One of the most effective ways to grow as an online business owner is to establish yourself as an expert or a thought leader in your niche.
Easier said than done, right?
No matter your niche, business, or areas of interest, you can find like minded people on Facebook. As a business owner, that’s incredibly valuable.
On the flip side, there’s a lot of noise to cut through on Facebook. That’s why it’s important to go in with a strategy and be intentional about growing your audience and business.
In this blog post, I’ll be teaching you how to do just that and covering:
- Finding the right Facebook groups
- Choosing Facebook groups to focus on
- Establishing yourself in the group
- Promoting without being slimy
Finding the right Facebook group
Pssst! Have you joined our Facebook Group, The Teachable Tribe? It’s the best place to engage with course creators just like you and bounce ideas back and forth!
If you get this step wrong, the rest of your efforts will be wasted. On Facebook, anyone has the freedom create a group, which one one hand is a powerful tool for entrepreneurs, but it also means that there’s a lot of not-so-great or abandoned groups to sort through.
There are a few key indicators to search for when you’re choosing a Facebook group, though, that will help you weed out the groups that won’t help you grow.
The first step in finding the right Facebook group is searching for a few keywords relevant to your niche in the search bar.
Don’t overthink this step, here are a few examples of what people from different niches might search:
- If you’re a fashion blogger based in LA, you might search….
- Fashion bloggers
- LA Fashion
- Style bloggers
- Los Angeles Bloggers
- If you’re a course creator teaching gardening, you might search….
- Portland gardening
- Gardening tips
- Gardening tricks
- If you have a cooking show on YouTube, you might search….
- Recipe sharing
- Chicago food bloggers
- Instant Pot recipes
- Healthy recipes
You get the gist. You might have to try several terms before finding one that pulls up the results you’re looking for, but keep plugging them in.
Your search results are going to look a little something like this:
Sorting through groups
From the results, open a few contenders in a new tab and snoop around. If the groups aren’t private you can see the types of conversation that takes place in the group, check the sidebar for the rules, and check how many people are part of the group.
When I look for Facebook groups, I try to find active groups with somewhere between 500 and 5,000 members. Any smaller and the number of active people may be insignificant, any larger and your posts may get lost in the noise.
With that said: don’t completely discount larger or smaller groups. This is just a general rule to follow, and all good rules are made to be broken from time to time.
Another thing to consider is the rules, if any exist. Some groups have a hard and fast rule against self-promotion of any kind, spammy or not. If you post your link you’ll instantly be removed from the group. These rules exist for a reason, and make the groups easier to manage, but for the purpose of this post I’m going to recommend choosing a different group.
In general, you’re going to want to look for a group that has rules, but the rules are a little bit looser. A lot of the blogging groups I’m part of won’t allow you to post a link to your own content unless someone requests it.
In that case, you can answer questions and say, “I actually know a lot about this! I wrote an entire blog post on it and even interviewed 3 experts.” In that case, people will usually be curious enough to ask for a link.
Many of the more organized groups on Facebook must approve your request to join, and you may even have to answer a survey before so they can screen you. Request access to more than one group and then play the waiting game for your approvals to start rolling in.
Choosing Facebook groups to focus on
Once you’ve been accepted into a few Facebook groups, now you can spend some time getting the lay of the land and poking around deciding which one to focus the majority of your energy on.
Again, there are a few key indicators to conside
- Is the group active? If there are a only a few new posts every day, you won’t have much opportunity to make a great impression. In general, you want to join a group where at least ~20 people are active every day.
- Is the group collaborative or self-promotional? You can get a sense of the type of group you’re joining pretty quickly. Look through the most recent posts, are people just promoting themselves, or are they asking and answering questions?
- Is there already a big thought leader in the group? If you go through the recent posts and the same person is already providing the best answers for everyone’s questions, you’ll have some competition in establishing yourself. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t focus your energy on this group. It’s just something to consider.
Establishing yourself in your chosen Facebook groups
Once you’ve decided on a group (or two or three) to focus your energy on, you should begin engaging. The goal is to be so helpful and active that people begin to know your name and think of you when they have questions.
The first few weeks in the group should be focused on providing value without asking anything in return. Answer questions, post ungated pieces of advice, and begin to engage on other people’s posts.
Keep in mind, you don’t want to just drop links to your relevant content and run. In fact, you may decide you want to answer more questions without offering links in the beginning. This will build trust that you’re not just there to promo and run.
After a few weeks of actively engaging, you might find that people will begin to tag you in their questions, or seek you out individually for help. Once you’ve gotten to this point you’ll know that you’ve established yourself in the community.
Promoting yourself on Facebook
Once you’ve established yourself in your Facebook community, you have a little more wiggle room to begin driving traffic to your own landing pages or promoting your own products.
The key here is to still do this in a very helpful and genuine way. Yes, you’re going to be promoting yourself, but make sure you do so after providing value up front. Now, at the end of your answers, you can say something like: “If that is still confusing, you can check out my blog post (or free course or whatever else you’re offering) to learn more.”
I can’t stress enough how much you don’t want to just drop links saying, “Hey, I’m selling a new course, check it out!” At best people will think you’re spammy, at worst you’ll be booted from your group and your weeks of hard work establishing yourself as a leader will go to waste.
When you’re promoting in Facebook groups, 90% of each post should be helpful and valuable and the last 10% can be your pitch.
So, remember: When you’re trying to network in niche Facebook groups, first be picky in the ones you join, then begin to establish yourself in the communities, and then you can begin to sell.
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Do you use Facebook groups to grow your online business? What are your best tips or tricks?