Ask any blogger or business owner the tools that they use to manage their business, and they’re bound to rave about one or a few things that they simply can’t live without. And while Kendra and I thought we already had our favorite tools/programs squared away, we’ve recently developed a new obsession. And that obsession is with Facebook groups. Seriously, if you haven’t been participating in Facebook groups, you will after reading this post. We guarantee it! Keep reading to find out what makes Facebook groups beneficial for business.
Your target audience at your fingertips
I’m convinced that there’s no better sign that you have narrowed your niche effectively than if you’ve found a Facebook group for it. If you have ever wished that you could be in a room full of your target audience, then a Facebook group is that room (albeit a virtual one). Seriously, there are Facebook groups for almost anything. There are support groups for new moms, groups for bloggers who use Squarespace, there’s even a group for Sephora addicts (please tell me we aren’t the only Sephora addicts on this side of the blogosphere).
With Instagram and Twitter, you can find your target audience if you know the right hashtags to search. Sometimes it can be difficult to find what those are, or the people you want to reach may not even be using hashtags. Facebook makes it so much easier to find multiple people who fit your target audience all in one place. And I would say that more people are savvy enough to join a group of people who share their interests rather than using a hashtag to stay connected (especially if your target audience is older).
Get the research or proof you need...instantly!
So we’ve established how awesome Facebook groups are because they provide you with an easy way to find your target audience. Another amazing perk of Facebook groups is that you have a place where you can conduct research or get feedback for the projects that you’re working on. Let’s say that my target audience is new moms. I want to find out if new moms will be interested in my breastfeeding guide. I could post in that Facebook group, “Hey! I’m Kleneice and I’m a new mom from Chicago, IL. I’m working on a guide that addresses the challenges new moms face with breastfeeding and how to overcome them. If this sounds like something that would be beneficial to you, would you mind liking this post? Thanks so much!” I’ve seen this method used over and over again. It’s very easy to conduct, and you make it easy for members to participate because all you’re asking them to do is like your post. If I didn’t have a project/product in mind, I could ask the group what would they say is the biggest challenge they’ve faced as new moms? I could then choose to address the challenge that is the most popular, or find a way to incorporate the top five.
Across the internet, you’ll see top bloggers emphasizing the importance of surveying your audience and creating products/services that they need. But who do you survey when you have a tiny social media following or a non-existent email list? I’m pretty sure you know where I’m headed with this! That’s right, survey the Facebook group(s) you’re in! Use that group to conduct the market research you need, and pretty soon everyone will be heading over to your blog for the help they need!
Look like the expert you are
Just because you don’t have thousands of followers on each of your social media platforms or ten thousand page views per month doesn’t mean that you don’t know what you’re talking about. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve found better information on small blogs than on the blogs whose owners make six figures per month. You can begin to showcase your expertise not only on your blog, but also inside your Facebook groups. This is best done in groups with 5,000 members or less. Anything above that and there are so many posts that you just can’t keep up with them all, and it will be tougher to be noticed.
So, whenever people ask questions pertaining to your area of expertise, share your answer! People will get used to seeing your name (again, in the larger groups not so much) and think, “Wow! This woman really knows what she’s talking about!” Then they’ll feel inclined to take a look at your profile and see what you’re all about.
Easy traffic to your blog posts
Before your product or service is ready for launch, you’ll want to direct your target audience to your blog so that they can get to know you and sign up for your mailing list. You can take it a step further than showing off your expertise with a simple answer. If you’ve written about the topic and you feel that your blog post would perfectly answer the question that another member is asking, in most Facebook groups it’s perfectly acceptable to comment with your blog post link (make sure that you don’t only post your link - explain briefly how it answers their question). Here's an example below:
What’s really cool is when you can direct group members to a blog post that has an opt-in of some sort, because then you can just about guarantee that you’ll gain a new subscriber!
Easy method to book clients/gain customers
When your product or service has launched, you’ll want to direct your target audience to that service/product, of course! Let’s say that you’re a part of a group for moms who are also aspiring entrepreneurs/bloggers. You see a fellow mom posting about how overwhelmed she is with working on her business, caring for her kids, and keeping her home neat and orderly, and she desperately wants a solution. You could then reply, “Hey momma! I know just how frustrating it can be to grow your blog, tend to the kids, and feel like you can’t keep a handle on your home. That’s why I designed a cleaning schedule that’s totally doable for us busy mommas! Just PM me for more information!”
You may be wondering why you should request a PM instead of just linking directly to your guide or ebook. Many groups have rules against linking directly to your landing page or product cart. This is what’s known as a hard sell. A PM works just fine because more often than not the original poster will message you, and if they take the time to do that, you have a pretty good chance of making the sell. Once again, I’ve seen this done over and over again. And the awesome thing that happens is more members will reply to your post and ask that you send the information to them or they will message you themselves. Never assume that the other members of your Facebook group are only looking for free solutions to their problems. If it is an issue that is really frustrating, hindering their progress, or something that they really want to learn, more often than not your audience will be willing to pay for the solution.
Traffic that goes beyond your website
Facebook is the most robust social media platform out there; there’s no denying that. Another reason why Facebook groups are so great is because they not only drive traffic to your website, but they can also drive traffic to your other social media platforms. There are Facebook groups whose sole purpose is to connect its members on Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, etc. Kendra and I have gotten many followers (genuine people who want to connect with us) who originally found us in a Facebook group! How awesome is that?
Takes the guesswork out of marketing
As a business owner, marketing and promotion ranks pretty high on the priority list (especially when you are first starting out). There’s no reason to turn away free promotion, which is exactly what you have available with (some) Facebook groups. Facebook groups allow you to promote your blog/product/service on designated days, and some even offer daily promo days. These promotional threads can also be for your social media accounts to help you grow your following. It’s always nice to return the favor and check out other members’ social media and blogs (and some groups may require that you do this).
Our recommended Facebook strategy
So how can you take all of this information and make it work for you? We still hold fast to the belief that you should pick no more than two Facebook groups that you are going to learn from and position yourself as an expert in (it’s really hard to look like an expert in 10 Facebook groups; who has all that time??). For the additional groups that you join, take advantage of the promotional days and be sure to share the love by visiting others' blogs as well. This is a strategy that we wish we would have implemented from the beginning, because it has proven to be immensely helpful.
An easy way that I keep track of the promotional days in each of the Facebook groups that I’m apart of is by setting reminders on my iPhone. I love the reminders feature because it’s simple and easy to use. And to think, I’d never used it before until I started joining Facebook groups! What I love about Reminders is that they literally will not go away until you acknowledge them (like you can say remind me in 5 minutes, in another hour, tomorrow, etc), and incomplete reminders will show up both on your iPhone and your computer (if you have a Mac). So, I create a reminder that is the title of the promotion thread, and beside it I label which Facebook group it’s from. This prevents me from having to check in all of my Facebook groups each day to find out which promotional days are going on. If the promo thread is daily, then I set my reminder for each day. If it’s weekly, I set my reminder for that particular day of the week. Here’s a look at what I mean:
So, what do you think? Have we convinced you to include Facebook groups in your social media strategy? What results have you gotten from Facebook groups? Let us know in the comments below! And don't forget to grab our list of the best Facebook groups to expand your reach!