Using Facebook groups to build your business

In my previous post we talked about how to use Facebook to market your business – concentrating on the free options (with the exception of your time). This led to some questions and discussions with clients about the best way to use Facebook groups so here’s my advice on how to get the most from them. Facebook groups can be a really great way to grow your business if you follow these tips.

  1. Follow the group rules – It seems obvious but it’s amazing how often people pay no attention to the group rules and are then surprised that their posts aren’t published or that they’re removed from the group. Most groups have published rules and guidelines on what’s allowed and what isn’t. Often you have to agree to these at the point you join the group but really do take time to read them through and follow them otherwise you are just going to annoy people, which achieves nothing.
  1. Ask the moderator for help – If you aren’t sure about something it’s fine to ask. Most moderators and group owners will come back to you with some tweaks or guidance on how you can use the group most effectively. Most are happy to help. Thank them for their time – it can be a thankless task running a good, clean, spam-free group and they may be more inclined to help you if you show that you appreciate that.
  1. Don’t go straight in with the sales pitch – Learn what the group is like before you post anything at all, and certainly don’t go in all guns blazing with the hard sell in your first post. Check out the other posts and see what’s hot and getting traction. Write an introductory post introducing yourself and your business (with link to your FB page or website) and how you’d like to interact with members.  Be useful and educational. Many groups won’t allow sales pitches at all and will be quick to spot a post that is really a thinly veiled pitch. Repeated posting of sales pitches is a good way to get yourself removed from a group.
  1. Interact rather than broadcast – Don’t just post your own stuff and nothing else. Instead try to answer other people’s questions, comment and give ideas on other posts. If you see a question pop up where you could offer some guidance or help, then take the time to offer it up. You will then buy the right to offer your business / paid solutions at a later date once you have established some credibility and goodwill with the group members.
  1. Consider your personal privacy settings – If you’re engaging in groups, it’s important you understand all the information you are sharing and how group members can view you and your network. This is a good time to check the privacy settings on your personal Facebook profile. You do not have to accept spurious friend requests from group members – they can like and follow your business page, they do not need to be friends with you.
  1. Don’t duplicate posts – Please don’t post the same thing over and over again – people will hate you and become blind to it. Post once and work on getting comments and engagements on that post in order to keep it relevant and active rather than repeat posting. Bear in mind too that it’s likely that people in one group you’re in may well also be members of another so tread carefully when posting the same core post to multiple groups. It’s a good idea to try and tailor your post to each specific group as much as you can.
  1. Vary the content you post – Change the tone of your posts. Ask questions. Post event links. Offer free resources. Publish links to blog topics. Run surveys or polls. Don’t just post the same old stuff time after time. Adding some variety and value will really help get some traction.
  1. Don’t just like stuff for the sake of it – Be true and honest about what resonates with you and interested you.  Don’t just like things and pages in the hope of getting likes back – this is a false statistic, and you don’t want a load of hangers on following you who aren’t interested in your business and have no intention of buying. Like what you really do value and like and the same will happen in return – and your group of followers will be more engaged, more interested and MUCH more likely to buy something. Also, remember that a like from you is effectively an endorsement so don’t like stuff unless you genuinely do like it otherwise you risk damaging your own brand credibility.
  1. Check the group quality – Keep an eye on which groups are working for you. Some just won’t be active enough or be the right target audience for you, if that’s the case just leave the group and move on. Being and active member of a small number of high value active groups is good news, wasting time posting and interacting with groups that aren’t right for you is not.
  1. Measure – Make sure you can track success like traffic to your website in Google Analytics so you can see when your Facebook activities are leading to a bump in traffic and conversions.  Make sure this is translating into follows / enquiries / sales /bookings otherwise it’s not worth carrying on – although Facebook group activity doesn’t cost you money, it does cost you time.
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