as an example of what to use for your group.
The second question is for market research.
As people join, it’s a great way to see what the majority of the market is struggling with, so you can tailor your content and offerings around these struggles.
The third is to build email leads and we supply a link to the opt in page in the actual question.
Now, here’s where the ask questions become important.
We ONLY accept requests of those who answer ALL 3 questions!
If someone isn’t willing to answer 3 simple questions, then for us it means they’re unlikely to contribute anything of real value to the group.
Applying this one strategy from the beginning, will ensure that your group attracts the right type of member and repels anyone looking to self promote.
How To Grow Your Facebook Group
Most people think that the bigger your group gets, the better it will become.
It’s not true and we saw this from first-hand experience.
The biggest factor to keep in mind when growing your group is this…
Someone should CHOOSE to join your group because they WANT to, not because they HAVE to.
Therefore it’s best to grow slowly and organically.
Here’s how you can do that:
- Place links to your group on your existing platforms (website, social profiles and in your emails)
- Create a custom domain that redirects to your group (visit screwcommunity.com and you’ll see what I mean)
- Focus on building engagement and Facebook will serve up your group in the Suggested Groups widget
Here’s what the suggested group widget looks like:
The more your group engages with each other, the more Facebook will serve your group up to other users on their platform.
In fact we do ZERO active advertising and our group grows by 100-200 per week.
Focus on engagement and your group will grow on it’s own.
Speaking of which…
How To Grow Engagement In Your Group
Fact: we spend less than 15 minutes a day in our Facebook group and yet it is the number 1 tool we have for marketing our business.
Your only objective with a group is to create discussion and get people talking to each other. The way you do that is to spark up a conversation with a simple 1-2 sentence post around topics people are interested in.
Here’s an example of a conversation sparker for our market (business owners):
That post took 30 seconds to write and yet created discussion in the group for an entire day.
Instead of spending 15 minutes writing a long post explaining how to do something, it’s easier to drop an interesting question and get people talking about it.
Here’s another example that had 93 comments:
Your goal isn’t to spend all day inside your group, it’s just to spark up interesting conversations and let other people talk about it.
How To Sell To Your Group Members
This is the one area that a lot of group admins get really wrong!
Instead of directly posting links to your products and services, there’s a better, less intrusive way of turning your members into customers.
For this, we use Facebook Live.
Whenever there is something we want to sell or promote, we come up with a valuable topic to teach on a Facebook live.
Then, to go along with the presentation, we create some kind of freebie.
During the Facebook live that’s hosted inside our group, we mention a link to the freebie both in the description and during the presentation.
If someone wants to get the freebie, they have to enter their name and email address. From there we use other strategies to promote or sell a relevant offer.
What you should be taking away from this is that it’s best to NEVER mention any of your products at all inside your group. Instead, try focusing on providing as much value as you can during a Facebook live and anyone who is interested in more will get the freebie and then be exposed to your offer.
As a simple rule of thumb, you should NEVER sell directly to your group members. It leaves a sour taste in their mouth and they will stop trusting you in the future.
The Future IS Facebook Groups
If there is one thing I want you to take away from this guide it’s this:
Facebook groups are here to stay.
So-much-so that Facebook has decided to use the word “community” in their mission statement:
“Founded in 2004, Facebook’s mission is to give people the power to build community and bring the world closer together. People use Facebook to stay connected with friends and family, to discover what’s going on in the world, and to share and express what matters to them.”
We’ve also noticed a number of recent additions to the group platform including:
- The ability to group posts into topics
- You can now set announcements to further interact with your members
- You can create a welcome post that tags in any newly accepted members
We feel this is just the beginning and that Facebook is planning to continue releasing more tools to the group platform.
If building an online audience is important to your business, then this wave is something you’re not going to miss out on.