Facebook can be a powerful ally in the race to grow a business. Current data shows that with almost 2.93 billion active monthly users, it is the most popular social media platform. Because of the audience size, some assume that growing a community will be easy—create your group, some content, and wait for the revenue to roll in. However, due to Facebook’s growing group popularity, there is more to it than that. We look at three of the most common pitfalls and how would-be entrepreneurs can avoid them.
Attract fresh leads every day
Landon Stewart and Chris J Stapleton, Co-founders of Clients & Community, run one of Facebook’s most active, and fastest growing, communities. The group, which helps its members launch their own coaching business, attracts hundreds of inquisitive visitors each day. The team is adamant that your level of success depends on your ability to generate fresh leads every day.
Commenting on their approach, the pair adds: “A lucky few have succeeded in growing their group organically, however, they are the exception and not the rule. That requires a massive investment of time and energy, and a degree of good luck. Most ‘newbies’ would be better served paying for ads that will attract an audience immediately. Because we have new people coming through our group constantly, it keeps everything fresh. These are the ones who ask the most questions and are keen to learn about what we do.”
Logic suggests if you want to attract fresh people each day, you should create content on a daily basis. However, Stapleton explains why this might not be true, “We feel there is a tipping point at which posting too frequently can actually dilute your effectiveness. We are strategic in everything we post and typically only post once or twice per week. Often our posts overcome objections- anytime we hear an objection during our sales process, we’ll do a post on it. What we’ve found is by the time we have a phone call with prospective clients, objections have already been overcome. As a result, our conversion rates are way higher than the industry average.”
Know your target audience
Growth is a natural consequence of identifying, and connecting with, like-minded kindred spirits. Thankfully, Facebook allows you to specify the type of people you want to reach. Having your own avatar (your ideal group member) based on age, location, interests etc. is a necessity. As people join, the feel of the group might change. That’s why it’s important to start out with a clear idea of who you want to attract, compare it with who you’re actually attracting, and ask if there’s anything you need to adjust.
As Landon Stewart explains, “We put out content that appeals to a certain type of individual (sometimes referred to as your avatar or perfect client). Our model is client-led. That is, people raise their hands, ask questions, and show an interest in what they’ve seen from us. Our content is designed to move everyone in our group forward towards our ultimate goal, which is to have a one-on-one conversation with them. That’s where we make the offer to invest in our services.”
Once you have a base of loyal followers, you may even want to consider Facebook Lookalike Audience to amplify your reach. This service connects you automatically with those who have the same qualities as your intended audience. To use the service, however, Facebook recommends you have a source audience of between 1000-5000 people. These are usually your best customers, rather than your entire group, as they’ll tend to be most representative of your values and interests.
Clearly define campaign objectives
Most attempts to grow a Facebook group with ads fail because there isn’t a clear vision of the desired outcome. Facebook identifies three circumstances where you’ll want to promote your brand. It refers to them as objectives—awareness, consideration and conversion.
Awareness is about letting people know that you exist. It can be getting your brand name out there, letting people know what you offer, and growing a profile. Consideration is about catching the audience’s interest and encouraging them to search for more information (a link to your website, a video explanation). Conversions, the coalface of any enterprise, is about asking the audience to take some kind of action. This is where all advertising efforts are turned into a response—someone joins your mailing group, buys your product, signs up for your services.
Interestingly, Facebook further divides the three main objectives into 13 different subcategories. While your objectives can change, it’s crucial to select one per campaign and measure how you’ve performed. Only then can you truly know if you’re making progress.
For growing Facebook groups, Landon Stewart and Chris J Stapleton have found the conversion objective works best: “You want your ad to go to a landing page that collects a lead’s email in exchange for an invitation to join your group. Once they opt-in, you redirect them to your community.”
Whatever route you take, the best advice is to be intentional in everything you do. Ask if your content resonates with your followers? Are your actions bringing you closer to achieving your goals? Is there anything you need to change to stay on course?