Do free Facebook groups still work for small businesses in 2021?
Episode 431st May 2021 • Courageous Content with Janet Murray • Janet Murray
00:00:00 00:14:48

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Is it still possible to generate leads and sales for your business from a Facebook group in 2021? How do you wake up the members of a ‘dying’ Facebook group (and is it even worth it?).

That’s exactly what you’ll find out in this solo podcast episode with me, Janet Murray. 

[1:59] Why you need to understand the problem your group solves for its members 

[2:50] Four examples of successful free Facebook groups 

[6:17] Why keeping your Facebook group small can be better for sales 

[7:50] Common reasons people struggle to sell in their free Facebook groups 

[9:15] How to create a content strategy for your free group (and why you need one)

[11:34] Why you need to sell early and often in your Facebook group

[13:10] How to decide whether to close a free Facebook group that isn’t working 

Useful links

ADHD for Smart Ass Women (Facebook group)

The Social Media Geek Out (Facebook group)

Lonely Goat Running Group (Facebook group)

Erin Condren Fans (Facebook group)

Janet Murray’s website.

Janet Murray on Instagram

Janet Murray on Facebook

Janet Murray on TikTok

Janet Murray on Twitter

Janet Murray on LinkedIn

Janet Murray’s Audience Growth Quiz

Transcripts

IMPORTANT: THIS TRANSCRIPT IS AUTOMATICALLY GENERATED. WE GIVE IT A QUICK CHECK THROUGH BUT WE DON’T CORRECT EVERYTHING AS IT’S INTENDED TO HELP YOU FIND PARTS YOU WANT TO LISTEN TO AGAIN - NOT AS AN EXACT TRANSCRIPT. SO THERE MIGHT BE A FEW QUIRKY WORDS/PHRASES HERE!

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Because the moment they start to sell in that group, people get upset, they get offended. It's like, how dare you sell in the free Facebook group that you have invested your time and money in growing. You're listening to the courageous content podcast. I'm Janet Murray. And I love helping coaches creatives and entrepreneurs create super engaging content that generates leads and sales for their businesses.

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No one starts a business and just knows how to create engaging content. It's a skill that has to be learned and practice. And there's always something new to learn, no matter how long you've been in business. And I know running an online business can feel messy, perfectionism, fear self-doubt and other mindset stuff can stop you showing up online in the way that's best for you.

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So you'll get help with that too. Where did you get courageous with your content? Let's get started. Have you been wondering whether to start your free Facebook feel business, perhaps you already have a free Facebook group, but it's like a ghost town, no one ever posts, unless you start the conversation, it could be that you already have a super engaged Facebook group.

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That's taking up a lot of your time, but not generating leads and sales for your business. So if we split groups still work as a marketing strategy in 2021, that's exactly what you'll find out in this episode. So I absolutely believe that free Facebook groups still have a place in small business marketing in 2021, but the online world is noisy and it's getting noisier.

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So if you do want to watch a Facebook group or you want to grow the one you have, you need to be really intentional about it. Otherwise yours could get drowned out. Here's four things you need to do to create a successful free Facebook group for your business. So, number one, you need a clear objective. If you want your Facebook group to generate leads and sales for your business,

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you need to know exactly what problems you can solve for people and what they might get out of being part of your community. We are all selfish content consumers. We don't join Facebook groups just to be nice. We joined them because we want to get something out of it. Perhaps we have questions we want to ask. We have problems that we need to solve,

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but we are all selfish content, consumers, and quite rightly so our time is precious. Our money is precious. So we're not just going to join any old Facebook group just for the sake of it. So I'm going to run you through some examples of Facebook groups that I belong to that might help you to understand this a little bit more clearly. So the first one is ADHD for smart women.

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So this is a Facebook group specifically for women who have ADHD or people who suspect they have, and it's a space for them to share their experiences and ask questions. So if you're a woman who has ADHD or things that you've might have, or perhaps you have a friend or family member of a partner, and you've got questions, you've got things that you need to know.

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This is a great space. And you're certainly going to get value from being part of that community. Another group I belong to is magnifiers social media. GeekOuts. This is a space where I get information and advice about all the latest social media developments. So it saves me time. It keeps me up to date with what's changing in my industry. There's interesting conversations in there.

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So it's valuable because it saves me time and it saves me money in the long run. Another group I belong to is the lonely goats running club. So this is a group specifically for people who want to talk about running and even find people to run with, but who don't want to join a running club or perhaps they can't because of where they're located or maybe they travel a lot with their job.

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So it's like a virtual running club and vegan one is actually is quite similar. So as I'm running through these examples, you can probably hear that these all have something in common. They're very specific. They offer specific type of person who has a very specific problems or questions. And when I see people who are struggling to grow a Facebook group, it's often because there is too broad,

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it's too general and people just don't feel, I need to be part of this community. These aren't my people. I need to be part of this community. I'm going to get value because I know I'm going to get my problem solved. I know I'm going to get my questions answered. One more example for you, which may be helpful if you have a product based business.

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So I also belong to Erin Condren planners. So this is a space for people who want to chat about planning and organization and diaries. You get people in there geeking out about how to organize their planner, how to write in it. And the conversation often specifically revolves around M in conjun planners. So it's people who are interested in talking about planning and organization and looking for planning and organization solutions.

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And they're hanging out with people who are just like Ben. So when you start a Facebook group, you may not be sure exactly what you're going to sell to people. And certainly when I first started a business Facebook group for my own business, that was exactly the situation for me. You can figure that part out as you go. So as you get to know your community better,

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you can ask questions. You can understand more about what it is that they need, and you can actually almost co-create products and services to sell to them within the group, by talking to them. However, if you set up a group and you don't actually understand the problems that you solve for people, then you're really going to struggle to sell to this group of people.

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When you do figure out what it is that you can sell to the people in your Facebook community, you then need to build a funnel. So by that, what I mean is you need to map out the journey. Someone might take from a member of your free group to becoming a customer clients. That's number one, you need a clear objective. Even if you don't know what exactly it is,

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you're going to sell to your community. You at least need to understand the problems that they have and how you can help solve them. Number two, really important. You need the right people in the group. And first off numbers don't matter. What really matters is whether the people in your group are motivated enough to get involved in discussion. Are they motivated to answer questions?

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When you ask them, are they motivated to post their own questions or share interesting things that they've read or heard about? In fact, it's actually better to have smaller numbers of people in your group, smaller numbers of engaged people, because people are more likely to see and engage with your content. So the way that the algorithm works on Facebook, but I'm putting much,

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all social media platforms is the more people who engage with your content. So by that, the people who comment, the people who get involved in the conversation, the more people your content will be shown to, because Facebook will say, oh, people are really interested in this post. So, whereas I was only showing it to 25% of the group.

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I'm talking about the Facebook algorithm here. Like, it's a person it's not, but you know what I mean? I was going to show this to 25% of the group, but actually this post is going really well. So we're going to show it to more people. And it's so important that you have more of the right people. I've had groups in the past where I've had thousands.

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In one case I had 13 and half thousand people, but there were just too many people. It's not about the numbers. You can have a brilliant group that has 13,000 people, 15,000 people, 20,000 people. It's about whether they're the right people. And if you find yourself in a situation where you're posting, and you're not getting many responses, even though you've got lots of people in your group,

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there's usually one or two things going on. So either you don't have the right people in the group say the content isn't resonating with them. People aren't common things that, that isn't pushing the outlet and to show it to more people in the group or your content, isn't very engaging, which we will get onto in just a sec. When we talk about the right people,

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the right people means people who have shared interests and values, people who are going to say, oh yeah, this content is just for me. People who have the same questions, the same problems that they need to solve. And that's really what I mean by the right people. I belong to a running group that has just over a hundred members. It's more active than some I've been in that has thousands of members.

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So it really isn't about the numbers. It's about how engaged those people are. You could have 30 people in a Facebook group who are super engaged, and that will be better than having 30,000. If that makes sense, I'll keep you engaged. Because if people are getting involved in conversations in your Facebook group, if they're answering questions, if they're posting their own questions,

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their thoughts, their own ideas, it's going to be much easier for you to sell to them when the time is right. So the third thing that you need to have for successful free group is you need a content strategy. You can't just start a Facebook group and expect your members to do the work. You need to set the tone and you need to encourage them to feel comfortable to post by publishing regular content of your own integrated content that is designed to encourage conversation.

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Now, ultimately, that content does need to be driven by what you want to sell, but you need to provide value. So you need to provide value. So you can build that note. I can trust factor. That means that when you do have an offer to make people will already know, you they'll know your content, they know a bit about your products and services.

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And it worked for Alexis, such a big step to make a sound. In fact, it may feel like the natural next step for them. But in the early days of having a Facebook group, you are going to need to work really hard to get engagement. You need to reply to every comment you are going to need to post every single day.

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Perhaps even multiple times a day. You may need to go live several times a week. Again, maybe every single day, you're going to meet a tagging members. You think might have a view on your posts. It's definitely not a quick fix. And when I see people struggling to grow a Facebook group, and at that point, and maybe you're there,

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or maybe you have been there and they're about to give up often it's because they're either not posting regular content at all. Or the content that they're posting is just not of interest to the members of their group. So you're going to need the content plan and you're going to need to post content into your group regularly. And you're also going to need when it comes to the time to sell,

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to create upsell content. So content that is designed to encourage people, to take advantage of your paid products and services. And the last thing that you need to think about. If you want to grow a successful free Facebook group, this is number four is you need to sell and you need to do it early. I speak to so many business owners who started Facebook groups as a way of generating leads and sales for their business.

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And they feel frustrated because the moment they start to sell in that group, people get upset. They get offended. It's like, how dare you sell in the free Facebook group that you have invested your time and money in growing. This phenomenon is known as baby bird syndrome. And it's a phrase coined by my friend, the sales expert, Jessica Lorimer.

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So baby bird syndrome happens when your audience get so reliant on your free content, that when you suggest they might actually buy something from you, they feel abandoned. They feel fretful. They may even lash out at you and I have totally been there and it's not nice. The solution is you need to sell in your group as early as possible, and you need to sell.

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Often. People need to know that if they're in your group, you are going to sell to them. And if they don't like that, there are other groups that they can be in to round things up. Yes, it is absolutely still worth having a free Facebook group in 2021. It can still be an incredibly effective marketing strategy. But if you want to attract leads and sales for your business,

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you need a strategy. Otherwise you could be wasting your time and money, and you also need to be moving the people who join your group, ideally onto your email list. Because the thing about Facebook group is that you don't own it. You're building your audience on someone else's land. So if your group was to be closed down or Facebook changed their terms and conditions,

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you don't have any control over any of that. If you're moving your members onto your email list and that's yours to keep forever, if you already have a free Facebook group that isn't working, you need to ask yourself some tough questions. Have I created the right kind of group? Have I got the right kind of members in the group is my content,

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right? Is my content hitting the spot with these people in the group? It is possible to rescue a group that isn't working, but sometimes it can be better to close the group and start from scratch. Would you like to grow your audience on social media, head over to Janet murray.co.uk/audience to take my 62nd audience growth quiz, find out the steps you need to take to build your online audience and your sales.

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You get a detailed report with actionable tips, tried and tested with hundreds of my clients from both products and service based businesses. So you can start creating super engaging content to attract your ideal clients today. Thanks for listening to the courageous content podcast. If you enjoyed this episode, please leave a review on apple podcast or share the episode on social media. That way more people can benefit from the free tips and strategies I share and be sure to tag me in when you do I'm at Jan Murray on Instagram,

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Twitter, and TikTok.