Do free Facebook groups still work for small businesses in 2021?

Is it still possible to generate leads and sales for your business from a Facebook group in 2021? How do you wake up the members of a ‘dying’ Facebook group (and is it even worth it?).

That’s exactly what you’ll find out in this solo podcast with me, Janet Murray. You can listen to the podcast here (or via your favourite podcast player). Or read the blog post version below. 

Key moments

[1:59] Why you need to understand the problem your group solves for its members 

[2:50] Four examples of successful free Facebook groups 

[6:17] Why keeping your Facebook group small can be better for sales 

[7:50] Common reasons people struggle to sell in their free Facebook groups 

[9:15] How to create a content strategy for your free group (and why you need one)

[11:34] Why you need to sell early and often in your Facebook group

[13:10] How to decide whether to close a free Facebook group that isn’t working 

Blog post

Are you wondering whether to start a free Facebook group for your business?

Perhaps you already have a free Facebook group, but it’s like a ghost town. No one ever posts – unless you start the conversation. 

It could be that you have a super engaged Facebook group that’s taking up a lot of your time…but not generating leads and sales for your business. 

So do free Facebook groups still work as a marketing strategy in 2021?

Absolutely – but in a noisy online world, you need to be intentional about it – otherwise yours may get drowned out.

1. You need a clear objective 

If you want your Facebook group to generate leads and sales for your business, you need to know exactly what problems you can solve for people and what they might ‘get’ from being part of your community.

ADHD for smart ASS women – a space for women with ADHD or those who suspect they have ADHD to share their experiences/ask questions.

Matt Navarra’s Social Media Geek Out – info and advice about the latest social media developments.

Lonely Goat Running Club – for people who want to chat about running – or even find people to run with – but can’t/don’t want to join a running club.

Erin Condren planners – for people who want to chat about planning/organisation (particularly relating to Erin Condren planners).  

While you may not be exactly sure what you’re going to sell to people when you start your group – you can figure that part out as you go – you DO need to understand the problems you can solve for people.

And when you DO figure out what you can sell to people, you need to build a funnel i.e. map out the journey someone might take from being a member of your free group to being a customer/client.

2. You need the right people in the group

First off, numbers don’t matter.

What matters is whether people are motivated enough to get involved in discussions in the group.

For example, I belong to a running group that has just over a hundred members. It’s more active than some I’ve been in that have thousands of members.

In fact it’s better to have smaller numbers of engaged people – because people are more likely to see and engage with your content. 

The ‘right people’ means people with shared interests and values.

3. You need a content strategy 

You can’t just start a group and expect your members to do the work. You need to set the tone and encourage them to feel comfortable posting, by publishing regular content in the group. Content that is designed to encourage conversation

Ultimately that content needs to be driven by what you want to sell, but you do need to provide value first.

So in the early days, you may need to work really hard to get engagement: replying to every single comment, posting every day (or even multiple times a day), Facebook Lives tagging in members you think might have a view on your posts…it’s definitely not a quick fix. 

And you will need a content plan, with content being posted into the group regularly – and ‘upsell’ content to encourage people to take advantage of paid programmes.

4.You need to sell – and do it early

I speak to so many business owners who started Facebook groups as a way of generating leads and sales for their business who feel frustrated because the moment they try to sell in their group, people get upset or offended. How dare you sell in the group you’ve invested time and money in growing. 

This is known as Baby Bird Syndrome – a phrase coined by my friend and sales expert Jessica Lorimer. 

Baby Bird Syndrome happens when your audience gets so reliant on your free content that when you suggest they actually buy something from you, they feel abandoned, fretful and may even lash out at you. 

This is why you need to sell in your group – and sell early.

Conclusion

Yes it is still worth having a free Facebook group in 2021, but if you want it to attract leads/sales for your business you need a strategy. Without that it could be a waste of time and money.

If your current group isn’t working, you need to ask yourself some tough questions about whether you’ve created the right kind of group for the people and whether your content is hitting the spot with your audience. It is possible to ‘rescue’ a group that’s not working, but sometimes it’s better to start from scratch.

Useful links

ADHD for Smart Ass Women (Facebook group)

The Social Media Geek Out (Facebook group)

Lonely Goat Running Group (Facebook group)

Erin Condren Fans (Facebook group)

Janet Murray’s website.

Janet Murray on Instagram

Janet Murray on Facebook

Janet Murray on TikTok

Janet Murray on Twitter

Janet Murray on LinkedIn

Janet Murray’s Audience Growth Quiz