Facebook groups are an asset to any business. A group isn’t required but they are incredibly helpful in taking your relationship with your audience to the next level. Groups are an intimate space where you can be real with your audience and create a true community, not only between you and your audience but between audience members as well. For example, the Millennial Money Man group has begun having meetups that have been initiated within the group even when Bobby himself doesn’t attend.
We have leveraged Facebook groups for our individual businesses and also for Laptop Empires. The cultures of each group are different and are reflections of our own personalities and businesses. The Laptop Empires group is a combination of both of our styles.
Your Facebook group members will become a core focus within your audience, and will be the people most likely to feel a personal connection to you and will be most likely to purchase your projects. This personal connection develops through their access to you and through the “next-level” content and personal stories you will share with them in the group.
While the benefits are endless, the focus of today’s post is to be a practical guide to help you get started and follow best practices for Facebook groups.
Level of Involvement
When initially launching a new Facebook group, the level of involvement required will be high. You will need to engage within the group regularly and initiate the conversations to set the tone of the group. You will need to engage on threads started by group members and like or comment on replies. This will require daily effort, although it is not a very time-consuming activity.
Once a group is more established and has a larger, more engaged audience your involvement will be required less. In the Millennial Money Man group, there are nearly 10,000 members and Bobby no longer needs to engage daily. The group is active on its own and Bobby can interject his thoughts periodically with the group likely not noticing any gap in his participation.
Regardless of how many other group members are engaging in the group, it is always important for you to participate and be seen in your group. Start topics, like comments, reply to threads, etc.
Some group owners have huge memberships and rarely engage personally until they have something to sell. This is likely much less effective for them because although they own the group, they are not present and are not a regular part of the conversation.
Know When To Start
It’s important that you don’t start a group until you know that you can get a good number of members to join at launch. It is not ideal to start a group and have a limited number of participants. Engagement will suffer as a result and the level of effort to maintain the group will be higher as your own input will be required more often. Not having an audience will also negatively impact you when it’s time to sell or announce new offerings, etc.
Wait until you have a large enough audience that you can convert it to group membership before starting.
For example, when Bobby launched the Millennial Money Man Facebook group, he was able to grow to 1,000 group members within the first week. He announced the launch of the group through email blasts and blog announcements, so the audience was there from the day of launch.
This strategy of growing your audience first is key. If your blog or email audience isn’t large enough to support a good Facebook group launch yet, focus on growing your audience first.
We recommend leveraging paid traffic to support growing your blog audience and email list. Listen to Podcast Episode 32: Is Paying for Traffic Cheating here for our tips.
Establish Expectations, Culture , and Tone
Set the tone of the group from the beginning and demonstrate what the tone of the group should be like. You don’t have to set harsh ground rules, but you can establish the culture through the way you contribute to the group.
When new people join your group, they won’t know what to do. They will look to you to see how the group works. If you want a positive group, set that tone through the way you interact and support people and by the topics you support.
The cultures of the Millennial Money Man group and the Laptop Empires group are somewhat different. There are some similarities. Both are positive environments with a lot of GIFs because that is the way we like to interact.
The Millennial Money Man community has a lot of threads with specific scenarios members are facing with requests for advice and support. It’s a good resource for people to seek out different ideas and opinions about their situations.
The Laptop Empires group is a little different because all of the group members are there because they have taken one of our courses. This means there are fewer posts asking specifically for information because everyone already has access to the information in the courses. The posts are more about troubleshooting challenges, asking for clarification about topics, asking for support, etc.
Both groups celebrate the wins of the members. With Millennial Money Man there are debt payoff stories and money milestones reached and with Laptop Empires there are posts about an ad performing well or a new client landed. We love celebrating wins, and it’s awesome to see someone post a win and have 100+ awesome GIFs to celebrate.
While having open dialogue and differing opinions is key to a highly engaged group, you should be firm about removing people from the group who are not engaging correctly or following the group rules.
You have to set the expectation that you will ban users when necessary and follow through with it when necessary.
As mentioned earlier, the group takes on the personality you present. If you allow negativity and insults without punishment, the group will become that. If you are trying to create a positive and supportive community, ban people who don’t support that even if they are big contributors to the group.
You can use discretion on whether or not to offer warnings to individuals first, but our approach is to remove people who can’t follow the rules.
We had long discussions about our goals for our community before launching it. Like any business decision, you need to evaluate WHY you are doing it. For us, our groups are about offering support, building community, having deeper relationships with our audience on a more personal level, and having an engaged group of people who are interested in the products and services we offer now or will offer in the future.
Your ‘why’ will guide the type of content you share and the way you engage with the group as well as the effort you put into it.
Show up every day. Engage with your people by interacting in the comments and starting conversation topics regularly.
Themed days are a great way to help with daily posting. The consistency will help you to develop topic ideas and will also help group members learn exactly what they can expect from you every day.
If you don’t do this, you risk not being associated as the face of the group or even worse, the group dying altogether.
This can take a lot of time, but if you are just showing up periodically for the group, it won’t work long term.
Be Yourself and Get Personal
Share insights into your real life by posting about personal topics in the group, the highs, and the lows. Letting people see who you really create a stronger connection with the audience and creates a more vulnerable environment from everyone.
When you go deeper, others will feel comfortable to do the same.
Give Special Access To You/Content
Group members can truly become the biggest fans of you and your work due to the access they have to you on a personal level.
Give them access to you and your content that they can’t get elsewhere. Some ideas are special content not available on your blog, swag like tee shirts or mugs, challenges, etc. This is about taking your messaging to the next level, not just sharing your latest blog post.
Consider giving away something within your group that is so valuable that you could sell it. Maybe it’s a live training on a topic that is of interest to your audience.
Use Entrance Questions
Be a little bit selective about who joins your group. We recommend using entrance questions. A few good options to consider are:
- Ask about how they found out about the group. This helps with identifying which traffic sources are working for you.
- Ask a fun question to understand their personality and sense of humor.
- Ask what they need help with from the group so that you can get ideas for content to create for the group.
- Ask if they would like a freebie (training, guide, etc.) and ask for their email to send it to them. This is a great free way to use your group to build your email list as well.
How to get people to join your Facebook group
Go to Google Analytics and find your top 10 highest performing blog posts and add a call to action to join your Facebook group there. It’s preferable that the call to action is near the top of the page for the highest conversion.
Take other existing sources and filter them to the group. Think about your email welcome series for new subscribers, social media accounts, etc.
You can include a link to join your group on the “thank you” screen after someone signs up for your email list. Another great option is when someone signs up for a freebie to subscribe to your email list, don’t include the link to the Facebook group in the email with the freebie, but send it 12 minutes later saying, “Thank you for downloading X. Join my free Facebook group here.”
Your highest email open rate is on day one, so if you send that second email the same day only a few minutes later the likelihood of someone opening it and joining is much higher than if you do it later.
As with many of our guides, we ultimately recommend that you focus on finding people who need your help and helping them. A Facebook group is a great way to do that. Be a good human being and focus on providing value, and you will do well.