Getting a good reach for your messages on Facebook: it doesn’t get any easier for many entrepreneurs with a business page.
It has become even more difficult to get visitors to your website via Facebook.
How come you get less reach on your Facebook page?
In early 2018 Facebook changed the algorithm. This algorithm determines which messages Facebook users see at the top of their timeline. Facebook focuses very much on real interaction: in other words, on substantive conversations between Facebookers.
Messages that get a lot of reactions get a higher reach and messages with few reactions get a low reach. If there is not much response to your Facebook messages, the reach of your company page can drop drastically.
Facebook also doesn’t get enthusiastic if you try to distract your fans and followers from Facebook, for example, towards your website. She would rather see your followers stay where they are, namely on Facebook. If you regularly place links to articles on your page, such as blogs, they will usually get a low reach, unless you can start a discussion about your blog article on Facebook, resulting in a lot of interaction.
Why start a Facebook group?
Of course you could advertise a lot to be seen, but there is another way to get a lot of reach on Facebook: starting and running a Facebook group. Because the interaction in a group is often much higher, messages from Facebook groups still get a high reach.
Running a Facebook group requires a different approach than managing a Facebook page. I already mentioned the word ‘interaction’, and that’s exactly what’s most important in a group: that members respond to your messages, start a conversation with each other and preferably also post messages in the group themselves.
This probably takes some getting used to, because on your Facebook page you’re the only one posting messages.
With my love for community building I can’t think of anything more fun, but if this is something that doesn’t suit you very well, running your Facebook group can take a lot of energy from you.
My tips for successfully running a Facebook group I’ll give you later, but first I’d like to point out a few pitfalls you may encounter as a starting or successful group owner.
Running a Facebook group: 4 pitfalls
Pitfall 1: Your Facebook group doesn't get off to a good start
A pain in the butt or a valuable marketing tool? The first months in which your Facebook group exists are often decisive for what this group will mean for your company. Inform many people for whom your Facebook group is interesting of its existence.
Invite them to become a member. Be especially active in the beginning by posting messages and responding to other people’s reactions. This is because your members will often look the cat out of the tree for a while before they start responding actively and posting messages themselves.
So in the first few months it’s up to you to make it a lively group.
Pitfall 2: Your members have no idea that you are the group owner.
Once you have set up a successful Facebook group, chances are that your members will become very active. Sometimes even so active that they are busy talking to each other, but are hardly aware of who is the person who runs the group.
For some Facebook groups this does not matter much (think for example of supply and demand groups). But if you really use a Facebook group for your business, it’s not useful if your members don’t know that you run the group and what exactly you can help them with.
To avoid this pitfall, it’s a good idea to post a message to your group once a week to introduce yourself and welcome your new group members. Facebook groups have a feature that allows you to automatically tag your new members in such a post.
Pitfall 3: you are not using your Facebook group properly as a sales channel
Your Facebook group can become a powerful tool to get new customers, but as with other forms of marketing, it doesn’t work well if you’re selling too much of what you’re offering. Your members first want to build a bond with you and see what value you have.
That’s why you should share tips in your group, place links to your blogs and give your group members the chance to get to know your value in other ways: for example, by inviting them to your new free online workshop or applying for your e-book. You can also add these invitations to your proposal message.
Pitfall 4: your members use your Facebook group as a sales channel
If you have built up an active Facebook group, this will be noticed by your most enterprising members. They, too, can then see your group as a place to showcase their offerings. It is up to you as a group owner to clearly define your limits.
Would you like others to use your group as a marketing channel or would you rather not? I communicate very clearly in my group rules that you can always share something valuable, but that it is not the intention to promote your offer in my group.
5 tips to make a success of your Facebook group
Tip 1: use conversation starters
- What’s on your schedule this week?
- What tip would you like to give the other members of the group?
- What question do you have about marketing and entrepreneurship?
These are three examples of conversation startups that I have come back to my Facebook group every week. For each weekday I have a fixed section. Such a conversation starter is an easily accessible question to the members of your group.
It’s easy for them to respond to it, which automatically leads to more interaction in your group.
Tip 2: give your group members a sense of exclusivity
Offer something that is only accessible to the members of your Facebook group. If this is something really valuable, chances are that your group members will also invite people from their own network to join your group.
For example, every month I give a mini workshop on a marketing topic in my Facebook group. The members of my group can ask questions directly via Facebook Live and get tips that I don’t share in other places.
Think about what exclusive value you can give your group members to make your group extra attractive and valuable.
Tip 3: Reward involved members of your Facebook group
Involved members are worth gold in your group. Once you have a fixed group of members who really care about your group, you’ll spend far less time keeping the interaction going. Your group runs itself partly on its own, and it encourages other members to be more involved as well.
For example, once a week I put an engaged member of my Facebook group in the spotlight, also highlighting his or her social media channels and website.
At the beginning of this article I mentioned that messages with a link to your website on your Facebook page often get less reach. In Facebook groups, messages with links still get a lot of reach.
For example, share your new blog articles in your Facebook group. Is someone asking a question to which the answer can be found in an article on your website? If so, link to that article as well.
Do you like statistics and do you want to be able to track in Google Analytics what your Facebook group contributes to your website traffic? Then use so-called UTM links to see the difference between website visitors via your Facebook page and via your Facebook group.
Tip 5: use the survey function in your Facebook group
What do the members of your group want to learn from you? What would they like to read blog articles about you? These are good questions to ask your group members. To do so, use the survey function in your Facebook group.
You can also create a survey on a company page, but there are only two answer options. If you have built up your group well, it will be full of ideal customers. By asking them what they want to know or learn more about, you not only have input to create interesting content for them, it also gives you an idea of what they would like to be helped with.
This in turn allows you to develop a paid offer. An extra, more indirect way to get customers through your Facebook group.