I read an interesting stat yesterday that said 70% of people with assets of $5 million or more are on Facebook! What used to be a tool for college kids has become a way for people young and old to connect, stay in touch, research brands, get discounts and more. There are a lot of ways to prospect using Facebook (personal pages, branded Fan pages, paid advertising, public events, etc) and most small businesses I know would like a share of those $5 million clients. Facebook is introducing more free tools to help you reach new clients. One of the newest is Facebook groups.
We recently started a free Facebook group for Newbie Professional Photographers. It’s a place for people to share tips and resources, get their questions answered and go to for support. It’s been a fun way for us to connect with our audience in a different way than a fan page allows.
What I’ve found is with a Facebook group, everyone feels like they are a part of the action and jumps in to share whereas with a fan page, it’s more of a one-way communication vehicle where people expect to hear the latest news about what your business is doing before the rest of the world. A fan page is branded. It’s for one particular business. The communications are tightly controlled by one administrator. A Facebook group is more about a particular interest a group of people share (like being a new photographer or wanting to know the latest fashion trends). It’s not a place for current clients to congregate and sing your praises (although it’s great when they do)!
I have a marketing idea that I’d love to see a small business owner run with.
Create a group in Facebook for your community around something you are an expert in or have an interest in. For example, finding great gifts in Springfield, IL; hottest fashion trends in Orange County or best wedding resources in Dallas, TX the exposure you can get to a potential group of new clients is remarkable. You’re asking people who have an interest in this topic to join a group for news and sharing. You’re not asking them to fan a brand they have no experience with. A group is a resource. You can pepper in your own business as a resource here and there as appropriate, but you’re really just creating a place for people who share an interest in what you do to get to know you and to share. You’ll be amazed at how people jump in and offer advice and support in the community so it isn’t really a huge time commitment on your part. If you open the group up to everyone, when one person joins, a friend with a like interest sees and wants to join, too. They may never have heard of your business (and again, the name of the group is not your business name it’s instead about a particular interest). And the best part is, you can send emails to the personal email inbox (not the Facebook inbox) to everyone in the group. So as your group grows and builds over time and sees you as a valuable resource, you’ll earn permission to market to them when you have something that is relevant to their interests.
I’d love to hear your story of starting a Facebook group. Who has done it? What were your results? And if you haven’t done it can you see how this could work for your small business?