As a health coach, Facebook groups can be an amazing way to create a loyal, close-knit online community of raving fans. Unlike your Facebook business page, all of the members of your group can potentially see all of your posts. Today, I'm going to share 10 ways to boost engagement in your facebook group, because I know this can be a tricky thing.
If you're wondering why you would want to host your own Facebook group for your business, I created a detailed post about it HERE (including tips for promoting and growing your group), so be sure to check it out if you need more information.
After you have your group up and running, you want to keep your members engaged and active, so they can get the most out of it, and get to know you. Your group is going to be a lot more fun for everyone (including you) when people are commenting, asking questions and getting involved.
In this post, I’m sharing my top 10 tips to help boost engagement in your Facebook group (and help keep it from becoming a ghost town).
You can also get a copy of this checklist with 10 Tips HERE, so you’ll have it handy to refer back to later.
Before we dive in to the nitty gritty here, I want to point out that it's very important to figure out your niche, so the right people should will be attracted to your group. In most cases, the more ‘nichey' you can be, the better. For example, if the focus of your coaching business is geared to a paleo, vegan or vegetarian approach, that may be a good place to start to determine the theme of your group. Think about what spin you can put on it to make your group unique, and appeal to your ideal clients. If you're too general, you may not get as much interest or engagement long term, so take that into consideration before you launch your group (or revisit this suggestion if your existing group has fizzled a bit).
NOTE: These 10 tips are geared for a free Facebook group, but most are applicable if you have a Facebook group that is part of one of your paid programs.
1. Tag people with a welcome message.
People love to be welcomed! I recommend doing this once a week so that your group news feed isn’t full of separate welcome messages on a daily basis. Tag the people that joined over the course of the week to welcome them. You can ask them where they’re from, or just ask them to introduce themselves.
IMPORTANT: Remind members to add your group to their favorites/shortcuts and turn on notifications so they don’t miss anything. You can do this at the bottom of your welcome post.
If people don’t add your group to their favorites/shortcuts, and they belong to several groups, they may not see your posts, so this is key.
2. Set your group to closed (not public) and don’t add people without their permission.
People will feel more comfortable posting in your group when it’s closed vs. public. In a public group, members’ comments show up in their friend’s news feeds too, so people aren't as likely to post and comment.
Do NOT just add people to your group because you want to grow it as quickly as you can. If your group is full of people that don’t care about being there, they won’t interact, so what’s the point, right?
3. Post your rules.
You can do this in the description section (after a welcome sentence or two, and what the group is about). Rules will help reduce salesy posts, as well as any other types of posts you want to prevent. Screen people as best you can before you add them to make sure it’s not a spam account (you can outsource this to your VA if you have one).
4. Set an example
Be in the group at least 5 days a week to interact, answer questions and get conversations going. People are going to follow your lead, so if you aren’t involved in the group, they won’t be either.
TIME SAVING TIP: You can set up your posts ahead of time with a social media scheduling tool like Buffer, Hootsuite or PostPlanner. Another scheduling tool is Edgar. I use Edgar and I love because it recycles through my library of posts automatically (set up a post once and it lives on, and you just keep adding content that rotates through the queue – pricing starts at $49 per month, but it’s amazing).
Don’t schedule the same posts each week because that gets really boring for your members. I create 12 posts for 3 days each week (M-W-F) so I have 4-months worth of posts that I can reuse. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, I post other things like maybe one of my blog posts, a question, a poll, a motivational message or something else. I don’t have all 5 days planned out in advance, but that may appeal to you.
On occasion, I will share a special offer, flash sale or other offer that I think my group would be interested in.
5. Make it fun
Show your personality, don’t be perfect – be real. Let people get a glimpse into what you’re really like. It doesn’t all have to be serious. Do give-aways from time to time based on participation. Let people know you have a free gift this week, and the more they comment and join the conversation, the more chances they have to win.
6. Offer free goodies
Pin an opt-in to the top of your group as part of your welcome message. New members will appreciate this and it’s a great way to build your email list. Change out your free offer a few times a year. I prefer for this freebie to not lead to a sales pitch, but more of an opportunity for people to get to know you. Once they’re on your email list, they’ll know about any promotions or special offers you have throughout the year.
7. Provide free trainings or demos
Facebook live is great for this, but you can also add any recorded videos you already have. I like Facebook Live because it gives people a chance to see you live, and you can answer their questions right there on the spot. Your members will get to know you better and quicker when you're live in the group. You can do a Q and A at the end to answer their questions live too if you want. TIP: If people ask a question you don't know the answer to, let them know that's a great question and you'll check out the most current research on it, and get back to them. You can also have people post their questions ahead of time and pick the ones you want to answer.
8. Use graphics in your posts
Eye-catching graphics will grab people’s attention in the news feed (your members will see your group posts in their news feed). This is easy (and free) to do. You can use stock photo sites like pexels.com and pixabay.com and use picmonkey.com to add text. Easy breezy! Canva.com is another option for creating graphics.
9. Don't talk at people
Since the goal of your group is to get people involved, and familiar with you, involve them, ask for feedback and ask questions. Do a poll from time to time to find out what people want to learn about the most or what they struggle with about certain topics.
Doing polls can also help you know what to include in your paid programs, as well as how to market your programs (what language to use, etc.)
10. Do a 5-7 day challenge
Free challenges work incredibly well to kick off a brand new group and get an influx of new members, and it’s very effective for breathing new life into an existing group. You just want your challenge topic to be relevant to the theme of your group.
If you need your own 7-Day Challenge, you can check out the 7-Day Healthy Habits Challenge here.
Don’t be afraid to test things to see what works best. I’ve been running Facebook groups for over 6 years, and it’s one of my absolute favorite things to do. I’ve learned by trial and error what works and what does not, so don’t be afraid to do the same with your own group. It’s always good to experiment from time to time.
BONUS TIP #1 : You can ask up to 3 questions as part of your screening process when people request to join your group. You don't have to use all 3 questions, but it's incredibly helpful to know what people want help with the most (this will help your members stick around and be more engaged). These questions can also serve as a mini-survey. For example, one of your questions could be something like “What is your biggest challenge with _______ [insert a struggle that's common to your niche].” “What is your biggest challenge with losing weight?” or “What is your biggest challenge with staying on track with your exercise routine?” The questions you ask should give you information about where your audience is struggling, so you can address these types of topics in your group.
BONUS TIP #2 Highlight members that contribute. People love to be acknowledged, so give a weekly or biweekly shoutout to the people that have been most helpful/engaged in the group. You can get this information very easily by going to the Group Insights Tab inside your group (only visible from desktop or laptop). Tag the person (or persons) that have been most active in the group and thank them for helping to make the group so great.
It can take some testing and tweaking to see what resonates most with your group members, so give it some time, and ask members what they want. You can do a poll inside your group to find out, and this is something else that makes it fun.
CLICK HERE to grab your copy of this checklist so you can refer back to it any time.