growing facebook group

Creating & Growing a Facebook Group for your Business – Expert Roundup with Highly Successful Group Owners

For small businesses, Facebook Groups can yield much better results than a business page.

Not saying that you should create a group and forget about the business page but you can consider having both because of the following benefits.

  • Members are more likely to interact in groups, which means your group posts have a much better chance to appear in their feed
  • Members will get notifications on their mobile or desktop when someone comments in a discussion that they have participated in
  • Groups can send more traffic to your website as compared to pages (up to 15 times more visitors).
  • You will build a lot of credibility and trust
  • You will get to know your target customers. Knowing their pain points can help you create a new product or improve the existing one to suit their needs
  • You will get a lot of ideas or inspirations to use in your content marketing

You will have to commit some time and effort to make it work but the benefits are worth all the sweat.

So how do you build and grow a Facebook group fast?

The best person to answer this question would be the one who’s running a successful Facebook group for some time.

We invited not one but 11 experts and asked the following questions.

  1. How did you get your first 1000 members? In other words, what’s the best way to build and grow an FB group from the ground up?
  2. Share some techniques to increase the activity and keep your group active?
  3. Should you be looking to monetize your Facebook group? If yes, what’s the best way to do it?
  4. Any tips for admins or moderators on how to deal with spam and trolls?
  5. Anything else you would like to add?

Let’s hear what these experts have to tell us.


JoanJoan Gaya of Digital Nomads Around The World

Group Description: This is a place for digital nomads to share advice and tips related to living the digital nomad lifestyle. Sharing our experiences and knowledge can only be a good thing.

Website: http://www.joangaya.com

Building a group from the ground up:

When I first created this group I started by inviting people in my world (friends, travel buddies, etc) who I thought could benefit from being a part of a community like this. At the same time, I invited them to then share the community with anyone in their world who they thought would be interested in the group. The first 1000 members did take some time, but once the numbers increased the rate at which people found the group and asked to be part of it really picked up.

Keeping it active:

One of the key things I have done is to keep the group content as clean as possible from spam, adverts, and content that didn’t relate to the topic of being a digital nomad. In the beginning, so many people were posting their general travel blogs but I got quite strict about the parameters. This wasn’t a general travel group, it was a place to share useful resources between and for digital nomads. I wanted the group to really support digital nomads and so any content that wasn’t specific enough to this topic was deleted and repeat offenders were banned.

Dealing with the Spam:

The biggest tip I can give here is not to be scared to delete posts or ban members. In the beginning, when the group was smaller, I used to write to individuals explaining why I was removing their post so that they knew if they continued posting similar content they would be banned, but as the group grew larger this became unmanageable. Then I got more specific and clear in the group guidelines so that people could read easily what would and would not be allowed in the group. People really appreciated this. They didn’t want the spam or the irrelevant content so seeing me take an active stand against it got a lot of support.

When the group got really large and I realized I was unable to moderate the number of posts and membership requests alone, I set about creating a team to support me. This started with a post in the group, inviting people to become moderators, I got a great response and the next step I took was to get on calls with individuals (and later on a group call.) I did this to establish a connection and to really explain the ethos behind the group and the methods I had been using to keep the group free from spammers and irrelevant content. This has worked really well.

Monetizing:

Monetizing the group was never my intention so I can’t give advice on the best ways to do so. However, because of the size and reach of the group I do occasionally get approached by companies who want to reach my audience with their product or service. In exchange, they usually offer me personally the opportunity to become an affiliate. As I’m not using this group to make money, when that happens I always ask the company to give whatever benefit they were offering to me instead to the members of the group.

That way they’re not just selling to my audience but actually providing some real value. Obviously, I ensure that any products or services offered in this way relate specifically to the needs of digital nomads.

Anything else you’d like to add:

Just that in the building of this community I have always tried to empower the members of the community to play an active role in the management of it. I want them to feel like it’s their community, not mine. In that way they become the moderators, they filter the content, they ban the spammers, they organize the resources, they write the group guidelines and they support every new member to follow them.  

One of the moderators, Danish Soomro, even created a separate website to have all of the resources shared organised for the digital nomads, http://dnlinks.info/  It’s my belief that empowering the members of Digital Nomads Around The World to see the group as their group has been, without a doubt, a huge factor in making this group as big, active and as successful as it is.


DanDan Norris of The 7 Day Startup:

Group Description: 7 Day Startup Pro is an online membership which gives you access to world-class marketers, training videos, expert interviews and frameworks for getting shit done quickly, for a low yearly fee.

Website: http://7daystartup.com

Building a group from the ground up:

I launched a book called The 7 Day Startup and I set up an ambassador group to help with the launch. I got about 200 members for the book launch and the members wanted to keep it going after we launched.

Keeping it active:

I have a paid group that I specifically maintain and make an effort to make active. Some of the things I do are having weekly topic ideas, introducing new members, having a power threads list which my VA adds to each week etc. I don’t do any of that for the free group. I do challenges from time to time for the free group with Facebook live calls which gets people active but generally is manages itself.

Dealing with Spam:

I just accept all people who request access and then if anyone spams or is negative in any way we boot them from the group. It’s not a huge problem it happens occasionally. I have zero tolerance for negativity in my group and so trolls and generally negative people don’t last long.

Monetizing:

It’s a tough one. I have a Pro version of my group with a few hundred members and I do weekly promos in the free group to get more paid members. But free to paid is always extremely difficult to make work. My general approach to monetization is I don’t worry too much about it, I just keep creating things that I hope people will like and if I have an audience, I’m more likely to sell things. A Facebook group is one of the best things I’ve done to build and engage my audience.

Anything else you’d like to add:

You have to be careful putting your eggs in the Facebook basket but I just think do what works and Facebook groups, at least for now, are working really well.


KimraKimra Luna of Freedom Hackers Mastermind:

Group Description: I created this group so like-minded entrepreneurs can help and support each other, ask questions, build relationships and celebrate each other’s win in business. Let’s help each other reach freedom.

Website: http://freedomhackers.com/

Building from the ground up:

First few came from personally asking people to join my community. Friends. Then the rest came from hosting webinars which I promoted with Facebook ads. I would ask people to join my group in my confirmation emails and on my ‘thank you for signing up’ page.

Keeping it active:

Whenever a really great thread would happen in the group I would email my list asking them to jump into the conversation. I grew my email list and group simultaneously. I kept mentioning my group consistently in my email newsletters.

Dealing with Spam:

Have clear rules and ban anyone who breaks them. Post the rules often. Once your group gets big you’ll need to post reminders of the rules daily.

Monetizing:

Yes. Promoting free offers inside your group to attract group members to your email list is always smart. Your members will go into your sales funnel and ta-da, monetized group.


HaleyHaley Lynn Gray of Women’s Entrepreneur Network:

Group Description: This group is your group to network, and get access to the resources you need to grow your business. This is a group run by women entrepreneurs, for women entrepreneurs.  

Website: http://leadershipgirl.com

Building from the ground up:

I promoted the group in other Facebook Groups, and also on Twitter, and to my email list.

Keeping it active:

Post 3-5 times per day, at a minimum.  Do regular FB Live sessions, and stay for at least 15-20 minutes, preferably more.  Limit the amount of promotion that people can do.

Dealing with Spam:

Delete, and remove them from the group.  

Monetizing:

I think that done properly a Facebook group will allow you to significantly build your business. You have to put out content, but also put out offers regularly.  Make sure that you show up regularly, and talk to your group members, and build relationships and trust with them.  

Anything else you’d like to add:

A group can be tremendous for building your business.  Just make sure that you’re posting valuable content in the group regularly, and that you are interacting regularly with your group members.


JonathanJonathan Kennedy of Shopify Entrepreneurs:

Group Description: Shopify Entrepreneurs is a group of Shopify store owners, store managers and expert service providers including developers, designers, and marketers.

Website: www.heycarson.com

Building from the ground up:

To create it around a topic that people are emotionally invested in, to invite the first 20 people manually, seed it with excellent curated content even when you know few people are reading, highlight members often, share influence content from LinkedIn and Twitter and notify and invite the influencer, use group tags wisely to appear in Facebook’s ”Suggested Groups” feature.

Keeping it active:

Moderate very tightly. Make sure everything posted is valuable for most members. Frequently tag and highlight members. Resurface old evergreen content, welcome new members – make them feel comfortable. Share the stage with other influencers.

Dealing with Spam:

Pre-moderate and only approve requests and posts from members with real names, profile pics and legitimate profile info.

Monetizing:

No. Use to highlight what you offer, but I’d avoid selling sponsorship, it dilutes the experience. Monetize it through relationships and partnerships made.

Anything else you’d like to add:

Facebook groups as a product was a better experience for us when the membership was under 3000. As the group grew, the engagement didn’t follow the growth. If I had to do it over, I would moderate new member requests even more and maybe even make it invite-only.  


RyanRyan Stewman of Sales Talk With Sales Pros

Group Description: This group is for serious Sales Pros. We are dedicated to sales talk. We are always looking for new methods and people to bounce ideas off of.

Website: www.HardcoreCloser.com

Building from the ground up:

I ran a competition for members to invite other people To join. I offered $100 to one person who invited at least 20 people and I picked a winner when we hit 1000.

Keeping it active:

We keep spam out and encourage folks to post videos in there.

Dealing with Spam:

Delete and block. We give no second chances. Our reputation now keeps spam and trolls low.

Monetizing:

Sell digital products to members.


LukeLuke Benjamin Thomas of The Dude’s Brood

Group Description: The place for all awesome digital nomads to hang out, discuss what’s going on in their business, help each other take their business to the next level and talk about sweet places to travel to!

Website: http://thatmarketingdude.com

Building from the ground up:

Build relationships with people in other groups… Not self-promotion. Be helpful and provide value and the right people that fit well with your message will join your group.

Also, promote it everywhere! Your personal profile, fan page, Twitter, Instagram, podcasts (your own or as a guest on another), blog posts, YouTube videos… EVERYWHERE

Keeping it active:

Provide a mixture of crazy posts, thought provoking, an inside into your personal life/showing off your personality and giving members a chance to talk about themselves and what they’re doing. Keep self-promotion in check (limit it to only be allowed in a certain area) as this will devalue your group is EVERYONE is peddling their own stuff.

Doing daily themed posts seem to do well too… You can limit the self-promotion to a specific day of the week and only within the themed post so to not clutter up the wall.

Dealing with Spam:

Have strict rules/guidelines and have a 2 strike policy. After the first, remind them to check out the rules or risk being banned from the group. If they do it again, ban them from the group.

Monetizing:

Entirely up to you… Unless you’re talking about ads or “sponsored posts” in which case it’s a no.

Groups are a great way to build a relationship with people to eventually get them into your sales funnel… Or to learn more about what your audience wants (potential products/services you can offer)


TerriTerri Levine of Business Owners Marketing & Sales

Group Description: This group is meant for all business owners (or people who want to start a business) – coaches, consultants, speakers, trainers, authors, network marketers – to ask questions, network and share relevant industry content.

Website: www.heartrepreneur.com

Building from the ground up:

Invited people. Gave value in like-minded groups. Asked members to invite people. Recommended clients join. Shared valuable posts.

Keeping it active:

My posting tips that keep the group active.

Dealing with Spam:

Don’t allow people to post without approval. Have a strong pinned video on spam policy. Remove and block offenders.

Monetizing:

Live stream teachings . If they comment or react DM them and offer to help them.


AmandaAmanda Goldman-Petri of The Balanced Entrepreneur

Group Description: This nerdtastic group is dedicated to helping you grow your biz in a smart, balanced way so that you can make money without having to work too hard, hustle, or sacrifice. I believe you CAN have it all!

Website: http://marketlikeanerd.com

Building from the ground up:

The first two strategies I leveraged were:

1. Direct Messaging people (some who I know, some who I did not know) on Facebook with a very carefully-crafted copy to invite them to the group. I say carefully-crafted because people will see this as spammy if you do it the wrong way.

2. Creating an invitation page for the group and using that as the thank you page for my free gifts. Then I promoted my free gift in other people’s groups. As people opted in for the free gift, they’d see the thank you page invitation and click to join my group.

Keeping it active:

“High Engagement Activities” such as Q+As and Challenges are great ways to get a huge influx of engagement all at once, which sets the tone for natural engagement later on.

Dealing with Spam:

1) Set your group up so that people come for YOU and GENUINELY want to add to the community, which reduces the issue in the first place.

(2) When it does happen, protect your group members and your group vibes and don’t be afraid to block people.

Monetizing:

Yes, this is the business after all. I typically nurture my members for 30-90 days and by then, once I put an offer in front of them, they are dying to buy it so the sale feels very effortless.

Anything else you’d like to add:

I have a webinar on this exact topic, about how I booked $113K from Facebook groups in 90 days and the 3 step system you can leverage to monetize a group too. Right here: http://marketlikeanerd.com/fbgroupswebinar


MikeMike Long of The OMG Way

Group Description: If you’ve tried the guru’s way, your boss’ way, your teacher’s way, and everybody else’s way…and you’re not getting the RESULTS you’re looking for, then why not try The OMG Way.

Website: http://omgmachines.com

Building from the ground up:

We got to several thousand members immediately because we added The OMG Way Facebook group by piggybacking off a powerful 25,000 or so email list with a number of established powerhouse Facebook groups.

Keeping it active:

We don’t allow negativity or review threads. I think this is such a hack.

Dealing with Spam:

We really try to be inclusive. But our terms or service are clear. The key is no negativity or review threads.

Monetizing:

We use it as yet another powerful channel to spread our message.


AliyaAliya Levinson of Authentic Entrepreneurs

Group Description: As female entrepreneurs it is our obligation to support each other, build each others’ confidence, and lend a helping hand. Not only is this simply the right and genuine thing to do, but forming relationships is the KEY to running a thriving and successful business.

Website: www.aliyalevinson.com

Building from the ground up:

Building relationships in other FB groups and giving prospects incentive to join! I hosted several challenges in my group that brought on hundreds of amazing women (which was AWESOME to see)! You can run a low-converting Facebook ad, put links to your group on all social media networks, and let the word spread like wildfire =)

Keeping it active:

The biggest key to increase engagement is to always build relationships. It’s like you’re hosting a (virtual) party. Welcome new members into the group, ask thought-provoking questions, respond to member’s questions and comments and make people feel as comfortable and special as possible. People want to hang out where they feel loved–bottom-line. Show love and get love in return.

Dealing with the Spam:

I used to give a warning or send a private message instructing them to please check the group rules before posting anything overly promotional. But as the group grows and your client-base grows, there is less time to consult each and every individual. Make a point of putting “do’s and don’ts” in the group rules, and if the rules keep getting broken, write a post about it. It’s your group, so if someone is bringing down the vibe or simply being SUPER promotional, then you can give them a warning or simply send them on their merry way (out of your group).

Monetizing:

Your FB group can be an incredible way to form a community for like-minded people (and yourself) to hang out in, get support, and grow a fan-base. If you’re looking to monetize your Facebook group the BEST way to start is by building your “know, like, and trust” factor with the group member. Let them get to know YOU, not just your products and services. Who are you? What do you like? What are you all about? People like experiencing YOU and why you do what you do. Of course, providing value, sharing free information, tips, tricks etc is amazing and super important for people. But at the end of the day for service-providers, people are investing in YOU as a person…so let them in! Build those relationships, and your coaching practice (or whatever business you run) will build as well.

Anything else you’d like to add:

Growing a Facebook group can be TONS of fun, but it requires making sure your group and the people in it are in alignment with YOU. Set your intentions for the group before growing it. What kind of environment would you like it to be? Warm? Informative? Fun? Bold? Think about your values and what’s most important to you, and make sure to infuse your core desires into the group while growing it. Put out content that’s really reflective of you and who you are. Connect with people like you’d connect with a friend. You CAN be an expert and a friend at the same time. At the end of the day, you want your group to be a place that feels exciting and simply AWESOME to be a part of, not overwhelming, or like a drag to run or take care of. Have FUN with it!


So there you go.

Some tried and tested methods and absolutely brilliant advice to make Facebook groups work for your business.

We’d love to hear from you guys.

Are you running an FB group? How’s it going so far? Is there a tip that you’d like to add?

Let us know through comments.