While everyone knows that social media can be a powerful venue for growing your business, not everyone knows the ins and outs of using social media “groups” on platforms like Facebook and LinkedIn, or even Twitter Tweetchats to benefit their business. So, to help provide some clarity on this effective business tool, the fabulous CarolRoth.com contributor network of business owners, experts, advisors and entrepreneurs has shared their best tips for using and getting the most out of social media groups for business. Their answers are presented below in no particular order.
You may notice some similar ideas listed, but I kept them separate, as something in the way one is framed may resonate differently with you.
1. Take a Focused Approach
There are so many groups that might be relevant contain potential customers, but the key is to be focused. Choose 2-4 groups that you think have the most potential and then, post or respond to others' posts most days. Be genuinely helpful and get to know the group. By taking a focused approach, you can build up a strong reputation so that you can eventually share something you're working on.
2. Bobbi Bs Social Media Clambake
Hands down, Facebook Groups are my favorite! We run a private group we refer to as "Bobbi B's Social Media Clambake" (because it has to be fun!) where we offer small businesses tools, tips & techniques to better manage their social media. As people in the group get to know each other, they are more open to sharing and asking questions. The engagement taking place is amazing and the more FREE value we give, the stronger our relationship is with these potential new clients!
3. Stop Being a Stalker
I have never understood why certain groups have thousands of members and the same names come up in the feed over and over again. If you are going to be part of social media, be social. Give your opinion, answer questions and help people out. This is the only way people are going to get to know you and trust you. If they do not trust you, why should they help you?
4. GDPR Compliant List-Building
I manage several groups on Facebook and I ask everyone who joins a group at least one question: "Enter your email here (optional) to get ONE weekly email focused on motivation, productivity, positivity and personal development from Maigen Thomas."
1. Signing up is not required in order to join the group.
2. They have to manually enter their email address.
3. They know exactly what I will be delivering.
4. They are giving the required consent to be added to my email list.
#Blogchat is a weekly conversation that takes place every Sunday night starting at 8pm Central on Twitter. Each week, we discuss a different blogging topic. Sometimes, we talk about personal blogging topics; other times, we talk about business blogging. One week, we might talk about how to optimize your blog for search engines; the next week, we might talk about how a company can pick its blogging team.
6. Engage and Get Involved
Posting to LinkedIn groups is an excellent way to inform your target audience about a product or service you have to offer. You must first join the groups and actively participate by asking questions, posting news, articles, case studies, submit surveys, etc. Engage and be actively involved in discussions. When posting news, don't just post the news - first ask a question, such as "Why do you think cloud-based software is best?" Then, attach your press release or article.
7. Go Off Line and Call Them
The best way to get the most out of social media groups for business is to contact people directly about whatever it is that you might want to contact them about. If you can find their direct email address or phone number, great! If you can't find a direct contact number, contact them through the web. Also, scan through any groups and comments that interest you and figure out whom you want to contact and then, just contact them. If they don't want to talk with you, they'll let you know.
8. Be Readable
Write articles that teach people how to get what they want. Provide insights, industry info, and free advice. Make sure you top it with a headline so good, it can't be ignored.
Share your articles in the groups! You can even use group questions to help you know what to write about.
Bonus points: comment on other people's posts.
Dacia Coffey of Blender
9. Social Media Groups Simplified
Social media groups are an important aspect to marketing your business today. Interacting in these groups is an effective way of building credibility, while connecting and collaborating with business owners. Bringing something of value to a group is essential, as it can help in attracting quality clients. Learn the purpose of each group before joining. I work with groups on LinkedIn and Facebook. However, do not discount Twitter Chats. The key is knowing what will work for you and your business.
10. Invest in Your Clients
When people sense a message is contrived, it pushes them away. In response, my law firm has success securing leads using Facebook groups where we share info & allow people with similar interests to exchange ideas & their concerns. We've noticed that the members are actively seeking info & are receptive to exchanges with one another. I've had people thank me for giving them a nonthreatening venue for learning. You must be invested in their situation to solve it.
11. Groups Drive Content
My monthly eLetter deals with workplace communication and sales pitch content that I write myself. So, I regularly need motivation to create new content.
I subscribe to several social media groups dealing with communication topics such as interpersonal skills, writing, presenting and pitching business. When I see a discussion topic on one of my areas of expertise, I copy my response to my eLetter file for a future issue.
So, I gain value from re-using the content and the exposure.
12. Hone Your Profile
I use LinkedIn regularly to build my connections. However, many social networking groups can lead to business opportunities. Make sure all profiles represent you well. Potential employers and business partners may search your profile on many outlets and make judgment calls based on what they find. Tailor your profiles based on what you would want potential employers, colleagues and partners to see.
13. Become a June Bride
Although I'm not suggesting you become a June bride, I am suggesting you get engaged in the conversations! If you are part of a Facebook group or other online group, it's important to treat it as you would if you were in a live, round table discussion. Ask questions, provide feedback, listen to others and share. Get engaged in the group discussions and you will get business from it. Gotta go... invoicing two clients from my Facebook group. Happy courting!
14. Competent Consistent Commenter
Facebook Groups have become much better than LinkedIn Groups for engaging members.
I've found LinkedIn groups typically become promotional dumping grounds and a lot less social than the Facebook Groups I've been a part of recently.
And one way to improve your visibility and authority is to provide constructive and positive feedback to others' posts to the group.
This gives you an opportunity to show you're a leader of the group and are also an expert.
15. Tweetchats are Great Meetups
Twitter is a medium where you never really know who else is "active," except during scheduled Tweetchats. Use those as a way to interact with other influencers in your niche because if they're on a Tweetchat attendee list, they're likely to be online and active.
16. LI Group Member Status
As a member of any LinkedIn group, you can request to link with another member of the group regardless of whether they are 2nd or 3rd tier from you. No referrals needed. It's great to connect with people of common interests.
17. Start Your OWN Community
My favorite social media group is the one I set up for myself!
I invite everyone who signs up to my website to a private Facebook community, and encourage chat and interaction there.
It gives me far more consistent reach than my commercial Facebook page, and encourages the evolution of genuine relationships with members and customers.
18. Do What's Best for Your Firm
What I do runs contrary to what experts say to do. While I submit an article "en masse" to the groups I'm in (first no-no), once a month, I submit MY best blog article using the "share" feature and submit to as many groups as possible. This has allowed financial advisors and their event planners to get to know me better. Last year, I earned $18K in speaker's fees from advisory firms whose business event planner liked what they read on LinkedIn and hired me to speak in Chicago and India.
19. Add Value and Build Trust
One of the best ways to participate in online social media groups is to add value to them. Contributing relevant, practical tips builds trust, while making it easier for your brand to do life with the community you're reaching out to. For my company, that's people looking to hire voice actors and the actors themselves. One of my favorite hashtags on Twitter is #ActorsLife. I'll search for this hashtag to see what others are talking about, then find meaningful ways to join those conversations.
20. Home Town Pride
I participate in a group on Facebook quite a bit called Winnebago, IL. Community Group. This is a group of people who have joined because of their passion for our community of Winnebago, IL. I get a lot of great information, stories, history and feedback here. I love my community and this group is a HUGE insight to information. If you are in a small town, create a group like this because these are the people who are going to put it out there and let you know what is going on. It's great for Small Business.
21. Own Your Network, Ditch Social
Algorithm changes by Facebook alerts creators that the focus is friends and family. Have you earned the right to be in that category? If not, it may be difficult to get the engagement you’re seeking. More concerning is building your following on a brand you don’t control. At minimum, have a very strong back up plan if Facebook goes the way of Friendster, MySpace and/or Vine. There are plenty of case studies showing it’s possible. You can’t allow your business to go down with it.
22. My Secret Facebook Group Tip
My favorite trick with Facebook groups is to click on the member's section and find the new members of a group. I send them a welcome message and spark a conversation about the topic of the group. After finding out more them and what they are looking to gain from the group, I help direct them to a resource. Sometimes, this means sending them a blog article that happens to promote myself or my clients work; other times, it is something else. Don't sell right away, give value & build relationships.
23. Kickstart a Campaign
My favorite social media group for doing business is Tweetchats, as it is fast paced and specific to one topic. My best tip is to kickstart a campaign, promote a contest, or anything else that aligns with your business’ mission and objectives. Find a chat that is relevant to whatever you are launching and remember to engage and respond positively to those who interact with you. Also, you will be able to generate excitement and gauge feedback before posting anywhere else.
24. Stop Focusing on Yourself
My one best tip for businesses in social media groups is to stop promoting and stop focusing on themselves. It's such simple advice, but you would be surprised how many brands just want to join the different groups, talk about themselves and try to drive web traffic and attention by spamming the communities. But, this just gets them ignored or, at worst, banned. Rule number one should be to focus on the user first and provide value before expecting anything in return.
25. Groups is the Info-First King
I love using Facebook Groups because they are easy to create, manage, grow, and lightly advertise your product. The marketing world today is shifting towards "Info First" marketing and segmenting people into groups of what they are most passionate about at the time. When you are creating a group, you are segmenting your customers or clients away from others, they are creating value for each other by posting in the group and you can even CHARGE for exclusive access to your groups if they have value.
26. Show Outrageous Generosity
People do business with those they trust, not those that spam. It's not a 1-off post. Build a relationship. Post in a group that you want to support your local girl scout troop and need to buy 50 boxes of cookies. Ask if they'll share your post, then tag all the girl scouts they know. It will spread like wildfire. Next, buy 2 boxes from each. Take photos of all. Repost photos. Wait until the selling season is over and then, give away all the boxes in the same group for free.
27. Collaborations in Groups
Social media groups are a great way to share value to a community, but owning your own group establishes you as the thought leader, allows you to create your own platform for conversation, and gives you direct access to a targeted community. I use Facebook groups as a collaboration tool to build personal relationships with my audience, encouraging PR opportunities and true value. Starting a group should be about providing value to your community and building relationships with your audience.
28. Be the Helpful Expert
My favorites are Facebook local community groups. Watch for recurring questions from new users in the group. Create a FAQ page on your website and add questions to it as they come up. Then, whenever the question is asked, provide a quick answer and share a link to that page for further details. You'll quickly build trust and reputation as a friendly expert in your area, and group members will come to you for answers.
29. Give Value First
Give value to other group members before asking for anything in return, and certainly before promoting your business. Social media groups are designed to be "social" - and you wouldn't walk into a networking event and shout "buy from me!", would you? So, interact with other group members, help them out when they need a hand and, when the opportunity arises to promote your business, make the most of it by clearly telling people what's in it for them.
30. An Alternative to Advertising
Treat them as another platform for media buys. Groups are an amazing tool for brands that are unable to advertise on social media due to the nature of their industry. Create a list of hyper-relative groups with 5k-15k members and then, contact the admin to set up a monthly sponsorship. The admin will run natural promos for your brand throughout the month for a set monthly fee. You'll reach thousands of people who are already familiar and interested in your product for the cost of a minimal "ad spend"!
31. Right Place, Right Time
The three LinkedIn Groups that have helped us scale the firm include Future Trends, Executive Suite and Entrepreneurs HQ.
With over 500,000 members, Future Trends brings together visionaries and futurists in a variety of industries. Executive Suite’s 320,000 members share practical advice to help you elevate your work, your company, and your career. And, Entrepreneurs HQ’s audience of 160,000+ members focuses on everything from digital marketing and SEO to Startup opportunities.
32. Share Valuable Content
My number one tip for getting the most out of Facebook groups for business is to share content on a regular basis. If you write blog posts, make videos, or create other pieces of content, you can drive massive traffic by sharing them in Facebook groups. There is no limit to how many groups you can be a part of, meaning you can share a single piece of content in a dozen or more. With hundreds or thousands of members, content can be seen by a large number of targeted users.
33. Be a Human Being
My number one tip for getting the most out of social media groups is to be human.
I often see brands blasting group messages and expecting positive results without nurturing engagement. These cases make me ask myself: "Why don't they care enough about their audience?"
Being part of a community means contributing towards its overall value. You need to be sharing your opinions, helping others, and starting/responding to conversations. Simply promoting your brand isn't being very human.
34. Working Smart on Social Media!
Marketing on Facebook Groups is tricky since the Facebook Algorithm can consider it as a spam behavior.
* Use queries/keywords to find groups related to your niche.
* Make a list of groups
* Shortlist against number of followers
* Join Groups with 15 min interval, not more than 3 in an hour
* Use catchy captions for group post
* Always add value and help people out
* Be smart to make a business out of it
35. Be Insightful
Connecting and interacting with social media groups is a very targeted method of marketing for a business; you are reaching out to people who are actively interested in your business' industry. Consistently providing comments and insights into groups means your company will be at the forefront of your target consumers' minds when they come to need your services or products. This is a company's opportunity to show a large group of people just how knowledgeable they are about this specific topic.
36. Grow Your Email List
Facebook groups have allowed me to grow my subscriber’s list even before I launched my blog. I’ve been using them to reach a bigger audience, connect with influencers, and gain more authority. I posted the front page of an e-book I was working on and asked if anyone is interested in reading it. 24 hours later, I had 200 group members ready to join my list. That list is still growing today.
37. LinkedIn Groups
We regularly share blog posts in LinkedIn groups. Not only is it a great way to share content directly with readers who have an expressed interest in our industry, but it's also a great resource for developing our content strategy. By monitoring which articles perform better within the group, we've been able to focus our content efforts on themes and topics that our audience wants to read.
38. Joining the Conversation
Using Facebook groups allows me to talk one-on-one with potential customers by starting the conversation where they are. I'm part of several groups where I post engaging blog content and speak with real buyers on their interests, inspirations, and maybe even issues surrounding my industry. Doing this has really allowed me to better market my own products by knowing exactly what it is my customers respond best to.
39. Provides Exponential Exposure
I am member of three Facebook business groups of my trade. I frequently share my promotional content in those groups to initially reach all the members of these groups. Most of them share my content in their profiles and by the rule of geometric progression, my messages are instantly delivered to everyone linked with the group members. Through these Facebook groups, I always get very wide exposure without any effort and eventually, I get a more interested audience to my business to convert.
40. Double Down on Word of Mouth
When I create a Facebook group, I start with the people I know. I do not broadcast my new group, nor do I add all my contacts (when people add me to their groups, more often than not, it's irrelevant and I would leave). Instead, I invite each person individually. This way, I know that people are in the group because they want to be there. The group is more engaged, and I can keep them accountable (e.g., no spam). I let them know they're free to invite trusted friends who'd be interested, as well.
41. Facebook Groups for the Win
Blue Compass likes to use Facebook groups to stay connected with attendees of our U of Blue events. This allows us to gain valuable insight from local digital marketers like event feedback. This also allows us to stay connected with (and connect) like-minded people, as well as share information about upcoming events. Group members share advice, inspire and educate other members. In short, it allows us to keep the conversation going - and Facebook's new algorithm favors meaningful interactions.
42. Be Easily Accessible
My law firm achieves the most success via Facebook groups. I realized that these types of groups existed when I became an attorney & I started getting tagged in them. Whether it's a group for mothers or cat lovers or beachgoers, people are always getting injured & it helps that friends or former clients are able to mention my name when people are looking for an attorney. My tip would be to always respond when contacted no matter what kind of lead it is & to always be as respectful as possible.
43. Welcome on Board!
At Lightricks, we work to make the Enlight Photofox Facebook group an inviting space for aspiring artists. To integrate new members into the community and encourage their participation, our weekly Welcome post tags each new member and invites them to ask a question. New members feel good about being personally welcomed and they start getting into the habit of posting to the group and exploring the app. Our Facebook group benefits business by retaining users and encouraging them to upgrade.
44. Facebook Groups for the Win
We use Facebook groups for a CPG client as a tool to connect, sell, and learn. Fans have an opportunity to connect and interact with each other and the brand, we use it to share early access to new products and upcoming sales, and to engage. The group started as just a way to share specific updates on products and gather UGC but turned into more, so our strategy shifted. Currently, there have not been significant sales attributed to the group, but we are continuing to manage it as a test market.
45. Even Batman Uses FB groups!
I highly recommend increasing your content reach on Facebook by posting content to your FB business page; share it with your personal page to groups in your niche you have already joined with your personal page. This makes the post seem less spammy and more genuine. The more groups the better. I went from about 50 views to about 3k views per post as a small business page. Don't overdo it. Try to limit this to 1-2 posts per week and fill in the gaps with quality content related to your niche.
46. Driving Traffic Using TV Shows
Local traffic is key for online success. We leverage local Facebook groups to create a hyper local audience for our content. What we do is research trending topics like popular television shows and create infographics geared towards these audiences. We then post this content to the group and drive a ton of traffic. For example, in a Baltimore neighborhood group called, "The Real People of Parkville," we posted an infographic of, "If Baltimore Neighborhoods Were Game of Thrones."
47. LI Group: Big Fish, Small Pond
Many companies give up on LinkedIn as a social media marketing tool because it's not as familiar as Facebook or Twitter or perhaps doesn't provide the gaudy traffic and engagement other channels do. We find that it's easier to be a big fish in a small pond on LinkedIn and Groups in particular have been an effective way to network with new biz partners, potential customers AND to learn from the small biz community in a less "noisy" social setting. We've increased our traffic by sharing in groups.
48. Twitter Chats Produce Results
One of the things I'm proudest of in the three years that I functioned as Fairtrade America's social media manager is the #FairtradeChat Twitter party community that we developed. We managed to trend in Twitter's top 50 multiple times, got the client's important human rights messages out to nearly a billion timelines and brought together a community of activists across the globe. Twitter chats work if you put the time in and include partners, prizes and hard work as part of your strategy!
49. Conversation Before Conversion
Do not try to force people to buy from you. Know who your target is and what you sell, then decide if the group is appropriate for you to promote in. Do so by observing the types of conversations, engaging with the members and being familiar with the rules. It’s quite alright to be a part of the tribe to learn, grow and give relevant advice, but if your ideal customer isn’t there, don't try to sell to a community who just isn't interested. You will actually be doing yourself a disservice.
50. Maximizing Group Membership
Never hold back at giving a value-packed answer to anyone who needs help inside the group, most especially if you'll be talking about your expertise. Keep in mind that there are other eyeballs inside the community who will see your answers, so leverage that and use it to your advantage.
The more structured and well-thought out your answer is, the better. Always tie your answers up with your past experience or add your credentials in so people know why you can give such insights.
Do you have a tip for using “groups” on social media for your business that wasn’t included? Please share it below. And, as always, many thanks to everyone that contributed to this article!