Social media can be awesome for growing your business and engaging your audience, but a lot of businesses get it wrong when starting out, and unbeknown to most, there are some silent etiquette rules of what’s ok and what’s not in the land of social media, specifically Facebook groups.
From growing Remarkable Business Mums from 0 to 13,000+ in three years, I am going to share a few do’s and don’ts with you as a member in someone else’s group, and also how you can leverage the community of members to create more clients / customers for your own business. But listen in carefully, because I bet I am going to suggest in a way that you may not have considered before.
First of all, let’s go through a few things that aren’t cool to do in other peoples Facebook groups:
- Don’t answer every post with a plug for your business, whether relevant or not. Facebook groups are for conversations, not advertising.
- Try not to only post on the one day of the week when the group allows blatant plugging of your business. Become a member of the community and join in on other days too.
- Don’t ignore Admin rules or the requirements for each specific day’s posts, especially don’t write ‘please delete if not allowed’ Just check the rules, ok?
- Don’t put the same post across several similar Facebook groups, because many people will be members of the same groups as you and it will just look a bit spammy.
- While it is about being yourself, remember that you are still representing your business. Don’t forget manners, politeness, consideration when you are posting.
- Don’t PM members to sell your product/services, this is akin to spamming.
- Don’t share a post from your FB page with no other context, if you can’t put some effort into it, why should people put effort into getting to know you?
Now let’s look at some ways you can use a Facebook group to grow your business…
Go in expecting nothing
You might read this point and then think, ‘Well, why should I bother with a Facebook group at all if I am expecting nothing?’
The relationships you build through online forums and social media groups do bear wonderful fruit for your business, but you can’t force apples to grow, plant the seeds and over time, you’ll yield the results.
If you expect too much or to get results instantly, then you are not going to benefit here. Building up trust, relationships and bonds takes time, and there will be plenty of times where it feels like no one has seen or heard you – but trust me, there will be loads of people behind the scenes nodding along to your opinions / comment / perceptive and over time it will flow and convert into people who are curious to know more about your services or products. They will recommend you, and people will start to tag you when someone is looking for a service or product that you offer.
Some people will also click on your profile and stalk you, so make sure you have you’ve business links on your profile page, and I also leave some things on my profile public so anyone stalking me can see I’m a real person, just a mum, with two kids, currently pregnant with twins, which up until last week was triplets (I know, freaking crazy right!)
Figure out who you are and why you are here first
Don’t be scared to be your true self and let your personality show. The people I remember the most in my group are the ones that shine through and keep it real, speak their truth and aren’t scared to say how they really feel, regardless of whether it will be well received or not. Let people get to know who you are, what you stand for and what’s important to you, not some business facade.
I get sometimes it can be hard though, sometimes I feel pressure that I have to hold back on my true thoughts and adjust my language to be more ‘professional’ so I am leading by example, but then I remind myself I am going against the very grain of what I know to be true – there are many businesses out there doing the same thing as you, but there is only one of you. How can you connect with someone when you’re not being your true self and holding back on that?
Connections are where the fulfilment and meaning comes into business, so, sure I can talk profess – but it isn’t natural for me. Secretly I am a little bogan, a little blunt but in a loving way, and I know I work best when I am communicating and being real. If you meet me in real life, you’ll see that I talk exactly the same as I do online.
Look for your target audience
It is better if you look for groups where your target audience hang out, obviously.
Again, it helps if you work out your audience profile beforehand, and also know what kind of people hang out in each group, and why they are there. This also allows you to collect intel behind the scenes from other posts and conversations. What common pain points do your target audience continually ask about?
What are their fears, concerns and emotions? Is there a solution that is consistently being asked for? Create your service and products around that – what people are specifically asking for, not what you assume they want. Use the group to get to know your target audience personally and then translate this across your marketing and content strategy and position yourself as the solution. If you get it right, you’ll know because people will start saying to you ‘it is like you read my mind’ or ‘I was thinking exactly that’
Offer to help
Your posts and comments should come from a position of genuinely helping or adding something beneficial to the conversation instead of trying to sell and take from people, no one likes being sold to, but they do appreciate people helping them and will remember it.
When we lead with serving and helping people and are focused on delivering value it changes the way we operate, and then money flows as a natural consequence. And, that’s the challenge for most business owners, is they are so tunnel focused on making money and looking for instant gratification that they don’t take the time to build foundations in their business that will credit to the sustainability and longevity of their endeavours.
Post regularly in the group’s conversations and post across different days. As I said above, don’t just pop up on ‘Blatant Business Plug Day’ and then go silent the rest of the week, hang around, join in the conversations and become a valued member of a community, support it and it will support you in return.
Remember that your potential reach is huge
When you are commenting, it can feel like you are touching one person at a time, which is why it seems slow. But you are speaking to the entire group, and potentially thousands of customers or business contacts who are out there silently thinking and learning about you.
Every time you post a new, helpful, relevant piece of information about how your business may be able to solve someone’s problems, you are growing your relationship with hundreds of people.
Give it some time
Give people a chance to get to know you. You will need to post consistently and organically for around three months before you start to see some results so don’t give up just because one or two times no one replies to you.
When appropriate, take it further
When appropriate connect with specific people outside of Facebook, such as through Messenger or by email.
This doesn’t mean unsolicited contact. It means reaching out to other group members to answer their posts with information about how you can help, and then offering to PM or connect if they like.
Wait for their permission to make this contact before you go any further.
(Any other member out there reading that same post who feels you can help them too may also connect with you directly)
Growing a business through Social Media is never just the sell
You can’t just dump a sales pitch randomly in Facebook and expect customers to flock to you.
People who buy things through a Facebook group rarely buy first time from someone they have never heard of before. This is because around 90% of them aren’t even ready to buy.
Most people on social media are just learning about their problems and researching ways to solve them.
They know there are many businesses out there, and are taking the time to get to know which one is right for them.
Social media is zero about selling specific products, but about building relationships. Your focus with social media should be on informing your target audience about how you can help to solve their problems.
Through consistency and honesty, you will be putting up posts that let your audience know what you do, what your skills and interests are, and how you stand apart from your competitors, all without selling.