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Creating Facebook groups is one of my favorite marketing strategies. It’s an often overlooked way to reach audiences on social media. Spencer’s created quite a few video tutorials on how to grow a Facebook group:
But I’m writing this blog post as well to cover all the basic steps to create and grow a Facebook group for better marketing.
Why start a Facebook group?
With more than 2 billion active daily users, Facebook is one of the largest, most powerful platforms marketers can use to reach their audiences.
And while there’s a lot of potential for reach on Facebook, actually achieving it is more of a challenge. Facebook has rolled out many algorithm changes over the years that make it more difficult for marketers to reach audiences in their News Feeds. Their efforts are mostly aimed at encouraging businesses to use paid advertising to market on Facebook, but that’s not the only strategy you can use to reach your audience.
I’ve noticed that Facebook’s been making more efforts to suggest groups for me to join:
And it appears to be a part of the latest algorithm changes aimed at better connecting users with other people.
Starting a Facebook group and growing its members makes it possible to reach and build a close relationship with your target market. You can use your group to nurture members as leads, and also get more organic reach for your content when members share with their friends and followers.
Setting up your group
First let’s do a quick walkthrough of how to set up your group, if you haven’t done so yet. From your Facebook homepage, find “Group” under the “Create” section of your sidebar:
Then you’ll be prompted to fill out your basic group information:
Creating your new group:
- Name your group — This is a super important step as your group name is what shows up whenever Facebook recommends/promotes your group. Choose a name that fully illustrates what your group is about.
- Invite some people — You’ll need to invite at least one person (either Facebook friends or email addresses) to start your group.
- Select privacy — Create a closed group, otherwise anyone can join and spam your group.
Once you’ve created your group, you can go in and fill out important information. This should be easy to do since Facebook prompts you to add info:
A cover photo
Your group cover photo is just as important as your group name, since both appear together when Facebook promotes your group.
Describe your group in up to 3,000 characters. This is the secondary place you can tell visitors what your group is about.
Tag your group
Write up to 5 tags to help people find your group. Choose keywords related to your group niche. Facebook may also provide some recommendations.
Set a group type
Select a group type to help Facebook and users better understand what your group is about. Main categories include close friends, club, family, neighbors, school, support, travel, study group, custom, etc.
Add a location (if applicable)
If your group has some location-based relevance, you can set several group locations around the world.
Customize your URL
Facebook automatically assigns your group a meaningless number in the URL. You can change this to something relevant to your group:
It also creates a special email address to go with it.
Fill out your group details fully so you can take advantage of them to promote and get more reach to grow members.
How to grow a Facebook group
Once you’ve created a Facebook group with all the right elements to promote it, you’re ready to start growing your members. Inviting everyone you know to join might work as a one-time effort, but growing a Facebook group long term really depends on engagement.
Develop a highly engaged group, even if it’s a small one, and Facebook will start promoting it for you in suggested groups. Here are 7 key tips that can help make it happen:
Be active in your group
Especially in the beginning, discussions and engagement in your group won’t happen spontaneously. It’s up to you to set the tone of the group and post content that members will engage with.
You should post several times a day using your best niche content. Encourage discussion by asking members to share their opinions/experiences about the topic. One cool feature you can use to encourage engagement is polling.
In your group, click “More” next to “Write Something.” Then click “Create Poll.” Then you’ll be able to enter a multiple choice question:
Be active in other relevant groups
The best way to gain group members is by targeting people who are already active and engaged in other relevant groups. You’d be surprised how many groups people will join that are variants on a single niche topic.
You can find other groups to join using Facebook’s native search feature. Just type in a keyword related to your niche and find other active groups with lots of members to join:
Build a presence in other relevant groups by providing lots of free value. This engagement will help you attract interest back to your own group.
Remember: The point is not to spam these groups with promotional material. Offer real value and gradually other members will get curious, check out your personal profile, and then discover your group as well.
A great way to encourage engagement in your group early on is with the help of bonuses. These can be lead magnets for your business, such as access to a free training course.
Do this by posing a question to your group, like: “Who wants access to my ultimate guide to Facebook promotion? Comment yes below.”
Bonuses like this are a great way to encourage group engagement, attract traffic back to your site and capture the contact information of potential leads.
As moderator of the group, you don’t want to appear as just another member. Use the group features to help you build a closer relationship with your audience. Going live is a great way to get people to really know and trust you.
It used to be you couldn’t do live videos directly to private groups, but starting last May you can. From your group’s main page, any member can see an option to start a live video:
Always respond to member posts
If you want to develop a self-sustaining Facebook group that grows itself, you need to encourage members to stay active. Beyond engaging with your posts, you should also have a healthy number of posts from other members coming through every day.
Encourage members to do this more by always responding to their content when they do post. Give them the same kind of engagement you want to see on your own content. Group members that post regularly can become powerful advocates to growing your Facebook group.
Cross promote your group
Probably the worst mistake you can make is assuming that Facebook itself is the only platform you can market your group to gain members. In fact, it’s way easier to get reach for your group off Facebook than on it.
Cross promote your group by recommending it on your other social platforms and your website. You can also promote it in your other marketing messages such as blog posts, podcasts, email newsletters, etc. When cross promoting, try using bonuses as an incentive to joining your group (e.g. “Each new member gets free access to our training course”).
Create a Facebook page
If you don’t already have a Facebook business page, you should create one to help promote your group. Your Facebook page is just another platform you can use to build your audience and attract them to join your group.
Facebook has an option to link a group to your Page. On your Facebook page, click the “Groups” tab. Then you should see an option to link your group. If you don’t see a “Groups” tab in your sidebar, then you’ll need to go to your page setting to find it.
Once you’ve associated your group with a Facebook business page, then you can promote it using paid advertising features as well.
That’s really all you need to know to get started growing a Facebook group from scratch. But there are always more tips and tricks you can use to optimize your strategy.
Want to learn more about how you can earn passive income as an online entrepreneur? Then join Spencer’s Facebook group: Automation Nation. In it, we discuss tricks and strategies for automating your business processes. But it’s also a great place to see in action the best practices to grow a Facebook group.