How to build a profitable Facebook Group
We’ve talked a lot about Facebook Groups over the weeks and with good reason. I’ve always thought they were great places to hang out online, safe spaces where you get a real community of interested people, with a view to building relationships that will serve you in the long-term. However, talking to my podcast guest Abbie Cornell, I now see how profitable they can be right from the off. Here’s how she began her journey as a Facebook Group entrepreneur...
When Abbie decided to become a virtual assistant (VA) to fit in with her children’s schedules, she did all the right things to make connections with people – she set up a social media profile, a website and a Facebook business page. Through Facebook Groups she began to get the odd client here and there but realised she needed some more support in her new career. So she set up a Facebook Group for VAs who could all support each other and even pass work to each other.
This was Abbie’s lightbulb moment – through all the sharing of messages, she saw that a lot of VAs lacked training in certain areas, so she became the VA trainer. She got training herself and then delivered it for a small fee to her Facebook Group members, which soon became a steady income stream. Here’s what she has to say about the journey:
What are the possibilities you see for Facebook Groups?
Inside a Facebook Group people feel more at ease, they want to come back and see what content is there, and they are more willing to share. Because they feel safe they can share their vulnerabilities.
Can every business have one?
I do think every business can have a Facebook Group that will work for their business. The mistake is to try to make the Facebook Group like their business or what they’re selling. It has to be a social place of interaction where your ideal clients hang out and chat and come back to.
How do you keep the group fresh?
Most people are in about 200 Facebook Groups but out of these, only 10-20 are the ones we turn back to. So that’s 180 groups that people aren’t turning back to. Why is this? It’s really down to the host – in a good group, the host adds value to the members – they are the ones that build momentum and become invested into that community. Theirs is a community spirit. Think of it like an offline world – if you rent a village hall and don’t turn up then no-one will come! Yes, you do have to put time, effort and energy into it to get profit but now my Facebook Group feeds my business 100% organically.
How can you make profit out of a Facebook Group?
The key is to make it a sociable community for your ideal customers and audience. Say I have a local restaurant – I will need to fill my Facebook Group full of ideal clients. So, I’d fill it with people from the surrounding areas. I’d make it a group about the local community, full of news, environmental issues, engaging with passionate people of the area. It has to be a space that’s full of social interaction and engagement. Members would be seeing me on video, they’d get to know and trust me, and they’d see I run a local restaurant. So, if I’ve got offers or special nights, my Facebook Group is where my customers would come from.
You don't actually need a massive audience in your group – if 100 or 200 people are really engaged you will generate more profit to your business than 1000 people who aren’t engaged.
What about service businesses?
Again, you’ve got to give your clientale lots of value, it’s got to feel like the right group.
For example, if you have a HR consultancy, think about who are your ideal clients? Then ask yourself what you would do if you hired a room and invited them to attend. You wouldn’t want to bombard them with HR-related things – rather you’d give them somewhere to network – a social community space. You could then sprinkle in a masterclass on HR once a month, but the larger emphasis is on community, socializing and networking. That's where it works.
What advice do you have for anyone setting up a Facebook Group for profit?
It's a daily effort – you have to show up every single day. The great thing about working for yourself is you can work around it. But it has to be planned – you can’t just disappear for two weeks – you have to schedule posts or you’ll fall foul of the Facebook algorithms.
You also need to be patient with yourself. To get real traction you’re talking 18 months. When I started, it wasn’t enough at first to cover my full-time wage. I thought it wasn’t working and that everyone else is way more successful.
What do you think about automated posts?
Personally I don’t like them at all. I would only use them if I’ve gone away or am at an event. As hosts we owe it to our community to stick around when we’re posting – if I post at 9am, how rude is it to not give people the courtesy of responding? If you don't reply, it doesn’t feel like a proper community anymore.
What are your top tips for starting on an entrepreneurial journey?
Find some discipline. In order for your business to be successful you’ve got to give it that chance. Say to yourself I’m going to spend x hours a day on my business. Get a timer and set it for each task you've got to do and get those income-generating activities done.
It’s not helpful to look at what anyone else is doing. Too many people try to take bits of what other people are doing and fudge it together to become a business of their own. Get your head down and follow your heart – ask what is me, what do I want to teach here, what do I want to do?
Be consistent and purposeful
Hosting a Facebook Group is a daily effort. But the more time and effort you invest, the more you will get out of it.
For more details on building a profitable facebook group listen to the full Podcast at: http://www.simply-marketing.net/2020/01/03/how-to-build-a-profitable-facebook-group-with-abbie-cornall-episode-50/