As a business owner, I’ve learned to harness free Facebook groups and have created a machine that generates six figures annually — and you can, too.
Given that Facebook keeps raising the prices for fan pages to get exposure, a Facebook group is one more way to tap into your audience and make more money (and without buying ads). I’d like to show you the top ways to use a Facebook group to generate a steady stream of leads and sales — and the best part is these methods are simple, free, and if you’re already on Facebook, then you already have the knowledge to use these tips today. (If you don’t have a group yet, here’s how to properly set up a profitable Facebook group from the get-go.)
1. Create Regular Engagement.
In the world of content marketing, you have to get good at creating engagement. In fact, most marketers know that the more engagement you’re getting on social, the more your posts will be shown to the users on Facebook.
One of the first ways to boost your engagement score will be by posting intriguing questions. Question posts are incredibly helpful for inciting comments, likes and growing your engagement on social media.
In a widely popular group, hosted by Order of Man founder Ryan Michler, he often asks his group members, “What are your manly plans this weekend?” With this simple question, I’ve noticed that Michler’s group goes crazy with comments and engagement, and in one week I’ve seen him amass nearly one thousand comments from that simple question.
By posing a simple question to your group, you’ll add gasoline to your group and the members will light the fire and engage with each other. That participation will avalanche into more community involvement and as many group owners will attest to — it’ll help magnetize more people to your brand and services.
2. Don’t just Sell — Use Posts That Entice Readership.
While questions will get you a lot of mileage, they aren’t enough.
If you only ask questions, people won’t be able to know you as their leader, and they won’t feel connected to you. Asking questions can help them want to engage and entice them to comment, but you need more.
To succeed in this game — you also need a connection.
The best kind of post for that is what I call the “vulnerability post.”
Recently, my friend AJ Mirzhad posted about going through depression as he moved into his ideal home — while not in his Facebook group, notice that his post got hundreds of comments. The post is incredibly personal, vulnerable and tells us a lot about Mirzhad. In the same fashion, I’ve used these posts as a way to share my life story, and in turn, it’s helped me get closer to my fans and audience.
I am not suggesting you air out your dirty laundry, but at least let your community get in close and see you as a human and someone who, like them, has hardships. All of us love to feel connected, and nothing does it better than getting personal and vulnerable.
And while I’m giving tips on posts that help you draw your fans in closer — let me give you another kind of post that works really well (but it does require some resources and creativity): Try doing a giveaway. Offer your members prizes for their engagement and for adding people to your group — make it a competition with scintillating prizes that you know your community will compete for.
Recently, I saw this kind of post help Sunny Co. Clothing amass nearly 1 million new followers and make a small fortune through their giveaway post. Now, maybe your company can’t afford to give away large quantities of products, but it can give away a few really cool prizes. When you make it a competition and use a tool like Grytics, you can track engagement and give people points for adding members and for their participation in your group — and you can take those stats and post in them in the group to make it a competition to win the prizes.
3. Invite People To Join, Promote, Promote.
I once heard someone say, “If you’re not growing, you’re dying.”
The same goes for your Facebook community.
As Facebook group growth expert Arne Giske told me, growing your group doesn’t have to be hard, and it doesn’t mean you need big numbers for it to be profitable. A small group of a few hundred members can easily outperform large groups with thousands of people in them.
Since we all know a business is a hungry beast, we must regularly feed it. By adding targeted members to your group, you can continue to increase your fan base. When more people join, they add to the conversation, and that helps your engagement.
Growing your group will continue to feed the pipeline, add to the networking and help attract more users to your community.
Promoting your group can be as simple as posting on social media and telling people about your group. You can also create updates and tweets to go out on LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram to invite followers to your group. With a simple post announcing that you have a group and some of the benefits, you’ll attract interested viewers in your community.
Don’t be afraid to email your list, private-message highly targeted people inviting them in and even run ads with links to your group.
As you grow your group, let me give you a little ninja trick that’s been helping me add hundreds of members every month to my private group. Use a tool like Post Planner and set up repeating tweets and posts to invite people to your community. When you set up repeating posts, don’t make them go out every day, but try something like once a week or twice a month.
The key here isn’t selling, it’s engagement to grow the group and give members content they’ll participate with. Later, you can use what I call the 10 percent rule, which means that 10 percent of your content can be direct offers and pitches — and because your group is growing and active those posts will definitely be seen and will draw eyeballs.
This story originally appeared in Entrepreneur. Image courtesy of Thanasak Wanichpan/Getty Images.