Hands up if you've been thinking this....
With the Facebook algorithm changes, I'm wondering if a Facebook group would be the solution to the crappy reach I'm getting! YES!!!! I'm going to create a Facebook group, invite all my page likers and then I can sell to my little heart's content and the algorithm won't catch me - mwah haa haa!
Has that thought crossed your mind? Have you heard people talk about it in Facebook groups as the magic bullet to circumventing the algorithm changes? Ready to jump right on in and create a group?
A group could be a brilliant move...but let me lay out for you all the things you need to consider before you jump on right in and potentially end up having a huge embarrassing black hole of crappy engagement and a massive drain on your time with zero results.
What is the purpose of a Facebook group?
Why do you join Facebook groups? Think of the groups you're in and quickly have a think about why you joined them. Could it be for support? For advice? For fun? Because they're part of your local community? Your child's school or PTA?
What would be the purpose of YOUR Facebook group?
Think about your potential Facebook group that ties in with your creative / handmade business....what would be its purpose?
To have a bunch of people to sell to? To "get around" the algorithm so you can reach more people to eventually have them buy more from you?
If you're honest....you'll be nodding your head right now.
Yeah yeah you may be thinking "to build a community" but really your end goal is to get more sales (which by the way isn't a bad thing.....stick with me here)
But....and here is the big Kardashian sized butt here.....are you an active, engaged member of any group where the sole purpose is to be sold to and where that is the ONLY thing you get out of it?
The only time you are in groups with the sole purpose to buy or sell are local selling groups.
Would you like to run a group like that? And how would that work when you are the only person doing the selling?
Let me tell you.
It would look like a sandwich board of posts all made by you (no one else, because what would they say?) where you're promoting your products and pitching to your pretty little heart's content with little or zero comments.
You don't want that.
Believe me, people do not wish to be sold to. They do not wish to feel hoodwinked into joining your group for "exclusive sale prices" (because that's what an email list is for my friend!). People want MORE from their Facebook groups.
Here is how a Facebook group could work.
If you can find a way to create a community that either
- Combination of all 3
And sales become a by product of the group being about any of those things, you're on to a winner.
Here is an example;
I am a member of the Canva Inner Circle Facebook group (may not be any surprise to a lot of you!)
And of course they have a product to sell me - the upgraded Canva membership.
BUT this group instead focusses on sharing tips, tricks and advice for those using Canva. People from Canva themselves are in there and occasionally may pitch to us all, but that's 3% of the time. Would I join this group if it was 97% pitch and 3% help? No.
Here is another example
Joe Cross is a juicing advocate and has books and seminars on the power of juicing. He has a Facebook group which is managed by him or his team BUT the purpose of the group isn't to tout his books (that does happen I'm sure) but instead to inspire, engage, share, advise those who may be interested or big fans of juicing.
Your Facebook page shouldn't just be about selling. It has to be about more than that. How can you build a Facebook group which is connected to you and your business but still provides value, entertainment and support to the members.
If you can't think of a way......do not create that group.
How do you build a Facebook group around a product based business?
Let's break down an example.
You are a jewellery designer, and your ideal customer is a boho woman in their 30s.
Your Facebook group can't just be about your products, but potentially it could be about living a boho life.
Another example; you are a graphic designer who creates amazing wedding stationary for brides and grooms.
Your Facebook group could be about wedding planning for brides getting married in the next 12 months.
IMPORTANT - with the examples above, you can see how you can segway your business / products / service into the conversation but be aware that when you open up the doors to a group with a wider discussion you can lose yourself in your own group.
I've seen it happen.
Business owners have started groups with the intention to get more awareness for their business, they've made the topic of the group about a wider subject and before they know it, the group is full of posts about subjects they can not get involved with, they are no longer the owner and Captain of their Facebook group and they've lost traction.
Do you have enough time to manage a Facebook group?
Being the driving force behind a Facebook group can be a big drain on someone's day. Especially in the beginning where engagement and energy may be low and it's up to you to provide the party.
Do you have enough time?
The Craft my Success Facebook group takes up a good hour of my day, each and every day. Could you spare that time? Consistently?
Consider the lack of ROI (return on investment)
Whilst we're talking about what it takes to run a successful engaging fun Facebook group, also consider that it's nearly impossible to track the ROI. So you could be spending an hour a day on something without ever really understanding what you're getting out of the back end of it all.
Suggestions for ways around this is to only release offers or products or services to people in that group exclusively.
However, I know that my Facebook group is a great place for people to get to know me, they normally join there before they "like" my main Facebook page and then eventually they may then land on my website and maybe even join Facebook University. But that is most probably 5% of the time. However I have no true way of knowing if it was the group, or my page, or may emails that converted them into a buyer.
When is a Facebook group a good addition to your business?
- When you have the time and energy to build it
- When you have more content to share, not just a product or exclusive coupon codes
- When you want to build a community first and sales be a by product of that
- When you are ready to lead
- When you have mapped out a plan to build it - it won't grow organically out of no where, you have to make it grow
- When you are ready to have more fun, be more loosey goosey with your brand and get to know your customers
I love my Facebook group, and my only intention with that group was to build a community where people weren't just pitching their shit, but actually supporting each other on this tricky, sometimes daunting road of building a creative business online.
Yes I occasionally pitch, and yes people listen when I do, but that's because I've lead with value first and pitched second.
Facebook group not quite right? What now?
Another suggestions which take up less time, energy and effort - build your email list.
Here are the positives for an email list v Facebook group.
- You "own" the list. If Facebook decides to make changes in groups, you will not be affected
- It's less time consuming. Rather than 1 hour a day, think 1 hour a week.
- You can get the same results. You can still show videos, still give advice, still entertain, but it's just in one email instead
- It's also free (Mailchimp is free for under 2k subscribers)
- Open rates potentially higher. On average 25% of people open up emails. 25% of people in a group will not see every one of your posts
(want help building your email list? Check this out)
A second suggestion is to take a lot of these elements and inject them into your Facebook page to see the results there. There doesn't have to be a difference with the content you'd share in a group v a page. It should be the same! So why not try using the tools that you have got at your disposal already and build that community feel on your Facebook page first. New customers will google if you have .a strong Facebook page first, so do not neglect your page over a group.