If you are into Facebook Marketing, you are probably had heard of or maybe interacted with this feature, Facebook Groups.
Facebook Groups are the new way of free lead generation for businesses.
Owning a group grants you huge control over promotional activities in your group.
Think of it as an email list that you can guard, market to indefinitely and position yourself.
Here are some of the real examples of marketers using Facebook groups to generate leads today.
That's not all.
You can literally collect information/emails when someone tries to join the group.
Selling your products on Facebook groups is a viable strategy as more and more people are using groups as a way to promote their products/service.
On top of that, the reach of the posts in the group has a higher show-rate than pages.
You will be surprised that the organic reach of Facebook groups is easily as good as a friend's profile.
It is definitely much better than business pages which only shows your content to 2% of your likers.
When people engage with each other in your group.
It shows up to fellow users of your group.
They chime in and then again, it's like a free retargeting opportunity to your personal brand again.
Having control of a Facebook group is powerful.
You decide who can promote and who cannot promote their products.
You set your own rules.
Your posts has more weight in the entire group discussion.
You get to control who enters your group.
And yes it made sense for us to experiment this channel because it has already proven to be a real marketing opportunity.
After all, marketing is just a game of capturing attention.
Growing a group from scratch is excruciating
Being a curious marketer myself, I tried creating my own group and growing it.
The experience was excruciating.
Not only was it slow but it was also costly when you used Facebook advertising to fuel it's growth.
Here are the methods I tried.
• Posting on other relevant groups to have them join our group
• Running Facebook advertisements to invite people to join the group
• Invite people who liked our page to join the group
It wasn't economically feasible.
Then we started thinking from the users perspective.
Would I join a group with 15 members?
I would probably join a group for it's community, reach and content.
What could a community 15 people bring me?
Would a group of 15 even be search worthy on Facebook?
Then I realised, the effect of little group members were not only neutral, it had a net negative effect.
Be it the first impression of the group.
Or Facebook search algorithm.
Then I thought to myself, what better way to reach 10,000 members than to buy a group in the first place?
After all the 10,000 initial members would provide a good amount of Social proof for people to join.
It would be a really good experiment to see if we can convert a group of 10,000 uninterested members into a proper group.
Nobody wanted to join a group with few members.
Everyone wanted a bustling group.
And buying a group is what we did.
An unlikely encounter with our Facebook Group Vendor
So we trawled different Facebook groups to see if anyone was selling it.
And by chance, we saw a post of somebody selling a group with 15,000 members on it.
Let's call him A.
We reached out and spoke about the pricing and it seems that a group like this would cause us up to $400 USD.
There was also a little suspicion on the back of my head whether it was a scam or not.
But this seller has a way with words.
I trusted him within minutes and I bought the group.
After all he was pretty honest with me
This group wasn't for business owners, it was simply renamed.
And there was all kind of irrelevant content in there.
Like somebody literally trying to sell his birds.
Here's what I found out weeks after taking over the group.
Running a Facebook group is not easy
The first step I took was to make sure I had two accounts as an administrator of the group.
It seems that it is really easy to steal a group if it is not claimed by at least two administrators.
You can easily report the group administrator of a solo-admin group and then "claim" the group.
Apparently this was common in the space as told by A.
The journey was tough.
I had to convert a list of 10,000 irrelevant members into a majority of relevant ones.
And the only tip A gave was to posts regularly so that I can flush out the previous content on the group discussion page.
And I also had to block previous members from posting irrelevant content to the group.
But the problem was when I posted.
People were also commenting on my posts and I had to moderate and delete them one by one.
It was excruciating in a different way.
The only perks were the leads of people coming in, thinking that this was a bustling business and entrepreneur group.
What did I learn from this?
The search engine definitely favoured the larger group as we were getting much more members on it compared to little growth from the original group we created.
Buying a group did work to some extent but the effort required would be comparable to growing a group from scratch.
So in conclusion, it was a failed attempt at creating a bustling group by buying one in the first place.
Our failure with this experiment doesn't mean that running a Facebook group is not viable.
It just means the key ingredient for growing a Facebook group is the time that you spend managing your group and creating valuable content.
These are irreplaceable things that you can't run away from by buying a group.
Is transforming a paid Facebook group in an irrelevant niche possible?
In fact, A has shown me a group that has successfully transitioned into a niche Pinterest group.
There were genuine questions, answers and engagement.
But judging from my own personal experience,
It takes a hell lot of work.
We didn't have the luxury of time for our experiments.
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Here's a bonus tip
How do you tell if a group was previously used for another purpose?
Simply click the about us page and check if the name was changed.