AMY PORTERFIELD: “The second way you ensure that you get high engagement is to do a weekly or monthly Facebook Live in your group. This is especially important when you're just starting your group. Videos tend to get way more engagement on Facebook, plus your members are just getting to know you. So this is a proven way to nurture and build relationships with them. So if you can make time—I mean, weekly would be amazing. I don't have the bandwidth to do that—but if you do, holy cow, get into your group, jump on video weekly. You can do Q&As, you could do hot seats. You can tell stories. You can teach. You can have fun.”
“I think we're going to start doing a monthly cocktail hour in my Momentum group, where I just get to jump on. I'm not answering questions, because I do a lot of Facebook Live question and answer in my Momentum membership. But I never get to just chat with people. Like, what are you guys working on? Who's doing this? Who's having some fun here or there? We're just going to grab our favorite beverage, and I’ll maybe ask questions of them, but we'll kind of get a fun conversation going.”
“Whatever you want to do. But your group will kind of start sharing with you what they like, what they want more of, so pay attention to how they resonate with what you're doing in the group, and keep doing more of what's working.”
INTRO: I’m Amy Porterfield, ex-corporate girl turned CEO of a multi-million-dollar business. But it wasn't all that long ago that I lacked the confidence, money, and time to focus on growing my small-but-mighty business. Fast forward past many failed attempts and lessons learned, and you'll see the business I have today, one that changes lives and gives me more freedom than I ever thought possible, one that used to only exist as a daydream. I created the Online Marketing Made Easy podcast to give you simple, actionable, step-by-step strategies to help you do the same. If you're an ambitious entrepreneur, or one in the making, who's looking to create a business that makes an impact and helps you create a life you love, you're in the right place. Let's get started.
AMY: Okay, before we get going, a quick word from our sponsor.
This episode is sponsored by Gravy. If you have a subscription-model business, like a membership site, or offer payment plans like I do with my digital courses, you've got to listen up. One of my biggest frustrations in the past was lost money due to failed payment plans. In fact, it used to keep me up at night. I would worry about all the people that were on a payment plan because if they stopped their payments, I'd be screwed. That's when I started working with Gravy. Gravy sets up a system inside your business where they contact your customers within hours of their failed payments, and they capture updated billing information and save the customer.
Now, as you know, failed payments can be a sensitive topic to navigate with your customers, and that's why Gravy acts as an extension of your team. So when they reach out to people, they communicate on your behalf, and they do it with compassion. On average, before Gravy, our failed-payment recovery rate was just 33 percent when we were trying to do it on our own. Now it's over 80 percent collection on failed payments. That's a whole lot of saved payments.
If your revenue is currently at $250,000 or more and you know you're losing money due to failed payment plans each month, I want to encourage you to check out Gravy. Here's the great news. Gravy is offering my listeners their first month free. So if you want to book a discovery, call to find out if your business is a good fit for everything Gravy has to offer, go to amyporterfield.com/gravy.
I can't tell you how many times I hear my students talk about the struggles they have with growing a Facebook group and really getting their members to engage with them inside of a Facebook group. Can you relate? Well, my friend, I've heard you, and so today we're going to talk about my favorite tips and tricks for setting a Facebook group up for success and how to fill up your group with engaged members and how to show up in your group to ensure that you don't hear crickets when you post. You'll hear about strategies that I've used in my business, as well as some other entrepreneurs who have had great success with their Facebook groups. And I have over 38,000 members between my free and paid Facebook groups, so I know a thing or two about what doesn't work and what does.
Also, I wanted to make sure that you have everything you need to get started with a Facebook group, which is why I've created a free resource with images and instruction that will guide you through step by step and show you how I set up my own Facebook groups. So be sure to grab that at amyporterfield.com/319. Now, this free resource is also great even if you already have a Facebook group because it includes tips that you may not even know about to help you improve your group's search ability, boundaries, and overall organization. So whether you don't have a Facebook group but you've been waiting to start one, or you have a group and you're struggling to engage your members, you're going to love today's episode, and you're going to walk away with tons of ideas to get your group rocking and rolling. Plus, I even have some advanced engagement strategies that you're going to love.
Now, one more thing. I think that as an online entrepreneur, you should absolutely have a Facebook group. During this pandemic, people are spending more time online looking for the answers and guidance than they've ever done before, and one place they are certainly looking is within Facebook groups. And when things do start to find some normalcy again, this isn't going to change. So if you don't have a Facebook group, it's something I really want you to consider. You'll find out as I dive in that it's great for list building, it's great to set you up as the go-to source, and it's a great place to start to really build your community so you start to learn what your audience needs and wants most.
Okay, so, with that, let’s dive in so you can get creating and engaging inside your Facebook groups.
First and most importantly, you've got to define your group focus and who your group is for. Just know that the strategies in today's episode can be used for a free group that's open to the public as well as a group that is only open to those who have paid for your program or product. That being said, know that it's much easier to fill up your paid group, like my Insider’s group, which is a private group for all of my students, versus a group open to the public, which can still be private like my free Online Marketing Made Easy Facebook group. So just know a public group will take a little more elbow grease to get it going, but if you consistently use the approaches in today's episode, you will be able to fill it up with engaged members.
So ask yourself, who is this group for? If you've done any ideal-customer avatar work, which you know I always encourage you to do so, you've likely already identified your one perfect customer. This part should be easy if you've done the ICA work.
Now, if you're just starting out and you need a little guidance around your ICA, I want you to take advantage of my brand-new product that I've created. It's a PDF guide called Be Your Own Boss™️: How to Start an Online Business from Scratch. Now, this guide will walk you through every step you need to build a successful online business, and it definitely will help you identify who you want to market to.
Okay, so, once you're clear on your ICA for your Facebook group, ask yourself, what's the focus of my group? So, for example, one of my students, Bonnie Koo, has a Facebook group with over 1,000 members, and her description is “This group is for kick-ass physician moms who want to take control of their finances and learn how to live a wealthy life.” So good. There's no doubt about who this group is for and what the focus is. That means that when someone is looking at joining her group, they know that if they are a physician and if they're a mom and they want to take control of their finances, they've hit the jackpot. This is the group for them. Also, it gives Bonnie a clear direction for her focus, which helps her to write the description and gives her topic ideas for her group content, which we'll talk more about in a little bit. So take a moment to write out who your group is for, along with some requirements you have in order for them to be accepted into your group.
Now, once you have your who and focus defined, you can set up your Facebook group. Now, I'm not going to give you a step by step in this episode on how to set up a group, because as I mentioned, I created a free resource with images to guide you through how I set up Facebook groups. So again, you can grab that at amyporterfield.com/319 and follow it step by step to get started there. But I did want to share a couple important aspects of setting up a group.
Now, for starters, always—and I repeat, always—I think you should make your group private. This makes the group more intimate and more controlled and a safe place for people to find other like-minded individuals to connect with and learn from.
And a few notes on your group's rules. For starters, you have to have them. You really do need to set some rules. And in the free resource that I offer you for this episode, I show you exactly how to enable them and where to place them. But I highly encourage that you have anyone who requests to join, acknowledge that they've read and will follow your group rules. You can take a look at my group rules and see if maybe you want to model those so you don't have to start from scratch—again, a perfect place to look is the Online Marketing Made Easy Facebook group—but you definitely want some rules.
So to give you a little hint, my rules for the Online Marketing Made Easy Facebook group include, be kind; no self-promotion; no live videos or watch parties; no affiliate links; and when you ask a question, ask specific questions, and be as helpful as possible. So they're really just rules to be a good person in the group. And then I go into detail to explain what each of those rules mean, so there's no questions. So again, you can find an example of that in the free resource.
I also like to use the Ask Questions feature when people are asking to be in my group. And this is where I ask them to acknowledge that they've read the rules. But you can also do a couple of other fun things here to better understand your members. So for one, I like to ask my magic-wand question when someone is wanting to get into my Facebook group. So I ask, if you could wave a magic wand and choose any topic for me to cover in my podcast, what would it be? This helps to inspire podcast ideas and helps me to better understand where my members are in their business, and it guides my content calendar for this specific group. So if you want to steal that question, by all means, do so. It's really helpful. Again, when you get the free resource, I'll show you where you would put those types of questions.
You can also use this section to invite them to share their email address in exchange for a lead magnet, which I think is a great way to grow your email list. I know we're working on that in my Online Marketing Made Easy Facebook group, and we're planning to add that feature. So yes, you'll have to manually add their email to your email-service provider in order to put them into the lead-magnet funnel to get the freebie you’re promising, but I think it's worth the effort. And this is a great task for a virtual assistant.
So, for example, I have a friend, Allie Casazza, and she has a thriving Facebook group for busy moms. And when you join her group, she asks for your email and promises to send you her lead magnet, which is the Clear the Clutter Starter Kit. And she says it's free. All you need to do is give your email, and she'll send it right away. So on the back end, she gets that email, puts it into her email-service provider, and sends out the freebie. And I'm sure she batches it. Maybe every day or every few days, a VA will go in there and manually do the work. But I really do think list building on the front end of a Facebook group is a brilliant idea.
Okay, so, now let's talk about how to fill up your group with highly engaged members. This should go without saying, but mention it everywhere. So mention your Facebook group in all of your content, share the link in your comments on social media, add it to your social-media posts, add it to your website, wherever it makes sense. You can even add it to the bottom of your email signature. So of course we're talking about a free private Facebook group, but use your Facebook group like a lead magnet, especially if you're going to do a list-building effort when they join, or when they get in the group, you can always do some great list-building efforts as well.
But your Facebook group can be full of people that will want to join your email list eventually, if not right from the get-go. And so you want to mention that Facebook group whenever it makes sense. So I want you to really put it out there. This is a surefire way to grow your group consistently and organically.
Now, another great way to direct people to your group is to run a challenge. So you can do this in two ways. First of all, you can send an email to your entire email list and invite them to your challenge, and then house your challenge in your new Facebook group. Now, if you're a little bit more advanced, you can use Facebook ads to drive people to the challenge in your Facebook group.
This is what we did as part of my B-School promotion, and we called it Exploring B-School: 30 Days of Diving into the Details, with Amy Porterfield. And we ended up close to 7,000 members in that group. Now, we emailed it to my list, and we ran ads to the Facebook group, and we started the Facebook group out with the challenge. So this works really well, especially if it's a brand-new Facebook group. In my case, that group was a pop-up group, which means it's open for a very short period of time, in this case, thirty days, but it works really well that if you're starting a new Facebook group, why not start it with a bang? And I love this idea of starting it with a challenge, because not only does it fill up the group faster, it also is really fun. And if you're running Facebook ads, you're getting email addresses, so you’re growing your email list.
Now, if you don’t have an email list, so you can't email them and ask them to come into your group, use your social-media efforts, and use your free weekly content. So if you're podcasting every week, mention it on your podcast. If you've got a video every week, make it your call to action. And then, of course, use LinkedIn and Facebook and Instagram and Instagram Stories to talk about your Facebook group and invite people in. But if it's a brand-new Facebook group, do something that kind of is a splash, like a welcome party kind of feel, so that you can pique people's interest right away.
Okay, time to talk about getting high engagement in your group. I know you've been waiting for this part. So now that you've gotten some people in your group, it's time to show up consistently. If you've been with me for a while, you probably just finished that sentence with me, because like anything else in your business, you know that I believe showing up consistently will be the difference between you winning or losing. I really do believe it separates the entrepreneurs that are here to stay versus kind of a “flash in the pan” kind of thing. So you’ve got to keep showing up consistently, especially in your Facebook group.
In my business, I map out a content calendar for my Facebook groups. Now, if you aren't already using content calendars, which I highly recommend, then you can check out episode 250, which is how to plan a three-month content calendar. You can use that for a Facebook group, you can use that for your weekly podcast episodes, you can use that for so many different things that you need to do consistently week after week, or more than once a week. So check that out, amyporterfield.com/250.
But first of all, I want you to decide on how often you're going to post in your group and how often you're going to go in and respond to comments. You'll want to do both, or at least get help doing both. I don't always do that heavy lifting of commenting in the group, but I have community managers that help me do so. The thing is, you just want to make sure you're consistent. And if it's going to be you, you've got to plug these into your calendar and make them part of your weekly tasks.
One thing I've learned the hard way is if I say I'm just going to jump into the group a few times a week, I never do it. I get so busy and time flies, and it's Friday. And I said I was going to jump into the Online Marketing Made Easy Facebook group three times, and I didn't do it once. Like, I have to schedule this stuff. So even if it's thirty minutes, three times a week, and that might be even more than you need to do, put it into your calendar and have a designated time that you're actually going to do it.
Also, if you’re creating content for other platforms, like social-media platforms, you can always repurpose that and share that into your Facebook group, maybe make a few tweaks to it, maybe add a different image than you did on Instagram or whatever it might be. And as long as it makes sense for the group, you can for sure be reposting. Also, if you're looking for content to post in a free Facebook group, hopefully, the weekly content that you're doing, whether it be a podcast or a blog or a video, is going to resonate with this Facebook group so you can post your weekly content in there as well.
However, if you want engagement, you've got to create some fresh content that is also specifically for that group. So you can repurpose stuff you've done, but, also, you’ve got to make the content in the group special to them. After all, your members joined to get more access and guidance from you or your business, so always show up with as much value as possible.
So to make it easy to create a Facebook group specific content calendar, I suggest that you create standard posts. So for example, in the Online Marketing Made Easy Facebook group, we always promote the newest episode every Thursday of the podcast, or Monday, depending on what's going on in the business. And if we have a bonus episode, we promote that as well. And then in addition to that, we do at least two other posts in the Facebook group that are specific to Online Marketing Made Easy.
Now, in my Insider's Club, which is my Facebook group for all of my alumni from List Builders Society®️ and from Digital Course Academy®️, we post in there four to five times per week, and we do Motivation Monday, we do a list-building post, and then we do a Friday Brag. So those are the three standard posts that you're always going to see in those groups, and then we try to mix it up and throw some fun things in there.
Now, what I love about having consistent themes is that not only does it make it easier for you to brainstorm content ideas for specific days, but it also trains your members. Like, for example, our Friday Brag is the weekly post where our members can share their lead magnet or their website or some kind of other content. They know it's every Friday, and, also, they're more inclined to participate because it's something they see over and over again. But also, this keeps them from self-promoting willy-nilly in the group, which will put a damper on the engagement. So I mentioned this earlier, but we do not allow affiliate links, and we do not allow self-promotion in any of our groups. So because of that, we still want to give them a chance to shine, so that's why we keep it for Fridays.
Real quick, before we continue, I want to tell you about today's sponsor. I'm going to tell you about one of my secret weapons that I've used for over seven years and still use today, Leadpages. Now, if you're just starting out with building your email list and selling your services online, I'm telling you right now, Leadpages will make your life a whole lot easier. So not only can you create hassle-free opt-in pages, thank-you pages, webinar-replay pages, websites, and more, but their platform has built-in marketing advice and conversion tools to help you answer the question, is this working? Am I doing this right? You'll know right from the get-go. Plus, they minimize the tech confusion so you can focus on collecting leads, building your email list, selling your offer, and doing the important stuff in your business, like growing and engaging your audience. So if you're getting started with your online business and you want to make sure the content you publish actually turns into clicks and customers, go to leadpages.net/omme. You'll get a fourteen-day trial and 20 percent off your subscription if you decide to join.
All right. Let’s get back to today’s episode.
The second way you ensure that you get high engagement is to do a weekly or monthly Facebook Live in your group. This is especially important when you're just starting your group. Videos tend to get way more engagement on Facebook, plus your members are just getting to know you. So this is a proven way to nurture and build relationships with them. So if you can make time—I mean, weekly would be amazing. I don't have the bandwidth to do that—but if you do, holy cow, get into your group, jump on video weekly. You can do Q&As. You could do hot seats. You can tell stories. You can teach. You can have fun.
I think we're going to start doing a monthly cocktail hour in my Momentum group, where I just get to jump on. I'm not answering questions, because I do a lot of Facebook Live question and answer in my Momentum membership. But I never get to just chat with people. Like, what are you guys working on? Who's doing this? Who's having some fun here or there? We're just going to grab our favorite beverage, and I’ll maybe ask questions of them, but we'll kind of get a fun conversation going.
Whatever you want to do. But your group will kind of start sharing with you what they like, what they want more of. Pay attention to how they resonate with what you're doing in the group, and keep doing more of what's working.
And on top of that, when you do Facebook Lives, it gives them this reason to keep coming back because they feel like they're getting this added benefit and guidance from you. So if you've got the bandwidth, do it. And I know I said Facebook Lives, but you can also do prerecorded video. There won't be as much engagement. But if you can prerecord some videos and get that in the group pretty regularly and answer questions from your students off the cuff in these prerecorded videos, it could maximize engagement, for sure. You could do prerecorded videos and teach something as well.
Going back to challenges—remember I talked about that a little bit earlier?—I find that hosting a challenge is a wonderful way to keep growing your Facebook group, but also to keep people around because they want to see if they've won something at the end of the challenge, or they want to see how other people are doing things in the challenge. So it’s a great way to grow your group, which is why I suggested make it part of your welcome party. But also just doing challenges randomly in your group is going to boost that engagement. People love an opportunity to do a challenge, possibly win something at the end, and just really get involved. And they want to challenge themselves because typically when you do a challenge, you're helping people better themselves day after day. Plus, challenges give you that quick win, and that's a bonus because it gives them a sample of what it's like to work with you if they're not already customers. So I really love this.
One of my friends, Jen Hansard, she created the company Simple Green Smoothies, and she's the queen of Facebook group challenges. And she does them to get her members drinking green smoothies daily, and she provides them with easy recipes. So the challenge is to create this new recipe, report back, tell everybody what you thought, but drinking these green smoothies day in and day out. She runs challenges throughout the year to attract new members to her group and engage those that are already members. But here's what I love about what she does. It brings them all together because they have something that they can relate to. They're all on the same page. They're all trying these new smoothies. They're all looking for a healthy lifestyle. So it really gets people engaged and connected and talking more inside of the Facebook group. And it's really fun as well.
Now, this is more advanced, but I want to share it with you just to get those wheels turning. Jen partnered with Vitamix, which makes sense, given her challenge topic, and Vitamix is a blender. And so she promoted Vitamix throughout her group in exchange for Vitamix to give one of their blenders away as a prize. And we all know those babies are expensive, right? And Vitamix also emailed their entire list to invite people to her free challenge—can you imagine?—which means they came into her Facebook group. Vitamix is a big company, so think creatively. Can you partner with someone on prizes, and the people you partner with can help you fill up the Facebook group during a cool challenge? I mean, these are really cool ideas.
Isn’t it so fun to be an entrepreneur? We get to create this stuff. We get to do different things and try new things. I live for telling stories of people like Jen getting creative and seeing a huge boost in her success as well. And for the record, specifically what she did is she actually had people go to a landing page, enter their email address, and then received the link to a Facebook group, which is exactly how I did my B-School pop-up group.
So I started with list building because here's the cool thing. Not only does that grow your email list, but also, let's say you're going to go live in the group. You could email everybody in your group, and say, “Hey, jump over to the group right now. I'm going live soon.” And so you can remind them—not everyone's always on Facebook are paying attention. So if you have another way to talk to your group members about something special you're doing in the group, when they get in the group and they watch your video, they're more engaged. So sometimes having their email list allows you to kind of bring them back in, especially if they haven't been there for a while. So I think growing your Facebook group and growing your email list should go hand in hand.
Okay, so, doing these strategies, all the different things that I talked about today, I think will really spice up your group and promote engagement overall and ultimately retain your members because they begin to see just how valuable this group is, and they're going to have FOMO if they leave, so they stay, and they engage, and they build relationships, and they start helping each other, and those are the best types of groups, for sure.
So there you have it. I hope you're feeling excited to either start a brand-new Facebook group or shake things up in a group you already have to get some engagement and list building going full force.
Okay. And before I let you go, if you haven't yet left me a rating and review, will you please do so? The more ratings I get, the more people I can reach with this podcast. And if you have a podcast or if you have any kind of consistent content that you do every single week, you know how much work goes into that, right? So I want to reach as many people as I can. So if you can leave me a rating and review, I would greatly appreciate it. You can do that wherever you listen to the podcast.
All right. I can't wait to talk to you again soon. I'll see you same time, same place next week. Bye for now.