Is your Facebook group not converting into sales anymore? The reason is, you are no longer building a community!
There is a Facebook group for nearly everything these days, from buy and sell classifieds, to a society for blue jeans and a white top, and a whippet appreciation society. When I first joined Facebook back in 2006, you needed a university e-mail address to have an account. Facebook groups were created for anything and everything, mainly university societies and club nights. Before I created Virtually Amy Kneale I hadn’t participated in Facebook groups for years. At this time I discovered other entrepreneurs and business owners creating Facebook groups (the ‘Owners’) for aspiring business women and business networking.
Since 2017 I have seen the landscape of business networking groups change dramatically. Large Facebook groups such as Melissa Gryffin’s group closed, and others have sprung up in its place. As an Online Business Manager, I have been
The groups I find myself a member of are primarily started and run by online business coaches, or online service providers who are looking to build a space where likeminded individuals can share business concepts and ideas, and support one another’s businesses.
Recently I have seen engagement drop in some groups, group owners struggling to continually convert group members into paying clients, and groups which have 20k plus members where only 100-200 members are active and engage on content. As someone who is primarily interested In running businesses, I started to look at a variety of Facebook groups, to see what makes some more successful than others.
The algorithm is changing, your group content isn’t showing up on peoples home feeds enough, or notifications are not being sent to members as frequently as they once were when group owners post updates.
What I have found, is that the groups which are more successful than others are those which at their core are started as communities, where the community feel is not lost over time through a series of overrestricting group rules/ moderation, and
Therefore some groups need to change, bring back the community feel, and the owners need to build a group which benefits everyone, not just an indivudual.
One question I have repeatedly been asking myself over recent times is, are the Facebook groups I am part of a really a ‘community’, a community in the truest sense, one that everyone is seen and heard, one in which all members benefit and not just one? The short answer yes some groups are, and the majority aren’t.
I keep coming back to the word community, as this is what Facebook group owners refer to their Facebook groups as, communities. Yet many groups have lost their way, and are sadly no longer communities. Many groups are too restrictive on what can or can’t be posted or shared, with all posts having to go through an approval process.
You may be reading this, owning/ running a group and say, well I don’t want my group to be full of spam, people over promoting, and selling get quick rich schemes. Neither do I. Group members are less inclined to spend time in your group if they are not seen and heard or have little personal benefit to being there. You can control/ moderate content without being over restrictive.
But I give out value content to my group members, I hear you cry. Being part of my group, they learn from me and my years of business experience, I give out my best content for free.
Yes group members do benefit from your content, however there are hundreds of Facebook groups, all giving out valuable information, and some where people feel they can post, participate, and promote in the group. A place where members don’t just feel like they are only there to be part of your sales funnel. Some groups have become the one man/woman show.
Remember WIIFM, What’s in it for me? What’s the benefit for group members to be part of your group?
If members can’t post my content, share my ideas or even promote my services, then what’s in it for me? Remember Amy, we told you, as a Facebook group owners we give out valuable content for free, this is how you benefit. But that simply isn’t enough anymore. Other group members have equally valuable information to share and stories to tell, however they can’t be heard in many groups. Why can’t the community learn from all group members and not just the group owner?
Let’s be honest, if your content is that good, which I am sure it is, wouldn’t it stand out from the crowd regardless of other members posts? If your offers are that irresistible to your ideal client, wouldn’t they buy your (the owners) product over someone else’s?
Time is the biggest restraint of many business owner’s, so with limited time in the day, where would you spend your valuable time online? In a group where everything is overly restricted, or a group where you feel you can contribute without having to jump through 30 loops? People are spending their time in groups which are more open, open to a community feel, open to some promotional activity, and a space where people can contribute.
If you want to make consistent sales from your Facebook group, time and time again, the group members need to feel like they are not being sold to all the time, and more importantly feel part of a real community.
If you want to use your Facebook group purely as a sales funnel and the main aim of the group is to sell your products and services, then this can be a sound business strategy for the short term. If you want your Facebook group to grow year on year, to have high engagement levels, and to impact lives, then your group has to be community first. A side product of this, is that it will be easier to sell/ launch to this audience for the foreseeable future. Ask yourself, what is the main goal of your Facebook group? Are you really building a true community online or just a sales funnel?
Let’s compare two groups…
In a Restricted group:
- Owners posts get lost in their members homepages, as members interact less in the group, as they can’t share their content and post in the group.
- Members become disengaged with your group
- Your group becomes easily forgotten
- The main posts are from the group owner or their clients, and you feel you need to pay to play.
In a community:
- Members post their views/ stories/ vision alongside some promotional activity.
- Members receive notifications when other members like and comment on their posts.
- They click into the group to see the comments and engage further.
- They check the wall of the group to see what others are posting, and engage in content.
- They see the owners posts and engage with these posts.
- The group shows up more on their homepage feed, as they are more actively engaged in the group.
- Members feel seen and heard.
Facebook group members know that by joining groups and by spending time in these groups, they become part of your sales funnel, warm leads list, and even your e-mail list. Group member’s want something in return, a chance to increase their visibility, share their message, network with fellow members, and even promote their services.
Community first, sales second should be the motto of any networking group, on any platform, online or offline. By treating your Facebook group as a community first, it becomes one of the best sales funnels you can have. Treat your Facebook group purely as a sales funnel, then the sales will dry up.
Facebook group members, it’s also our responsibility to treat these groups as a community first, sales funnel second when talking about our own businesses. You wouldn’t walk up to someone at a networking event, hand over your business card, and then walk away, without saying a single word to that person. You wouldn’t make any sales. So this isn’t acceptable online either. Don’t post and run. In order for the community to thrive, you must genuinely engage, and help out fellow members. We crave the space to be seen and heard, so use this space wisely when sharing content.
The online space moves incredibly quickly, and your Facebook group could have evolved and changed in front of your very eyes. Over time your group could have slowly eroded and no longer achieve what it was set out to achieve.
Ask yourself, what is the aim of my Facebook group, and does the group in its current format still represent that aim? Does my group still have a community feeling? Give your group an audit and see if it still represents you and your business.