[357] How to transform your Facebook group from ghost town to garden party

Does your Facebook group feel like a ghost town?

You’re showing up regularly, but you’re not getting much engagement. 

In fact you may be wondering if it’s worth bothering having a group at all.

If this sounds  familiar, you’ll love this podcast episode with Bella Vasta. 

In it she shares tons of valuable advice including what to post in your group (versus what you post on your page), how to get members to respond to your posts PLUS some ninja tips on selling to your group members (without being spammy or selly).

{Click on the player above to listen to the podcast episode and/or read on for a detailed overview. Scroll down to the bottom to read the show notes including all the links mentioned in this episode.}

 

Bella’s story

Bella started using Facebook groups to help promote her pet sitting business owner in Phoenix, Arizona back in 2012. It was only when her daughter was born prematurely in 2014, weighing just 350 grams that she really began to see the power of Facebook groups. 

During a six month long stint with her daughter in Neonatal Intensive Care Facebook groups not only allowed her to keep her business running. They also provided her with the support she needed to deal with having one of the smallest micro-preemie babies in the world. 

Since then Bella has gone on to open a number of other groups for her own business and is now recognised as one of the world’s leading experts on Facebook groups for business. 

Understanding the difference between Facebook pages and groups

To explain the difference between Facebook pages and groups, Bella uses the analogy of your front and back garden. Your Facebook page is like your front garden and your group your back garden. 

If you were hosting a party, you wouldn’t hold it in your front garden, explains Bella. You’d hold it in your back garden where your guests (all personally invited/vetted by you) could mingle and chat in a more relaxed, informal environment - without feeling like passers by were listening in on their conversations. It’s exactly the same in a Facebook group, where you’re the host, but your guests can start their own conversations and hang out with different groups of people.

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  • LinkedIn

One of the biggest differences is that conversations on your Facebook page are all started and led by you (what Bella refers to as a ‘dictatorship’ model). Members of your Facebook group are free to start and lead their own discussions (what Bella refers to as a ‘socialist’ model). 

While anyone can see and interact with the content on your Facebook page, only those personally/invited vetted by you can see the content in your Facebook group, which creates a completely different kind of atmosphere. 

How should the content differ on your Facebook page and in your group? 

This really depends on what you are trying to achieve, says Bella. But you will almost certainly need to be posting content that encourages discussion. And because the group is private, you may be able to tackle more sensitive/personal issues than you can on your own page. 

Bella recommends asking three questions to those wanting to join your group (the maximum allowed by Facebook). Ideally, this should include one question that asks them what their biggest challenge is right now (in relation to your paid products/services) and another that asks for their email address. 

She uses a resource called Group Funnel to collect the data from these initial questions and add it to a spreadsheet. This information can be used to generate content ideas for the group and for in copy on sales page. Used in conjunction with the tool Zapier you can also set up an automated email that welcomes new members to the group. This can be personalised with a video message, using a tool like Bonjoro.

Creating a content schedule for your Facebook group

Bella suggests planning your content ahead, using a resource like the Media Diary for ideas and scheduling posts inside Facebook. 

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  • Buffer
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  • LinkedIn

She recommends using questions, polls and Facebook Lives to generate discussion inside your group. 

And there are tons more ideas in her free download 23 Ideas To Get More Engagement In Your Facebook Group: bellavasta.com/janet. 

Podcast shownotes

  • How Bella started her business and her first Facebook group (02:19)
  • Why people will listen to your personal story (10:10)
  • Why your Facebook group and page are like your front and back garden (14:40)
  • How people engage differently in Facebook groups and pages  (20:37)
  • How should the content differ on your Facebook page and in your group? (22:38)
  • Tips for managing your Facebook group as your group gets bigger (25:44)
  • How to get the conversation started and generate content in your Facebook group (and tools to help you) (30:43)
  • Bella’s tips for content ideas and questions to ask in your Facebook group (37:05)
  • Why you shouldn’t abandon your Facebook page (41:48)
  • How Facebook is making it easier to monetize and manage your group (45:10)
  • How to use video strategically in your Facebook group (50:45)

Resources

Get Bella’s download 23 ways to get more engagement in your Group

Bella Vasta Facebook

Bella Vasta Instagram

Find out about Zapier  Bonjoro and Group Funnel

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[334] How to build a large audience without paid advertising with Callie Willows (podcast)

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