According to digital marketer Zephoria, there are 1.65 billion active monthly Facebook users worldwide, a 15% increase year over year.
To put this in perspective: The world’s population is 7.4 billion people, so if you take out the fake accounts and babies who are too young to have one, approximately 1 in 5 people is on Facebook.
News Flash: It’s too big to ignore.
As popular as it is, though, people still struggle with how to best use it for business. There’s a lot of statistics to navigate regarding the highest traffic (midweek from 1pm-3pm), the highest engagement (Thursday and Friday), and what to post (average time spent on Facebook is 20 minutes, so content needs to be relevant).
Facebook is constantly changing its algorithims that determine how much of what you post shows up in others newsfeeds, and if you’re not a social media maverick, it can be downright discouraging trying to reach the people who your posts are intended for (besides family and close friends.)
Enter Facebook Groups
There are thousands and thousands of groups on Facebook that cover every possible demographic, interest, or industry. Do a search and you’ll see what I mean. Click on “Groups” on the left side of your main page and then click on “Discover”. Everything is divided into broad categories, so if you’re looking for “women entrepreneurs”, go to the “Professional Networking” category and pick the ones that fit your personality. Join ones where your ideal client hangs out as well as ones on a topic you want to learn more about .
The Benefits of Groups
Being in a Facebook group is like being in a room with a bunch of people who have the same interests as opposed to being one person in 600 million hoping to catch someone’s attention. It’s a great way to listen and share ideas, get feedback and support eachother.
The Do’s and Don’ts
As with all of social media, there is certain etiquette that needs to be followed. Here’s my list of the most important.
- Read the rules – Every group has its own rules regarding promoting your business and sharing information. Please read and follow carefully. Failure to comply could get you cut from the group and branded a PIA.
- Join ones of interest – Some reports say there are 600 million groups on Facebook. I’m not sure I believe that, but suffice it to say, there are a lot. Join the ones that pique your interest, but don’t join every one. Remember, it’s about building relationships and you can’t do that if you’re trying to be everywhere.
- Participate – Great discussions happen in groups, so if you have something to offer, by all means, join in!
- Like/Share – Social reciprocity is a common courtesy and much appreciated in groups. Like the pages of the members you admire and perhaps share the ones your network would like. If it works the way it’s supposed to, they’ll return the favor.
- Be respectful – This goes without saying, but if you don’t agree with someone, please don’t be rude. It’s fine to be passion and share your opinion, but it’s not okay to make someone else feel like an idiot for not seeing things the way you do.
- Ask questions/Offer help – Groups are a goldmine of learning opportunities as well as potential business ones. Ask questions and gain as many different perspectives as you can about something you’re trying to learn more about. Also, be willing to offer help wherever you can. This is a breeding ground for “know, like, trust” and there’s no better way for people to see what you’re made of.
- Add people to your group without their permission – Please, please, PLEASE don’t do this! Although groups do not fall under the CAN SPAM laws, it is totally out of line to add someone to your group without asking them first. Doing so puts people in a difficult position of having to endure your posts and bazillion notifications and not know how to leave the group without hurting your feelings. So, DON’T DO IT! (Yes, this one is all bold on purpose. :-)
- Promote yourself – When you introduce yourself, it’s fine to say what you do, but don’t start selling the other members. You’ll be ostracized. Many groups have a particular day of the week when members are allowed to post specific promotions, links to their websites, and other business-related information.
- Use the group as a recruiting tool – It’s fine to post a job opening that others can share with their networks, but please don’t use the groups as a way to recruit new team members into your direct marketing business.
- Send “friend” requests with the intent of selling them – Nothing, and I mean nothing, screams inauthentic more than sending a friend request to a group member, and then as soon as they accept, launching into a sales pitch, or trying to recruit them on to your team. I mean, really?
I’d love to hear what you think of these or if there are any others that should be added to the list. Please feel free to share this with anyone you think will find it of value. (or who are committing one of the don’t’s and not getting the hint that they need to stop. :-)