HOW I GREW MY FREE FACEBOOK GROUP TO OVER 5,000 MEMBERS IN ONE YEAR
By Susanne Rieker
Thanks to the Facebook algorithm only a very small percentage of people following your page actually see your posts. Today Facebook makes it nearly impossible for business pages to be seen by the public without the use of paid ads!
I know, I’m frustrated by it, too!
This is why I thought it would be the perfect time to share with you the awesomeness of Facebook groups. Not only will members of your group see your updates, you can also build a real community and connect with your students.
If you’ve been thinking about a Facebook group… now’s the time to set one up!
I’m here to tell you how I did it and the tactics that I used to grow my Facebook group “Marketing for Yoga Teachers” to over 5,000 members in less than a year.
#1 Provide value
Your Facebook group is where you focus on fostering community and providing tips and value. It’s not the place to shout out your offers like a crazy direct sales lady.
I know a yoga teacher who started a Facebook group for her yoga retreats. I thought it would a place to connect to other retreat guests or to learn more about the destinations. Instead this teacher uses her group to promote her upcoming retreats, with every single post, every single day. But who wants to join a group where you get spammed with promotions all the time? No one. This is not how to do it, my friend!
Value has to come first.
Before you open your group, think about who you want to talk to and what you want to talk about.
Who is your ideal customer? What is a common struggle or problem your audience has?
To get engagement, your group needs to have a specific focus. Don’t try to reach everyone and talk about everything. Engagement happens naturally if people share a common problem or interest.
Make your group a community and a great networking place. Don’t be afraid to promote your programs and services just make sure it’s not done everyday.
#2 Promote your Facebook group EVERYWHERE
If you want people to join your Facebook group, you have to tell them about it first. Seems obvious, right? So don’t be shy, add a link to your Facebook group in as many places as possible.
Here are some ideas:
Add a link in your website menu.
Add a link to your homepage and your blog sidebar.
Create an image for your Facebook page to promote your group and add a link to the description
Connect your group to your Facebook page – this allows your Facebook page fans and visitors to find your group and it’s super easy to set up: First, you need to add the “Group” tab to your page menu on the left side of your page. You can do this in your page settings by adding a Group tab. Next you can link your group and it will show up on your page in the Groups tab.
Promote it in your newsletters! I rarely send out a newsletter where I don’t mention my Facebook group and invite people over to comment or ask questions. Just don’t be spammy; let them know why they NEED to join your group! What are they missing out on?
Share your Facebook group on your Instagram and other social media accounts and do some Instagram Stories
Use your Instagram bio to link to your Facebook group
Once your group starts growing, it will start showing up in “suggested groups” on the Facebook sidebar. When that happens, you may notice your group growing really fast! I always got tons of new members when I had a lot of engagement in the group, for example after I asked people to share their social media accounts and follow each other. Facebook definitely notices when your members are active and will reward you by showing your group to more people.
#3 Engage your members
The best way to break the ice, especially in a new group, is by creating super engaging and easy to answer posts.
Welcome new members and tag them in your post, ask questions, create polls, share insights and interesting stories and simply be there and foster the community.
Yes, especially in the beginning it will be mostly you doing the talking and it can feel weird. It doesn’t matter. Make sure you’re the most active member of the group and comment on every question asked. Show your members that you care about them.
#4 Stay organized and consistent
You can schedule your posts by using the Facebook scheduling tool or an app like Buffer or Hootsuite. I use Smarterqueue and it automatically reposts my posts each day of the week without me having to do anything. It’s the biggest time saver ever and much cheaper than a social media assistant.
Scheduling ahead of time will make it easier to stay consistent. It’s a great way to bring community together to have themes each day. Just make sure you also post unscheduled updates as well so it doesn’t feel too scripted and people can really get to know you.