If you spend more time in a Facebook group than talking to people IRL, you aren't alone. The social media network has seen rapid popularity growth in recent years, leading CEO Mark Zuckerberg to shift much of his focus to Facebook groups. More than one billion people now use Facebook groups for business networking, personal pursuits, and interacting with high school classmates and relatives.
For consulting businesses trying to reach new customers, these groups provide a unique opportunity: they are online community gatherings are filled with engaged consumers in your target demographic. Whether you're a local consultant trying to reach out to residents or an online service provider looking for customers in your niche, Facebook groups can help. Here are a few ways to use them to establish thought leadership in your field.
Unfortunately, your business page can't join groups, so you'll be required to use your personal account. Keep in mind that this is the page customers will click on when they see you interacting in groups. Use a professional headshot and set any personal posts to “friends only." Yes, this means you'll have to be well acquainted with privacy settings on Facebook, if you aren't already. Most importantly, make sure your About Me page and Bio include your website URL and brief information about what you do.
Before you get started, identify groups your ideal customers are likely to be in and begin searching for those. If you're a locally-owned business, search by your town name. If you work online, jot down the types of groups a prospective client might choose to be part of in order to get help with certain questions. A B2B marketing consultant may find joining a national organization and communicating through its group is the best way to generate business. Want to connect with other freelancers? Check out AND CO from Fiverr's Freelance Masterminds group!
The worst thing you can do in one of these groups is spam members. Instead, look for opportunities to demonstrate your level of expertise by answering questions and being helpful. People will naturally scroll over your name, where an information box displays the information about your current employer. Over time, as members get to know you as an informative, friendly member of the community, you'll find they may mention you when someone in the group asks for referrals.
Thorough market research can help you make the most of Facebook groups. Always remember that social networking is meant primarily as a tool to interact and make connections with others, not to sell products. When used correctly, groups can help businesses reach new customers who will then recommend them to others.
Have you used Facebook groups to grow your business? Share your tips in the comments below!