Have you been toying with the idea of starting a Facebook group? Do you want to grow a tribe and reach your people? Or maybe you have a group but every time you post, you just hear crickets.
Growing a Facebook group and engaging your audience can seem daunting and even be a little intimidating. I mean, there are thousands of groups out there already, right?
But it doesn’t have to be hard. It can truly be one of the best moves you make for your blog or business. I know it was for me 🙂
A little background: I started my first Facebook group about a year ago as an add-on to a challenge that I was running at the time. Actually, the challenge is still running, but the group has morphed into something completely different than I had planned. And that’s okay! It started as a group specifically tailored to what I call the Hot Mess 5-Day Challenge. It’s a challenge for getting more productive and efficient in your day to day. Now, however, due to the response and input from the members, the group is specifically for bloggers to share their lives and blogging journeys.
The group started with one… me, and now has over 600 peeps and tons of engagement! I’m having tons of fun and I get so much satisfaction from being able to serve my audience.
It wasn’t all roses in the beginning though. It was a lot of trial and error and a LOT of silence. I’ve learned so much and can’t wait to share it all with you so that you can engage and grow a Facebook group too!
So if you’re ready to take the leap and grow a Facebook group, take these tips and implement them for a successful and engaged group. Let’s do this!
(This post may contain affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links and make a purchase, I’ll receive a small compensation.)
WHY YOU SHOULD START AND GROW A FACEBOOK GROUP
There are so many reasons to start a group, but first and foremost, you want to reach your audience. I mean actually reach them. Facebook is notorious for not showing your followers your posts on your business page, but they are great for showing your followers posts in your group. So that’s where you want to be.
Get to Know Your Tribe-
By having your own group, you get to build your tribe and talk directly to them and with them. You can have conversations and get to know how you can better serve them.
A group is great for market research. Listen to the questions that are being asked and the conversations that are happening. Then create your content around those questions and you will have struck gold. It’s what your audience wants and you are just answering the need.
By being active and present in your group, you become more accessible to your followers. They can quickly ask you a question, send you a comment, and feel more connected to you.
Be the Authority-
Administering your own group has the effect of positioning you as the authority in your niche. You will be the go-to person and will be viewed as the expert in your field.
Build your know-like-trust factor. Assuming that you are genuine and likable, you can easily build your know-like-trust factor just by being you and providing mad value.
By no means should your main goal be to promote your offers, but it is a nice benny. You have a captive audience in your group that know, like, and trust you. Why wouldn’t they take you up on your offers?
One of my favorite things about blogging in general and running a group specifically has been building relationships with my readers. I love getting to know them personally. And it’s absolutely awesome that I’ve developed some real friendships with them.
Most important, though, is that you get to help your audience. You have the opportunity and privilege of helping wherever there is a need. If someone posts a question in the group, you can help by giving your advice. Maybe they just need to vent about something. Be the ear that listens. It’s a fantastic feeling being able to help so many on a daily basis.
WHAT IF MY IDEA HAS ALREADY BEEN DONE?
You know what? It probably has been done. But it hasn’t been done by YOU. And nobody can do it like you can. Add your personality and your own unique style and flavor to the group to make it original.
HOW TO GROW A FACEBOOK GROUP
So you’ve got this great idea to start a group, but how do you get people to actually join?
- Write an accurate and compelling description of your group. What will you offer? What makes you different? Why should they want to join?What will be the value for members?
- Promote your compelling description in other Facebook groups where allowed. Lots of groups have special promo days where you can invite and promote your new group.
- Promote on your personal and business Facebook pages. Use the header space and link areas to link directly to your group.
- Promote on your blog or website. Include a call to action at the end of every blog post. Also, place a ribbon ad at the top of your page inviting visitors to join the group.
- Make a button for the group in your blog menu.
- Invite your email list to join your group.
- Include an invite to join in your optin confirmation and welcome emails.
- Pro tip- Get a custom URL for your group. I just did this myself, and it’s much nicer to say, “Come join us at LifeUnplannedCommunity.com,” rather than, “Come join us at www.facebook.com/groups/452215789325.
(You can grab your custom domain at NameCheap for a steal. I got mine for only about $10 for the entire year!)
RULES OF ENGAGEMENT FOR GROWING A FACEBOOK GROUP
If you belong to any Facebook groups, you’ve probably noticed that they have daily threads or theme days. Take a topic, ask a question, allow for promo, whatever, these daily threads are great for participation.
For example: Motivation Monday
Ask Me Anything
Blog Promo Day
Friday Free for All
Small Business Saturday
This is an example of actual threads I use in the Life Unplanned Community.
The key is to have a mix of general conversation starters, industry related threads, and promotional opportunities for the members.
(When you are first getting your group started, you will want to be the first to post a comment in the thread to get it rolling.)
Once your group starts to grow, schedule a monthly rotation of threads rather than weekly to keep it from getting stale. I’ve recently started doing this in the Life Unplanned Community and it’s been great for participation.
This may go against the grain, but… do not schedule your posts. Don’t use a scheduler like Post Planner or Hootsuit to schedule your posts in advance. Why? Because then you are not really in your group. People are smart, and if they’ve spent any time on Facebook at all, they know whether you are there or not.
Once your group grows, you can then consider using a scheduler, but in the meantime, be present and post your threads manually.
I personally do not feel compelled to respond to a prompt when I see that it’s come from an auto scheduler. But when I see a post that’s been done manually, I want to respond because I feel like my comment will be seen and appreciated.
If you want to have a group with any depth, post some substance. There are far too many groups that are all fluff. Promo groups, for instance, that don’t foster engagement among members and that don’t delve any deeper than a single post.
One of my recent posts that got a lot of interaction was titled What I Learned by Saying F@#$ It! In this example, I share a little bit about me and open the topic for discussion.
For my first six months of blogging, I did it on the dl. I didn’t feel supported or like it was a viable way to spend my time because I wasn’t fully monetized yet. I felt like I had to do it in secret before everyone got up for the day and after everyone was in bed when no one was looking. And I felt like I should have been cleaning the house, or running errands, or doing something for the kids. I felt that if my husband knew just how much time I was devoting to the blog, he’d think I was crazy.
So I waited. And secretly built my business.
Until I got fed up and said f@#$ it! I’d made my first $95 on the blog. I presented it to my spouse and from that point on I’ve blogged for the world to see.
Come to find out that he fully supports my endeavor. Why I would think differently says more about me than it does about him.
The truth is that I didn’t give myself the permission to believe that what I was doing was a viable way to spend my time. I had hang ups and insecurities about my chosen path.
Since coming out of the blogging closet, things have been much less stressful for me and my tribe is thriving.
As you continue on your blogging journey, remember that you are doing this for yourself and for your audience. You are contributing a valuable piece of yourself and your time to a viable and important cause. What you do is valuable and worth it!
If this story resonates with you, give me a “HECK YES!” in the comments below.
Keep It Real-
Be genuine and authentic. Your group members want to hear from YOU. The real you. Don’t be afraid to share and keep it real with your group. The more real you are, the more they will connect with you and the more you will continue to build the k-l-t factor.
At first, it can be scary to put yourself out there, especially when you aren’t getting much response. But it gets easier and your you-ness is what will make you stand out from the crowd 😉
Also, talk to your members like you are talking to a friend. Be informal. Use language that you actually use in real life. If you have a certain phrase that you throw around in real life, use it in your convos in the group too. Keep. It. Real.
Running polls in your group is a great exercise on many levels and has lots of benefits.
Use the polling function in FB to gather information for your next post, do some market research, get to know what your members are wanting.
For example, I ran a poll prior to writing this post to gauge if there was enough interest in the topic of Facebook groups. It looked something like this:
I’m wanting to gauge the interest in this topic for a future blog post.
Are you interested in learning how to start and manage an engaged Facebook group?
Also, what questions do you have about this topic?
As you can see, you can use this function to really include your audience in your process as well as get valuable info for content creation.
Help your group and share expert tips.
For example, I recently shared this tip in the group:
Omg. Have you ladies tried Peek? It gives you three free objective video user reviews of your website. I tried it yesterday, and let me tell you, it’s one thing to have your peers review your site and be gentle, and whole other thing to have a stranger be brutally honest. That being said, I would recommend you give it a try. I learned a few good things I can do to improve my website.
It was helpful info they may not have heard of before and it was appreciated. There was no gain for me other than to be helpful. I was not an affiliate or partner. Posts like this do very well because they show that you genuinely care about the betterment of your peeps.
DO NOT ALWAYS PROMOTE YOURSELF-
This tip deserves to be in all caps. I’ll say it again, too. Don’t always promote yourself. Just don’t do it.
Don’t be a slimeball and always try to get the next sale. People can sense a sale coming on a mile away. And they will run.
If sales are the only goal of your group, you will fail miserably.
You must have a genuine desire to build a tribe and to get to know your audience. You have to genuinely want to serve the needs of your followers.
That being said, you may want to promote your offers, and that’s totally acceptable and expected! Just don’t let that be the only thing you’re doing in the group. There has to be a balance of value and promo, with value always tipping the scale.
There you have it, my friend. This is how you grow a Facebook group. With this info under your belt, and if you really take the time to implement the ideas above, you will have excellent odds of having an engaged and growing Facebook group.
Remember your why, follow the rules of engagement, promote your group, and always, always be YOU.
You got this!
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And with all this talk about Facebook groups, I would be remiss if I didn’t invite you to join the Life Unplanned Community, where we talk about all things blogging and then some. Come be a part of this awesome community of bloggers, just like you, where we talk about our lives in general and share our blogging journeys.