If you’re on Facebook, chances are you belong to a few groups (maybe even a few dozen!). How would you like to learn how to use the power of Facebook groups to build your business?

Themes of Facebook groups range anywhere from new moms, to menopause, to industry-specific markets (like health coaches and fitness professionals) to – well, you name it. If you can think of it, there is probably a Facebook group for it. These groups can be a phenomenal way to create a community of support and build your business and your tribe.

Facebook groups can be a great way to attract new clients when done the right way. The best news of all – it's a FREE marketing tool right at your fingertips that allows you to reach your members (unlike Facebook Pages where it’s harder and harder to reach your followers).

I started my first Facebook group back in 2010 (before all the cool kids were doing it, LOL). I understood the power of having a community of like-minded people that shared similar goals. I also knew that people needed accountability with their health and fitness goals. Setting up a Facebook group just made so much sense to me as a logical way to bring people together.

I started out running different challenges in my groups throughout the year, and my first few clients came as a result of having that group.

Back in 2010, I didn’t really market the group all that much (I was still new at figuring everything out) but we had a solid, active and engaged group. Most of all, it was fun – both for the members and for me! I've learned a LOT over the last 6 years, and I've run multiple, thriving Facebook groups since then so I wanted to share some helpful tips to help you fast track your success.

In this post, I’m unleashing my top tips for creating your own thriving Facebook Group that will help you grow your business.

Don't worry about taking notes or remembering all the details – I created a FREE download for you!

CLICK HERE to get your copy of this post so you can reference it again and again as you set up your own group.

First, let’s look at some of the benefits of hosting your own Facebook group.

When you have your own online community, you get to:

– Establish yourself as an authority and/or expert in your particular niche
– Build trust and affinity with your audience
– Create an amazing online community that will appreciate you and spread the word about what you do – raving fans
– Gain invaluable insights as to where people need help the most (this will help you to fine-tune your programs and your marketing message   (when you know what people want, you can give it to them, and they will pay you for it)
– Grow your email list
– Gain new clients, and/or participants for your group programs

Here are a few of my top tips (18 to be exact!) to help you start your own awesome Facebook community to attract new clients.

1. Know your intention and your outcome. What are your goals? Why do you want to start a group?

2. What do you want your group to be about? Who is it for? What will the focus be? Be specific so that you attract the right audience. Brainstorm some ideas.

3. Pick a name for your group – something that reflects what the group is about, the benefits it offers, and something that also reflects your personality. Your group name is searchable on Facebook, so think about what your ideal clients are searching for when you consider ideas for your group name.  If your niche is women transitioning to a gluten-free diet, be sure to use the words “gluten-free” in the name, so it's easy for people to find you.

4. Create an image that represents your group. Include the name of the group, as well as your name (as the host). The image dimensions are currently 801 x 250 pixels.  You can create something pretty snazzy by using Canva.com.   If you have a good photo of yourself, you can include that, or you can use an image from a stock photo site, and add text using picmonkey.com.

5. Create a custom url for your group (Facebook will assign you a long, random url, but you can customize yours). Click >>HERE<< for instructions on doing this. In order to start your group, you need to add one person, so ask a friend or family member if it's okay to add them to get things going (you can remove them after you have other people join).  I always volunteer my husband for this 😉

6. Kick off with an event like a free challenge to generate excitement and participation. Encourage people to invite their friends. 5-7 days is the perfect length of time for a free challenge.

7. Pin an opt-in to the top of your group. Include a “gotta have it” freebie that your audience would find extremely valuable. The follow-up emails (autoresponder sequence) should only provide value, no selling. You can refer to other blog posts on your site within some of the follow-up emails (this sends people to your website to learn more about you, and what you offer) but this is not a sales pitch. Since these people will be on your email list, they will now be in the loop about any special promotions you have going on during the year.

8. Make sure your group is set to ‘closed', not public. Many people aren’t comfortable posting in Facebook groups when they know their comments will show up in their friend's news feed (as is the case with public groups).

9. Pick theme days to make it fun, at least 3 days a week. Post motivational images and quotes once or twice a week (the WordSwag app is great for creating these). If you aren't sure what to post to get engagement after an event like a challenge.

10. Set your rules, and stick to them. For example, You may decide on a  “No advertising or marketing” policy in the group (by members).

11. Welcome people to your group by tagging them in a friendly greeting to let them know you're happy to have them there. Tag several people in one post so your group isn't full of streams of welcome messages.  Once your group gains momentum, and you have over 1,000 people in your group, you may not be able to keep up with tagging everyone, but it's nice to do it when you can.

12. Provide a training, workshop (webinar), or livestream for the group from time to time. Members will get to know you even more and vice versa.

13. It’s your group, but you aren’t the only one that can provide support and help. Other group members will jump in too, and this is where the community feel comes in.

14. Quality over quantity – don’t get hung up on the number of people in your group. It’s way more important to have a cohesive group of people that are supportive of one another than it is to have a huge group. Your group will grow organically. I don't recommend adding people to the group without their permission (it's possible to do this, but it's more likely that you'll end up with a lot of people in the group that don't participate or interact).

15. Screen people as best you can before you add them (have a VA do this for you if possible). You have the option to include up to 3 questions as part of joining process. I use this in my group, and it works really well.

16. To keep the group active, you will need to be in the group most days (but decide which days this will be ahead of time – Monday – Friday, perhaps) to post prompts, comment and answer questions.

Offering prizes can be a good way to keep your group engaged, especially if it's a short-term program (30-60 days).  The important thing to keep in mind is that you need to offer prizes you know people in your group would want.  For example: If you are doing a 30-Day Challenge, like the Fit and Healthy Jump Start, great ideas for prizes include: A pedometer, cookbook, journal, body fat caliper and tape measure, resistance bands, and workout DVDs (or yoga DVDs). Let people choose the prize they want to make it fun. You can find these items on sale under $10 at places like Target, Walmart, Marshall's, T.J. Maxx, etc.

17. Promote your group to get members. Once you have your group, you're going to want to promote it on a regular basis to keep it growing.

  • Post about your group on all of your social media sites, and explain the benefits of joining. Post on each platform at least once a week. Posts that include images tend to get more reach, so include an image with these posts (the image can either be the header image in your FB group, or something else that represents what your group is about).
  • Invite your email subscribers!  Let your subscribers know about your new group, and what hot topics you plan to cover in the group. You can also include a P.S. at the bottom of some of your emails to let people know about it, and include a link so they can join easily.
  • Create a tab on your website that says “Free Facebook Group” or “Join my Facebook Group” and have that go right to your Facebook group when they click on it.
  • Include an invite to join your group with link to your group on the thank you page after people opt-in for a freebie or webinar.
  • Create a Facebook post about your group (include a photo or the graphic for your group) and ‘Pin' it to the top of your Facebook business page, so that it's the first thing people see when they visit your page. You can do something similar on Twitter (create a post, then pin it to the top).
  • Use the power of Facebook Live to invite people to your group. One of your calls to action at the end of your live streams can include inviting people to join your free group.
  • Include a link to your group in your blog posts and your newsletter emails (a P.S. is a great place for this) with a blurb about what the group is about and who it's for (what they'll get out of it).
  • Run a Facebook ad to promote your group (at this time, you can only do this by boosting a post since the ad goes to a group).  When inviting people, remember to include what your group is about, who it's for, and what they will get out of it. Don't just say “Join my group” – you need to explain WHY they should join – what's in it for them?

Do NOT, I repeat – Do NOT add people to your group without their permission.  This drives me batty, coocoo bananas, when it happens.  People don't like being added to a group without being asked first, and there's no sense in having people in your group that don't care about being there because they won't read the posts or interact (so, what's the point, right).  Pinky swear to me that you won't do this, okay?  🙂

18. Be engaged in your group so that people follow your lead. Provide helpful tips, support and motivation, and be REAL. People will feel more comfortable posting in your group if they know you are genuine and not “perfect.”  Use the power of Facebook Live, so people can get to see you in real time and get to know you.  You can elaborate on a topic, share extra tips, or use it as a Q and A (have people post their questions ahead of time in case no one shows up live).

Remember that this is not a coaching program, but more of a place for people to connect with you, and see you as a leader and an expert. You can offer general tips, but when people need more specific help, you can recommend that they set up a free consultation with you so you can see if you can help them.

What to know up front…

  • It takes some time to manage a group, so if you don’t have extra time, this might not be the best strategy for you. Once your group gets going, you can have someone help you as an admin of the group if needed.
  • Having a Facebook PAGE for your business is important too. A Facebook group is not a substitute to having a Facebook page; it's just another effective strategy.
  • Only start a Facebook group if you think you will enjoy it. I genuinely LOVE my FB groups, but if this doesn’t appeal to you, don’t do it, or else you won’t enjoy it.
  • Always be a giver – within reason. If there are some people that are taking up a lot of time with more personal questions, you can let them know it would be best to set up a free strategy session to address their particular needs. This isn’t a session to offer free advice, but to determine where the person is struggling the most, and to see if they might be a good fit for you as a client. (Need ideas for this? Download your FREE Discovery Session Guide >>HERE<<).
  • Set days and times when you will be in the group so you aren’t spending countless hours a day fielding questions.
  • Be firm with enforcing the rules you have set up for your group (remove anyone that isn’t following the rules after one reminder to them – via PM). Any haters need to be removed immediately – This is your group, you call the shots.
  • Include a policy description and a disclaimer that reflects the tone and intent of the group. You can upload this as a PDF in the files section of the group. It’s a good idea to include your disclaimer at the bottom of your group description that states something along that lines that the information shared in the group is for general education purposes only and is not intended to treat, cure or prevent any disease. Participation in the group does not constitute a client/coach relationship. Group members are advised to check with their doctor before making any changes to their diet or exercise routine.
  • If you think people are being sneaky by promoting themselves in a roundabout way, feel free to remove them from the group.

Remember: Your group is for forming relationships and growing an awesome community; not for constant ‘selling’. People that know, like and trust you, will be drawn to you and your solutions. You can occasionally promote a program launch or special offer (every 2-3 months is fine), but do not pitch your programs and services all the time. People will be turned off and they will leave (can’t blame them).

Look at other Facebook groups for inspiration, and take note of what you like and do not like about certain groups.

Now, go start your own group and let me know how it goes! Not sure how to start a group, click here for step-by-step instructions.

Want a copy of this blog post for easy reference?  Grab your free copy of the guide >> HERE <<

Have questions?

Speaking of Facebook groups, be sure to join the AWESOME Facebook group I have to help certified health coaches accelerate their business >>HERE<<

 

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