First things first: I have never run my own Facebook group for business.

If having read that sentence you’re about to click off this page, bear with me! The ideas and observations I’m about to share here may not be based on experience of running a Facebook group myself, but they are a result of:

  • 5 years of group membership of very successful paid and unpaid groups
  • 4 years working with business owners who use groups (very successfully) to help grow their businesses

The first paid Facebook group I ever joined was back in 2014. It was part of a membership site, and my first foray into exploring self employment and doing things a little differently. It had a deep impact on me and the way I thought. I left my job in 2015 to set up my business, and being part of that community had a real impact on my decision to make that leap.

I then joined a truly brilliant group in 2016, which I am still a member of now. Being part of that group has taught me a huge amount about what a successful Facebook group looks like – and the amount of hard work and dedication needed to pull it off.

Over the past 4 years I’ve worked with a number of online business owners who run Facebook groups as part of their marketing, online courses and membership sites.

So what have I learned?

 

How to organise and run your Facebook group

Many online business owners will use a free Facebook group to share free content, with the intention of using this as a funnel to get members to sign up for a paid product or service. Paid groups are often used as part of a membership, course or online coaching package.

Whether you decide to go for a free or paid group, or both, will depend on your business model and what you are trying to achieve.

So make sure you’re really clear about:

  • Why you want to start a Facebook group
  • How a Facebook group fits in with your business model and goals
  • What you want to get out of running a group
  • How much time you have (and want) to invest

When to hire someone

It’s likely that when you start you’ll be doing everything yourself. And, although later on you might be in a position to take on moderators or hire someone to help, you will always need to be the primary presence in your group. Because your members are there to talk to and listen to YOU, not your VA! Running a successful Facebook group is a huge commitment – it will take energy, perseverance and creativity, and a lot of your time.

Having said that, there are things that you can pay someone to do, once your group grows and you have the budget to pay someone. You might have a VA schedule your evergreen content, post weekly or daily inspirational memes, and post more transactional stuff like the dates of group calls, or reminders for weekly challenges.

All this content should be seen to be coming from you, though, so you will need to give this person access to your Facebook account (you can do this via LastPass if you don’t want them to know your password) or have them use a scheduling tool such as SmarterQueue.

 

Use group members as moderators

When your group grows large enough to need moderators, consider using trusted group members to fill these roles. Ideally these should be people who know a lot about the topic and about your business, so while they will be posting and commenting as themselves, they will be in a good position to help your other members, and will be aligned with your brand ethos and business aims. You might want to pay your moderators directly, or offer some other incentive such as free or discounted membership.

 

How to create engagement

Be present

Be present in your group, posting quality content and engaging with your members as often as possible – but ideally at least twice a day. As a member no one wants to take the time to post or comment on something – and get crickets.

 

Ask questions

Ask you members questions that are relevant to your topic and aligned with your business goals. Make them relevant*, focused on your audience and (depending on your aim) either quick and easy to answer, or thought provoking enough to elicit some interesting responses and start a worthwhile conversation.

* This rule was made to be broken! One group I’m in posts a random question once a week – the questions are varied and about the members’ lives rather than the group aims, but the engagement levels are really high. People like talking about themselves, and it helps create a sense of camaraderie in the group (which is a great achievement when there are over 10K members!).

 

Listen to your members

Let your members guide you in what content you are putting out. Ask for their opinions. Don’t be afraid to hold up your hands and say ‘I can see that this didn’t work so well, so what out of these three options would you rather me do?’ And then respond to the feedback you get, so your members can see you are there to serve them, and not just your own business growth.

 

What sort of content to post in your Facebook group

Post a variety of content

Your posts should be a mix of useful/educational, aspirational and human. That means that you’re posting lots of content that informs and educates (and is on topic for your brand!), content that inspires your members and shows them what they could have if they work with you, and content that shows that you’re a real person, with a life and a personality.

That last one comes with a caveat: it shouldn’t just be random posts about your life. Make everything you post relevant to your audience and the reason they are in your group. For example, if you post about your holiday, find a way to make that about your members. You could turn it into an aspirational post (look what I have in my life that you could also achieve!), connect it to the group topic (while I was on holiday this thing happened, and it made me think about this topic that’s relevant to you because) or use it to ask a question (if this thing that happened to me on holiday happened to you, would you do a, b or c – and what this tells me about you!).

 

Use your members’ questions and comments

Whenever one of your members asks a question or makes an interesting observation, make a note of it. Then use these to create content for the whole group (whether it’s a blog post, a meme or just a simple written post) that answers the question or gives your thoughts on the topic.

 

Use your own content

If you’re running a paid group, no one is paying to see memes or videos you’ve shared from other people! Anyone can see this type of content for free in their feed. Your members have paid to see content from YOU. They want your tips, your thoughts, your opinions, your answers. So share your blog posts, videos and Facebook Lives, create your own memes and share your thoughts and your journey.

And if you’re running a free group, and your aim is to move members on to a paid group, course or membership site, then you want to be showing them high quality content that comes from you. You want that content to be high quality, look professional and be your own – so that you set up the expectation in your members that the content in your paid products will be worth paying for!

 

Don’t forget to ask for the sale

But do it sparingly! You don’t want to irritate your members by constantly selling to them – but you do want to make sure you let them know about the great products and services you have available that will benefit them. So don’t forget to include posts about your products, but make the posts just one part of your content (or drop mentions of paid products into your free content!) and don’t bombard your members.

That said, if you’re running a free Facebook group, you can afford to sell a bit more – as your members are getting a lot from you for free, so really shouldn’t complain if you sell to them as well.

 

How to present and plan your content

Use consistent branding

Everything you post should be instantly recognisable as yours. If you’re starting out and don’t have the resources to hire a designer or branding expert, use a tool like Canva – the free version has lots of functionality, and the paid version is only a few pounds a month. Decide on the colours, fonts and image style you will use, and set up templates for Facebook headers and post images. Then all you need to do is drop your images in, change the text and download.

 

Should you use a scheduling tool?

Scheduling tools (like Buffer, Hootsuite, or my personal favourite, SmarterQueue) can be extremely useful timesavers – but they can also have a negative effect on your post views. So consider using one for evergreen content, once you’ve built up enough posts but stick to having a human post your new content.

Are you planning to launch a membership site in 2019/2020?

I support my clients with building, marketing and managing their memberships and online courses, helping them to:

  • Create and upload course content
  • Join the dots behind the scenes to automate processes and make things run smoothly
  • Find the right apps and tools
  • Integrate their CRM, course delivery and marketing

If you'd like to have a chat about your membership, you can get in touch to arrange a free 30 minute chat here.

I'm looking forward to finding out more about you, your business, and your goals for the coming year.

First things first: I have never run my own Facebook group for business.

If having read that sentence you’re about to click off this page, bear with me! The ideas and observations I’m about to share here may not be based on experience of running a Facebook group myself, but they are a result of:

  • 5 years of group membership of very successful paid and unpaid groups
  • 4 years working with business owners who use groups (very successfully) to help grow their businesses

The first paid Facebook group I ever joined was back in 2014. It was part of a membership site, and my first foray into exploring self employment and doing things a little differently. It had a deep impact on me and the way I thought. I left my job in 2015 to set up my business, and being part of that community had a real impact on my decision to make that leap.

I then joined a truly brilliant group in 2016, which I am still a member of now. Being part of that group has taught me a huge amount about what a successful Facebook group looks like – and the amount of hard work and dedication needed to pull it off.

Over the past 4 years I’ve worked with a number of online business owners who run Facebook groups as part of their marketing, online courses and membership sites.

So what have I learned?

 

How to organise and run your Facebook group

Many online business owners will use a free Facebook group to share free content, with the intention of using this as a funnel to get members to sign up for a paid product or service. Paid groups are often used as part of a membership, course or online coaching package.

Whether you decide to go for a free or paid group, or both, will depend on your business model and what you are trying to achieve.

So make sure you’re really clear about:

  • Why you want to start a Facebook group
  • How a Facebook group fits in with your business model and goals
  • What you want to get out of running a group
  • How much time you have (and want) to invest

 

When to hire someone

It’s likely that when you start you’ll be doing everything yourself. And, although later on you might be in a position to take on moderators or hire someone to help, you will always need to be the primary presence in your group. Because your members are there to talk to and listen to YOU, not your VA! Running a successful Facebook group is a huge commitment – it will take energy, perseverance and creativity, and a lot of your time.

Having said that, there are things that you can pay someone to do, once your group grows and you have the budget to pay someone. You might have a VA schedule your evergreen content, post weekly or daily inspirational memes, and post more transactional stuff like the dates of group calls, or reminders for weekly challenges.

All this content should be seen to be coming from you, though, so you will need to give this person access to your Facebook account (you can do this via LastPass if you don’t want them to know your password) or have them use a scheduling tool such as SmarterQueue.

 

Use group members as moderators

When your group grows large enough to need moderators, consider using trusted group members to fill these roles. Ideally these should be people who know a lot about the topic and about your business, so while they will be posting and commenting as themselves, they will be in a good position to help your other members, and will be aligned with your brand ethos and business aims. You might want to pay your moderators directly, or offer some other incentive such as free or discounted membership.

 

How to create engagement

Be present

Be present in your group, posting quality content and engaging with your members as often as possible – but ideally at least twice a day. As a member no one wants to take the time to post or comment on something – and get crickets.

 

Ask questions

Ask you members questions that are relevant to your topic and aligned with your business goals. Make them relevant*, focused on your audience and (depending on your aim) either quick and easy to answer, or thought provoking enough to elicit some interesting responses and start a worthwhile conversation.

* This rule was made to be broken! One group I’m in posts a random question once a week – the questions are varied and about the members’ lives rather than the group aims, but the engagement levels are really high. People like talking about themselves, and it helps create a sense of camaraderie in the group (which is a great achievement when there are over 10K members!).

 

Listen to your members

Let your members guide you in what content you are putting out. Ask for their opinions. Don’t be afraid to hold up your hands and say ‘I can see that this didn’t work so well, so what out of these three options would you rather me do?’ And then respond to the feedback you get, so your members can see you are there to serve them, and not just your own business growth.

 

What sort of content to post in your Facebook group

Post a variety of content

Your posts should be a mix of useful/educational, aspirational and human. That means that you’re posting lots of content that informs and educates (and is on topic for your brand!), content that inspires your members and shows them what they could have if they work with you, and content that shows that you’re a real person, with a life and a personality.

That last one comes with a caveat: it shouldn’t just be random posts about your life. Make everything you post relevant to your audience and the reason they are in your group. For example, if you post about your holiday, find a way to make that about your members. You could turn it into an aspirational post (look what I have in my life that you could also achieve!), connect it to the group topic (while I was on holiday this thing happened, and it made me think about this topic that’s relevant to you because) or use it to ask a question (if this thing that happened to me on holiday happened to you, would you do a, b or c – and what this tells me about you!).

 

Use your members’ questions and comments

Whenever one of your members asks a question or makes an interesting observation, make a note of it. Then use these to create content for the whole group (whether it’s a blog post, a meme or just a simple written post) that answers the question or gives your thoughts on the topic.

 

Use your own content

If you’re running a paid group, no one is paying to see memes or videos you’ve shared from other people! Anyone can see this type of content for free in their feed. Your members have paid to see content from YOU. They want your tips, your thoughts, your opinions, your answers. So share your blog posts, videos and Facebook Lives, create your own memes and share your thoughts and your journey.

And if you’re running a free group, and your aim is to move members on to a paid group, course or membership site, then you want to be showing them high quality content that comes from you. You want that content to be high quality, look professional and be your own – so that you set up the expectation in your members that the content in your paid products will be worth paying for!

 

Don’t forget to ask for the sale

But do it sparingly! You don’t want to irritate your members by constantly selling to them – but you do want to make sure you let them know about the great products and services you have available that will benefit them. So don’t forget to include posts about your products, but make the posts just one part of your content (or drop mentions of paid products into your free content!) and don’t bombard your members.

That said, if you’re running a free Facebook group, you can afford to sell a bit more – as your members are getting a lot from you for free, so really shouldn’t complain if you sell to them as well.

 

How to present and plan your content

Use consistent branding

Everything you post should be instantly recognisable as yours. If you’re starting out and don’t have the resources to hire a designer or branding expert, use a tool like Canva – the free version has lots of functionality, and the paid version is only a few pounds a month. Decide on the colours, fonts and image style you will use, and set up templates for Facebook headers and post images. Then all you need to do is drop your images in, change the text and download.

 

Should you use a scheduling tool?

Scheduling tools (like Buffer, Hootsuite, or my personal favourite, SmarterQueue) can be extremely useful timesavers – but they can also have a negative effect on your post views. So consider using one for evergreen content, once you’ve built up enough posts but stick to having a human post your new content.

Are you planning to launch a membership site in 2019/2020?

 I support my clients with building, marketing and managing their memberships and online courses, helping them to:

  • Create and upload course content
  • Join the dots behind the scenes to automate processes and make things run smoothly
  • Find the right apps and tools
  • Integrate their CRM, course delivery and marketing

If you'd like to have a chat about your membership, you can get in touch to arrange a free 30 minute chat here.

I'm looking forward to finding out more about you, your business, and your goals for the coming year.