EP 30: Taking FB Groups From $0 to 6 Figures



Episode Summary:

For all the money you spend on Facebook are you taking advantage of the asset Facebook feels is the most valuable, Groups?


In this episode of the Messenger Mastermind podcast we discuss how to build a Facebook group from scratch to a 6-Figure Marketing channel for your eCommerce business. We answer the following questions: How do you get your customers into your group? How do you get them to engage once they are in the group? And the golden egg… How do you get back in the Facebook newsfeed without paying?


If you are responsible for your eCommerce company’s Facebook programs or Marketing efforts you might want to check this one out.


Let us know what you think below 👇👇.


Episode Highlights:

  1. 1:00: F8 Developments and how the Facebook landscape is changing
  2. 4:03: How to get a Facebook Group started today
  3. 6:07: How to get customers to join your group
  4. 8:12: How to get back into the newsfeed without paying for it
  5. 9:37: Posting in the group to get maximum awareness
  6. 11:58: Leveraging Facebook insights to drive engagement from top performers
  7. 14:28: Use Gary Vee’s Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook tactic to sell in the group
  8. 18:15: The non-obvious benefits of a Facebook Group

Episode Transcript:


Jeremy: Welcome to another week’s episode of The Messenger Mastermind Podcast. I’m Jeremy Horowitz, your host for today’s episode joined by my incredible co-hosts, Mark A. and Ben Vandal. We are really excited to break out today a couple of different and interesting points on topics adjacent to Facebook Messenger that will all tie in really nicely because it’s all part of the Facebook family. If anyone is unfamiliar with some of the F8 announcements, which is Facebook’s huge conference where they roll out their priorities and features of the year, you’ll notice that Facebook Groups has become the priority for the Facebook App and the Facebook overall experience. Facebook realizes this is one of the last true experiences within the platform that is getting a lot of organic interaction. You don’t really need to spend a lot on ads where people are spending a lot of time posting and interacting in private groups. We’ll be talking a lot about that today and all the different ways you can use that for your business. I mean, Mark, I think you guys over at C.V.G. are probably the first and loudest people I’ve ever heard talk about Facebook groups and how valuable it is for everything that you do in the marketing perspective. Do you want to just jump in on why you think it’s important and how you get started?


Mark: The thing about Facebook groups that not very many people know is that there is still an amazing amount of free organic reach in Facebook groups. We use them at C.V.G. We have started to implement them with our clients, for our Messenger Mastermind. That’s because everyone is focused on the directional thing. There is no more organic reach, you have to pay to play, fan pages are dead, Instagram reach is going away, but what everyone is missing is that Facebook groups still have amazing reach. You can still reach thousands of people. They’re extremely engaged, and Facebook is rewarding you for this because the direction that they are going in for the platform is Facebook groups. It’s going to benefit you if you play in this direction and pay attention to what Facebook is saying right now. 


Jeremy: Just like everything else, right? Messenger is also a priority and in a similar effect, while it’s still free to build the organic lists. It’s still free to build an organic group. For everyone who has been playing in the Facebook space for a while, you’ll recognize this pattern. They take natural engagement, they incentivize the merchants to build it up as much as possible, and then eventually it becomes a paid service. Again, this is another one of those scenarios where if you’re creative, if you’re willing to put the hustle in, you can really build out a Facebook group very similar to a list that can be really sizable and really valuable to your business. It won’t cost that much money today but down the road, obviously we don’t know, but can pretty confidently assume that it will eventually become a paid service. Why not get out ahead of that just like you did in the original fan page, just like you did in a lot of the early ad units, just like you can in Messenger now? Really use it as another great marketing resource to build your overall company as well as drive sales. Mark, if I wanted to get a Facebook group started today, what would you recommend I do?


Mark: The very first step when starting a Facebook group is to actually make sure that you’re making a group that people will actually want to join. That doesn’t mean that you make a Facebook group and you name that group after your company. Nobody wants to join a Facebook group that is a business. They want to join a Facebook group that is a niche around that business. Does that make sense?

Ben: Everybody wants to be a part of a community. They all enjoy being part a community and one of the best sales tactics that you can capitalize here: passion. If you get people passionate about one particular topic that you guys can get behind, and it has to do with the niche that your company is selling a product in, then capitalize on that and get people to join the group based on the passion and then with a back-end sale. 


Mark: This should still be a group that is owned by the business. That’s not hidden; that’s put out there. Everyone that’s in the group should absolutely know that the business and the brand owns this group because that’s how you benefit from it. That’s not the point of the group. The point is the niche, the passion, the community that just happens to be run by a business. 


Ben: So, if you had a shoe company that specialized in marathon shoes, they would have a group that would be marathon enthusiasts owned by the marathon shoe company. 


Jeremy: That’s so funny that the exact first example that I thought of was, “I don’t want to join a Nike group, but I would join a running group that was owned by Nike to get running tips and know about races and all of those other things.”


Mark: Exactly.


Ben: That’s right. I would have said that, but we don’t say that name around this office.


Jeremy: Oh, okay.


Mark: We don’t mention competitors.


Jeremy: Fair enough. There’s a group, I’ve created it, there’s a purpose. Now I need to put it out in the world. How am I going to get my customers or potential customers to join the group?


Ben: The way to get them to join the group really flat-out is to just ask them. There are different ways to ask them but the message that you want to get across to them is that there is a real benefit to being in your group. You can offer them some special promotions inside the group, special discount codes for people in the group. Why is your group valuable and why should they join it?


Jeremy: Sounds pretty standard and similar to incentives to join any other channel, right? Like giving a discount away for email or special content away for Messenger, product releases for SMS. There’s an easy incentive that you can align that okay, there’s a purpose to the group, now here’s an incentive to join the group, but it doesn’t seem like this is a set and forget. It’s got just a little bit of elbow grease in here. Once I get people in the group, what happens?


Mark: Once you get people in the group, it’s extremely important to actually get those users to engage in the group. We’ve all joined groups and didn’t do anything in it. If you don’t like something, if you don’t comment on something, if you don’t post on something, Facebook is going to know that and they’re not going to show you any of the interactions within that group. Some of the most important things that you do early on, or at any point, is to get as many users as possible to comment, post, engage. Call them out to do so. As soon as they do this, as soon as they make a comment, Facebook will start showing them more posts from within your group and that’s the best way to start building the habit of community for that person to get them used to engaging in the group more often to start this endless loop.


Ben: I really do challenge you to go to your Facebook profile today, your personal account, and see what groups you’re a part of and then ask yourself when’s the last time was you saw a message from this group. If the answer is recently, then you’ve probably engaged in that group in the recent timeframe. The algorithm only shows you things that you want to see or what they think you want to see. If you engage in a group, the likelihood of you seeing that group in your newsfeed is ten-fold compared to something that you don’t engage with.


Jeremy: Ah, got it. It’s not just that the highly engaged posts are showing up in the group itself, but if something is super engaged with, my content might actually crack into the newsfeed again.


Mark: Here’s a really good example then. It doesn’t always have to be that a post is extremely engaged. It just has to be that the person has engaged at some point. One thing that you could do if you have a group- this might not be related to the niche that your group is, but it’s a good way to get people to actually comment- and that is to do something along the lines of playing a game such as the game Two Truths and a Lie. All that is that you’re making a post and you’re saying, “Comment below with two truths about yourself and one lie and tell me which one of these is a lie.” The engagement on this will absolutely go through the roof. People love to talk about themselves and it’s a fun game and it’s interesting, so everybody just jumps on board. It’s a great way to really get people going.


Jeremy: Got it. Is that game coming from the company or somebody in the group?


Mark: On that note, great question, ideal situations are to post from an admin or the fan page that owns the group because those two entities are going to be most likely to have notifications showing up in the person’s alerts. If it’s just a moderator that’s posting or a member, it’s going to be less likely that an alert is actually going to show up. If it’s someone that actually owns the group, Facebook is more likely to let as many people know in that group as possible that you made that post.


Ben: We’ve seen this a lot of different ways with clients that we’ve worked with through Messenger Mastermind where we make a post that we have a collection coming up and comment below with your favorite item from this collection. We’ve had all kinds of different things: post a product, help us name this product and they post below. Do not think that you can have them post a certain word below, an exact word, because Facebook does not pick up on that. They don’t like that. They want different information in that comment.


Mark: What he means by that is do not do a post that says, “Comment ‘enter’ below” and then 500 people type the word ‘enter.’ That’s not conversation. Facebook understands that so you want to ask them questions that actually get them typing different responses. 


Jeremy: Right, Facebook will obviously flag that as spam. That’s really interesting. You want notifications to be sent out to people. You also want a lot of engagement to show up in their newsfeed because Facebook is constantly looking for those data points around interaction so the more interaction that you can get people looking at the group and then engaging in the group, the more it will show up in their newsfeed which then Facebook will then multiply for you and recommend it to other people in the group and recommend the group to other people. It has that nice compounding effect where the more you can engage, the more you can keep that momentum moving so you’re always in front of the person on Facebook. What are some other effective ways of really increasing content creation, increasing engagement, and really getting your top performer- like really incentivizing people to become most engaged?


Mark: Playing right into those lines, if you own a Facebook group, you can check your insights. The insights will show you- Facebook will show you- the top ten top contributors in the last twenty-eight days. A good tactic to use is once a month, to screenshot the top five or top ten or even top three and do a post and reward those members. If you are a product-based business, you’re e-commerce and you’re selling a product, a good rule of thumb would be to do a post and say, “Here are our top five contributors from the last month. We are going to reward them by giving each of them one of our products for free.” What this is going to do is two-fold. One, it’s basically free advertisement to show off your product within the group and it’s going to be value-based so it’s not like you’re selling them something. You’re just putting it out there in front of them and giving something away, so people appreciate that. The second, is that it’s going to really get people going on understanding that if they engage, they have a chance to win something next month. It’s extremely common that when people see that- people like free stuff- they will post more, they’ll comment more, and as a result your group will be more engaged and grow bigger.


Ben: It’s a great way to gamify your community.


Jeremy: We’re just on the same wavelength today. I was about to say the exact same thing. If you have this leaderboard scenario going where now everyone- I know Flywheel does this really well and it’s done a lot. Flywheel’s like SoulCycle but for competitive people. The leaderboard mentality gets more people to engage overall but especially that top ten to twenty percent of your super-posters to become even bigger super-posters because you want that pride and validation of being in that top ten or even being number one.


Mark: Exactly. Just to sum up some of this, we’ve started the group, we’ve incentivized people to join, we’ve done a few different things to get people engaged and now it’s time for the important part of actually benefitting from the group by selling. We’re going to go back to Gary Vee. Gary Vee is not my favorite guy. He’s very motivational and speaks about grinding. That’s not the tactics that I usually like to push but Gary Vee’s ‘jab, jab, jab, right hook’ is the perfect scenario for this case. You want to give value, give value, give value, and then you want to go for the sale. You do not want to just jab, jab, jab and you don’t want to just right hook. You need to give the value and then you need to not be afraid to actually do a post that is 100% selling. If you gave good value up front, beforehand, your customers and users will not be upset about the fact that you are trying to sell to them. They will just appreciate it because they know how much value you gave before that.


Jeremy: The concept behind the Gary Vee ‘jab, jab, jab, right hook’ it’s not a delineation of your first couple of posts are all value and then your last post is all selling. The concept is that you’re supposed to streamline it all so that when you do go to sell, it’s positioned and structured so similar to the value that you give, that people don’t feel like they’re being sold to. I think that’s an important piece and a lot of hesitation that I hear from people is that either the upfront jabs or value is too much of an investment and they want to go directly to sell or they want to create it at value and it’s more of a brand awareness play but what I’ve seen and I think Mark and Ben will agree with me, the most effective is that everything is value-based and when you’re selling something it’s positioned and it also is giving away more value to your customers. The only difference is that this time the business can make money off of that.


Mark: If you just go right to the right hook, no one’s even going to see your post. Let’s just put it that way. If you haven’t given value up front, then no one’s going to engage with your right hook which means it’s going to fall flat and Facebook’s not going to show it to anyone. On the flip side, if all you ever do is give value and you just try to sneak in your right hook, mixed in with some value, that’s just going to be overlooked too because it’s going to be buried in your sea of value is just lost among everything.


Ben: I’m going to sound like a broken record here because I say this, I feel like every episode but it’s all about having a conversation. This is conversational marketing. This is being a person not being a marketer. You really have to treat this as an intimate channel the same way we talk about text messaging, the same way we talk about Messenger. This is where people are interacting with family and friends and now, they’re in a group that they feel safe and secure in. You don’t want to feel like they are just in here to get discounts and be sold to all day. You want to help them along in their day-to-day life the way we provide value to people and then ask them to buy a product that helps them in their everyday life. You’re not just selling things for the sake of selling things. You’re selling them a possibility of making their life better.


Mark: I like that.


Jeremy: Again, treat your customers like your friends. That kind of mindset will make this all much simpler. As Ben just said, this is an intimate channel. The more your content looks like everything else that they’re seeing on this channel, and then when you stack content value on that, you’re going to naturally stand out. I think that’s so, so important. I think we’ve finally got to a place where we’ve built a group, we’ve built engagement, now engagement can turn some more traffic, now we’re turning that traffic into sales. It sounds like there’s a heavy investment that goes into this group. What are, outside of obviously just sales and that being an important marketing channel, what are the other benefits of running a successful Facebook group like this?


Ben: Now, if you’ve gotten to this point in the journey, you kind of have an understanding that the people in your group like what you’re doing in the group. They probably do want to hear from you on other channels. What you start to do now is splinter your users out into your different channels. You can gather them as Messenger subscribers, SMS subscribers, you can get their e-mails, and you do this through different tactics.


Mark: As we know, we compare it directly to fan pages because at one point, you used to be able to post to a fan page and reach 100% of your people and now you can reach maybe 1%. Right now, groups are extremely engaged and have great reach, but there will be a time most likely, where that reach will go drastically down. We get ahead of that, we plan now, and we start to splinter those people off. What we like to do with our groups and with our client’s groups is things like create a Messenger bot ref URL where people can just click a URL to opt-in to a bot. A good way to do this is if you have a new product release or let’s say you want to give a discount code; you just paste that bot URL into a post to your group. You say, “If you want to claim this discount code, just click here.” By doing that, you are essentially moving them from the Facebook group into your Messenger bot. A similar example would be an email address or a SMS text message subscriber, you’re just taking them and giving them a small incentive to be pushed into another direction so that you have as many touchpoints to these people as possible. They like what is happening in the group, but the group might not always be there forever so double down and spread them out into other places.


Ben: The way you go about asking for this is “We know you’re busy and not always on Facebook, so would you like to receive a text when this item goes live?” or “Would you like to receive this through Messenger and be notified when we’re about to go live on Facebook?” You bounce them back and forth because now- It’s just like if I was to see somebody at a coffee shop and I said, “Hey, I’m going to be at the gym this weekend. Do you want me to text you when I’m heading over there?” They would say yes and then we would exchange phone numbers and I’d have another point. This is exactly like interacting with them in real life. You’re trying to get different communication points for them so you can provide value to them in other places.


Jeremy: Just how this conversation started, there’s a purpose, there’s a value to joining the new channel and then just giving them a specific reason and an easy way to join that new channel so that after you invest in the Facebook group, after you built it up, after you have made it a big sales channel and a big marketing channel for your business, having that fall-safe plan. Also, leveraging it to build your other channels as well so that you’re not dependent on any one channel and now you can coordinate all of these different channels and however you want to use them to really build as much value for your business as possible because everyone’s not always going to be on Facebook or checking their email or answering text messages. Providing that offering across all the different options that whatever a customer wants to opt-in to, they can. It just provides an ends value and just as Ben said, it’s way more convenient when you can get in contact with someone in any way possible versus only one way just in case something happens.