Today we're going to talk about how I grew my Facebook group from 0 to more than 100,000 members in less than three months. This group is in the weight loss niche, so it was perfect timing to start the group at the very end of December – so the January resolution folks could jump on board right away. That, combined with Oprah advertising their brand all over the TV, made my group skyrocket.
In under 3 months, we grew this group from 0 to 100,000+ members. And yes, I said WE, because I have friends that help admin the group with me. There's NO way I could go through hundreds of posts and member requests by myself each day.
You're going to find that groups take TONS of time, if you do them right. Looking at the graph above, you can see there are literally hundreds of posts that go through each day! There are hundreds more that don't get through. It is important to manually approve each member and each post, so your group isn't flooded with spam. People might get pissed off because their posts don't go through, but they'd leave the group entirely if it was taken over by spam, so weigh the good and the bad. Most likely, you'll realize it's best to manually approve everything. :)
Why a group?
My favorite part about running a Facebook group is the amount of people I can help each and every day! Look at these insights:
Nearly 30,000 people saw a SINGLE post in the group. Compare that to your Facebook fan page, where most aren't seen by that many (unless you have a huge page and/or post viral videos/memes). Compare that to your personal Facebook page, where less than 1,000 people would see your post.
Think about how many people you can reach (and help!!) with a group! You can do Q&As every week (or even every day) and personally answer questions; use your group to educate people in your niche and quickly become an authority.
Oh, and an engaged group translates to blog traffic, which translates to money!
I am featuring this graph of my ad earnings to show you how traffic can translate to money. About 1/3 of my ad earnings this month – maybe more – were directly related to my Facebook group. If you're a blogger and want to learn more, read my post about how to actually make money with your blog.
Public VS Closed VS Secret
Do you want your group to be public, closed, or secret, and what's the difference? Public groups can be seen by everyone on Facebook. This means group members and their posts can be seen by everyone on Facebook, too. Most of the time, people aren't too excited about this. Sometimes public groups work, but I personally don't join public groups because I don't want everyone on my timeline seeing what I post in groups.
Closed groups are the best, in my opinion, because you have the privacy that a public group lacks but the group is searchable so it can grow rather quickly.
Secret groups are not searchable, and are not a good way to go about growing a group.
The Group Trifecta.
For me, the Trifecta is: TOPIC, TIMING, and KNOWLEDGE. Without all three being perfect, my group would not have grown from 0 to 100,000 in less than 3 months. There's just no way. Along with the trifecta and hard work, I'd say a little bit of luck played a part as well. Though I don't know Facebook's algorithm, it seemed that they were promoting my group quite a bit in the “suggested” groups sidebar. I feel like that was done because my group was engaged and amazing from the get go, but who knows what the method to their madness is. :)
The topic or theme of your group has to be one that people are enthusiastic about. While numbers aren't everything, if you're going for a million members, you'll need a broad enough topic to attract that many people. If your topic is in a super narrow niche, like Dungeons and Dragons Fans over 80 Years Old, you may need to set your member goal a bit lower.
When I started my group, it was mid-December. I knew people would be jumping on the weight loss bandwagon soon, so I took action – fast. Just like with everything else I do, I was flying by the seat of my pants, but I did it. Take ACTION now because even if the timing isn't right yet, it will be. If you're a money saving guru, your group may not do as well in the summer as it will around the holidays and beginning of the year, but if you have the group started it has the potential to grow.
If you start a group and 10,000 people join, but you know NOTHING about the topic at hand, how well do you think that's going to work out for you? Let me give you a hint: it won't. People know when you're authentic. Don't start a group you know nothing about just because it's a trending topic. You've gotta have the trifecta here, and that means being knowledgeable on your group's topic.
Have a clear vision.
Before you start your group, make sure you have a clear vision. Where do you see your group in 3 months, 6 months, a year? What do you hope members will get out of your group?
Name the group based on keywords.
While cutesy names are fun in the moment, they're not going to show up on search. I named my group very specifically based on the keywords I wanted to be discovered for.
Put the work in.
There are many ways to grow your new group:
— Send out an email letting your blog readers know about the new group. Don't be spammy; let them know why they NEED to join your group! What are they missing out on?
— Tell your friends. If you have a bunch of friends that are into fitness and your group is about fitness, start there! Invite them to join your group and share with their friends.
— Plan more content. The more you share, the better. Spend time adding amazing content to your group a few times a day. Even if nobody is responding yet, they will – don't wait to start posting just because you don't have a million group members! Share your best blog posts, but beyond that, share microblogs in the group instead of just linking out.
— Create a survey. Ask your members what they want.
— Pay for Facebook ads. This is a bit tricky; I don't know much about ads so I can't give you specific recommendations on them, but I know they can help grow pages and groups exponentially if done right.
Once your group starts growing, it will start showing up in “suggested groups” on the Facebook sidebar. When that happens, you may notice your group growing really fast… sometimes by more than 1,000 new members each day.
What do I do when people join?
Make sure new members feel welcome when they join. You don't have to tag them, because that can be obnoxious! When you approve a batch of new members, make a new post letting everyone know what your group is about and what they can expect if they stick around. Remember not to be spammy by sharing tons of links; this is a long term game and you've gotta put the work in now so it pays off later.
Can I do it?
You can absolutely do it! Couponing at Kroger by MyLitter has over 100,000 members. My group has more than 100,000 members. Other bloggers have done it, and you can, too! Create a strong community and make sure you stay ENGAGED with your group from the start. Answer questions and MAKE time to be there for your group members. They are counting on you. :)