Growing an audience using Groups on Facebook is one of the few organic roads left open to small businesses to make an impact and extend reach. But the answer isn’t always about starting up your own group. Are often than not, it’s about using the groups that are already there. So how exactly do you grow your audience in other people’s groups?
- You ask questions in the group that are appropriate to the group’s topic
- You answer questions in the group out of your own expertise
- You share and provide your own content to the group that brings real value to its members and gives you an opportunity to retarget group members with ads
First, let’s start by picking the right groups in the first place.
Which Groups should I join?
First up, groups about business or local business network groups are practically useless when it comes to finding new clients or customers. They are usually started by other consultants and business owners who started them to position themselves as a business consultant. Unless you’re good mates with the person who started the group, you’re probably not going to have much of a good time of hauling in new business.
The kinds of groups that work best for you will be those that are formed around a local area or a specific interest that you work in. However, be warned, if you’re selling activewear and gym clothing, the local Fitness & Health group on Facebook was likely set up by someone who has some vested interest in this niche themselves. They may be another activewear store or personal trainer. And they’re not going to be in love with you trawling their members for new business that will be directed to you and not them. Just join the group, take a look around. Get to know the themes, the topics, the players. Spend a month doing nothing but reading and reacting (liking and loving) to what is being posted. It’s not your time to shine just yet. Your job at this stage isn’t to post, spam or promote, it’s just to read and learn.While you’re doing this with one group, you’re also doing the same thing with multiple local, interest or activity groups that could have members that could one day become your clients. Remember though, you are not posting anything yet. You’re just reading and watching.
Ask questions that match the group topic
This may seem obvious, but you need to be on-topic when you’re in someone else’s group. Being in a DIY Carpentry & Handyman group and posting about how amazing this new weight loss supplement is, will get you banned sooner than you can spell I-s-a-g-e-n-i-x. It will also make you look like a tosser. You wouldn’t turn to your friend’s party just to go from person to person asking them to sign up for your new network marketing system without expecting someone to ask you to leave. So respect the space, consider the conversations already taking place, and if you want to join in, do it on their terms, not yours.
You become part of a community by being a decent neighbour. You get invited to more parties by being a good guest. Not by walking into a place and continually yelling “Hey you! Buy my stuff!
And this means that you are going to have to expect that working with groups is a long burn to business growth. This is not advertising. This is community participation that requires strategy, purpose and a lot of patience. Building rapport, trust and a reputation is a marathon, not a sprint
Answer questions from your own expertise or experience
Every group has a know-it-all, a clown, a pessimist, the superhero and the guide. Who you choose to be will depend on what you want to get out of the group.
The know-it-all always has an answer and speaks in absolutes. They are fans of saying things like “the only way” or “the correct way” or “with all due respect.” They are not in the group to help anyone, they’re in the group to feel good about themselves. Despite how helpful they appear to be, people just don’t react to, or comment on their answers. That’s because everyone knows that the know-it-all must have the last word and, well… knows it all!
The clown is the one always cracking jokes, finding the innuendo in every post and generally trying hard to make everyone like them. The trouble is that no one trusts them with anything important and certainly doesn’t trust them to provide answers to problems they might be encountering. The clown, through their obsession with being liked essentially, dooms themselves to being ineffective in the group.
The pessimist is the one who tends to make comments such as “that’s typical of this government” or “Facebook doesn’t care about people” or “You won’t get anywhere because that’s the way it is.” This is one of the most destructive people in any group because they don’t have any intention of participating in the group or helping anyone with anything, since they have a single-minded agenda, to get confirmation from everyone else that their opinion about how hardly-done-by they are, is valid.
The superhero, at first, appears to be the star of the group. In fact, they may even appear to be the person running the group. They certainly seem to the most helpful, always offering to help people, point them to the right place or begin a cheerleader to almost everyone who is posting, The trouble is that this busy-bee is completely derailed by the pessimist. The sad, whinging, whining pessimist says nothing that the superhero can help with. So when pessimists start popping up everywhere, the superhero either turns in to a know-it-all or they disappear altogether.
The guide is a consistent, yet calm voice that answers only the posts that they can genuinely assist with. They’re not interested in what the pessimist has to say, and likely doesn’t even notice their posts or responses. They also skip over the superhero’s frantic attempts to be applauded by quietly scanning the group for only the posts and questions that they can genuinely assist with. This means that the guide can often disappear from the group for hours, days, even weeks. They are around. They are just waiting for the right questions to be asked that contain something that touches on their area of expertise.
It probably comes as no surprise that the most effective conversions from group participant to client, tend to occur with the guide.
Sharing relevant content that can be tracked and retargeted.
While there is no advertising placement on Facebook for Groups, as yet, there is a workaround that allows you to target people in a specific group with ads. And these people will be much better qualified than if you were able to put an ad in a group because this workaround targets only those group members who have demonstrated that they are interested in what you are doing.
But first, you have to create a good piece of video content of at least 1 minute in length. This video can be about nearly anything that s relevant to the topic or location that the group is about. It can be a story about something of local interest. It can be about a topic close to what your business does. But it has to be organic content, not an ad, not a promotion, just something that is of potential interest to people in this group. And, to be effective, it has to be posted only in this one group.
The trick here is that you are uploading video content that will only be viewed by people in this group who have watched enough of the video to show that they are genuinely interested in what your video contained. And once they have shown that interest they can be targeted in an ad elsewhere on Facebook
Growing an audience is a marathon, not a sprint.
For every overnight group or page success story, there are thousands who have had to grow slowly, but surely, over time. Quick successes in Facebook are the exception, not the rule. While you might have a killer tactic that you believe will deliver tonnes of new clients for you in a short amount of time, it pays to have a strategy that can kick in to grow your audience over time, just in case your killer tactic fails to fire.
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