Unlike Facebook pages, Facebook groups tend to be more engaging and a great way to build a relationship with your ideal client. When someone joins a group, they know they’re going to learn something because the group was formed based on one common interest that all members share (whether it be weight loss, travel, art & culture, relationship advice, or digital marketing). Take my group for instance. I LOVE Facebook Ads and I’m passionate about helping others easily understand them, so I created a group where I can spread my Facebook Ad love to more people all over the world. This is also a very strategic business decision.
Facebook groups can be used in a couple of ways. They can be free groups that align with something you will soon be selling in hopes to learn more about your ideal clients (who are the ones joining your group), or they can be “paid” groups that are used as a bonus when selling a course. Many course creators create Facebook groups to answer questions from their students. Students, in turn, get more access to the instructor. I know I’ve taken courses for the sole reason of getting access to a Facebook group in which I knew the instructor was very active.
Two types of Groups
Free Facebook Group (these are great for a few reasons):
The people who join your group could be future buyers, so take advantage of this and really listen in your group. Try to understand their wants, needs, desires, and struggles. Use what you learn to make better products and services. The more you know about your ideal client, the better you can address their struggles in the products you sell.
Facebook groups also give you a chance to earn their trust and share your knowledge. You are their leader. You want to showcase your expertise and be the ‘go-to’ source for what you are teaching.
- You can quickly engage with your Facebook group members, and engaging means developing a relationship with them. That is always the first step in a future buyer’s journey. We buy from those we have a relationship with, know, like and trust.
Paid Facebook Group (as a course bonus):
Often, when you sign up for an online course, a private Facebook group is given as a bonus. This is an amazing benefit if the instructor plans to be active in the group and answer questions as they arise. Courses without private Facebook groups can be frustrating, especially when you have questions and no one to turn to for answers.
- Another perk of having a private Facebook group as a course bonus is that you can absolutely justify a higher priced course based on including a private Facebook group. Students are getting more accessibility to the instructor and that’s invaluable.
Creating the Facebook Group
There are 3 categories of Facebook groups you can create.
A public group: Anyone can see the group, it’s members, and posts.
A closed group: Anyone can find the group, but only members can see posts.
- A secret group: Only members can find the group and see the posts.
If you are running either a free or paid group, I generally recommend you make the group closed. With a closed group, you (as the admin) can approve or deny access to those who request to join. This is helpful because you want to make sure that the people in your group TRULY want and need to be in your group. If your group is part of a paid course, then you’ll want a way to verify that they’ve paid for that course before you allow access.
I have a closed Facebook group, and I vet the people who request to join. I want to fill my group with people who are generally eager to learn how to run Facebook ads. I’m not looking for spammers or people who just want to post links to their promotions. I want the members to accept and provide great value to each other, support each other, and provide constructive feedback when asked. Here are some ways I vet my members:
I look at their personal profile. If I sense that they are likely going to simply promote their ‘wares’, I will generally disapprove the request.
I look at their personal profile. This can also tell you a lot about the person behind the screen. Go with your gut.
I will also look at the list of groups that they are part of. You can do that by clicking on the “More” button from someone’s personal profile. Click on “groups” and it will show you the groups that they are a member of. I’m generally looking for people who are part of other Facebook Ad groups.
- I also look at the year that they joined Facebook. If they have joined in the current year and have 5 friends, it’s unlikely I’ll accept them.
If you do disapprove a member, they won’t know you did so.
Do’s and Don’ts of Facebook Groups
Do be committed and show up! It took me a long time to decide if I wanted to create a private Facebook group. I knew it was a time commitment with not much return on my investment, but helping is in my genes. I knew that I could help more people if I formed a group and became a resource for Facebook ad questions. But, you must show up. If you don’t, no one else will. Determine what time you can invest in the group and make that known to the members. If you are going to be in the group every day, tell them. If you’re going to be doing live weekly trainings only, tell them. The key is to set the expectations right from the beginning and stick to them! If you can’t commit to being in the group regularly, consider hiring a community manager or VA to help you. It’s great to also have a second pair of eyes in the group to make sure everyone is following your rules.
Do be genuine and true: I am a helper by nature. I would truly maintain a free Facebook group for as long as I could for the sole reason of helping people. When you create a group, make sure it’s for the right reason. Put your heart into it and it will show. Do it because you are passionate about it, not because you think you’re going to get a ton of sales. Marie Forleo said, “Never start a business to make money. Start a business to make a difference.” The same is true for groups. Do it to make a difference in someone else’s life.
Do help: As much as time allows, do help your group members and encourage others to help as well. Make it a two-way street. Provide tips, tricks, trainings, how-to videos, and answer questions as they come up.
Do provide a description of the group: This can be found in the “description” section on the right side of the page. Include who you are, why you formed the group, set expectations, and post your rules.
- Do set rules: This is important. I have a no-selling policy in my group. I do allow members to promote their businesses on a specific day because I know it’s important to support each other in our business journey, but I don’t want a big spam fest. If you want to use this rule, make sure you include it in the group’s description. Here are some other rules I’ve seen in groups:
- Give as much as you take.
Answer questions and help others and have fun.
Don’t be a jerk. 😉
No random memes.
Treat other members with respect and kindness.
- Be nice! Have Fun! Learn!
- Don't sell (a wee bit is ok): Don’t use your group as a platform to sell your products. It’s the fastest way to get people to leave your group. Remember, Facebook is a social platform. People are there to share, engage, talk, learn, and be inspired. They don’t want to be sold to. Having said that, if you have a new product you're launching and you’re generally excited to share it, do share what you’re working on with your members. And ask for their feedback! Ask them what they’d like to see in the course you’re creating or new additions that you’d like to add to your group.
- Don't make it all about you. Make it about them. You are their leader, but groups are collaborative. Don’t make it all about you. Talk with your members. Ask for their opinion, guidance, and direction and provide the same in return. Make it a team environment.
Pre-Launch Your Group Steps
Determine what you’re going to do in your group. Will you provide weekly Q&As? Will you just be a resource to them?
Create challenges to move members forward. This is also great for a ‘paid’ group. Often, people buy courses and never finish them. Challenge them with questions and action steps to take to keep them moving their business forward.
Create and post conversation starters or “theme” days. These are a great way to get more engagement. You can have theme days like: Hot Tip Tuesday or Feedback Friday. It gets your members thinking and interacting in the group. The more engaged the group, the larger it will become because people LOVE to share information on great groups. (Use Canva to create these images.)
- Pin an explainer video or image to the top of your newsfeed in your group. This will be the first thing people see when they join your group. You can create an image (like mine below) or a video of yourself talking to your members about the group. (For videos, I use Animoto or Adobe Spark.)
Promoting your Facebook group
Now that we’ve got the logistics out of the way, how the heck do you promote your free group? Well, there are a few ways:
- The quickest way is to run a paid ad to your group. You don’t need to spend a lot of money, but it will help to give you a boost in members. I don’t advise running it forever because eventually you’ll start to get members organically. To run an ad, you’ll need to create it in Ads Manager or Power Editor. You will use the “Traffic” Ad Objective. This sends traffic to the Facebook group. Now, Facebook doesn’t like when you run an ad to a Facebook group or page, so you’ll need to create a bit.ly URL of your Facebook group URL. To do that, go to your Facebook group and copy the URL from your browser. Then go to the bit.ly.com website and create a short bit.ly link. When you are ready to run your ad, instead of putting your group URL, use the shortened Bit.ly one.
Here’s an example:
This is my Facebook groups URL: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1750308861911011/
Facebook recognizes it as a Facebook page and won’t run the ad. So, you’ll need to convert this into a unique link like this: http://bit.ly/2ocpzii
- Another way to promote your group is to promote it in other groups that are directly related to your group or aligned with your group services. Do make sure you check the group rules and post your group details on the day that it’s permitted. I’ve done this in MANY groups, and I find I get a lot of new members very quickly.
- Join other groups that are related to your group topic and BE HELPFUL. I am a member of different groups and MANY people have questions about Facebook ads. I often answer questions for people, and I tend to see my group membership jump up that day. To find groups where your ideal clients hang out, go to the Facebook search bar at the top of your Facebook page and type in a keyword that would allow you to find groups. You might work with wellness coaches, so search “Wellness Coaching Groups.” I would likely type in “Facebook Ads.” Now, don’t join every group. Vet them. Look at the group, read their description and rules, and try to gauge if you will find quality leads. When you are accepted into the group, search for topics. For example: If I’m a copywriter, I might search ‘copywriter’ in the search field to see what questions people have in the group. Try to answer as many questions as possible. Give solid advice or constructive criticism when asked. People will start to remember you as being very helpful.
- Post something on your personal profile and Facebook business page. On your personal profile, you’ll have an ‘Intro” section. Add a link to your Facebook group there. Let’s face it, people are nosy. If you’re active in other groups, they’ll likely check out your profile. If they see that you have a private Facebook group and are interested in it, they’ll likely ask to join. Here’s an example of my personal profile intro:
Then, hop over to your business page and splash that Facebook group URL all over the place. Here are some places you can post it:
In your “About” section
As a pinned post
- On your Facebook Banner
Side Bar Ninja Trick: Include your freebie on your personal profile. Have you noticed mine?
“Grab my FREE Facebook Ad Starter Kit at Get Social Marketing Solutions.” When someone clicks on that link, it will take them to my Facebook Business page where I have the link to the download. To do this, go into your “About” section on your personal profile and click on “Edit Work”. You’ll get a screen like this. Hover over to the right of your business name until you see “Options”. Click on "Options" and then select "Edit".
Then, you’ll see this screen:
Instead of putting your position as “Owner” or “Founder”, use something like “Grab my free guide to…. [insert your freebie name]”. Then press save. If you want to promote your group instead, type in “Join my free Facebook group” and press save. It will then appear in your “Intro” section as “Join my private Facebook group at ____________ (your business name).” When they click on the link, it will take them to your business page. Make sure you have information to your group PINNED to the top of your business page so they can easily find the group.
We will soon be able to target Facebook ads to fans of GROUPS. Yes. For Real! This is amazing. I’m sure you are part of tons of groups that align with your product or service (and so is your ideal client), so we will soon be able to reach them with ads.
Some Facebook groups now include a short questionnaire that the person requesting access must complete. This is AWESOME as it will really allow you to assess how serious someone is about joining your group. Some people have this feature, some do not, but it’s coming soon!
So, in conclusion, there are many benefits to starting a Facebook group. Go into it knowing that it will be a commitment, but if done well, it will also be very rewarding.
Not part of my Facebook group, The Facebook Ads Classroom? Well, what are you waiting for?