Facebook groups can be a great way to build relationships with more pet parents.
And in fact, some groups have thousands of members that could be perfect customers for your business.
But before I dive into these top tips, this is not about jumping on the spam train.
Too many business owners use Facebook groups as a ‘link drop and run’ opportunity. And that my friend, is a big waste of your time and energy.
This is about showing up with integrity, providing value and building genuine relationships with people.
Because when you do that you build rapport and trust. And when you do that, people are more likely to buy from you.
But this doesn’t have to drain your time either. You can do it in just 20 minutes a day.
So if you’re struggling to gain engagement and followers for your own page, this organic strategy can help you leverage Facebook groups to grow your audience the right way.
This post is inspired by the Facebook marketing module inside the Pet Biz Thrive Online Club. Where members get access to detailed video tutorials, worksheets, checklists, templates and more on how they can use Facebook to grow their audience and customer base.
Not a member yet?
Optimise your personal Facebook profile
So here’s the truth. As a human race we’re all professional stalkers. (In the nicest way possible!)
Many people that see you in Facebook groups will click on your picture and check out your Facebook profile.
So if your personal page doesn’t lead people to your business page, you’re missing a massive opportunity. You need to lay those breadcrumbs so people can find your business. This is super important and most people overlook this step.
Action tip: Include what you do in your bio description along with a personal note about yourself. For example, in my Facebook bio I have ‘Dog mum to a sassy miniature schnauzer, Pet Industry Content and Social Media Consultant.’
You should then include the links to your website, Facebook business page and other social networks in the links section on the left. And just to seal the deal, you could also add a cover photo as another way to direct people to your Facebook page. Check out my personal profile here to see how I’ve done this.
Be selective with the groups you join
Firstly, think about the kind of groups that are filled with your ideal paying clients.
You want to join groups that are filled with people are most likely to become paying customers.
So if you’re a dog walker in Cardiff, the best groups to join might be the ‘South Wales Dog Walking Club’ or ‘Dog Friendly Walks South Wales.’
If your business is location relevant, you don’t want to join a general pet related group. This could be filled with people from all over the world. So you could be speaking to the wrong audience and you’re less likely to get anything from your efforts.
But say, for example, you deliver raw pet food to pet lovers in the UK, you’d be best placed in niche groups with people that love feeding raw. Like ‘Raw Feeding UK’ or ‘Raw Fed Dogs.’
Action tip: So to start you off, select five groups that are filled with your ideal paying clients. Then just focus on spending your time and offering value in these five groups.
Be authentic and introduce yourself
Getting off on the right foot is important.
And it’s an opportunity to start conversations and build relationships with people that are a good fit for your brand. The key is to show up on a level playing field with other members.
Don’t be the kind of person that lurks in the background and pounces on people with your offers.
Take it slow, share who you are and let the conversations happen naturally.
Action tip: Start a new post in each group. Introduce yourself and talk about what you do. Let your personality shine through and share something personal about yourself. You could also share a picture of yourself with your own pets so people can instantly relate to you.
Interact and be helpful
For the first two to three weeks don’t mention anything about your business, your products or services.
Spend this time getting to know other members. Simply listen to the conversations, then comment and provide value on other people’s posts where you can.
When you show up and offer genuine support to people that need it, you start becoming the expert. You start becoming someone people enjoy talking to. And that’s a great place to be.
Action tip: Use the search bar on the left within each group to search for relevant conversations. Type in a search term around the solutions you solve and scroll through the questions and conversations from members. Then when you find something you know a lot about, go in and provide that value.
Show up consistently
To become a stand out member of these communities, you need to show up consistently.
That’s the only way people are going to get to know you properly.
But it can be easy to get sucked into the Facebook blackhole. And before you know it an hour or more has passed and you’re stuck in the endless scroll.
Allocating a time slot is the only way to stop this from happening.
Action tip: Block out 20 minutes in your diary every day. And when you’re ready to sit down and start engaging in your five groups, set a timer for 20 minutes. When the timer rings, that’s a hard stop. Close Facebook down and carry on with your day.
Build a relationship with the group owner
It’s a good idea to get on friendly terms with the group owners before you start sharing information about your business in any way.
And when I say sharing information about your business, I don’t mean dropping links to your website either. But we’ll get onto that in a moment.
You want to show the group owner that you’re a valuable member of their community. And predominantly that you’re there to serve, not sell. You want this to be a two-way relationship where you both benefit from your activity in the group.
For the group owner, you’ll be a great contributor and helping to keep their group active. And in return, you get to talk about how you can make their member’s lives better, and interact with lots of new potential customers.
Action tip: Reach out to the group members directly via DM and strike up a conversation. Introduce yourself and ask if they’re open to a potential partnership.
Link to your content
Now that you’ve built up trust with members, and hopefully you have permission from the group owner, you can start sharing links to blog posts you’ve written or lead magnets to collect email addresses. Only do this if the group owner says it’s ok.
Those conversations in the groups you’ve been monitoring can be great inspiration for new blog posts. So if you find lots of members ask questions about a particular topic, you can create a great blog post to answer that question.
Action tip: Share a post in the groups saying ‘I’ve noticed a few of you wanted to know more about XYZ, so I wrote a blog post around this, hope it helps!’ Then share a little information about what’s inside and include the link.
You want to make sure that every blog post has a clear call to action included within the content. This ensures you’re taking every reader onto the next step with your brand.
You can either include a lead magnet on each post so people can sign up to your mailing list, include a direct link or banner to buy a product, or book a free consultation.
Always stick to a good mix of interacting and link dropping in groups. Spend 80% of your time building relationships with no expectation of getting anything in return, and 20% sharing links to bring people back to your website.
I hope you found this post useful. If you liked this article, why not share it with your pet business buddies!