When people talk about promoting a business on Facebook nowadays, they’re often doing one of two things:
- Preaching the benefits of boosting ads in the wake of organic reach decline
- Discussing how to navigate a new set of privacy setting changes resulting from criticism (and lawsuits) around the company’s treatment of user data
And while it’s important to have conversations on the aforementioned points, we shouldn’t neglect the other tactics you can use in driving engagement (and leads) on the channel.
Facebook Groups for business, for example, are highly underrated.
More than half of Facebook’s user base uses Groups every month.
These microcosms of community are prime for building a presence around, pending you take the right approach in building them.
Here’s what we’ll cover in discussing how to use Facebook Groups for business to generate small business leads for your social media management agency:
- Narrowing in on your audience
- The importance of Facebook Group community guidelines
- Generating interest around Group invites
- Monitoring and managing a Group
- Driving engagement and best practices around self-promotion
- Monetize your Facebook Group
Narrow In on the Intended Audience for your Facebook Group
By now, you’ve likely already put in the leg work to define your ideal client profile. This should help guide the direction of your Group concept.
What kind of community do you want to foster?
Your Group may serve as a gathering place for:
- Other social media management agencies to gather and swap ideas
- Small business owners to field questions and comments about marketing their brand
- A place where anyone with a relevant interest can share their favorite examples of social media done right (and wrong)
If you go the route of opening the Group up to other social media managers, you make room for networking potential. Focus on small business owners and you stay top-of-mind when prospects begin looking for third-party expertise.
Research Facebook Groups for business that already exist to get a better feel for the gaps you could fill. You don’t have to limit your search to social media-specific Groups either. Some of my favorites include:
- The Daily Carnage
- Social Media Managers
- Freelancing Females
- Cafe Writer
- Bloggers Supporting Bloggers
- Make Money with WordPress
Create Facebook Group Community Guidelines
Think of community guidelines as a non-negotiable when creating your Facebook Group.
This is where you’ll define the why behind your Group’s existence. It’s where you’ll entice relevant audiences to want to join.
“It's definitely key to have parameters in which your group will operate. What kinds of posts are welcome (and which are not), how you will be moderating the group, etc.
I also recommend adding a few questions to properly vet people. I ask one question to qualify them as a fit for the community, then I ask them to provide their name and email address so I can add them to my email list (optional).
I'd say 80% of people provide this information, and it has helped me create a high-quality email list, earning people's email one at a time. But these are very qualified people, no doubt.”
Diane Walter, Director of Digital at Carney adds,
“It's always more fun to play when everyone understands the rules. Facebook makes it easy to set up community guidelines, with a selection of canned rules that cover most of the dicey behaviors one might encounter on a social media group. Use these as a starting point and edit to reflect your own brand voice and specific guidelines for your Group.”
Being definitive and purposeful in the type of community you create increases the quality of potential small business leads generated from it down the road. This also creates a space that’s both welcoming and encouraging of peoples’ opinions.
Generate Interest in Joining your Facebook Group
For people to want to join your Facebook Group, they first have to know it exists.
Naturally, you can promote your Group on social media — both through your branded agency channels and personal pages.
Alternatively, consider making it an extension of your current content efforts.
You can also use access to a private Facebook Group as further incentive for downloading a piece of gated content.
Or joining a paid program, like Erin Flynn of Successfully Simple discusses:
“Community plays a huge role in motivating people to complete a paid program. Mention the Facebook group as a bonus that they get with the program, and if you can, show the types of discussions that happen in the group (blur identifying info) so that they can see the kind of support they can get from their peers.”
Monitor and Manage your Facebook Group
Once your Facebook Group is alive and active, it’s on you as the owner to moderate what goes down within it. Check in regularly and ask members to message you in the event issues arise.
You want members to identify you as an active authority — someone who knows what they’re talking about and quick to take action when guidelines are violated.
In monitoring and managing your Facebook Group, you may also find that it becomes a source of content inspiration, like Jenny Levine Finke did:
“Rather than using [my Facebook Group] to promote my business, I often use it to mine for ideas. What are people in my community talking about and how can I use that information to create content they want? After I create the content, I'll go back and share that new blog post on those threads.”
Listening to your community and delivering content that’s highly relevant to their needs is a surefire way to build your credibility as a thought leader in the social media space.
Proactively Drive Facebook Group Engagement
Especially in the beginning, your Facebook Group may need a push in the engagement department.
Consider creating posts that:
- Introduce who you are and why you started the Group
- Encourage other members of the Group to share their story
- Asks a question based on a piece of curated content or recent experience
- Asks for honest feedback on what members are hoping to get out of the Group
One thing you don’t want to make a habit out of is blatant self-promotion.
Allie Barke of Allie’s Fashion Alley (formerly the creator and admin of Bloggers Supporting Bloggers) sums this up perfectly:
“Always provide value. I've found that group members don't want to be sold to (in most cases) so keep self-promotional posts to a minimum.
Try instead asking a question to gauge interest in what you're selling, then customize it to their needs. If you're asking for a favor from group members (e.g., engage with my Instagram post or sign up for my email list), offer to return the favor and follow them on Instagram, too.”
Diane Walter of Carney adds,
“The Daily Carnage Group is a service we provide for our members. Like our newsletter, it's a free resource for valuable information with nothing expected in return. Very seldom, we'll jump in and comment on a thread to remind folks that we are indeed an ad agency, if there is a post looking for a specific service we can provide.”
How to Make Money from Facebook Groups
- Establish yourself as a thought leader within your Facebook Group to make it easy for group members to keep you top of mind for their own projects or to recommend you to members of their network who need help.
- Don’t be overly-self promotional. It’s ok to keep Group members posted about what you’re working on so that they can understand if you might be a fit for a relevant project.
- Lay the groundwork of defining the purpose of the group, creating Group guidelines to qualify members as potential leads.
- Use Group guidelines to encourage Group members to sign up for your email list.
- Promote your Group through related channels.
- Drive ongoing engagement while monitoring Group discussions.
Final Thoughts — Facebook Groups for Business: How to Generate Small Business Leads
Can Facebook Groups generate small business leads for your social media management agency? The short answer: of course.
But there’s an asterisk. Facebook Groups for business can generate small business leads as long as you’re willing to put in the time and effort nurturing them. These spaces are first and foremost communities for gathering around shared interests.
Focus on building genuine relationships with your members rather than making a hard sell. The potential partnerships that result will most certainly be worth the effort.
To offer the best-in-class social media management and engagement services, you need the best-in-class software. See why Social Report checks all the boxes with a free 30-day trial.
Maddy Osman is an SEO Content Strategist who works with clients like AAA, Automatic, Kinsta, and BigCommerce. Her background in WordPress web design contributes to a well-rounded understanding of SEO and how to connect brands to relevant search prospects. Learn more about her process and experience on her website and read her latest articles on Twitter @MaddyOsman.