~ by Haley Lynn Gray ~.
I got the bright idea a couple of years ago to start a Facebook group to help me grow my business. I thought, “Why not? All of the other business coaches are doing it”. However, I figured I’d do it a bit differently and march to the beat of my own drum.
Then I got on a webinar a couple of months later, during Sales School with Kendrick Shope. She mentioned that a Facebook group is a great vehicle to grow your business; I was totally hooked.
I’d be lying if I said that I haven’t made more than my fair share of mistakes and that I haven’t had my fair share of frustrations with building the Women’s Entrepreneur Network group on Facebook. But now it’s a dynamic, fun, ever-changing group.
Here are some things I learned while building my Facebook group:
1. Post content in the group regularly. 3-5 posts a day if no-one else is posting. You can post all kinds of things: funny videos, music videos, questions, other prompts, and more. But keep talking.
2. Invite your friends, but don’t add them to the group. What I mean is that you should send all of your friends a private message with an invitation to join the group, along with the link. Do not add your friends without their express permission. This tends to really annoy people and gets their tails in a twist.
3. Add a second Admin to your group as soon as possible. It is worth remembering that bad things can and do happen to Facebook accounts. If your account gets hacked, you want to have at least one friend who can let you back into the group once you re-create your ID. Otherwise you could be S-O-L.
4. Interact with people regularly. If they post, thank them for their post and comment on it. Interact with them. It can be very hard to get people to post quality content in your group, so encourage them and praise them for doing so. One of the mistakes I made early on was not always commenting on people’s posts. The more you engage people, the more they will be inclined to post. After a while, once you have people trained a bit, you won’t need to post and comment on everything, but it still builds loyalty if you do comment.
5. You need rules. YES! People will get upset that you have them. Those are probably the people you don’t want in your group anyway. A number of people have asked me how they’re supposed to get new business out of a group that doesn’t allow them to do drive-by posting. It works like this: You build relationships with people rather than broadcasting at them all the time. Try being a real, genuine human being. It’s amazing how well that works. (Crazy talk, I know)
6. Pay attention to who is asking to join the group, and make sure you don’t accept fake profiles. If someone posts something illegal, immoral, or unethical, they are out of there. The “Delete” and “Block” buttons are two of an Admin’s best friends.
7. Facebook Live in your group. This gives you a unique opportunity to engage with your followers. I recently took this one step further and upgraded Zoom to allow me to be able to do Facebook Live from my computer while I interview someone. (This requires Zoom Pro Plus Webinar 100, for a total cost of about $55 a month).
8. Schedule your content. Use social media scheduling tools like Buffer or MeetEdgar. You can post manually, but you can’t be active in the group 24/7. It’s a great source of fun, but you need to have time away from the computer.
9. Invite people to join your group from other social media platforms or pages – LinkedIn, Twitter, Webinar Thank-you pages, and more. Ask people to join your group from anywhere you can think of.
10. Run regular challenges. When you set up a formal program, like a challenge with activities and prompts for people to get involved, you get more more engagement and activity. The more value you deliver, the more people will want to be in the group. (Crazy idea, right?)
11. Set limits on how much time you spend in your group each day. I know that this is counterintuitive, but as things start to move along, you’ll be tempted to spend every waking moment in your group rather than doing other client-seeking activities. Limit your time there, and be mindful of how you are spending your time.
12. Make sure you regularly tell people what you do. People really do need to hear – often – what you do and how you can help them out. Don’t be shy about sharing quality content and occasionally pitching your and your business.
13. Swap out the group’s header files occasionally to keep things fun and engaging.
14. Post the group rules. You can post them in the group description. You can also create a pinned post with the rules and attach them to the header graphic, or put a short link (e.g. bitly) in the graphic, so that the group rules are easily found. No matter how many times you remind group members to read the rules, chances are many will ignore what you’ve posted, or they just won’t bother.
15. You may have to remove people from your group if they don’t follow the rules and just promote themselves all the time. That’s OK. If you have someone who only posts and never comments on anyone else’s posts, you may need to remove them. Don’t be afraid to remove someone who doesn’t fit in with the vision you have for your group.
16. As your group grows, get volunteers to help moderate and manage the group. I’ve seen some people spend a fortune on this, and to me, that does not make sense. Find ways to offer value to volunteers and create a community.
17. Build a repository of content and questions you can use in the group. You can also set it up so that there is a posting theme each day of the week. The more you prompt people to engage, and encourage them to step up, the better your results will be.
18. Be of service. Answer questions completely and honestly. One of my pet peeves is people who don’t fully answer questions, or people who tell others to private message them to get more information. Honestly, that sets up an atmosphere of distrust, and people don’t appreciate it.
Building a Facebook group doesn’t have to be difficult. It’s mostly a question of being of service and putting a significant amount of value into the group. Make sure that you take care of yourself and don’t get totally sucked into it!