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When I started my stationery shop eight years ago, I knew nobody.  I certainly didn’t have a Facebook Group strategy.  I’m not even sure I knew what a Facebook Group was.  

I had just left my teaching position and had a baby.  So, maybe I had a couple of contacts from my old school and a few fellow moms.  Otherwise, I knew no one.  I wasn’t even sure where to get started to know someone.  At least the right someones.  

Life is funny like that.  One minute you don’t know any one and the next you’re connected to a whole set of people that can help.

I decided to find an advertising opportunity beyond Etsy to get in front of my potential audience.  I sought out other party niche blogs – which were pretty popular back then.

The person I started working with became a mentor to me.  And it was through her I joined my first Facebook Group.  This group became my rock in the coming years.  I got to know many of it’s members.  Not just online, but personally and in person.  I actually consider them friends to this day.

I also found ways to collaborate, build my social media following and share my work.

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Through this experience, I met another fellow blogger that hired me to write guest posts for her website.  It was a win-win opportunity.  I was compensated a little for my writing time and my business name got out there.

This blogger introduced me to another kind of Facebook Group.  This group was all about sharing your work and collaborating with others in the DIY space.  Suddenly, I was able to have my work included as a backlink and my search engine ranking on Google grew.  Exponentially.

Facebook groups have always been an important part of my marketing strategy.  I spend a bit of my marketing time on my Facebook Group strategy each week – commenting, sharing, advising and networking in a variety of groups.

Each Facebook Group has a different purpose.  But they have all helped me grow my business.

If you’re looking for a great way to grow your business organically, put developing a Facebook Group strategy on your list.  The results will impress you.

What kind of Facebook Group should I join?

Although I can’t seem to find an exact number for how many Facebook Groups now exist, let’s just say a lot.  Everyone I know seems to run one these days.

There may be a lot of Facebook Groups out there, but it doesn’t mean they’re all high quality or worth your time.

When I started this blog, I joined a number of business entrepreneur Facebook Groups.  I’ve found three that I’ve clicked with over time and want to continue participating in.  The others I’ve unfollowed since they weren’t worth my time.

To find your own Facebook Groups, look for recommendations from others.  Ask people in your business niche the groups they participate in.  You can also discover new groups through the bloggers you follow.  If they are in a related niche, you might find some interesting groups to participate in.

If you haven’t started building your business network yet (and you should get on that as soon as possible), then do a search on Facebook.  Go under the “Groups” tab and write in your topic in the Search bar.  Facebook will show you a variety of groups to look into.

When choosing a Facebook Group, you want to join two types of groups.

The first group will grow your business through advice, resources, members sharing your work with their audiences and collaborations.

Try to find a Facebook Group that is for people running a business in your niche.  For example if you own a knitting business, look for a group with other knitters who also sell their products.  This way you can network together to build your knitting businesses and the group members can be a resource to supporting your knitting business growth (and the specific issues that you’ll come upon).

Niche business Facebook groups might not be easy to find.  If you have difficulty finding a group that is specifically for your business niche, look a bit broader.  You could join a handmade business or craft business group.  These members are sure to address some of the concerns you’re encountering while building your business.

The second type of Facebook Group you want to join is one that is related to your niche.  As a business owner that’s trying to grow your business, you need a place to display your expertise in your niche.  This kind of Facebook Group let’s you share your work indirectly, answer questions and build relationships with potential customers.

Before sending a request to a Facebook Group to join, understand why you are joining this group.  Think about how this group will help you grow your business.

Social media is a vast time waster if you aren’t careful.  You always need to approach it with precision and purpose.

Understanding how a Facebook Group functions (can you share your work directly, can you provide answers to others’ problems, etc.) BEFORE you join will prevent any issues in the future.  Have a plan on how you hope to use it in your Facebook Group strategy.

Ways you Can Use Facebook Groups to Grow your Business

When writing your Facebook Group strategy, consider different ways you can use Facebook Groups to grow your business.  Each Facebook Group will have different rules, so keep those in mind when deciding how you want to use them.

Here are some ways that I’ve used Facebook Groups to grow my business over the years.

Share my Work

Now as nice as it would be to join a Facebook Group and start posting my products everywhere, this isn’t quite the professional way to go about it. When promoting your products and work you need to be a bit more discreet.

Remember that business blog I suggested you start awhile back, now’s when all of your hard work will pay off.  The best way to share about your products in a Facebook Group is through your business blog posts.

In most Facebook Groups, you can link to your blog posts to answer questions others ask or on promotion days.

Can I link to my direct product?

It depends on the Facebook Group, but I don’t recommend this approach unless you’ve already built strong relationships with other group members or it’s your own Facebook Group (more on that below).

Participating in Facebook Groups is less about immediate sales results.  Your Facebook Group strategy should focus on relationship building and establishing yourself as an expert in your niche.  So, let it’s slowness benefit your business.  Leverage the relationships that you make in the group.  You’ll be impressed how much growth you’ll see over time.

Showcase my Expertise

When you own a business based on your craft, you’ve most likely developed an expertise in your niche.  If you’re just starting out, others may not acknowledge your expertise yet.

Showcase your knowledge in Facebook Groups and your potential customers will start recognizing your name more often.  By answering questions frequently with intelligent and helpful responses, other group members will start to connect your name with the niche.

Network with Others

One of my favorite benefits that’s come from my participation in Facebook Groups has been the networking opportunities.  You can meet lots of wonderful people both in your niche and potential customers.  The Facebook Group format allows you to confidently build relationships with them.

My networking efforts have lead to attending conferences, collaborating with others locally and having my work shared in front of new audiences. Which, if you’re just starting out, will help you build your own audience.

Over time, you might start to get overwhelmed by all of the people you are meeting in the Facebook Group.

Create a spreadsheet with important information to keep them straight.  Note their websites, niche and contact information.  This way if they contact you or you want to organize a new project, you have a network that you can go to for help.

Grow my Social Media Following

I’ve been surprised how much my participation in Facebook Groups has helped grow my social media following.  Many of the groups that I belong to have follow days where members are encouraged to connect with each other.

If you wish to build you networking beyond the group, you can follow other members directly.  You’ll be surprised, if you’re active in a Facebook Group, how many members will also seek you out.

When you share on the Facebook Group, your profile photo and a link to your page is provided.  Who can see your page is set by your Facebook settings.  However private you decide to make your personal Facebook page, make sure you include the information about your business in your Intro section.  I include the websites to both my stationery shop and this page.  It let’s people, including my personal friends, know about my business.  You can also add a short bio and feature photos from your business milestones if desired.

Find Relevant Content to Share

One of my business marketing strategies is to create a relevant business Facebook page with content that my audience is interested in.  Although I share my own blog posts on there, I also love to showcase other’s work.

By showcasing other’s blog posts on my social media accounts – usually Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest – I’m able to share relevant content with my audience.

It’s also a great way to network with other bloggers and business owners.  They love to see their work shared and many times will let their audiences know too.

If you like to write round up posts for your blog, you can use your Facebook Group to find relevant content that you can use.  Be sure to check with the blogger first, but I have posted requests for content on a certain topic for an upcoming post.  Bloggers submit links to their content on the Facebook post with the agreement that I can share it in my post (usually with photo use and credit).

Every Facebook Group is different, so make sure this kind of post is allowed in your group before you ask.

Collaborate

One of the most effective ways I grew my business blog in the beginning was through collaborating with other bloggers.  As I mentioned in the beginning, when I started my stationery shop, I knew no one.  At least no one in the online business sphere.

So, I was starting my networking from scratch.  Through participating consistently in Facebook Groups, I built wonderful relationships with other bloggers and business owners.  Many of them announced collaboration opportunities – blogging series, link parties, recipe swaps, etc. – to participate in.  The only caveat was responding to the request.

Over time, my business and I got on people’s radar.  We became a source to discuss party styling ideas, invitation designs and other ideas in my niche.

Whenever possible, use your Facebook Groups to collaborate with others.  The opportunities to grow your business in this unique way are amazing.

Discovering Promotion Opportunities

When you think about promoting your business, you probably think of Etsy and Google ads.  Maybe Facebook ads if you have figured those out yet.

All of these promotion opportunities are great options.  But there are many other ways to promote your business.  And many of these ways target your niche audience more cost effectively.  

Check the Facebook Groups for different promotion opportunities.  Some members might host a larger giveaway and look for participants.  Others might have a contest or an organic group promotion opportunity.

Before deciding to participate in any promotion opportunity, do some research on the target audience.  You’d hate to spend money on a giveaway that targets homeschooling moms when you sell jewelry for brides.

Answer my Questions

If you’re new at this business thing, your Facebook Group should also help to answer your questions.  Not everyone is lucky enough to have a mentor that they can call all the time (although, I do recommend finding one if possible).

Your Facebook Group is a great resource.  Depending on the group and it’s purpose, you can ask questions, get advice and find inspiration to keep on going.  Whenever I’m not sure if I’m doing something “right”, I ask a question to one of my groups.  It’s amazing the experts on there who can help me out.

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But there’s too many rules. What if I want to start my own Facebook Group for my business instead?

Starting your own Facebook Group can be a wonderful way to build community for your business.  You can make it public or add it as an exclusive perk to a membership offering or course.

Before starting your own group, figure out how the group will function and it’s purpose.  Just like you don’t want your time wasted, you don’t want to waste the time of group members.

Research how other successful Facebook Groups run.  Note the characteristics of a strong group and how it can help members.

You can find more information for starting a Facebook Group here

One of the biggest hurdles to managing a group is getting your audience to join.  As I said before, there are a lot of Facebook Groups out there.

If running your own group seems like too much of a time commitment, consider working on building your blogging community instead.  You’ll have similar results, but in the end a community that you truly manage (and own) instead of one on a social media network.  Social media networks can change on a whim. 

Consider what would happen if Facebook decided to get rid of Facebook Groups and you’d spent years building your entire community on there.

How do I organize my participation in Facebook Groups?

I get this question a lot from other business owners.  Many love the idea of participating in Facebook Groups, but have no idea how to organize their time.

If you aren’t careful, participating in Facebook Groups can get overwhelming.  Especially if you join too many.

Before you get started with Facebook Groups, make sure you write a clear Facebook Group strategy.  Select the groups that you want to participate in carefully.

Write these groups down in an Excel spreadsheet.  Make sure you note the reason you’re joining, the group’s share days and the group’s facilitators.

Block off a certain amount of marketing time each day to participate and stick to it.  I’ve found that Facebook Groups don’t pay off as well if you spend too much time on them.  Remember, social media is a time vacuum if not controlled.  Get in and get out.

Also, make sure you don’t just participate on share days.  It’s important to be a part of the Facebook Group conversation continuously.  If you can’t commit to participating in your Facebook Groups at least a certain amount of time a week, then this might not be a good marketing strategy for you.

By being a part of the conversation routinely, you’ll start building relationships and gaining recognition in the group.

Final Thoughts…

Participating in Facebook Groups is one of the most effective organic marketing tools for building your business.  It’s a great way to share your work, meet new people and find ways to collaborate with others.

But without an effective Facebook Group strategy, your efforts could have little impact on actually growing your business.

Join each Facebook Group with a purpose in mind and a plan for how to use it.  Check back often and participate in the conversations.  Most importantly – meet people.  Facebook Groups are a great way to build your network which will take your business to new heights in the long run.

Ready to get started?  Try to find two new Facebook Groups to join this week and write a Facebook Group strategy on how you plan to participate. 

And if you already are part of some Facebook Groups, increase your participation.  Try to meet a few new people.  Most importantly, create a strategy to get your business on track to using this wonderful tool.

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