Facebook Groups for coaches, bloggers, and other entrepreneurs
It’s the post you’ve been waiting for!!! Well, this or my upcoming post on Pinterest group boards and how to create a strategy that gets you traffic.
But honestly, you and I know you’ve either created a Facebook group or are considering creating one, and have joined maybe a few too. Perhaps you’ve commented in them, or maybe you’ve felt a wee bit intimidated about it but have benefited from following conversations in the group.
Either way, I feel you!
Facebook groups are both helpful and overwhelming, for both the creators and members. Even more so when a group is super engaged and has a lot of members.
Which is why I’m writing this post: I want you to feel good about contributing to Facebook groups and get the most out of them, plus learn how to create a positive, engaged one of your own…if you wish.
But before we dive in, quick question: would you rather listen to this post? I’ve recorded it for you right here. Now you can listen to it in the car, while you’re out for an evening stroll…whenever you feel prompted to dive deep into Facebook groups and all that they can offer you.
Let’s first begin with a story, shall we?
How #bloggingboost grew to over 11K Members
When I began pondering creating a Facebook group of my own, I had no strategy behind it. Yep, the old Social Media strategist known as moi created it with one real goal: to bring creative, holistic bloggers and coaches together.
That’s it, really.
I did think it would help grow my list. I knew it could also possibly help me grow my brand and expand my reach, but those honestly weren’t my main intentions as Pinterest has always been my focus, Social Media wise. I get most of my traffic from there, and pin to boards that have over 500K followers. It’s been effective and helpful, and I’m a certified Pinterest junkie.
Just recently I was interviewed about how I grew such an engaged Facebook group, and what tips I could give to entrepreneurs looking to do the same. What I’m going to tell you here and now is what I believe key to building a thriving community of any kind, on any platform.
A thriving, engaged Facebook group grows around a topic that already has a following or a group of people passionate about the topic.
And that was why my group probably took off: I wanted to bring people bloggers and coaches together. I wanted to create a positive, safe space for Highly Sensitive entrepreneurs, introverts, and other awesome people. That was the ‘why’ behind it.
Notice I didn’t call my group after my brand. I called it after what I wanted it to be, which is a place that helps you boost your blogging endeavors.
Because there are so many bloggers around the world, there are already thousands of people on Facebook who blog or want to blog
My group isn’t about me. And it never has been. That’s not to say though that you’re group can’t be about you and what you do, but it also needs to be about something more.
How to use Facebook groups effectively
Let’s now discuss how to get the most out of using your own Facebook group, and network in other people’s groups.
Your first goal is to read the group rules that are usually located in the pinned post at the top. This is SUPER IMPORTANT. Group owners and admins really dislike it when a new member joins and then spams ( more on that in a minute) or doesn’t abide by the group rules, and then we have to spend time deleting posts or writing the new member.
Usually groups will allow you to introduce yourself, which is your next step. Introduce yourself in a way that isn’t focused on promoting your site, but telling the other members about who you are as a person, as well as what you do and how you can add to the group.
Promotion is usually never the main focus of a Facebook group, unless the group exists mainly for the purpose of promoting your Social Media, blog posts, etc. The majority of groups ( including mine and those of my clients) are not in that category.
Most groups have been created for the sake of bringing people who share an interest or goal together.
As I mentioned, Blogging Boost was created to bring together creative, holistic people who blog together to boost eachother up. We have one day a week when members can promote their blog posts, which is on Mondays.
But wait, you ask. How do I find relevant Facebook groups in my niche, or that have my Ideal Clients?
Great question, and it’s easy friend!
1.) Head on over to Facebook.com and search for terms or topics that your Ideal Clients or peers would be interested in
ie blogging, life coaching, entrepreneurship, weightloss, etc
2.) Do a quick Google search for ‘Facebook groups for Bloggers’ or whatever your niche is
blog posts and articles will pop up and mention any relevant groups
3.) Ask others in your industry what their favorite groups are
bless all of you who say Blogging Boost!!!
4.) Ask for recommendations on Social Media
ie Tweet about it or post on Facebook
A few groups I personally am a member of?
Blogging Boost, naturally
Rachel Macdonald’s private group
How to network
The main way you can get the most out of a group is to do the following.
1.) Be helpful
2.) Be consistent in your postings and interaction
3.) Share wins and encouragement
4.) Ask questions
The great thing about modern networking is that if you follow the above, you’re going to build relationships naturally! No more crappy networking parties. It’s all about being helpful, and letting people get to know you, and what you do.
Absolutely never spam. I know you get that, but as a group owner, I can’t tell you how often people will make promotion their main objective. Some use scheduling apps or software that autopost for them, and almost never actually engage with group members.
Your goal is engagement.
Keep in mind too that you want to be known for something, and your posts say something about you as a person, and as a coach or personal brand.
I’m a writer, Social Media strategist, and Blog Coach for Life and Health Coaches. What I post in groups is usually encouragement for coaches plus tips regarding content marketing and Social Media. I understand my clients very well, because most of my friends are coaches and I did coach training myself.
Write down how you can help your Ideal Clients in the groups you are going to join, or the Facebook group you will start.
How to talk about your biz & life in your group
Just because I’m not the main focus of my group doesn’t mean I don’t talk about my ups and downs, or what I do. And the same goes for you! I would generally recommend using the 80/20 rule for posts and focus on always adding value to the group.
It’s up to you whether as the group owner, you can promote your offerings, freebies, and blog posts. Because most of my blog coaching clients are Life and Health coaches, their goals tend to usually be to use their group to build their email list and share value to their Ideal Clients, who they hope will one day become paying clients. They focus on giving tips to help better group member’s lives and encourage them, and they also give updates like:
1.) where they have traveled
2.) upcoming events
3.) free offerings
6.) paid offerings
8.) group coaching calls
Just remember to always think about what your Ideal Clients and group members want to see and read.
pssst…enjoying this so far? I’ve made a pinable image for you to share below, if you so choose!
How to get influencers and brands to join your Facebook Group
My good friend Deborah asked me the other day if I thought that by having influencers in my group helped it to grow. To be honest, I don’t think that was the main reason Blogging Boost grew so quickly, but it sure is fantastic having them as members!
You see, we have amazing authors like Jeff Goins who decided to join. Jeff becoming a Booster is actually a funny story. He’s a friend and mentor to me, and I value his input. One day a few months ago, I asked him if he’d like to do a Q+A in the group. He asked me what the group was about and I confidently told him it was the most epic Facebook group for bloggers ever ( or something like that) and he skeptically said ‘ Really? There are a lot of groups out there Elizabeth…’ Somehow, he ended up saying yes to both joining and doing the Q+A, despite me sounding overconfident and full of it.
Back to getting influencers to join your group…..
If you are say a Holistic Health Coach and work hard on creating a professional-looking, value-packed and engaged Facebook group, I guarantee health companies and influencers in the wellness sphere will be interested in what you’re doing. You just have to let them know about it, and ( most importantly) let them know what they can get out of being a member of your group.
Don’t assume they will just find out about your group. While the majority of brands and influencers in my group did find out by word of mouth, I believe in being proactive, and I flat out asked Jeff to join.
I also told Jeff what he’d get out of doing a live Q+A with members: he would be introduced to Ideal Readers ( bloggers and writers).
Make a list of brands and influencers in your industry that you’d like to one day partake in your group chat or be a member of your group. Think about what they would get out of it. Send them a message letting them know about your group and promotional ideas.
Creating a name for members
If you’re a member of #bloggingboost you’ll know what a Booster is. It’s a member of the group! I decided early on to begin calling members Boosters for a few reasons, one of which is that I read somewhere about how people like Lady Gaga call their fans by certain names. And the fans enjoy identifying with that term, and begin seeking out fellow ‘Little Monsters’. It’s something that unites and connects them.
At some point in your group’s journey, I would consider giving a name for group members. Something they can identify with, and stand by.
The downside to running a Facebook Group
As I write this, it’s 1:28AM. I just got off of a call and decided to spend some time writing this post ( I like working at night and may be a vampire). I just looked at Blogging Boost and found we have over 800 people in the invite queue!!!!!!!!
Side note here: My husband is supposed to be approving people because he does a great job weeding out spammers. He also tends to fall behind. I’m totally blaming him right now……
Not to rant, but let’s be honest: running an engaged Facebook group isn’t easy. It really isn’t. I have a number of amazing admins who do a great job at deleting posts that don’t abide by our group rules, or that are spam. But we all have lives outside of Facebook. We can’t be online 24/7 responding to posts.
About two months ago, I was completely stressed out by running the group, despite the help I was getting from members. It wasn’t a specific incident that triggered the stress, it’s just the fact that Facebook is going 24/7 and we always have people wanting to join. And we have to deal with spammers, who are seriously sneaky when it comes to creating fake profiles. We also get the odd negative nancy, although thankfully not many!
The truth is that it can be mentally trying running a platform of any size, small or large, on Social Media or on a blog.
This is what I tell my clients, when they ponder creating a group of their own.
1.) Who is your Ideal Group Member?
2.) Do you have enough time to devote to a Facebook group?
3.) Who will be your admin(s)?
4.) Will you have a VA run your group?
5.) What is the PURPOSE of your group? *
6.) How much time do you have to devote to the group?
*this is the most important question you should ask
Your answers to the above questions will help you determine how a group can help you grow your brand and most importantly, be of service to your Ideal blog reader and clients.
What not to do
I want you to do me ( and you) and favor, right here and now. Say the following two phrases out load.
I will not compare my group to that of another’s.
And I will not compare my success to that of another group member’s.
Let those two thoughts sink in for a bit. Because Facebook groups can make you think about things….like who has a bigger group, who posts the most often, who seems the most successful.
Don’t. Just don’t do it.
I have had people compare my group to one that has double the amount of members and is very famous. Luckily, I didn’t let it get to me. I didn’t start thinking about what I should be doing with my group, or how that other group is doing things better than I am.
There is only so much one can give to one’s blog readers or group members, period.
No two groups are the same, period.
Sure, I could be on Facebook 24/7 responding to posts, and I tried doing that for many months. It led to me feeling upset and stressed for a long time. While I loved helping people, my mental and physical wellbeing was taking a toll. I do what I can, and my husband and admins help me.
Creating a movement:
extending the reach of your group to other platforms
Blogging Boost actually began as a Pinterest group board ( which you are more than welcome to join). After I created the accompanying Facebook group, I then decided to help members have their blog posts seen by more people, we would start using hashtags #bloggingboost and #bloggingboosters on Instagram and Twitter.
I introduced this each Monday in the group post, and ask members to share not only their blog posts with those hashtags, but those of fellow Boosters. This has been totally awesome! I love going on Twitter and seeing people share fellow blogger’s posts, as well as their own.
I take things one step further: I share as many of the posts as I can. This gets them in front of my network of about 9K on Twitter.
I believe that this year, we will be able to do Twitter chats and take Blogging Boost to even more platforms. Our goal will always remain the same and will help boost the success of fellow bloggers.
Should I make my group private?
You have three choices with your Facebook group, which you can find out about here. Ultimately, it’s up to you. Is your group going to be exclusively for your blog subscribers? Is it going to help you connect with more Ideal Readers? Think about what your goals are for your group.
How can I market my Facebook group?
My good friend Erika and many other lovely bloggers have written about my group. This has helped spread the word about my tribe. But I never asked any of them to mention Blogging Boost. This was a decision they made on their own. It was nonetheless extremely generous and helpful to our growth.
I would consider doing the follower, but only after you have launched your group and have begun adding value to it.
1.) Announce on your blog you have a new Facebook group for bloggers/coaches/Moms/etc
2.) Send an email to your list
3.) Guest post and mention your new group in your author bio
4.) Send private personalized messages to friends, asking them to join
5.) Tweet about your new group using relevant hashtags
6.) Create a pin for your group and Pin it to Pinterest. Yes, you can do this!
How can I use my Facebook group to grow my list?
Add a free download or incentive to your group’s pinned post, which people can download in exchange for their email address. Or do what I do and have an official newsletter for the group itself, which you can send free training to. Promote this in your group by saying you have new training going out to members who are on the list.
Should I join groups that my peers are in?
SUPER good question! It depends on your goals. I think most coaches and bloggers tend to make the mistake of networking only with their peers, which is silly because unless you’re peers are your Ideal Clients, how is that going to help your business or blog?
If you’re goal is to meet and support more people in your industry, or to make friends, join groups that have your peers.
If you’re goal is to get more clients, join groups that have your Ideal Clients
If you’re goal is to mastermind, join groups that have your peers.
How can I prevent spammers from getting in?
Spammers SUCK. Ugh, don’t get me started on this one!! They have gotten smarter too.
This is what we do, and when I say we, I mean Billy. And even though he is behind ( 850 people behind) in the queue right now, his technique is still helpful, and I love him.
1.) View the person’s profile. Have they been on facebook for only a few months, or years? Do they have personal pictures or only those of celebrities? What have they posted on their timeline? Spam or normal posts?
2.) Do they have friends that are already in your group?
3.) Have they been referred to your group by someone you know?
4.) Do they speak English, or the language that is predominately used in your group? If not, they may not be able to read your group’s guidelines and rules.
5.) How many groups are they a member of? Note that just because they are a member of a few hundred does not mean they are a spammer, but if they are a member of a thousand or so, that may be an indicator that they are in those groups to promote over contribute.
Ultimately, use your best judgement when adding people.
How can I create a compelling header and images for my Facebook group?
I used Canva.com to create mine. I create most of my Social Media images using Relay That.
Should I post actual updates or use images with text on them?
Test both to see which gets more engagement from your group.
I’m a Life Coach/Health Coach. How can I use Facebook groups to get more clients?
Coaches have had great success in getting more clients by consistently adding value to groups that have their ideal clients in them.
Most coaches don’t do that, just like most entrepreneurs/bloggers don’t do that. Most hang out in groups that have fellow coaches/entrepreneurs/bloggers which means they are not getting in front of the people that are the most likely to hire them.
If you’re goal is to get more clients, how can you do that by hanging out in Facebook groups that they don’t hang out in?! You can’t. Make sure that your Facebook group strategy is centered around your business goals. If you need help creating an effective Social Media and blogging strategy and are a coach, find out more about working with me here.
I’m a blogger and want to get more readers and grow my traffic. How can I do that with Facebook groups?
I personally feel that Pinterest is a better traffic driver than Facebook, period. Although as a blog mentor I work with coaches and not ‘pro bloggers’ I would probably give the following as tips for developing a Facebook group strategy:
1.) Find groups that have your IDEAL READERS in them and that allow promo 1 time a week or more, such as this one.
2.) Begin posting helpful content regularly in the group. ie answering member’s questions
3.) Link to your blog posts if someone has a question that your blog post answers, if the group’s rules allow that.
4.) Post in multiple groups, following the group’s rules
Should I allow promotion in my Facebook group? If so, how often?
I’ve noticed that typically most group members like to have some form of promotion, as opposed to none at all. Too much promo is bad for the group as it detracts from conversation and relationship-building and is more post-and-run.
I feel that one day a week for promo is the best way to go, in my humble opinion.
I’m a photographer. How can I use Facebook groups to get more local and international clients?
We have loads of photographers in Blogging Boost, and I love you all! I think Facebook group marketing can be a great way to get more local and international photography clients, but you’re going to have to be creative about it, because chances are you’re going to end up marketing only to your peers if you join groups for fellow photographers. Unless your a photographer that has products and services for fellow photographers.
If you’re a wedding photographer, I’d join groups with brides to be and let members know you’re a photographer when you introduce yourself to the group. You can then maybe give tips in the group on how brides can find the best photographer, or get the best group shots.
I’m a local brick and mortar business. Can FBG help me get more local customers?
You bet they can!!! I just spoke with a local juice and smoothie business about their Facebook group strategy, and it has been helpful in them getting more people to find out about them.
If you’re a yoga teacher with a studio, I would say post in groups in your town/city that have members who value wellness and holistic health. If you are an artist that has an exhibit going at a local venue, I’d find local groups that have art lovers or members that love supporting local artisans. Post about your exhibit, if promotion is allowed in the group. If you’re unsure, contact the group owner and ask them.
I’m interested in getting my product showcased in a Facebook group. How should I go about doing that?
You’re going to have to pitch the group owner. In my case, I’m open to partnering with companies that have highly relevant apps, software, books, and other tools that will help my group members. If they wanted to get in front of my audience I’d be open to them offering say a discount, a free trial, or product for review if it was a good fit.
Many group owners would be interested in collaborating with brands, so I’d find the contact info of the owner and send them a polite, personal message and maybe set up a time to Skype with them.
How can I increase my chances of getting accepted into a group?
Well if it’s our group and you haven’t been approved, it’s because we’re behind in the queue since we look at each profile to try and weed out spammers. I’m guessing that many other groups have similar ways of approving members, so I would do the following:
1.) Use a clear photo of yourself in both your cover photo and profile pic
2.) Avoid using images in your profile that are not of you, ie celebrities, cartoons, etc
3.) Use your name or whatever you go by online as opposed to something like BloggityBlogger Not saying that is a bad name, it’s just with sooo many spammers, it can be hard to tell if Mr. BloggityBlogger is a real person.
4.) Have your blog or website in your profile info area
5.) Provide as much info in your profile as you feel comfortable with. ie school, where you live or whatnot.
6.) Don’t use your logo in your profile pic area.
7.) Consider creating a branded cover photo, if relevant to your industry.
What apps should I use to manage my Facebook group and interact in other groups?
I personally like the official Facebook groups app, which you can download here.
Check out this awesome post! The Ultimate Guide to Facebook groups Click To Tweet
Well friend, that’s it for today! I hope this post has been helpful, and if so, I’d love for you to share it using the share buttons below, and also leave a comment with your Facebook goals for 2016.