Most content creators are familiar with Facebook ads, but ads aren’t the only way to grow your brand on the platform. Facebook groups can grow your audience, increase engagement, and foster community. But how exactly do you create a Facebook group and grow it enough to make an impact?
Nick Loper, founder of SideHustleNation.com, explains the ins and outs of Facebook groups and discusses how his Side Hustle Nation Facebook Group grew to over 20,000 members. If you’ve ever wanted to know more about the benefits of Facebook groups and the techniques you can use to grow your Facebook group, take a listen.
Why Nick Started His Facebook Group
Several years after launching his Side Hustle Nation blog and podcast, Nick started his Facebook group. He felt that the group closed a mental gap. Prior to starting the group, he would mention on his podcast, blog, and email list that Side Hustle Nation is a community for aspiring and part-time entrepreneurs. However, he increasingly started to feel that his community of side hustlers didn’t have a space to be heard.
When he first considered launching a Facebook group, he hesitated. He wondered if the world really needed another entrepreneurial-focused group. Fortunately, his audience quickly shut down this self-limiting talk. When he surveyed his audience about their interest in joining a community, the answer was a resounding yes. In early 2015, he launched his Facebook group.
How to Grow a Facebook Group
There are two main strategies that people can use to grow their Facebook groups. You can build a group using your existing audiences or you grow a new audience on Facebook. You can also take Nick’s approach, which is a combination of both.
Here’s a more in-depth look at some of the techniques Nick used to grow his group to over 20,000 members.
Draw Your Audience Into the Group
Nick’s original group growth strategy was to leverage his existing audience. He started to mention his Facebook group as an option to extend the community on his blog and podcast and to his email list. The point was to make his audience aware of the Facebook group without overemphasizing it.
He still uses this technique today. For instance, he will mention the group when it is relevant on the blog. At times, he might feature a question from a Facebook group member or he might share hot topics or advice from the group with his blog readers. He is delivering valuable content while still letting his readers know of the group’s existence.
In terms of podcasting, his Facebook group gets a mention occasionally, but it doesn’t’ take the place of ads from a sponsor. Again, he simply wants his listeners to know that a valuable place exists and serves as an extension of the community.
When setting up the copy for his email, he will mention the Facebook group occasionally at the end of the email. He uses phrasing like “ PS – Join the 20,000 people on a similar path.”
In all of these instances, he is informing his audience of another way to derive value from and get involved in their community.
Check out more ways to make your community the most loyal community around.
Finding a New Audience Through Search Optimization
More recently, Nick also started considering ways to use Facebook’s search feature to grow his group. While many content creators and brands tend to focus primarily on Google’s search tools and optimize for that, Nick says it is worthwhile to consider if and how people can find your group using Facebook’s search tool as well.
One of the first things Nick did was to make sure that his group’s name was meaningful. He knew there was interest in side hustling, so he made sure that is featured prominently in the group name. Regardless of what your brand and group’s focal point are, you want to make sure that your group name uses terms that people are searching for.
To grow his audience full circle, Nick also adds questions for incoming group members. One of the questions he asks is if people are subscribed to the show. This question is another touchpoint to grow awareness of his podcast and blog for people who come from Facebook organically.
Click here to learn more about community building with tips from Tiffany Aliche.
What Are The Benefits of Facebook Groups?
Nick’s ultimate goal for his Facebook group was to have a place for his Side Hustle Nation community. He sees the Facebook group as another touchpoint and a relationship builder.
Both the blog and the podcast are largely anonymous in the sense that audience members don’t necessarily know who else is reading and listening with them. However, in the Facebook group, the audience interacts, learns, and grows together.
A Facebook group offers members the benefits of building connections and fostering relationships. Instead of communicating ideas from one content creator to many in an audience, a large group of members shares ideas with other members.
Another benefit of creating a Facebook group is that you are adding value to your audience’s lives. Most people average half an hour of time on Facebook each day. They can spend that time mindlessly scrolling through their feeds or they can engage with meaningful content.
You know your audience is on Facebook. Starting a Facebook group is a strategic way to meet them where they are and add value to their social media experience.
Develop More Content
There are additional benefits of Facebook groups that you can capitalize on as a content creator. Nick sees Facebook groups as a prime way to re-purpose content. Periodically, he will feature Question & Answer content on the blog and podcast. He also uses his Facebook group as a way to crowdsource content ideas for posts.
Additionally, he turns to his Facebook group as another source of advice for his audience. For instance, if he receives an email about someone’s particular situation and he feels like he isn’t in the same place to provide a thorough answer, he turns to his Facebook group for powerful and motivating suggestions.
How To Get Engagement Inside Your Facebook Group
Sometimes, it can be difficult to generate clicks on Facebook. In general, Facebook wants to keep users on Facebook. One workaround that Nick suggests is to make your initial post an image. Then, include a link in the first comment. This can help your post stay more visible, he theorizes.
Nick also says that Facebook group organizers need to be aware of the various notification options on Facebook. People have the option of seeing all notifications, seeing notifications related to their friends, or turning notifications off.
One way to account for this is to add active group members and new members as Facebook friends. You can also foster relationship building in your Facebook group to encourage members to friend each other. This strategy makes it more likely that people will be notified of your group content.
To generate consistent engagement, consider dedicating a particular day of the week to a certain topic. Try Matchmaker Mondays dedicated to connecting other members or Shameless Plug Sundays to give people the chance to promote their work.
You can also dedicate a day to let people share their wins, ask questions, or anything else that seems to get your group talking. Look at where the engagement is and then devise a system to get it scheduled on your content calendar.
Highlight Group Members
Nick also suggests highlighting thought leaders in the community and actively reaching out to people. Often times, he will tag people into conversations in the group. It might be someone who is an expert on the topic or someone who is based in the same location.
By tagging them directly, you are inviting that person into the conversation and boosting engagement in the group. As the engagement in your Facebook group increases, you will see your Facebook group continue to grow.
How to Manage Your Facebook Group As It Grows
After you implement strategies to grow your Facebook group, you also need a plan to manage it. One technique that Nick uses is to recruit volunteer moderators. He currently has a team of about a dozen people helping keep his Facebook group in check.
Nick says this can be time-consuming, but he also points out that there are people who are doing this work already. If you would like to create a group of volunteers, one starting point would be to see which group members are reporting comments and spam.
Another strategy to keep the conversation in the group as productive as possible is to set up a screening process. You can incorporate your rules and guidelines into the screener so that people know how they should behave in the Facebook group.
Of course, Nick says this doesn’t always keep out spammers. But creating a barrier to entry can help cut down on the work you and your volunteer moderators are doing.
Nick also says there are apps and interfaces you can explore to help with scheduling. However, he relies on the scheduling features in the Facebook app itself to coordinate his group content.
Final Thoughts on How to Grow Facebook Groups
It requires work and planning to grow a Facebook group effectively, and the benefits of a Facebook group make all the work worthwhile. A Facebook group can help you grow your audience dramatically and boost the reach of your brand.
More so, a Facebook group will transform your audience members into a community of like-minded people who grow, strategize, and problem-solve together. Using Nick Loper’s tips, you can create and grow a Facebook group that benefits you and your community.
Speaking of Facebook Groups, check out the FinCon Facebook Community where we are helping thousands reach millions with a positive money message.
Do you have a Facebook Group? How are you growing it?
Please let us know in the comments below.