Written by Digital Media Zone
Now that you have your Facebook group set up, the next job is of course to get some people in there!
Promoting and growing a Facebook group can be a little different to growing a Facebook page, and this is especially true if your group is set to private or closed. How do you get people interested in signing up to a group that they know nothing about?
And even if your group is public, you might still wonder how to sell a group that is essentially run by its very members. How do you gain momentum for a community with no one in it to begin with?
While you might think that having a small and private group will be hard to market, this is actually precisely your biggest asset. And the best way to explain this is to consider the strategy used by Facebook itself!
When Facebook first started out, it was a small and unknown social network that was competing against the huge and already very established MySpace.
Other social networks had attempted to compete in the past, but they failed to gain traction. You’d get an invitation to ‘WewoWorld’ or some other obscurely branded social platform, only to find that it was completely barren when you got there.
Even with the best features in the world, a social network cannot succeed without a thriving community. People would always rather share their photos and updates on a platform where they’d actually get seen.
To get around this, Facebook didn’t try to take on MySpace directly. Instead, it focused on a much smaller and more focused audience: that being Harvard students.
In most cases, Harvard students would likely already have membership to MySpace, but there was no reason for them not to sign up to both MySpace AND Facebook. And even if there weren’t many people on Facebook, they knew that the people who were would also be Harvard students.
This would be a great way for them to meet and socialize with other Harvard students and they could that way be a part of something integral to their student experience.
You only needed a couple of friends on the platform for Facebook to now be appealing.
From there, Facebook expanded its membership to also include attendees at different universities. Now people from Yale could sign up and select other colleges. Most people at Yale will know a couple of people from other prestigious colleges, and so they would have good incentive to sign up too.
The membership would then further open up to members of all universities, then to other organizations such as businesses, and eventually it went global. By the time it went global, it already had a HUGE and highly active membership that made it extremely appealing to new users.
So how do you go about mimicking this in the microcosmic environment that is your Facebook group?
The answer is not to try and explode quickly to begin with, but to instead grow your group slowly and to spend time really developing an active community before you spread outward.
This is ESPECIALLY important if you only have a limited amount of time to dedicate to growing your group.
In fact, one of the very best things you can do with a Facebook group, is to start out by inviting your own friends or business partners and using it as a place to discuss the topics you’re interested in. This is also a great way to get your members more invested in what you’re doing.
So let’s say that you have a private group all about martial arts. Instead of trying to promote this like a Facebook page or a blog even, you should instead start out by inviting just a few select people.
If you have partners who also work on the same blog then that’s great. If you have any martial arts colleagues, then that will work very well as well.
In here, you can then start talking at your leisure about things that interest you.Perhaps you could share interesting videos and other things that you find on the web and discuss them. Perhaps you could discuss lesser-known martial arts techniques.
Maybe you could ask questions about forms and provide useful answers for each other.
From all this, you’ll be able to create a real buzz and interest in your group, and that will then be extremely appealing to outsiders who want to get involved.
You can this way grow your group much more effectively than if you had started out with a completely empty group and marketed it that way.
From here, the next step is to make sure you discuss your group through your other platforms and that you mention it at every possible opportunity. So you might mention it on your blog if you have one, you might mention it on a YouTube channel, and you might mention it on your Facebook page.
The most important thing to do here, is to make it sound extremely enticing. Talk about it using language such as VIP and exclusive. These terms create strong social incentives for people to join: we can’t help but want to be members of exclusive groups.
It is built into our very psychology through hundreds of years of evolution.
At the same time, be sure to mention the groups as frequently as you can. It is not enough to mention them once, or to have a single page that just shows the link. If you engage in content marketing and post lots of articles to your website (which you should), then look for opportunities to gradually drop your link into the conversation.
Do it in a way that makes it sound exciting so that people are constantly given the opportunity to become interested and curious.
Finally, in order to see true exponential growth for your group, you want the members to become brand ambassadors and start inviting more people.
Once they are highly engaged, you can accomplish this by simply asking for their help, or by running competitions.
So far we have discussed the growing via promotion and targeting visitors of your Facebook Group.
We have still have one of the most powerful ways to promote your Facebook group. Connect it to a Facebook page. There is a lot more creation to be done.
In the upcoming fifth post, we will dive into Chapter 6: “Combining a Facebook Page and Group”.
Here you’ll learn the essential techniques for building your successful Facebook Group.
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