Facebook Groups For Business Case Study: 90 Day Low Carb Challenge

This is the third case in a series about using Facebook Groups to grow your brand, engage with your community and of course, ultimately, market your business. Today’s case is:

90 Day Low Carb Challenge and Bonus: Weekly Marketing Challenge founded and managed by Lynn Terry

Facebook for Business - Part 4

At the time of writing, this group is over 40,000 members strong. A mind boggling number. Lynn is a natural at engaging her people so let’s find out how she does it.

Why Did You Start Your Facebook Groups?

”If you build it, they will come” only works for Kevin Costner. 🙂 When it comes to getting traffic, which is what we all want and need, the key is to know your market – and get in front of them. To do this you have to find out where they are, then (and this is the important part!)… meet them there (where they already are).

My biggest Facebook Group is actually for my low carb blog at TravelingLowCarb.com. It currently has over 40,000 members (and growing by the hour!). I started the group to help my readers experience RESULTS.

If you can keep your audience seeing results they will continue to open your emails, click / like / share, recommend you to friends – and more importantly, they’ll continue consuming products and services, which equals SALES!

The key to Facebook Groups is to come up with a creative angle that gets people actively engaged in your topic.

In the case of my low carb group, it’s a 90 Day Challenge that doesn’t just put content in front of them… but gets them actively involved in eating low carb. We’re eating together, losing weight together, and we’re even creating new content together! Many of my blog posts are “crowd-sourced” from the group, or inspired by topics my members bring up in the group.

My new WMC group was started as a way to reconnect with people in a fresh way – outside of blog comments and emails. It’s a very focused group, based on a focused task/topic with a specific objective, and the purpose was to attract “action takers”. Any group or community you create should have a strong objective, and mine was to get in front of people actively growing their businesses… and also to create a more public mastermind group with these types.

Why Facebook Groups over a forum on your own site?

I already have a forum on my site at ClickNewz.com and I use that to host my Private Brainstorming Group. It’s a good platform for that because it’s private. Unlike Facebook Groups (unless they are “secret”) lurkers and trolls cannot make their way into the group.

As for ”why Facebook Groups”, the answer is simple: they’re HOT right now. People like them. They’re super active. It’s an easy way to get people engaged. And unlike Facebook Pages, Facebook actually promotes Groups for you – free. They recommend relevant groups to people based on what their friends are joining, or based on their updates and preferences. You can’t beat that kind of free marketing!

A forum is great for membership platforms, but a Facebook Group is better for a more public community.

Why did you choose to have a closed group?

With a closed group, only the members of that group can see the posts and replies. It gives members privacy on specific topics that they don’t necessarily want to share with their family and friends, such as business strategies or weight loss.

A secret group cannot be found on Facebook unless you are specifically invited, but a closed group can be found in searches and anyone can ask to join, so it’s the best of both worlds!

What’s one thing you’d suggest people do to grow their groups?

It all starts with the creative angle. You need a strong “WHY” to motivate people to join and participate in the group. What would get your market actively engaged? If you have a knitting blog, start a “project of the month” group where you lead your community through fun projects together. This could be really fun with seasonal projects!

Like anything else, you have to promote your new group until it takes off on it’s own. Use it as a call to action in relevant informational blog posts, post invites on your social media channels, etc. If you’re doing a new craft every month, or a new challenge every 30 days, this is a great time to ramp up the invites!

What are some suggestions you can give to help keep the group orderly and not overrun with SPAM or off topic chatter?

First, create rules and policies and put them in a Pinned Post at the top of the group. Nobody will read them (lol). You should make sure they are there, though. I also include a line like, “I reserve the right to remove content or members at my discretion.”

I simply remove off-topic posts, and if people complain I refer them back to the rules (the Pinned Post). I also teach my community how to move off-topic posts, spam and arguments out of the feed. I tell them not to respond, but to click “Report / Mark as Spam” so that it goes into moderation. I can then delete the post, or clean up the comments (if they unravel, which they often do! lol) and put it back in the group.

And of course, once your group grows large enough – or just active enough – bring on moderators. It helps to find someone who has an incentive to help out, like another blogger in your niche that you trust and admire.

What’s the one thing people must do to keep their group members engaged?

Three things: Education, Inspiration and Interaction.

Wait, you asked for one… 🙂

Ask engaging questions, hit emotional hot spots, invite them to share personal experiences or brag about their achievements, challenge them to do something specific, host giveaways and drawings, share helpful tips & information that they can apply immediately (actionable tips), etc.

Just be actively involved, with the goal of helping every single member see RESULTS. 🙂

What’s the one thing people should avoid in setting up or structuring their groups?

Don’t be afraid to be TOO topical. General is boring. Get strategic with your angle, and consider the best way to use a micro-topic in your niche to help people see fast results.

You also want to be “real” with your community, and also let them feel like PART of the community. I monetize my low carb group of course, and I’ll often be very conversational in my disclosure as a means of letting them “contribute”. Example:

“Taking advantage of these FREE offers is what helps keep this group running – and free to you! I earn a few cents for every coupon print session, which is peanuts… but every little bit adds up to help keep me here helping YOU every day. Thank you for your support!!”

^^ This went along with free printable grocery coupons for low carb items, and again for a Whole Foods Market giveaway campaign I ran. People like giving back, or feeling like they are contributing to “their” community. Especially when they are getting something out of it. 🙂

I will also say, from my personal experience, that you really shouldn’t do “30 day, 90 day” etc type groups. Keep it open ended. People join all the time, and then think they can’t participate if you’re in the middle of a “timed” project or challenge. Avoid confusion and keep it ongoing instead.

How does having a group translate to growing a business, (increasing sales, reaching new customers, etc) which is the end goal for most of us?

As I mentioned earlier, Facebook will actively market your group FOR you, which really helps you increase your reach and get in front of new people consistently. Your members will do that as well, telling their friends and family or inviting people into the group, so the group will gain momentum and start growing on it’s own once you get it going.

Thanks to my active low carb group, Facebook is now the #1 source of traffic to my blog. I share links to informative blog posts in response to common questions, and create blog posts for questions that get asked a lot – for the same purpose.

The goal is to get as much traffic back to my blog as possible – both for ad revenue and product sales, and for “traffic numbers” for my Media Kit (to attract sponsors & advertisers). I also monetize directly in the group by sharing offers, featuring a “product of the week” and discussing it, etc.

Tip: Create a “one page” – a landing page for your group (ex: 90DayLowCarbChallenge.com). Facebook is “rented land” so I promote my landing page when using it as a call to action, or inviting people to join. That way if I ever lose my group for some reason, or Facebook goes the way of MySpace (lol), I only have to edit ONE page on the internet.

The page gives them all the information they’ll never read (lol) in the Pinned Post at the top of the actual Group, and it also includes my recent blog posts and social links. And most important of all… it includes an opt-in form to join the email list for “Official Group Updates”. 🙂

I use incentives to encourage people to go to the page and “get official updates by email”. Sometimes I’ll mention that it’s the only way to let them know where we’ve moved in case our group disappears from Facebook (ack!).

I also use the list to notifiy them of upcoming meetups, let them know about contests and giveaways, to get free tips & creative ideas, etc. The incentives you use will depend on the topic if your group of course, but the goal is to build that list!

Above all, to see results (traffic, revenue, growth) you must help your community see results. Start and run your group with that in mind: “What can I do to help them see results?” It’s a question I ask myself every single day when I log on to Facebook.

cheers

-Lynn Terry

p.s. If (and only if!) you’re a serious action-taker, you’re welcome to come check out the WMC group

You can check out and model my “one page” here: http://www.90DayLowCarbChallenge.com. Credit goes to Kelly McCausey for that brilliant idea!

Lynette Chandler

Lynette Chandler

Co-owner at TechBasedMarketing
A marketing loving geek who thrives on finding ways to use tech to grow businesses and boost productivity. Make tech work for you too. Get her 10-Step Guide to Systemize and Automate Your Business so you can grow without wearing yourself out.
Lynette Chandler

Comments

  1. Fantastic advice, Lynette. Posting questions and conversation to these groups and editing the replies into some great content for your blog is another way to “extract value”.

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  3. very well described.
    facebook has been growing very steadily.
    its better understood by this post how the process works.

  4. Thanks for sharing..! This is really nice information about Facebook marketing and engagement techniques. I agree, Facebook group discussion is great tool for building customers engagement and relationship..

    Create group for your business and invite people to join the group and discuss about related topic in the area of business. Maintain the group avoiding and interact with those group members are great way marketing.

    Actually, I have 3 groups discussion one is for my own, other one is for my network marketing business, and the last one is for exchange blog commentluv.
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