Startup Lessons,

#StartupLesson EP014: How to Grow Your Facebook Group from 0 to 10,000 Engaging Members w/ Arne Giske

June 08, 2017

This week we bring you what is definitely one of our favourite episodes.

Facebook groups; everybody has one, no one’s quite sure how to grow it, manage it or take over from it. We appreciated hearing from one of the best who are actually doing it right.

It was important for us to find someone who was relatable and someone who had the numbers as well as the substance within the group, to show for it; Arne Giske.

Arne is a millennial digital entrepreneur who’s been running a marketing agency for about a year and a half. He’s appeared in more than 40 media outlets, has 6 figures in sales, he travels all over the world, speaking at events and growing the business

He also owns a Facebook group shy of 10 000 members.

In this episode, you will receive insight and practical strategies on how to grow a Facebook group from 0 – 10 000 engaging members in less than 12 months. 

Key Takeaways

Introduction to Facebook Groups and Best Practices [2:30 – 16:30]

Facebook groups are not for every type of business. Take care to look at your business, your customers, what they actually get up to and which social networks you’ll likely find them on. Online service and product based businesses are usually best suited for groups..

When entrepreneurs who own these groups constantly provide a great amount of value, get their name out there; the group can act as a powerful lead magnet and build them a niche following for the price of nothing; win-win.

Arne started his group, Millennial Entrepreneur Community in June 2016 prior to creating a couple of other small groups that were unsuccessful. He decided this to be the one he’d fully commit to.

By using some of the methods listed below, he was able to grow the group from 0 – 1000 in a month and from then onwards the growth snowballed and his group is currently sitting at a little less than 10 000 members.

He shares that with Facebook groups, you must be aware of what you’re trying to achieve: Getting someone to join. Simple, right? The next step is focusing on how to achieve this. The basic part of the strategy is to create and avail the right content, in front of the eyes of the right audience that provides enough value to prompt someone to click “Join”.

In order to get this result, this is what he does:

  • Content marketing on his personal profile (i.e. Posting about live Q&A sessions happening exclusively in the group)
  • Invests in other similar groups by engaging in certain conversations with the intent of helping someone solve their problem.
  • The person finds the comment so helpful, they decide to have a look at his profile. Then lo, and behold: Your profile has all these backlinks and they eventually join through one of them.

There’s a healthy balance between using tools for automation to share content and personal unscheduled posts. Don’t let the idea of providing valuable content paralyse you. Understand that value comes in different formats (i.e. Humour, discussion, connection, strategy, guides and stories) and thus, comes from life itself rather than long post How-To’s.

In order to maintain a robust level of engagement in your group, you have to familiarise yourself with the two sides of the coin of engagement on Facebook.

  1. Social: What garners a certain amount of attention, what they like about it and why ey share certain posts.
  2. Newsfeed Algorithm: The more engagement there is on a post, the more likes, comments and shares; the more valuable Facebook sees it and therefore helps it to reach a larger audience.

Other subtle factors are the branding of the group, the quality of questions in the group, is it a “spammy” group? And whether or not the moderators monitor the group successfully or not.

Attracting the Right Audience and Monetizing Facebook Groups [16:30 – 27:00]

Ensuring the right group of people join your group happens more proactively, rather than reactively. In other words, if you only see to it that this is, in fact, the right audience when they request to join, you’re late.

It starts with the branding of the group, and how niche-specific it is. If your niche is not narrowed down, you’ll end up with the wrong crowd. And you’ll be too busy pushing content to realise that you’re, “Casting pearls before swine.”

You want people who you will gladly support, who you can sell services or products to. The upside is, at first; it isn’t even compulsory to come up with your own thing. You can find out from the group members what they need help with the most, find or create the best solution for them and make it available.

There are two things that are foundational to attracting the right audience:

  1. Name:

You don’t have to use your company’s name. In fact, it’s advised not to. When you do, you’ll mostly attract people that already know about it. Rather title it something can still draw in another audience who might still be in your niche.

That is, Stage One Startup could call their group; 10K in 90 days for Your First Startup. That will attract anyone interested in engaging the contents of the what the title suggests. Not podcast subscribers only.

  1. Identity:

Millennial” Entrepreneur Community for instance… a 50-year-old would probably not identify with that title. And thus isn’t the right person to serve, teach, and lead within that group.

The real value of a group comes from people talking, engaging, and networking with other people. And when you have a group with a niche name that your ideal member can identify with; you can have that type of involvement. And that involvement will make it a truly memorable group.

This is a level of involvement is comparable to the one you’d typically see in paid groups. Before we go further, it’s worth noting; it’s against Facebook’s terms of service to charge people to join groups. It’s best to offer it as a bonus, in addition to something else that you’re already selling.

Most paid groups are definitely worth it though. There’s a distinct difference between the level of interaction in a paid group vs. a free group. The fact that people pay to be there is already a separating of ‘boys from the men’ if you will, to your target audience.

The Practicality of A Business Behind A Facebook Group [27:00 – 36:00]

There is 1 simple truth that establishes the owner of a group as an authority over the rest. Most group owners have not figured out how to make money with groups without being spammy. Like I said, it’s pretty simple:

  • A Facebook group is for branding. It is not a marketing channel. If you want to sell to your group members you have to lead them to a sales environment.

Arne employs this following process:

  • Post something about a product, or a service with the intention of using it as a feeler. By explaining what it is, it benefits and asking if anyone in the group needs it.
  • Interested people respond by asking how they can get their hands on such a tool
  • Arne sends the enthusiastic respondents a link; respondents click and go through to the sales environment.
  • The company takes over from that point. No spam whatsoever. On top of that, he asked for permission.

A podcaster shouldn’t only focus on their podcast episodes, neither should a blogger be solely committed to sharing links to recent pieces and the like. As much as that content might be helpful, people come for the content but they only stay for the value. There’s value in sharing something funny that you saw, creating engagement, and having discussions.

When you’re constantly pushing stuff out, you’re not building the value aspect of things. There has to be a balance of leading and facilitating. Don’t treat the group as a content distribution channel; it’s a community. And the humanity behind online community building is what makes it so unique.

Resources Mentioned

Millennial Entrepreneur Community

Facebook

Buffer

ClickFunnels

Cheat Sheet for Growing a Facebook Group

Thanks for listening!

Do you have a Facebook group? What’s your takeaway from this episode? Be sure to grab the cheat sheet and let us know what you think!


PS whilst on the topic, you can join our Facebook community by clicking here. Come and jam with a group of engaging aspiring entrepreneurs and startups all sharing their experiences with each other to grow together. We pump invaluable content regularly in the group to help you build your Startup, the right way. See you on the inside!

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