Episode 013 Show Notes
- Check out my FREE Facebook group – The Unconventional RD Community
- My 3 online courses – The Unconventional RD Business Bootcamp
Enter the Giveaway
Links From This Episode
Please note that I am an affiliate for some of the following products. If you click my affiliate link and make a purchase, I may earn a percentage of the sale at no extra cost to you. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.
- Ways to Make Money Blogging from ProBlogger
- How to Save a Post on Facebook
- RDs Who Write Facebook Group
- RD//Gym Collaboration Support Facebook Group
- Food Bloggers Central Facebook Group
- Feedling Littles Facebook group
- RD Entrepreneur Symposium (affiliate link)
- Functional Nutrition Answers
- SEO Signals Lab Facebook Group
- She Podcasts Facebook Group
- The ConvertKit Family Facebook Group
Read The Transcript:
Welcome to The Unconventional RD podcast, where we inspire dietitians to think outside of the traditional employment box and create their own unconventional income streams. We'll talk all things online business to help you start, grow and scale your own digital empire.
What to Expect in This Episode
Alright, I talked for way longer than expected in last week's episode, so what was meant to be one episode on how to run a highly engaged and profitable Facebook group has now turned into a two-parter.
Join the March 2020 Giveaway
So just before we dive in, I wanted to remind you guys that again, I am doing a giveaway for the month of March. For anyone who might be interested in receiving all three of The Unconventional RD business bootcamp courses, which are worth $1165, you can go to theunconventionalrd.com, click on the blog tab, and then find the giveaway post to figure out all the different ways that you can enter. And this contest, or not contest, giveaway, will be open through March 31st ,2020 and the winner will be selected on April 1st, 2020.
And again, you are entering yourself to win all three of my courses, the SEO Made Simple course that teaches you how to create content that will get found through Google searches, my Make Money Blogging course that goes over six different ways to monetize through your website, and then my Email Marketing Magic course that shows you the exact steps to take to start an email list, grow it, and then automate it, so that you can start making money in the background every time someone joins your list, basically.
So those are the three pieces of content that I teach on, um, and you can get all of these for for free, potentially, by joining the giveaway. There's only one winner. Obviously, your odds of winning will depend on how many people enter, but just head to theunconventionalrd.com, click on the blog tab, and then find the giveaway post to figure out all the different ways that you can enter.
How to Run an Engaged and Profitable Facebook Group – Part Two
All right. So for this week's episode, again, this is part two of how to run a highly engaged and profitable Facebook group. Last week I spent some time describing what Facebook groups are and how they're different from profiles and pages.
I talked about the potential benefits of running a Facebook group for your business and a little on how to know whether it's right for you. Um, and then today I wanted to talk particularly more about how to kind of get your group up and running in terms of engagement.
So last week I talked a lot about setting your group up for success. You know, naming the group, group descriptions, group questions, group rules, and all of that is really important. But once you have those foundations in place, then what? How often are you supposed to post? What do you do to get people to even join your group in the first place? And that is what we're going to touch on today.
How Do You Build Momentum in a New Facebook Group?
So how do you build momentum in your group when it first starts out? Honestly, it's kind of hard in the beginning. It does get easier with time, but in the very very beginning, when your group is small and maybe has under 100 members, it is on you. You, as the admin, have to drum up the excitement, create the posts that are worth seeking out and, most importantly, be consistent.
So in the beginning, honestly, you probably have to post in the group daily, and it can't be fluff content. It has to be valuable. You need to be vulnerable, and you need to give real, helpful, actionable tips and insights to your audience.
There's a million and one things fighting for people's attention these days. So really try to answer the question. Why should someone spend their time in your group? What makes it special? How will it solve their pain points or improve their lives? Make sure that's clear and obvious from the get go.
You Have One Shot to Impress
And this is part of why I spent so much time in the last episode harping on you know, being clear about what the purpose of your group is and having group rules and guidelines because you get one shot to impress someone. They're gonna click that button to request to join your group. They're going to join it. They're going to see, you know, whatever the top posts are, the freshest posts are, right when they join your group and they're gonna judge it right then and there.
If the group hasn't had any new posts in a few days. If the conversations are lackluster, if people are posting and getting no responses, they're probably gonna be like, Ah, man, this group's kind of a letdown and not what I was hoping for and they might never come back. So you want to make sure, as the group admin, in the very beginning, that really you are going in there and starting the conversations every single day, answering and responding to every single person's post or question.
I mean, that sounds crazy, but like that's what I did in the beginning for my group, to be competitive and stand out. I mean, it's not gonna be like that forever. At some point, you'll hit this like critical mass, where your group is so amazing and awesome and helpful. And there's enough people participating that it will sort of start to run itself. But in the beginning, it's really on you.
Um, so if you don't have rules and guidelines, if you don't set the proper tone for your group, someone could pop in and see totally off topic discussions. Or they might see people being extremely rude to each other and just immediately check out and not want to be involved. So it's up to you as the group admin to kind of cultivate the group culture that you want to make and keep things on topic and keep them exciting and valuable and fun.
Why Might People Not Be Engaging?
So if you're running into the problem where it feels like no one is engaging with what you're posting, there's several possibilities.
#1: Is Your Content Connecting With People?
Number one, your content might not actually be connecting with people. Maybe it feels generic or robotic or spammy or like inauthentic, in a way. Maybe you're kind of holding back from providing epic value. Maybe you're afraid if you give too much away, who's gonna buy your stuff? Which is a whole nother side topic that I'll probably do a podcast episode at some point on. But, um, no, it's completely the opposite. The more you give, the more you get back.
#2: Do People Know What Your Group Is About?
Maybe, like I said, maybe your group is lacking clarity or purpose, so people don't know why they should go to your group or what benefit they're going to get out of it.
#3: Has Your Group Gone Stale?
And then, if you're not constantly driving people to the group, which I'll talk about in a second, some suggestions on how to do that, sometimes the group can go stale. So if you kind of fall off the wagon and you're not really posting anything and nobody's else is posting anything and you're never driving people to the group, the Facebook algorithm is kind of gonna think that your group isn't really hitting with people.
It's not connecting, and it's not something that people want to see, so it most likely will start to disappear in the Facebook algorithm for people’s feeds. You can revive that, most importantly through engagement. But if people aren't engaging, it's usually for a reason.
The Importance of Engagement for Visibility in the Facebook Algorithm
The more someone comes into your group and engages, the more likely they are to see content from your group again in the future, because the Facebook algorithm thinks that the content from your group is something that this person really likes.
I don't know if you've noticed that in your own personal feed. I know I've noticed it in mine. I'm in probably like, I don't even know…. I'm probably in close to 100 Facebook groups, I would guess. Um, but I noticed that just in my feed I see posts from maybe the top 10 groups that I hang out in the most and the rest of the groups, even though I'm in them, their content is not really getting pushed out in my Facebook feed because I don't really hang out in those groups.
So that's why it's important to try to always push people back to the group if you're really trying to drive your posts to show up in their feeds.
What if You’re Scared to Post in Your Facebook Group?
Someone asked the question, “What should you do if you're scared to post?”
And if you're feeling scared to post, that maybe makes me think that there might be some more work to be done on maybe honing your niche or your audience and really figuring out how you can help people and getting confidence in that.
So once you find out exactly who you help and how and once you believe in what you have to offer and your message to the world, no one can stop you.
So I would guess if you're feeling scared to post, that there might be some self-doubt going on, like wondering whether what you're posting is valuable or worth it, or what people are gonna think.
That does kind of go away as you start to get positive feedback from people or from customers and you start to feel like Okay, You know, it's not just me. My stuff really is good and helping people. Um but in the beginning, you’ve just got to believe in you and you have to push through regardless of what anyone else says. Because you're not gonna get a lot of feedback in the beginning. Probably cause your stuff is new. People don't know who you are.
Do You Have to Be an Expert to Start a Facebook Group?
Sometimes I think this fear stems from people wanting or thinking that they need to be an expert in a topic in order to run a group or to be an authority or a leader in a space. But I'm a huge fan of just approaching a subject from the perspective of lifelong learning. So actually not as an expert.
In my opinion, trying to act like the expert on something or everything is just straight up exhausting and not much fun. I think it's much more relatable and approachable to just be open with where you're at in your learning journey on whatever topic your group is about, and just be very clear, like, hey, these are my experiences or this is where I'm at in this journey. I'm here to connect with you and learn from you as much as you're here to learn from me. Um and share that and be open, I think then it's like way less pressure.
And that “expert” pressure is usually just coming from yourself anyway. The people in your group are most likely going to be, like, excited to see you be real and vulnerable and not act like you have all the answers to every single thing. Um, that's just my two cents there.
What Types of Facebook Group Posts Get the Most Engagement?
A really great question was what types of posts get the most engagement? So we just talked all about how engagement is like the number one thing. You need to get people engaging,
So, liking your posts, commenting on your posts, or reacting to the posts. You know how you can put the little like heart or laughter sign? You need that type of stuff on your group content in order for it to get seen in the Facebook algorithm. So we want to try to create post that encourage engagement.
Ask Questions & Engage a Lot After Posting
And one good practice, I think, is after you post something you should engage on your own posts. So after you post something in your group, if you're asking a question or something, you should go in and be the 1st one to comment.
And then as people, other people, start to comment below you, respond back to those comments, especially the ones that come in the very beginning. Respond back as soon as possible to, like, show Facebook that, hey, people are answering whatever question you asked on the post, people are engaging. People are starting discussions. I'm commenting back. Like I'm responsive as the admin, um, and having like a lot of engagement in a short time period after you post something is really good for getting it seen in the algorithm.
Um, so that's why I think asking questions (and good questions, not fluff question)s tends to really help. And then you going in and responding to the questions, especially in the beginning, can be helpful.
Return Back to Posts to Revive Them
And then, I don't know if you've noticed this, but in the Facebook group itself, with time, that post will kind of start falling in the feed so it won't be at the top anymore. Other people will come in and start posting their own questions and yours might drop down.
But you can get it to come back up to the top of the feed by going back in and saying Oh, you know, since two hours ago, five more people left comments that I haven't responded to, and every time you go in and like or respond to something, that's another engagement on the post and it jumps back up to the top of the feed.
And then this is why it's also so important to have rules and guidelines in your group. I think this was something when I started setting the guidelines on the types of topics that I wanted people to discuss in my group, I think sometimes some people didn't quite get it.
Why It’s Important to be Mindful of Your Most Popular Posts
Um, but if people are posting off topic things or starting a lot of arguments in your group, and then obviously arguments get a lot of engagement because things get heated and there's a lot of comments going back and forth. Um, and then the algorithm starts to think that that's the most popular content in your group, and then it keeps pushing up those highly heated, um, not necessarily pleasant posts to the top of your group. And if they're off topic or they’re, you know, malicious, that's what people are going to see, and that's what people are gonna associate your group with. And that's what Facebook is gonna think that your group is about.
And if that's NOT what you want your group to be about, then you really need to start reigning it in and getting things back on topic. So that's why you need to be mindful of the stuff that's doing well in your group, because everything that does well is like telling Facebook or your group members something about your group and what your group is about and what types of post that they're going to see.
What Types of Posts Perform Best in The Unconventional RD Community on Facebook?
So in my group, I would say the top types of posts…. I just went and looked at what's doing well right now…..
Obviously, I'm doing a giveaway right now, and that post is doing very well. Any time I do a giveaway those posts do well.
Again, questions. Posts where you ask people questions, where they can respond in the comments. People love to just, like give their opinions or talk about themselves. So it's just asking people what they think about something or asking about their experiences with X y Z thing. That's super powerful. That's probably my favorite and most common type of post to do, is to ask questions.
So I just looked to see, you know, some of the types of questions that have been doing well in my group. Um, I had a post that ask people about their favorite online course or courses that they've done. That did super well. Asking people what their biggest income stream for the year was. Asking people to share a win that they had recently. Things like that that always get a lot of engagement.
#3: Opinion Posts
Opinion posts – asking people their opinion on something. Um, and not just, like necessarily a question or opening up a debate, but almost like voting on something.
So I could say, Hey, guys, I'm redoing my home page on my website. I want to get your opinion on what you think looks best. And then you could share, like two pictures, for example, of option A and option B and then say leave a comment below on which one you like best. People love to give their opinions on stuff, so that's a great way to get a lot of engagement as well.
And again, the more people are engaging on any given post, the more people from your group will see that post. And then if you asked a question or asked them to engage, if someone does engage on that post it counts as that person kind of interacting with your group. And then they're more likely to see other posts from your group going forward. So engagement all the way is 100% where you want to be focused on.
#4: Actionable Tips
Um, sharing actionable tips also is popular. That might get less engagement, but if you do share something super, super valuable, a lot of times people will feel compelled to, just even if you're not asking them anything, they'll feel compelled to just comment like Whoa, like thank you for sharing this. This is so awesome.
Um, so, for example, what was that, a little over a year ago? When all that GDPR stuff, went into effect, which was like a privacy law in the EU and everybody who runs an online business or blog was like going into an uproar about everything that they needed to do to prepare for these new laws and be compliant with GDPR.
So when that was all happening, I made a post where I just kind of like shared what I was doing to be compliant with GDPR. Obviously not legal advice, but just like, hey, this is what I found. Um, and this is what I'm doing. What are you doing? That type of thing. And people found that immensely valuable. So it was literally specifically like, step one. I'm doing this. Step two, I’m doing this. Like actionable tips. Um, and any time I do a post with actionable tips, almost like a mini blog post, um, those do really, really well.
#5: Behind the Scenes Posts
Behind the scenes posts do very well. So anytime I share, like a screenshot of, like how my courses are going or how my email list is growing, that always does really well.
#6: Sneak Peeks
Sneak peeks as well. So if I'm working on a secret project that's gonna come out in the future, if I share a sneak peek of it, that's usually pretty popular.
#7: Helpful Graphics
Helpful graphics are really good.
Ah, in the past, I've shared, um, ProBlogger is a website/brand that talks about basically how to blog as a business, it’s by a guy named Darren Rowse, and he has a graphic that shows kind of very visually all these different ways that you can make money as a blogger and, you know, he has his name on the post and I credit him, but I have shared that image in my group before and tried to start a discussion around it. And that was really popular.
#8: Inspirational Stories
Inspirational stories as well. So not just popping in to share the wins, but reflecting on how far you've come, or the hardships that you've had in business. Connecting with people on like, a more emotional level.
I think that applies, obviously, not just in the B2B setting, but B2C as well. So whatever it is that you help people with, if you've struggled in that arena yourself, connecting on a human level always hits. It always does.
#9: Special Offers
Well, um, and then, of course offers. So if you have something free to give away that is super valuable, that usually does well too. Like a webinar or an opt-in, etcetera.
Notice What Captures Your Attention in Other Groups
One tip, I know I've mentioned this. So I think I mentioned this in the context of copywriting in the past, where I was like, Oh, you know, I look out for email subject lines that capture my attention and I kind of keep a running file of what's connecting with me and I try to study it and analyze it. Like, why is this connecting with me? et cetera.
You can do the same thing with Facebook group topics. So pay attention in other groups that you're in – What kind of posts are doing the best? What's getting the most engagement and connection? What's grabbing your attention and feed in Facebook?
You can actually save posts too. So if you just click like the little dots, I think or there's like a little save icon, I believe. I think it depends if you're on desktop or mobile, but there's an option to save posts directly within Facebook, and it will keep a folder of all the post that you've saved, and you can even organize them by topics so you can save posts that resonated with you as reminders of like, oh, this was such a good topic or discussion in another group. What can I do that is similar in my group?
Like maybe you saw someone posts like, Oh, I'm working on a blog post. I'm looking to collect quotes about What's the number one thing that you wish you knew when you first started your private practice that, uh, that you'd like to pass on to others? Um, something like that. And then all these people were leaving comments underneath that post with their tips. And then that person was gonna take all those quotes and compile them into a blog post. Like, could you do something like that in your group? On whatever topic you talk about?
Um, are case studies really popular? Can you do something like that? Ah, what about questions? Like, what are your favorite books that everyone should read? Like that type of thing?
Maybe someone did an “Ask Me Anything” or they do video interviews in the group, stuff like that. Um, just paying attention to what other people are doing that seems to be working and then getting creative on how you can adapt those strategies for your own group.
Obviously don't copy, but you know, I think just keeping your eye or your finger on the pulse, I guesss, of what's popular and trending in the Facebook community world.
Does The Type of Content Matter (Text/Video/Images/Links)?
Someone asked whether the type of content mattered, like videos, images, links to other things. Um, yes and no.
I think video generally does well cause Facebook likes video. Um, also images can. I don't know if it helps them show up more, necessarily, but I think it captures people's attention.
So images, or even when you're like typing the text of a post and you can make it fancy and look pretty, like fancy text, that can help capture people's attention and maybe increase the likelihood that they'll engage.
Um, I do think that Facebook likes to keep people on Facebook, so I don't have any like scientific proof of this, but just anecdotally, I've sort of noticed that if I share a link to a blog post or an external resource, that doesn't seem to get as much reach as just posting something natively on Facebook. So maybe test that out in your group and see if you have the same thing.
Is It a Good Idea to Have Daily or Weekly Themed Posts?
And then someone else asked is it a good idea to have daily or weekly themed posts for consistency and people looking forward to it?
So, like, you know, “Show Off Your Stuff Sunday” or, um, I don't know, “Win Wednesday”.
Like sometimes people will have themed posts on every day or certain days of the week, and people look forward to those and they're like, oh on Win Wednesday I'm gonna share this win that I had, or on Sunday I'm gonna share this new blog post.
And so some people wonder like, is that worth doing? Is that a best practice? Should you or should you not do that?
And I've honestly gone back and forth on this… Um, I think if it's in a group that I feel really connected with, like the RDs Who Write group, for example, sometimes Ana Reisdorf, the admin for that group, will post like a Wins post where people can share their wins. And because I feel like I know most of the people in that group, I actually read it and I'm like, excited and sometimes I participate.
But then I think about other groups, like larger groups like, for example, The Goal Digger Podcast group that I mentioned last week that has 72,000 people in it. Um, and while I love that group and the content on that podcast, I don't know all 72,000 of the people in there, so I kind of just scroll past those posts where people are sharing their content or their wins cause it just doesn't really… I don't care that much because I don't know any of those people, so it doesn't really relate to me.
So I don't know, maybe if your group is small, but I don't think it's something that you have to do to be successful. Um, maybe you try it and you see.
I think sometimes it can get a little like stale or inauthentic. And when the groups are so large, like tens of thousands of people, I’m not sure if it really brings value to the people who are leaving comments on those posts either, like, you know, sometimes large large groups will be like, Hey, this is the one post all week where you can self promote and then people will, you know, like hundreds of people sometimes, will leave comments like, Hey, I have this offer. I have this offer. But I would really seriously question whether they're getting any business out of that. Um, because that's generally not an effective way to market.
So I kind of do them sporadically. I have had people reach out and ask like, Hey, are you doing a self promo post? if I haven't done in a while. So I guess my group members like them, they get a good amount of comments and engagement, so it's probably good for my group overall.
I think a daily themed post would be kind of overkill and potentially drown out other important things that you're trying to post.
Um, so I think just personally, for me, for keeping organized, if I ever try to come out with, like, a themed system for posting, I probably would make it more generic like, Oh, on Mondays I share personal stories. On Wednesdays, I share a recent piece of news, on Fridays I share actionable tips. On Saturdays I ask people their opinion on something. That type of thing, where it doesn't get a stale or repetitive, but where it's like a general type of post but the content in the specific item within the post is different every single week.
Utilizing Facebook Group Announcements
Um, and then any time that you have a really important thing that you want everyone in the group to see, you can utilize the announcement feature in a Facebook group, and you can pin a post as an announcement, and it will become sticky and stick it the top of your Facebook group.
So any time someone goes to your group feed, it's gonna be there at the top and they'll see it. Um, so that's another thing to keep in mind if you have something really important that you want to share.
Content for Groups vs Pages
And then one question I wanted to touch on about content again, um, someone asked, How is content that you'd post in a group different from what you post on your Facebook business page? And I think that's a really good question.
Your page is usually more like a billboard for your business, where maybe you're sharing your new content. You're making announcements. Maybe you're even running ads on your Facebook page, maybe ads to promote a webinar or sales funnel, et cetera.
Whereas your group is more like a two way conversation. The idea is to build a community that supports each other, and it really becomes, at some point, bigger than you. It becomes about the sacred space that you've created and the peer support, and it's also semi-private.
So only people in the group can see what's posted in there, versus on your page, anyone can see it. So that, I think, helps people feel more safe and open up knowing that, you know, their random friend from high school is not going to see something kind of like emotional or personal that they shared within the Facebook Group.
So I think content posted in groups is all about the engagement and the conversation, and things posted on your page are more like, Hey, this is what we're doing. Check out our content. It’s not really a place to engage in an in depth conversation.
It also gets way less organic reach, so typically less engagement.
Utilizing Your Email List to Boost Engagement
Ah, and then another way that I've utilized to improve engagement within my group, which, as I mentioned, my normal engagement rate in the group in any given month is almost 90% engagement. Like what? That's insane, right? And Facebook defines engagement as people seeing the post, commenting on the post, liking a post, or reacting to a post.
And I think, again, I don't have any solid data to back this up except for the fact that, um, you know, I stopped sending out my regular newsletter over the last month and my engagement has dropped a little bit. So I do think it makes a difference.
But what I do is, every week I send out my weekly newsletter, and for a long time I wasn't posting consistent blog posts. I wasn't really doing a lot of content creation. Now I am. But for years I wasn't really. So what I was sending out in my newsletter to provide value to my audience was a round up of the top Facebook posts in my in my private community.
So I will go in, find the most engaging posts or conversations that people started that week, whether it was started by myself or by someone else, and then if you right click on like the time of the post, you can select “copy post URL” or something, and then that will give you a link directly to that individual post. So not to your group in general, but to that post.
And then I would in my newsletter be like, Here's a recap of the Facebook group’s most popular discussions this week, and then I would put like a teaser of what the post was about. Like, um, What business books are dietitians recommending for 2020? And then I would hyperlink that question to that post in the group.
And then any time someone got the newsletter, they could see just a really quick round up of the top, like five or six most engaging conversations. And then if they saw something that piqued their interest, which they probably would if they're in the group, I know they're interested in entrepreneurial endeavors as a dietitian. Um, then if they click on any of those links, it's gonna take them to the Facebook group and that viewing of the post, and then maybe they'll comment or engage, maybe they won't, but even just them viewing it counts as engagement within the Facebook algorithm, so that increases the chances that they're naturally going to see more post from my group organically in the Facebook feed without me doing anything.
So that was a huge, huge tip. It may or may not be relevant for you, depending on how you’re structuring your business and whether your Facebook group is playing a small or a large role in your marketing right now.
Um, like for The Unconventional RD, it has played a large, large role in my business. You know, I didn't really have a lot of other content to promote, so I was grateful for the Facebook group to provide that for a really long time.
As my brand is growing and I'm doing more blogging and podcasting now, I can see that it may be playing a smaller role, but I still get so many wonderfully engaged people. And, you know, as I said, at least 1/3 of the people who request to join the group also join my email list, which then funnels them into my welcome sequence and sales offer.
So you know it's still worth it. But, um, I guess time will tell. I’ll keep you guys updated on whether I'm going to continue to prioritize sending out those Facebook conversations in the round up.
But as I said, this last month I've been incredibly busy wrapping up my SEO course and planning my wedding…. I'm getting married in a week, um, as of the time of this recording. By the time this episode comes out, I'll technically already be married. Um, but it's just been a lot and I don't have an assistant yet, so I kind of dropped the ball on sending my newsletter out, and I did notice that my Facebook group engagement dropped from closer to 90% to more like 80%.
So clearly, it is making an impact, and I should probably keep doing it. Um, now that we've kind of covered how to keep people engaged and keep the posts coming up in the Facebook feed, I did want to touch on how to even get people in your group and some of the ways that I've used to get people to join the group.
How Do You Get People to Join Your Facebook Group?
Um, number one again, since for a really long time, The Unconventional RD was just a hobby blog, there was no business behind it, so I really was trying to promote this community as like my main thing. Like I wanted people to join the group and I wanted them to start conversations and get to know me and my brand.
And then I figured at some point, if I ever want to monetize it, you know that what could be better than having a solid, engaged group of people? Like, that's amazing. So, um, my Facebook group was something I heavily promoted for a really long time. And still to this day, I promote it a lot.
#1: Mention It On Your Website
So if you go to my home page at theunconventionalrd.com, you'll see it says like, do one of these three things – and it will be like, join the Facebook group, read the blog, or check out my courses, or something like that. So I promote it as highly as reading my blog and checking out my courses on my home page.
So as I get more and more traffic, I get people to join the Facebook group. When they discover my website through things like SEO and Google searches,
I also promoted at the bottom of every blog post. Just a little blurb that says like hey, if you haven't joined the Facebook group, go here to check it out.
#2: Promote On Your Other Channels
Um, I mention it in my podcast episodes pretty frequently in case people have discovered me via their favorite podcast app and they haven't joined the group yet, I want to make sure people know it exists.
I mention it on other social media channels. So even though I'm not huge on Instagram right now, I will occasionally be like, oh, yeah, check out this great conversation that happened in the Facebook group and kind of promote in that way.
Um, if you do any joint venture promotions or live streams or webinars with other people, you can mention it there.
You can mention it in other Facebook groups if it's allowed. So in my group, I do let people do this. Um, obviously no self promotion in the main feed. But if someone says, Hey, guys, um, you know, I have a question about collaborating with gym owners like, would you have any tips? For this particular topic, there is an RD who runs a group for RDs and gym collaborations and people will be like, hey, check out this person's group and then link to it. So you can promote it in that way.
Or other people who are in your group may end up promoting it for you If they see people asking questions and they consider your group to be a good resource.
#4: Mention It in Your Welcome Sequence
You can also invite people to join your Facebook group within your welcome sequence in your email service provider.
So if you have an email list and you've set up a welcome sequence, which is just an automated series of emails that everyone who joins your list gets, you can make sure that you include a blurb in there somewhere, inviting people to join your Facebook group. I do that as well.
#5: Facebook Natively Promotes Groups
Facebook will also natively promote your group for you. You don't have to do anything.
They have, I don't know if you've noticed this on Facebook, but if you're on a desktop, on the sidebar of Facebook, there will be a section of suggested groups for you. Sometimes suggested groups will even pop up in your feed or when you're inside someone else's group.
So Facebook is constantly trying to get you to join more groups because they're really going hard on groups right now.
Should You Add People to Your Group Without Their Permission?
Someone asked whether you should add people to your group yourself.
I would not do that. That's very spammy. People don't like being added to things without their permission, so don't do that.
Um, even if someone in your group tries to invite a friend to join or, you know, sends them an invite, if that person doesn't affirm and confirm that they want to be a part of your group, even if you approve the add, then Facebook will automatically delete that person from your group after, like, I don't know what the timeline is, like one or two weeks or something, if that person has never actually gone into your group and engaged.
Um, so they're they're being a little more cognizant of group spam because sometimes people would add all of their friends to a group, and then everyone would be annoyed, like, Why did you add me to this? Why am I seeing this? And they would just try to leave the group.
This is hilarious. I actually looked up…. I was trying to do some keyword research on Facebook groups to see like, oh, what should I name this podcast episode? Um, because I make a blog post out of it, and I was looking up…. I think I typed in “Facebook groups” in my keyword research tool, trying to see like, Oh, what are people typing into Google about Facebook groups?
And, like, I think, four out of the five top things that people were searching for was like how to leave a Facebook group, how to delete a Facebook group, how to get out of a Facebook group. So clearly it was an issue that people were maybe being added without their permission to different groups and then they didn't know how to leave them. So, um, don't do that, I would say.
Should You Ever Use Facebook Ads to Promote a Group?
And then another person asked whether you should ever run ads for your Facebook group. And honestly, I've never dabbled in that. If you are listening right now and you have, shoot me an email or send me a Facebook message or something if you have run ads to promote your Facebook group and it's done well. That'd be a great interview.
I'd love to interview you about your experience with that. Um, I haven't. I probably wouldn't. I would probably reserve ads for a well-oiled funnel that I thought could actually lead to money or sales, because you're spending money on the ad so you don't necessarily want to drive people to something that's unpaid or un-monetized.
Um, I think, personally, I would probably reserve my ad spend for advertisements for webinars or something that then led to a pitch for a paid product. Um, but, you know, maybe I'll dabble with it in the future, and I'll let you know how that goes.
Some other questions that people had…
How Do You Promote in Your Group Without Being Spammy?
Number one – How do you promote in your group without coming off like a used car salesman?
And again, I think I've mentioned this before, but I just want to reiterate that selling is not inherently slimy. It's just not. So if you're feeling slimy when you're selling, that means you probably have some internal work to do on your mindset around selling.
Um, and then maybe just taking a look at how you're doing it. I mean, I've said this before. We've all had wonderful sales experiences where we're, like, excited that something's coming out, and we're like on the wait list when we're just like I'm ready to buy the second the cart opens and it doesn't feel slimy. In fact, you're the one being super excited about it and like beating down this company's doors to purchase from them.
But on the other hand, I'm sure we've also all had slimy selling experiences where it feels like someone's kind of pushing something on us or being manipulative, or almost trying to trick us into buying something, or a sales experience where you thought it was gonna be great and it was a little lackluster. Um, so we don't want to do that, obviously, but it's not that hard to not do that.
So you don't want to push your stuff on to people. You just want to invite people to purchase who are already interested.
It becomes yucky when you stop engaging in your group, and you kind of let it fall to the wayside, but then you're like, Oh yeah, that group that I have that's a great place to self promote and then you pop back in after not being in touch with anyone for months, and you're just like, Hey, buy my thing. That's gross, right?
So that's not being genuinely helpful. That's not building a relationship. That's not getting people to know you, like you, and trust you That's taking advantage of your group.
So you want to build a relationship with people in your group and get them excited about what you have to offer. Sprinkle in all that free, juicy, valuable content consistently so that you're clearly serving people and building trust.
And then when you have something paid to offer, those who are already interested will jump on that opportunity. Especially if you open up the opportunity to work with you more exclusively, one on one, etcetera.
And if you do make offers like that and no one's biting, that's a sign that you need to go back and you need to take a look at – Am I really serving my people? Am I solving a pain point that they actually have? Do they know me? Do they like me? Do they trust me? Is this something that they told me that they wanted? Or do I just think this is something that they want? etcetera, etcetera.
This could be like 10 billion more podcasts episodes, but just long story short, selling something does not have to be slimy at all, so don't think that offering things to your group is bad in any way.
How Often Should You Post Offers or Lead Magnets?
Someone else had a question – How often should you post lead magnets or offers for people like free webinars or discovery calls, et cetera?
And you know, there's no right or wrong. It really depends on your business model.
Again, I live launch my courses three times a year. So I go a little heavier on the promotion during three out of the 12 months of the year and really only like a week or two of those months. And then I don't really promote the rest of the year.
But throughout the year I do share my content consistently. I'm trying to be helpful. I'm trying to answer questions and start conversations, and share my podcast episodes and my blog content every single week. Um, some of those might contain incentives to join my email list, and then they also might be monetized through affiliate links or advertisements, et cetera.
So, you know, um, there's no right or wrong here. I think you can get a read on your group and kind of sense if something's getting a good reception or not, and then you go from there.
How Does Your Facebook Group Not Just Become a Space for Free Health Advice?
Another question someone had was, How does your Facebook group not just become a group for people to get free health advice?
Well, first of all, again, you're the admin, so you can set the rules in the boundaries for the space. If that's not what you want the group to be about, then you can totally set the ground rules for the types of discussions you do want to allow in the community.
But remember that this is not the same thing as a Facebook page. It's not necessarily all about you. The group is meant to foster a community and serve your people. So it's really about what's best for ideal audience.
You know, maybe they're not even looking for a group where they want to ask you free advice about stuff. Maybe they're looking for a safe, semi-private space to just connect with their peers, who also have questions about the same topics. Maybe they just want to commiserate or get support from other people in the same situation as them.
Can you provide something like that for them? Does that make sense for you? Would it still elevate your brand and provide value? Could you even use that as a space to do market research almost on the conversations that the people in that group are having, to then guide the content that you're creating on your blog or your podcast? Does that have value for your business?
You know, there's lots to think about here. It doesn't need to all be about you and having a group for people to ask you, personally, questions about a health topic. Not at all. Um so, generally speaking, that's not what Facebook groups are about.
Um, you have to decide whether you're comfortable with fostering a space for people to have discussions about a health topic without you being directly involved and how you want to moderate or not moderate the conversations and the advice that's being given.
So, you know, since Facebook groups are about community and discussion, it is worth taking a pause before you start one to decide whether or not that's something that makes sense for your business, or whether it's right for you at this time. And whatever you decide, it's totally fine either way. But I do think it's a good thing to think about before you embark.
Should You Have One Facebook Group or Use Pop Up Groups For Launching?
Someone else had a question. Should you just have one main Facebook group? Or should you have smaller pop up groups that are only open before you launch something and then they close down?
Personally, I prefer the long term interaction and relationships that you can build within larger, stable groups. But, you know, I guess it depends on your goals. Pop up groups are really completely different in terms of your strategies and your intentions with the group. And that's not really what I've been focusing on in this episode.
I've seen them be used by some people, but usually people who already have established audiences. Otherwise, you're kind of like doing all this work to get people into your group and form a connection…. And then what? Like then you just kind of drop em and you close the group? Like it might be hard to get those people back.
So I think in general it's probably better to have one main group where you foster long term relationships and really get to know people and build a community or a space that people enjoy hanging out in.
Is There a Best Day or Time to Post in a Group?
Ah, and then the second to last question here – Is there a best time or day to post to your group?
Only you can answer this. It really depends on your audience, you know, get to know them. When are they on Facebook? When are your posts getting the most engagement?
All of this info can be found, actually, within the group's insights tab in the admin section. So Facebook will tell you what days and times are most popular within your group.
But, you know, even for my group, this doesn't seem to be very consistent, like it varies totally week to week for what time and day is most popular. Like literally, I went back and looked, and it was like 6 p.m. on Monday, 4 P M on Tuesday, 11 a.m. On Wednesday, 8 a.m. On Thursday. So, like, does that really give me any valuable information? Not really.
And personally, I think it's not the time that you're posting that's driving the engagement. It's the content of the post, and that's why it's all over the place. Like clearly, somebody posted something really popular at 6 p.m. on Monday this month, um, or 8 a.m. on Thursday, so I don't know if that's super super valuable.
I think probably more than anything, the pattern I'd be looking at is like are people more engaged on weekdays or weekends? You know, that might vary depending on whether you're talking to working professionals or whoever your ideal clients are.
For me, I get a lot more engagement during the week than on the weekends, so that type of bigger pattern is something to notice, but specific times of day, probably not super super important.
How Do You Revive a Dead Facebook Group?
And then the last question was – How do you revive a dead Facebook group?
And honestly, it's probably just the same advice that I've previously mentioned. Just pick it back up again and be consistent. You need the engagement to revive you in the algorithm.
So if you have any other avenue where people are still engaged with you, maybe try to use that to drive people back to the group and then do what I was advising earlier, where you're posting every single day with real, genuine, engaging, helpful pieces of content and do that consistently for like, a year and then see what happens.
So again, none of this online business stuff is quick wins. It all takes work. It all takes consistency. It all takes intention. I mean, even this podcast has been an incredible amount of work to come out with high quality content every single week. But I like it. It's worth it. I feel like I'm really serving people and have gotten great feedback.
So it's the same thing with the Facebook group. Like it's going to take your time. It's gonna take your effort. It's going to take your intention. So, you know, think about whether it makes sense for you before you dive in.
Things to Avoid When Running a Facebook Group
Some things that I would advise you not to do if you're going to start a Facebook group…
#1: Don’t Use Copy-Paste Captions
Number one – do not use robotic copy pasted captions every single week.
So if you're gonna do those types of post like Win Wednesday's don't use the exact same copy in the post every single week, cause that's not exciting. That's not really… People know you just copy, pasted it and, like, scheduled it to go out every Wednesday….
So show up as you. Be real. Like, talk to your people.
#2: Don’t Talk Down to People
Um, the second thing I wouldn't do is, don't ever talk down to people. So don't act like you're the expert and everyone else doesn't know anything.
Show up as a peer. Start conversations. Be open to hearing what other people have to say about something and learn from them. That's so much more valuable and open and inviting than talking down to people.
#3: Don’t Just Show Up When You Have Something to Sell
The third thing – don't only show up in your group when you have something to sell. And that is a huge one, and I've unfortunately seen this happen way too often.
Maybe the person's busy. They're running a private practice, whatever, the group is just their side thing, and they're like, Oh, yeah, my group, and it's kind of been running itself and they've been uninvolved.
And then they only pop in when they have something to sell. That's nine times out of 10 probably why you feel like people aren't buying when you are “promoting” in your Facebook group. You need to have that relationship with people first in the group.
#4: Don’t Take Things Personally
Ah, and then the last thing- don't take things super personally.
You know, it's really hard. It's the same thing when you're like starting an email list, and every time someone unsubscribes, you're like ahhhh dagger to the heart. Like it feels like the worst thing ever.
Um, if someone leaves your group, same thing, you know? It's not about you. Maybe they're just making changes in their own life. Maybe this information is no longer relevant to them anymore. Maybe they're just trying to freaking declutter their social media and they just want their Facebook feed to be their friends and family again.
Like no harm, no foul. It's not about you. You're there for the people who want your information and who are ready to be served by you and the people who are not a good match at this moment, let them go. Just let them go. It's totally fine. It's really, it's not personal. It's not about you. It's fine.
How to Manage a Group When It Gets Really Big
The last thing I wanted to touch on in this episode, as we close out, is how to manage your group as it starts to grow. It’s one thing in the beginning, and I feel like I've sort of been taking this from a beginner stance, because that's what a lot of the questions were about when I asked this in my Facebook group, but at some point, years in usually, maybe 2-3 years in, it's going to reach critical mass, and the group will sort of feel like it's running itself.
You won't necessarily have to be in there starting conversations. Every day you'll have your core group of people who are doing that for you, basically on a daily basis.
Ah, and then as people are in there more and more, they'll start to self admin. They’ll flag things for you if people violate rules, um, but they'll just sort of know what's allowed to be posted and what's not. And it might feel like there's not a lot that you need to do to keep it going…
Is It Okay to Delegate?
So people will ask, is it okay to ever delegate for your group?
And I think again this depends on the role that your group is playing in your business at this time. If you're using your group to form a direct connection with your audience and then join your email list or your webinars or whatever, which at which point you’re then selling something, I do think it's important that you still say connected with the group,
Because if people are buying because they know you, then they still need to know you. You don't want to completely check out of the group.
Um, however, at some point, if you're really thinking big in your business, you might get to a point where you just physically can't interact in your group anymore.
Like, for example, Marie Forleo, who runs the B-School program, she has, like, I don't even know, at least 30,000 people, paid students, in her Facebook group, and she even though she's the instructor for the program, she doesn't interact really in the in the Facebook group for students. She hires community managers and they respond to questions, which is totally valid.
Um, and I think as long as you set the expectation from the jump, uh, it's okay to be less involved, but you don't want to sell it as if people are gonna be able to connect with you every day and then you're not actually able to deliver on that. So be clear with whatever you're promising.
Um, some people I've heard them say, like, oh, I have a VA who kind of admins the group for me, and then every day she'll send me a round up like, hey, these were the top discussions today and then she only goes into the group and interacts with those posts so that she can avoid the rabbit hole of spending an hour on Facebook every single day.
So it's a nice middle ground, maybe, of where you can outsource to help you cut down on the endless scrolling that sometimes happen.
You can either pay people to be admins in your group, if they're people who maybe are working for you, or if you have more of like a community feel with your group, like, for example, Food Blogger Central, that's a group who's technically run by a food blogger, but she doesn't really engage a lot in the group. Um, and she has peer admins, so other highly engaged members of the community have sort of volunteered to be admin of the group. They're not getting paid, but, um, it's just like a prestige thing, like, Oh, you're a prominent member of the group. You get to help admin.
So depending on the vibe of your group. That could be an option, too. Typically, admins will help approve new members, maybe add people to your email list for you, keep track of stats, like how many members, or the engagement, um, take those screen shots if you need them for proof of email consent, et cetera.
Is It Okay to NOT Answer Every Single Question?
Is it okay to ever step back from the group and not answer every single question?
And the answer is yes!
Of course, at some point, like, for example, in the Feeding Littles group, I think I said that there was 48 new posts every single day, and there's 72,000 people in that group. It would be a full time job to sit there and monitor that discussion and answer every single question.
And that's not expected of you, honestly. And when your group is of that size, when people post questions, there's so many other knowledgeable, amazingly helpful people in the group that will be able to answer probably just as well as you would have, so you don't need to be the one answering every single time.
So I think as your group grows and you're feeling like, oh, how do I prioritize engaging in the group? I would focus on just answering the questions that are directly in your wheelhouse.
So for me, that would be answering questions about SEO, passive income, email marketing, blogging, et cetera. Whereas I'd probably skip over questions about private practice, insurance, telehealth, licensure – stuff that doesn't relate to running an online business.
Um, and then, by staying in your wheelhouse with the things that you're answering, that helps establish your authority, shows people the types of questions that get a direct response from you in the group, helps people stay on topic, et cetera. So it is totally okay if the role of your Facebook group changes over time as well.
So, like, for my group, it basically was my entire business for like, a few years. People would join the group. That's where I'd hang out. I did 99% of my engagement in the Facebook group. I wasn't really hanging out on Instagram or Twitter or LinkedIn. I wasn't really even posting that consistently on my blog. I didn't have any courses. I didn't have any webinars. I didn't have any podcasts. Sometimes I'd post income reports, and that was about it.
I still had an email list that entire time. So I was still collecting people's emails when they joined the Facebook group. I was emailing weekly with the top Facebook group discussions and always tying it back to the group.
I was able to monetize indirectly by offering affiliate promotions throughout the year. So, like I spoke a lot of times, I think, maybe five times at the RD Entrepreneur Symposium. And every time I spoke, I would say, Hey, I'm speaking at this paid event. If you're interested, you could sign up through my affiliate link. I'll earn a percentage of the sale. You can get X Y Z bonus that I'm offering if you sign it through my link.
And I would make, you know, at least $10,000 a year just from that, um, as compensation, really, for my time running the group.
So that's totally a valid way to get started. But as my business has grown, I am trying to expand and not be reliant on just one avenue. I don't want my entire business to run through the Facebook group because I don't own the Facebook group and the algorithm could change at any time.
You know, God forbid, my group could somehow be deleted, you know, and what would I do if my entire business was dependent on that? Like, that's not a good idea. So I have been trying to diversify, push the focus more on my own website rather than the group.
And that's totally okay. So my time is being spent elsewhere with my courses, my paid student’s group for students who are in my courses, that always gets priority. So I have been engaging a little less in my own free public Facebook group.
However, I do try to be in there posting at least once a week. I still comment and reply to people’s stuff pretty much every single day. So it's not like I'm totally checked out, but it just, it has changed and shifted, and that's okay,
Um, and then regarding answering people's questions again, if that starts to become overwhelming, I still think it's a such a great opportunity for you to still use those questions for creating blog content.
So if people are asking the same questions over and over, and you can create content on your blog to address it, then you or your admins, your moderators, can then drop those blog post as helpful responses. And then that drives blog traffic to your website. And it's just a win win win win win. Saves a lot of time, serves people, gets you blog traffic that you can monetize in other ways, etcetera.
And you know, that could be blog posts or it could be podcast episodes, YouTube videos, whatever type of content creation and whatever channel you prefer.
Are FB Groups a Must For Every Business Owner?
So to wrap up, what are my thoughts? Do you have to create a Facebook group? Is this a must for every business owner?
And no, it's not. It's just one of many options. I happen to love it because I'm an introvert, so I feel more at home in like an online forum space. Like, I used to have a Live Journal and I used to join Live journal communities back in the day. I was in one like, way back when, about like T shirt stenciling because that was like my hobby at the time.
So, like I've been participating in forums in some capacity since I was a teenager. So, like it just feels natural.
And maybe it doesn't for you. And maybe it doesn't make sense for your business model. Maybe you're listening to me talk about all the different ways you can monetize, and you're like, this doesn't make any sense. I have an in person private practice. This isn't right for me. And that's totally valid.
So again, think about what your monetization strategies are and how that might fit in with the Facebook group and think about that, kind of, before you jump in, because it is a big commitment.
It can have wonderful, wonderful pay off. But it does take work. Like anything worth doing, though. So do you want to create a community? Does that fit with your brand in your goals?
You know, for The Unconventional RD, it totally does. For my other business, Functional Nutrition Answers, not really. Like, I don't really have any interest in creating a Facebook group for discussing nutrition topics, so I have not created a group to go with that business, and that's fine, totally fine.
How Do You Prioritize the Different Social Platforms?
Someone asked how to balance your time and prioritize between the different platforms, which I felt like, kind of tied into this question.
I think my best advice is to pick one platform and master it and then expand if you want to.
So for The Unconventional RD, Facebook groups happen to be it. I think Instagram is gonna be my next area of focus, but I'm just taking it one at a time. You know, um, mastering a platform and building my systems, maybe getting some admin help and then moving on to the next one.
You know, you don't want to burn yourself out. It's better to be all in and be active and engaged in one place than to be like, not very engaged anywhere.
Um, so to help avoid burnout, maybe set times where you check in and interact. Like maybe you say for 30 minutes at lunch every day you check in and engage in your Facebook group, and the rest of the day you're not allowed to go in there. Like, you know what I mean?
If burnout’s an issue, then setting guidelines and time limits for yourself can be helpful. You might hire an admin to monitor the group for you.I don't think this is the best habit, but I don't do any one on one client work. I'm not in appointments at all. I'm not taking phone calls. I'm just literally on my laptop all day, like writing or creating content. So, you know, it's pretty easy for me to just, like, have the group open and kind of pop in. Um, it's probably not the best for my productivity, but I'm just being honest, like, that's kind of what I do on most days. So I don't really find it to be stressful or, um, something that burns me out. But if that is how you feel about it, you could totally manage your time in whatever way you see fit.
The 5 Facebook Groups I Spend the Most Time In
And then to close out this episode. I just wanted to share the top five free Facebook groups that I personally spend the most time in.
#1: The Unconventional RD Community
Of course, number one is my own community, The Unconventional RD Community on Facebook. Of course, I literally just said I had that tab open almost all day, every day. So if you want to connect there, of course, I highly recommend it.
#2: Food Bloggers Central
I think the second most popular group that I spend time in is Food Bloggers Central.
And I know I'm not an active food blogger anymore, but I was for a really long time and that group was like my safe haven. It's an amazingly helpful group of food bloggers, and even though they are all food bloggers, they're talking about concepts and blogging principles that really extend beyond just food.
So, you know, I'm really grateful to learn about SEO, social media, monetization through the lens of that group.
#3: SEO Signals Lab
The third group I spend a lot of time in is SEO Signals Lab. And I haven't always spent a lot of time in there, but it's a newer group that I've recently discovered as I've gone deep into learning about SEO.
And it's just amazingly helpful. And there's some incredibly smart people in there to learn from.
#4: She Podcasts
The fourth group, similarly, is a newer group that I joined as I've started to venture into the world of podcasting, and that's She Podcasts.
So if you have any interest at all in starting a podcast, definitely check that group out.
I'm not sure, I think you might have to be a female to join that group. Um, if you're not, you might check out the Podcast Movement Community. That's another good one, um, but I just really like the vibe of She Podcasts.
#5: The ConvertKit Family
And then last but not least, if you use any products or software, it's worth double checking to see if there's a Facebook support group.
They can be really helpful for troubleshooting or helping you if you're learning something for the first time. So the product-related community that I probably spend the most time in is The ConvertKit Family.
So if you use ConvertKit as your email service provider and I actually have, um, I have an affiliate link for ConvertKit that will let you, if you join through my link, you can get have up to 100 people for free on your list if you join through my link. Um, that's not something you usually get on the free plan. You can actually send emails for up to up to 100 people on the free plan, so I'll put the link to that in the show notes. If you want to check that out.
But just go to the unconventionalrd.com and then maybe click the podcast tab and then go to Episode 13 to find the link to that.
But the ConvertKit Family is a Facebook group for people who use ConvertKit, and it's so, so helpful. So if you're ever running into a hiccup with how to use that tool, you could probably find the answer in that Facebook group.
So, of course, there's so many dietitian-related groups that I love and enjoy as well. But since this is a business focused podcast, I've tried to keep it focused on business related groups that I hang out in.
I hope this episode inspired you to think about whether starting a Facebook group could be a major asset to your business. I hope you're able to see the potential benefits and how it may or may not fit into your overall business plan and your brand.
If you have any questions after listening about running a Facebook group, you know, head over to my group, The Unconventional RD Community. That's a great place to start this discussion if you want to dive more into it. Otherwise go to theunconventionalrd.com/episode013 for the show notes for any links to anything that I talked about in this episode.
Thanks for hanging out with me today and I'll see you guys next Monday.
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