The Easy Way to Kickstart a Facebook Group to Market your Business
Starting a Facebook group centered around your product, service, or industry is a great way to market your business and increase sales. In my last business, amzshark.com, we kick-started a group of our own with several hundred interested and active members within just a few days, which naturally snowballed into an active group of several thousand members over the next several months with little-to-no direct involvement from our team.
This allowed us market our products, increase customer lifetime value, be seen as authority figures in our industry, control discourse and benefit from effectively free advertising, and much more, with an investment of zero dollars and only a few hours of mind-numbing work a child could have performed (but didn’t, due to labor laws).
By now, it’s well known that the old cliche “If you build it, they will come” is awful business advice. However, if you have a large community of people, you can almost always build something to sell them. Community building has always been a viable way to start or grow a business. Years ago, communities took the form of forums, but for a few reasons, Facebook groups have largely replaced forums.
Why Facebook Groups?
Members of a standalone forum generally have to revisit the forum in order to receive notifications. Members of a Facebook group, on the other hand, receive notifications of new activity straight to their phone.
To join a standalone forum, a new member has to register. Joining a Facebook group, on the other hand, is a process with much less friction for an existing Facebook user.
The Age-old Chicken and Egg problem
The hard part of community building has always been the chicken and egg problem: no one wants to join a community which doesn’t yet have any members. Luckily, this article will enable you to solve the chicken-and-egg problem by instantly building a community with several hundred engaged and interested members.
Step 1: Join relevant groups
The first step is to join Facebook groups that are highly related to the group you are making. Quality is more important than quantity here; you want to join groups that are full of engaged users, rather than large groups that are neglected.
Step 2: Make some new friends
Once you’ve joined a few groups, simply right-click on the names of every poster you see, open their Facebook profile page in a new tab, and add them as a friend. Alternatively, you could simply find members on the group’s Members page, but adding recently active users allows us to ensure that all of our new friends are active and interested in our topic.
Facebook has rate-limiting and friend-adding limitations depending on how much they trust your account. I had no trouble adding 50-100 friends per day for several days. You’ll want to repeat this process every day for several days, until you’ve added several hundred friends in total.
Step 3: Wait…
Now wait a few days. Because people are friendly, forgetful, impulsive, or apathetic, around half of the people you’ve added as a friend will accept your friend request. Probably much more if you’re an attractive female. We only need to wait a few days to give most people a chance to respond to our friend request.
Step 4: Add our new friends to our Facebook group
In one browser window, on the left side of the screen, re-visit a group you used in steps one and two. In another browser window on the right side of your screen, open your Facebook group. Now in the first tab, go to the Members page. You’ll notice that your friends appear at the top of the Members list. Now select the Add Members input box in your rightmost browser window, and type names of friends that you see listed in your leftmost browser window.
Before you do this, you’ll probably want to set your group to Private. More people will join a group which lacks discussions if they think maybe it’s bustling with activity.
Once they’ve accepted the group invitation, threads from your group will show up in their regular Facebook feed. Most people join several different groups for each of their interests, and they will indiscriminately engage with the threads from your group when they show up in their feed.
How to prosper and not die
Good moderation is essential for facebook groups. Spammy posts will be flagged and will lack engagement, which will kill your group’s engagement score in Facebook’s edgerank (stopping your group from showing up in users’ feeds) and drive users away.
Scheduled posting is also key to keeping engagement up. Tools like Jarvis allow you to schedule posts ahead of time, so you can keep people interested and active without interrupting yourself several times a day to post in your group.
For more ideas on some ways to build engagement, check out our post on 7 Tricks to Hack Your Facebook Group Engagement.