Frustrating, isn’t it?
When you publish another article you’re not sure anybody will read.
And you don’t know if it will attract traffic – or crickets.
Even if readers do show up, you don’t know if they’ll engage with the content or lurk in the shadows, staying silent.
Every new post is a toss-up – and it’s agony.
You know it shouldn’t be like this. It feels as if something’s missing.
And you’re right. You should listen to your gut. Something is missing on your blog.
It’s the magic cure to the frustration of never knowing whether your next post will even get noticed.
What is it?
Why Community Is the Secret Sauce for Blogging Success
Have you ever been to a town that you instantly clicked with?
Somewhere you instantly felt at home. A place you belonged.
Great feeling, isn’t it?
Conversely, you’ve probably been to cities or towns that felt cold to you. You couldn’t wait to leave because, even if they were beautiful places with a lot to offer, they were missing something – at least for you.
So what’s the difference between the first case and the second? How can one place make you feel at home and another make you feel like an unwelcome stranger?
Well, the answer is community.
If you don’t feel you’ve found your natural home when you visit a town, you won’t want to stick around, move in, and put down roots.
And your blog is the same.
When visitors first land on your blog, they might spend a little time exploring what it has to offer, much like a tourist visiting a new city. But they won’t stay for the long term, engage with you and other readers, or give you their unwavering support unless they feel like they’ve found “their people” – a community of like-minded readers that fits like a glove.
Not only will an active community turn your visitors into readers, and your readers into fans, but it also gives you these other valuable advantages as a blogger:
- Traffic and engagement on demand. If you want to get as many readers as possible for your blog posts, there’s no better way to achieve that than by sharing it with a community that already eagerly anticipates your latest content.
- Audience research baked right into your blog. When you have a community of people who engage with your blog, you can find out what they want to read, share, and even buy just by listening in on their conversations, or asking them.
- Less pressure for you, the blogger. Communities are great for connecting people and providing members with the ability to foster relationships. This takes some of the pressure off of you as the blogger from being the only one supporting readers and answering questions.
So how do you build a community around your blog?
Fortunately, there’s one hack that will make your life as a blogger far easier.
It will give you the perfect platform for building a community your readers will love, and it’s there for the taking.
The Perfect Platform for Community-Building That You’re Already Using
Want to know the best way to build a community around your blog?
It’s something you use every day…
Something everyone you know uses regularly, too…
I know, I know. Facebook is for stalking your ex-girlfriend and ogling your boss’s vacation photos, right?
Whether you love it or hate it, Facebook truly is a blessing sent down from the community-building gods.
Need proof? Here are a few reasons why Facebook is the perfect community-building platform:
- Facebook attracts a huge crowd. With 71% of the adult online population on Facebook, it’s hard to imagine a better gathering place.
- Facebook users are active and engaged. Surveys show that families spend as little as 36 minutes together each day, yet the average Facebook user spends 40 minutes per day on the social network.
- Facebook fosters the community mindset. You probably log onto Facebook to see what your family, friends, neighbors, and colleagues are up to, right? These groups make up your community. So when you log on to Facebook, you’re already in the community frame of mind.
The Facebook Feature You Can Exploit to Build Your Community
You might think you’re already using Facebook to create a community around your blog.
After all, most bloggers create a Facebook page where they post their latest article or the occasional status update, hoping that readers will “like” the page and see their updates.
But in reality, since Facebook modified their algorithm, posts are actually seen by only a small fraction of your fanbase, unless you pay to sponsor your posts. Even if your page has thousands of fans, only a few hundred may see each update.
So trying to build a community through your blog’s Facebook page becomes either exhausting or expensive.
That’s why smart bloggers are moving away from Facebook Pages toward a different feature altogether…
That’s right. The same feature you’ve used to share family photos or organize a party can be used to build a strong community for your blog.
Here’s how to get started.
4 Simple Steps to Create the Facebook Group Your Community Craves
Step 1) Decide on the Focus of Your Facebook Group
When I’ve helped my coaching clients set up Facebook groups around their blogs, a question that inevitably comes up is whether the groups should be focused specifically around their blogs, or around the wider subject matter they cover (often having to do with a goal or goals held by members of the prospective community).
There are pros and cons to both approaches:
- Creating a community focused on the goals of your target audience – the wider subject matter – means the community and your blog are only loosely connected, which means that some members may not even be aware of your blog. The group conversations become less focused on your content, but have the potential to reach more people.
- Building a group specifically to foster conversations between members of your blog’s tribe can exclude your wider audience, because it’s less relatable to people who have not yet heard about you and your blog. However, it creates a tight-knit community around your blog.
Here are a couple of great examples of both, from my niche of entrepreneurship:
- The Entrepreneur Incubator is a great example of a group created to focus on the goals of a target audience using the blog as the backdrop.
- The Screw the Nine to Five Community is a great example of a group created to foster conversations between existing blog audience members.
There’s no right or wrong way, but the answer to this question will affect how you set up your group.
Step 2) Create Your Group
Creating a Facebook group is straightforward:
In your personal Facebook account (you can’t set up a group through your blog’s page), press the down arrow icon on the top right corner and press “create group.”
Name your group according to its focus.
For example, I’ve built my Facebook group to foster conversations between the existing members of my audience, so I’ve called mine The Unsettle Facebook Group.
If your group is focused on the goals of your target audience, make the name reflect those goals.
For example, you might call a group for keen tennis players The Tennis Mastery Community.
When setting up your group, you must add one member to start. My poor mother gets added to all of my groups. You can always remove them later.
Choose a “closed” group. Not only do closed groups make your community feel safe to have conversations that aren’t public to the entire Facebook network, but they also create an air of exclusivity, which will help your members feel like they are part of something special. Another benefit of a closed group is that it will also discourage trolls from spamming it.
When your group is created, you’ll need to:
Perfect your description. Make your description as detailed as possible so users who happen upon your group outside of your blog know whether they’ve found their people. (Even though the group is closed, its existence will still be publicly visible – only the conversation inside it won’t be.)
Include what the group is about and why it exists. For example, the description for my Facebook group includes a link back to my blog so readers know they’re in the right place, and my vision of the purpose the group will serve:
Choose the right keywords. Your group is searchable in Facebook through keywords, which you can set when you start your group. Facebook calls these “tags,” and to capture users who aren’t already reading your blog, set these keywords to be what your blog and group are about. For example, if you have a blog about Crossfit, you might set your “tags” as “Crossfit,” “Fitness,” and “Get Active.” If a tag is valid, it will pop up as you begin to type the first few letters.
For example, this Facebook group for Etsy sellers used three keywords that are relevant to its target members:
Upload a cover image. An attractive cover image will make your group more visually appealing. You can use your existing logo, or create a compelling cover image with a tool like Canva, which has a built-in Facebook Cover creator. Make sure your image is instantly recognizable to people familiar with your blog’s color palette and logo.
Here is an example of the cover image of a Facebook group I’ve recently started to help people get their Etsy shops up and running:
Create a welcome message. When members join your group, your welcome message will greet them and give them a sense of what the group is about. Include details like who the group is for, why the group exists, and your vision for how members will use the group.
To make sure this information is always in view, pin the post to the top of the page.
Here’s a screenshot of the welcome message for my group:
After it’s up and running, you need to get people in your group.
Step 3) Scoring Your First Group Members
It’s the age old-question about communities:
How do you get people to join?
When you’re first starting out, it can seem daunting. After all, the last thing you want to do is to start a deserted group. That makes you feel like you’ve thrown a party that nobody shows up to.
In fact, many bloggers shy away from starting groups simply because they fear nobody will join.
But don’t let that hold you back, because as daunting as it seems, getting group members to join your group is not rocket science.
Here are some ideas for scoring your first members:
- Promote your new group in your email signature. One of the things that has been the most effective for increasing membership to the free Unsettle Facebook group has been simply adding it to my email signature:
- Showcase your group in your blog’s menu. The menu on your blog should be reflective of what you want people to pay the most attention to. That makes it a great place to put a link to your Facebook group.
- Broadcast your group on social media. When you first start your Facebook group, post a link on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and any other social media platform you have.
- Promote your group with a call to action. Good bloggers have a call to action at the end of each article. Rather than asking your readers to leave a comment in the comments section after reading your post, prompt them to join your Facebook group instead.
- Send an email to your list. If you have an email list, your subscribers are perfect candidates for joining your Facebook group. They already like you and your blog enough to subscribe to your email list, so send out a quick email letting them know that they can connect with like-minded people in the Facebook group.
So now that you’ve landed your first members, how do you get them talking? How do you engage them and make the group a real community?
Step 4) Ignite the Spark of Conversation
Wouldn’t this be terrible?
You open the doors to your Facebook group. Slowly, readers start joining. Before you know it, you have a couple hundred people in your group, and yet…
Nobody speaks. You could cut the silence with a butter knife. And the only posts in the group are from you.
That’s a community-builder’s biggest nightmare.
Unless someone breaks the proverbial ice, your Facebook group can be as silent as a library.
As the host, it’s your responsibility to get the conversation cracking. Here are a few ways to do just that:
- Pose a question. Your Facebook group is new, so you have to train members to be active. That means that you need to lead by example. Post a few questions in your group to get the first few people responding. For example, if you are building a Facebook group around your nutrition blog, you might ask what ingredients group members put in their smoothies.
- Ask a group member to get the ball rolling. When I started my group, a good friend happened to be an Unsettler and joined. I asked her to start conversations and post the questions that she was asking me privately in the group.
- Encourage group posts in emails and articles. To get people talking initially, instead of sending an email about a blog post and asking for your readers to leave a comment on the post itself, ask them to discuss it in the group. Give them specific talking points.
When you’ve started sparking the initial conversations, the group will naturally begin to come alive.
How to Ensure Your Community Grows Up Happy and Healthy
Whether they’re online, at work, or in your local neighborhood, all successful communities have some rules, even if they’re unwritten.
In your town, they’re the local laws. They exist to make community members safe, to keep the community functioning and happy, and to set boundaries.
It’s crucial that your community members feel comfortable, safe, and included in your group, too. If they don’t, your community is unlikely to thrive.
That’s why it’s a great idea to work with your members to establish a code of conduct or some “policies” or “guiding principles” that govern the group.
How should members interact with each other? What are some guidelines for the types of posts that are allowed? Are there any “no go” zones? For example, if you have a weight loss blog and are building your Facebook group around that, are members allowed to post photos in their bathing suits to demonstrate their progress?
Working with your group members to establish these guidelines makes your group feel more inclusive – like a democracy rather than a dictatorship.
Crowdsource your group members’ suggestions on how they’d like to see the group unfold and let your guidelines evolve accordingly.
Here are the guidelines for my group:
Notice that these guidelines are short, simple, and friendly. You don’t want new members to feel browbeaten by a big list of rules the moment they come through the door.
How to Keep Your Community Running Like a Well-Oiled Machine
Once you’ve ignited your first community discussions and set the parameters for healthy interactions via your group guidelines, you’ll need to make sure that the community continues to grow and that interactions between members flourish.
Here are some of the best ways I’ve found to do just that.
Spend Time in the Trenches
The greatest communities enjoy participation from community leaders.
That’s why it’s so important to spend time in your Facebook group. Don’t just set it and forget it – make it a daily habit to go into your group and answer questions, interact with members, welcome new members, and give shout-outs to people.
For example, when a member of my group posted a survey to flesh out her idea for a new blog, I suggested a book to help her get more out of her survey questions:
Several members ended up buying the book and reported back that they found it helpful.
Spending time in your group can be time-consuming, especially as it grows, but you’ll find your participation will easily be worth the extra effort.
I spend around 30 minutes each day in my Facebook group and the time commitment pays dividends in the form of engagement and bonds with members.
Your Facebook group should break down the barriers between you and your readers, so it’s crucial that you’re an active member.
Let Conversations Unfold Organically
As a blogger you’re accustomed to setting the direction of your blog. And as the owner of a shiny new Facebook group you’ll probably have strong ideas about how you want the community to grow.
As a result, it can be difficult to let the conversation in your group happen organically.
However, effective communities aren’t run by dictators, so instead of trying to control everything, let the conversations unfold organically.
When I first started my Facebook group, a discussion arose around monetizing a blog and one member recommended advertising. I strongly disagree with blog ads as a monetization strategy for most blogs, so I linked to my post on Smart Blogger that explains why.
But looking back, I wish I hadn’t. I should have waited and let the conversation develop more naturally.
Established members of the community, if they agreed with me, would have likely stepped in and started a debate about it, which would have been healthier than my heavy-handed meddling.
Letting these conversations unfold organically is how your tribe will learn, grow, and evolve.
So let debates happen. Allow differing opinions and step back from those conversations you’re itching to steer in a direction that’s more comfortable for you.
Encourage Leadership Among the Ranks
You may have noticed that in most communities, some members participate more than the rest.
In a physical community, they might be the more prominent members who go out of their way to connect others and act as informal leaders.
In your online community these people will be instantly recognizable – they’re the names that show up most often in your group. They regularly connect with other community members, share your articles on social media, leave comments, and even email you, too.
These informal leaders are crucial for maintaining a lively and engaged community. They’ll enable you to set fire to your group and ramp it up far faster than if you, the official leader, work in a vacuum.
They can welcome others into the group, spark new connections and conversations, and help advocate for your community.
So encourage these informal leaders. When you see somebody stepping up to the plate in your group, acknowledge them! Send them shout-outs, thank them, and even give them an “official” title. You don’t have to pay them, but you do have to encourage and acknowledge them.
You can also contact these informal leaders privately and thank them for what they’ve done so far within your group. Ask them if they’d be willing to be community leaders.
Chances are, they’ll be honored to help you lead your group.
Let Your Community Dictate Your Blog’s Direction
As you know, one huge benefit of building a community is that it’s a great way to research your target audience.
And nothing fosters engagement and community like making people feel they have an impact, so ask your group members for their input.
For example, if I’m starting a blog series, I ask the members of my Facebook group if they have anything they want me to address in it.
Then I tag them in a Facebook group post when the series is live letting them know that I addressed what they asked for.
They get a sense of pride and contribution, and I get to know more about how I can help them with the unique challenges they’re dealing with at the time.
Bonus Tactics to Keep Your Community Buzzing
With these pillars in place, and your community growing, try some of these tactics to keep engagement levels high:
- Throw a Party. Over on Twitter, organized chats encourage participants to use a common hashtag at a specific time to talk about a given topic. This is a great method of generating some group buzz – and luckily it’s far easier to do in your Facebook group than it is on Twitter. Set the date and let members know the time and the topic. When everyone shows up at the same time to mingle with one another, it can do wonders for your community.
- Create a Theme Day. Do you love #TBT too? There’s a reason why Throwback Thursday blew up on Instagram. It’s fun, personal, and takes the pressure off of posters to think of something original to post every single day. So create your own theme days for your group. Once a week, structure your updates around a specific theme. Not only do theme days like these encourage participation in your group, but they also relieve you from having to constantly think up new posting material.
- Share Some Eye Candy. We’ve all seen the statistics – visual content gets far more engagement than text only. So catch your members’ attention by posting (and encouraging others to post) engaging, eye-catching images as a discussion point. Post quotes over images related to your topic to motivate members. Try posting funny memes – or even creating your own.
- Ignite New Friendships. A Gallup survey shows that people who have a best friend at work feel more connected to their employers. Likewise, when members of your community make friends with each other, they’re likely to feel more bonded to you too. So become a “connector” and introduce members to each other who have something in common. If a new member introduces herself to your parenting community as a single mother of a two-year-old in Seattle, tag another single mother in the same area in your welcome post.
- Post a Rallying Cry. You know when you read or watch or hear something that just amps you up? When you strongly agree or disagree with a cause or message, it provokes strong emotions – and it could do the same for your community. So if there’s a news story about your topic or something big happens in your niche, don’t ignore it. Post it, start conversations about it. Rally together around it.
Go Build a Community Readers Can’t Wait to Join
You know those people you want to reach…
Your target audience. Your tribe. Your “people.”
The ones who “get” you, who respond to your ideas, who grow with your help and support.
Well, they’re looking for you, too. They want to be part of what you’re doing. And when they find you, they want to stick around.
You just need to give them a compelling reason to do so. And you do that through community.
Because you know what? They want to connect with each other, too.
So get out there, start your Facebook group, and gather your tribe.
Because once you have a community of raving fans rooting you on?
You’ll be unstoppable.
108 thoughts on “How to Use Facebook Groups to Get More Traffic and Traction for Your Blog”
Facebook groups has been for me- a great and cheap medium for reach more people. The key is not to advertise but to be helpful. Take time to answer questions of members and point them to your blog when necessary. It also a medium of generating post ideas. Nice post
Hey Mark – yes, my Facebook group has been invaluable to both myself and (hopefully) my readers, too. I’m glad you have a FB group already!
Communities work magic. But for Facebook groups, and for those who want to make money online through AdSense, they should not change their group from being public. When they close it or make it private, they close it Google bots and other search engine crawlers. Let your group stay public
Thanks for the input!
Hi Sarah, that’s a really good post. However, My question is that how do you get people to join your group if your blog is new? You don’t have any traffic on your blog and have no email subscribers either, how do you get people to join your fb group
? Is there any way to search for people on facebook that are interested in your group topic so you can ask them to join the group?
Hey Khurram! There are some tips for this in the article, and I’d avoid that tactic of asking people on Facebook to join just because it can seem spammy to the people you ask. Promote your group on social media, in your blog posts and in your emails – as you begin to establish some traffic, you’ll start to see more people joining your group.
I literally published a post about this yesterday on my blog – albeit with less detail than yours! Thanks for the great post and if you want to check mine out its the most recent on my blog. 🙂
Hey Tom! Sounds like we’re on the same page 🙂
Just visited your post and left my comments there. I had never ever contemplated setting up a Facebook group before – maybe I was unsure of my ability to be able to operate such a group that would be beneficial to all concerned. But you and Sarah have given me so much superb guidance and advice to now give it a shot. I am eternally grateful to both of you for sharing your expertise.
I’m a member of a few Facebook groups (one of ’em is Serious Bloggers Only) and I find all of these groups extremely helpful and lively. It’s like the Facebook environment adds oil to the conversational fire. So yes, great advice on creating a FB group for your website, it’s a real asset.
Awesome, Thijs! I’m a member of SBO too. I love FB groups, glad you see the value in them!
So obvious but so good to see. I’ve toyed with the idea of a closed group and you’ve answered so many of the queries that were holding me back. I can think of half a dozen groups I could start straight away but as with everything else, it’s best to master one first then rinse and repeat later.
Many thanks for pointing out the obvious to me and being kind enough not to use a sledgehammer to do it.
Hey Steven – it may seem obvious but it’s far from it. I’d love to see more people building community around through blogs through FB groups!
A very timely post, Sarah, and you covered a lot of great points here. I already use a FB group for my paid members, and it’s working out very well. I also plan to have one for my free members to build an even stronger community.
The reason this is so timely is your post comes right at the moment when LinkedIn are about to totally destroy the value of their groups functionality with changes coming on October 18th 2015.
Until now, LinkedIn groups have been great, but the changes they’re making will change all that. For example, their announcement in a group moderator community I belong to attracted almost 500 angry reactions from group owners, like myself, but no one at LinkedIn is willing to listen or change what they’re planning.
I can see a lot of LinkedIn group owners migrating to FB very soon, so I’m sure your post will be of great interest to them!
Sorry to hear that about LinkedIn, Nigel – I hadn’t heard the news. That is really too bad.
Which group? Is it the Blog Zone on LinkedIn?
Great article Sarah. When starting a new blog we’re all faced with the same dreaded fear that no one will come after we hit “publish.” Participating in online communities is a great way to find an audience.
I’ve implemented some of the ideas you outlined to build relationships and traffic to my blog.
The difference is that I’ve done it on Google+ Communities, not Facebook Groups. I’m not currently on Facebook.
Google+ Communities drives 1/3 of the traffic to my blog.
Also with Google+ there may be an extra SEO benefit, although this is known for sure.
Have you tried Google+ Communities? If so how do you feel it compares to Facebook Groups?
I love Google+ communities for interacting with “strangers” and providing value to them, but Facebook has a different function to me. It drives far more of that community and helps your existing readers interact with one another. Plus, I find that G+ communities is far less active – it’s a lot of people just promoting their own stuff.
Yes, it’s true. As of October 14, LinkedIn is making all of their groups private! Read more here: http://marketingland.com/linkedin-is-making-all-linkedin-groups-private-starting-oct-14-145530 So your Facebook community building strategy comes at a great time. For more tips on SEO and your blog writing, see this article link: http://lisachapman.com/articles/ especially “Building Organic Traffic SEO”. Thanks for a great article! We need more new, effective strategies!
That’s so sad! But I’m glad the article was timed so perfectly!
WOWZA, what a truckload of fabulous information. This is like an ecourse. THANK YOU! I will study this and apply, as well as use for my future clients. WOOHOO. You are magnificent! 🙂
Ha! Love the enthusiasm, Elvire!!
This really got me thinking.
Now that you mention it, making a Facebook group sounds like an excellent idea. But I’m thinking that making it based on your blog is better than the subject matter because you will create a tight group of fans.
Isn’t that the whole point of why you’re blogging?
I read before that cutting out the guys who don’t participate is good because that relationship will never benefit either parties anyway.
And I’m still not too clear about the point of letting conversations unfold organically.
The reason why people are on the group is to hear your opinions and learn, right? How do you know when to let a conversation unfold organically versus putting in your input?
I think the point of people reading your blog is to learn from you. The difference with a group is they are interacting with the entire community. So I see them as having two different functions.
This sounds like a great idea. Do you have any suggestions on how one could adapt this for a men’s fashion and lifestyle blog? The audience for fashion is constantly shifting towards more visual networks like Instagram, Periscope and Snapchat while I’ve found the Facebook pages for these blogs are usually just a way to get interaction from casual readers. What do you think?
Facebook pages are not great for doing much of anything – Facebook groups, on the other hand, are pretty awesome. Just wanted to make that distinction 🙂 I think the audience for almost everything is shifting to a more visual medium, but that doesn’t remove the need for community. I’m sure your readers would love to have a place to chat about where they found specific items, and what they’re into and what they don’t like etc.
I’m so glad someone wrote a post about this!! I have had great success with Facebook groups as a way of communicating with my existing audience, but I’ve never experimented with opening it up to non-subscribers… As you pointed out, there are pros and cons to each, and this is good food for thought. Great post, Sarah! 🙂
Hey Mary – it just depends on how you want your group to go, but opening it up to non-subs might be a good way to get more subs 🙂
Thank you! What a great post with specific, workable instructions. OH NO! More work for me! I hate you! 😉
Hahaha! Well, to be fair it only takes like 15 minutes to set up a group – the rest of the work comes when you have a thriving community!
Good ideas. Now can you give us a few Facebook SEO/Social Media/Content Marketing groups that aren’t spam pits or porn stops or moderated once a month?
Most groups I’ve searched for and seen aren’t worth much. I’ve found Google+ to be a lot more effective when it comes to groups. That’s a shame, as I feel Facebook would be more helpful.
There are probably hundreds of high quality FB groups you can be part of that don’t have any porn or spam involved 🙂 My recommendation for finding some that will be a good fit for you would be to find bloggers and influencers you respect and like, and join their groups. Many people have groups these days. That’s always worked for me!
What groups would you recommend for content marketing and social media marketing topics?
I’ve been deeply involved in someone else’s group, aimed at home-educating parents, and as a women’s counselor, I’ve found many opportunities to help those who are flailing about. On this group, no advertising of self is allowed, but more than once, someone has asked a question and tagged me, in case I could answer it.
I’ve kept thinking and wishing I could just dive into this group with my own agenda. HA!
I need to get my own group. So clear! Yay! Cannot wait to begin. Thanks so much!
I’m so excited that the article provided you some clarity, Katharine – let us know how your group goes.
I do have one question I forgot to ask:
What are the pros and cons of a closed group, compared to a secret group? I think not knowing all the nuances of groups causes may to hesitate to form one.
Great detail post Sarah, thanks for sharing! I’ve been considering starting an FB group for quite a while, but haven’t for the same reasons you mentioned in your post. I might bite the bullet and take the plunge, and if I do, it’ll be thanks to you! 🙂
Glad you enjoyed, Steve! You should do it 🙂 You won’t be sorry!
I have a Facebook group for my blog readers at Make Creativity Pay (must start letting my podcast listeners know about it). The problem is, shortly after I formed it I started really trying to clamp down on the amount of time I spend on Facebook. The distractions of Facebook really annoy me. The groups I belong to are valuable, when I’m in there.
So this is a huge struggle for me. I’m going to try to be more conscientious about engaging and posting there. I should schedule time in. Hopefully as the group grows more informal leaders will pop up, and give me a kick when I miss something I should respond to! 😉
Oh, I hear ya Leanne! I totally get it because I had to cut FB out of my day-to-day too (though I’m still a sucker for this distraction). I’d highly recommend scheduling 30 minutes a day to do everything you need to do on FB – at the end of your day so it doesn’t distract you at the beginning. Also, use CoSchedule! I schedule FB group and page updates with it and it’s been a lifesaver.
Great post! I agree with you that ‘community is the secret sauce for blogging success’.
What do you think about doing shout out with other FB groups that have more likers than us?
Hmm… that doesn’t sit well with me because it’s not authentic to me (it just seems a bit spammy) – but you have to do what feels right to you 🙂 If that tactic is something you want to try and that you feel good about, test it out!
This is a really great posting something about that I’ve been thinking of for a very long time.
I don’t have a Facebook page and while looking into various alternatives I was joined a few Facebook groups and have been invited to a couple of private ones as well. I’m completely amazed at the level in the amount of engagement that happens in those private Facebook groups.
This post that you wrote on the justifies my reasoning to think the Facebook groups are definitely the way to go if you want to build an engaged community. I’ll probably end up doing a little bit more research and monitoring those groups that I am a part of, but will probably make that transition in the future to start my own, hopefully engaged, Facebook group.
Thank you so much again for writing this post,Sarah, and great to see you on BBT once again.
Have a great rest of the day and an upcoming Canadian thanksgiving long weekend.
Hey Andrew, I definitely think that you should build one around your blog 🙂 After all, you won’t know if it will work for you until you take action! Research can sometimes just be a way for our subconscious to procrastinate 🙂 Thank you for the kind wishes and happy Thanksgiving 🙂
I have more than 6500 subscribers who really love my content and reply back through emails, and also participate in surveys that I have done. That’s why I have been thinking about creating a place for my subscribers to engage since 3-4 weeks.
So after a lot of research on how to create my community, I was left out with creating a Facebook Group or a Discussion Forum. So now I had to chose 1 from these 2 options. After a lot of thinking and more research, I have decided to set up a discussion forum (using vBulletin which is the best forum software).
I know its more technical to set up a discussion forum (it’s not a 5 min job like creating an FB group), but I can manage it in 2 days as I am an extreme techie guy.
But there are many advantages over an FB group, such as:
1. You own your discussion forum vs FB group which you don’t own. Facebook can make any change in the rules, etc that you can never control.
2. Discussion forum is very SEO friendly. I have seen discussions forums coming in the top searches vs FB group posts that I have almost never seen in a Google search.
3. You automatically get the email address whenever someone joins vs in FB group you can’t access the email of the group member. So increases your email list.
4. Many advance features, e.g. you can have both private sub forums + public sub forums on the same forum, different membership levels, etc.
So Sarah, just wanted your feedback on this. Am I going for the right thing? Do you suggest an FB group over a discussion forum?
I think the biggest advantage of a FB group over a forum is that you’ll get a LOT more engagement on FB. People spend so much time on FB that they just won’t spend on your website or forums. Members will see other posts from the group when they log into FB to see what their friends/family are up to.
Great post, Sarah!
That is so true about Facebook Groups, I myself have been using them since my early days of blogging. One thing I noticed that the engagement rate is much higher when you’re the admin of the group compared to if you’re only a regular member, so creating your own group is a must.
By the way, you can get a lot of members to your own group by creating an exclusive PDF ebook (other forms of content might work too), then post it to other similar groups. Ask them to join your group to get that PDF file. I got like 2000 new members in a day when I did this.
I actually wrote about this with other traffic generation tips and my case study here: http://panduanim.com/en/increase-traffic/
I see many success stories. I thought it would be very time-consuming and I could build the same community on my blog.
Might be worth my time trying to build a community on Facebook. Thank you for the posts and the great comments 🙂
It’s really not that time consuming, Raul, I’d recommend trying it out!
Thank you for the article. I am a member of many Facebook groups, but I never thought of starting one.
Thanks for reading, Janice!
These are some great guidelines for starting a productive facebook group. I’ve created groups in the past and it didn’t go so well LOL.. I just end up with a bunch of spammers. I wished I knew then what I know today. Right now I’ve just been participating in a couple of groups created by others, but if I ever think of creating a facebook group I will definitely come back to this post as a reference.
Thanks for sharing Sarah! Have a great upcoming weekend!
Sorry t hear that, Sherman – that’s really unfortunate. Hope you have more success in the future!
I actually did this backwards – I ran a Facebook group for around 18 months before I realised that I could create a blog around the group concept! I find it a great way to share content and get discussions going.
Wow, that’s really interseting Reeva – did you end up creating that blog?
Yes I did! You can find me over at http://proudlysouthafricaninperth.com. I write about all things related to migrating to Perth, Australia and life in Perth. My Facebook group is the same name and I was creating all sorts of interesting content and topics for discussion in the group and I realised it was really well received so this year I took the plunge and started the blog! I love it although it is time consuming!
Sarah, thanks. This is gold. Excellent advice. Well written.
Richard Keeves, Australia
Thanks for reading, Richard!
KABLOOIE! Super value. Not to speak of super timing :-] It is clear that when I drew the line on how much value a blog post might offer, it was only a matter of just in time before you decided to step over it. Thank you!
Love when things line up like that and come at exactly the right timing!
You really rock.
You rock not because of the awesomeness of the topic or your contents.
You rock monumentally just because of the way you dealt with the topic and brought so many unique ideas to tell the readers create a FB group and use it to its maximum potential.
It is widely observed that FB groups are created like french fries to create them, enjoy them and be stick to them to serve just one kind of need as we just eat the french fries and never think more about it that how they are called French in every country of the world.
Putting tags related to widely searched keywords is most important step and many FB users miss to put them while creating a community group. As a result they don’t get hits from organic searches on FB.
It is the nature of people that first they want to be heard and then be ready to hear so the composition of FB group should be so participatory and group admin should spare a few minutes after a specific times slot of a few hours every time to check what valuable is being shared and must give it importance by properly responding to it and equally letting others to know what is being said on a given group.
Many thanks for sharing this quite valuable post.
Have a super fabulous weekend ahead.
Thank you so much for the kind words! I really appreciate it. And I love the FB group french fry analogy. Clever!
Your wonderfully helpful post has given me a whole new way to look at traffic to my blog.
I have never contemplated creating a Facebook group and probably because as you so rightly stated I am one of those relatively new bloggers who would be worried that no one ever joined me – apart from my wife!
Your post has made me realize that there is so much for me to learn not just about blogging but the whole Facebook scene.
Thank you for sharing your incredible expertise and enabling me to make for me, a giant step forward in my blogging evolution. I will set up a Facebook group and follow your guidance to ensure I give it the best shot I possiblt can.
I was delighted to share this post with as many people as I could as it contains so much invaluable information. Thank you again Sarah
I’m so glad the post was helpful to you, Peter! I hope you have success with Facebook groups – they’re great!
Great article on Facebook Groups . This article keeps me up-to-date on facebook strategy. I can’t comprehend your articles at first reading. So, i bookmarked your article to read further.
Thank you so much
Sounds great, Saurabh! Thanks for reading.
Hey Sarah.. & John,
What an awesome set of lessons. And yep truly timely for plenty of us as evident in the comments. I’m just coming up to the hockey so, me, I’m all over the fright of starting because I don’t want tumbleweeds.
I’ve been working as an affiliate marketer for a few years, and even though posts show up in Google, sales are made of products… NO-ONE hardly comments. That feeling of knots in my stomach when I log into dashboard and see ‘0 comments’ is something I need to avoid and have a plan for.
I’m loving the approach of a closed FB group and will certainly put it into place as soon as I grow a pair!
In the meantime, I’m looking at some other suggestions that I’ve read from this blog to ‘get noticed’ as a dude that actually knows his shizzle…
So with that said – don’t be blanking me when I offer my first ever GBP ;o)
Until the next time.
Thanks for the education.
Tony (wanna be) B
Hahaha – Well I do hope that you find Facebook groups as helpful as I have!
Great tips about starting Facebook groups. Its definitely a great strategy to build highly engaged community. Thanks for sharing.
Thanks for reading!
Thank you Sarah for this very comprehensive post. It is an eye opener to me about facebook groups.
I’ve never thought facebook group can be such useful. I need to give it a trial immediately. Thanks
Brilliantly explained, Sarah!
Community is often the missing factor that keeps a blog deserted…your advise on FB groups is thus super apt. However, aside the blueprint explained above, have you previosly explored the option of running a dedicated FB class (for free) and using such members to form the initial group faithfuls?
Do make the day great.
I’ve never seen a class offered through Facebook. Sounds like an interesting concept!
I enjoyed reading about FB groups. I am an Interior Designer in VA. My page has around 2045 fans, though I know the average looks- if not boosted-are around 200…with maybe a few likes or more and 2 -15 comments depending on what I post. Getting them to read the few blog posts on my Page is an issue. I just gave a limp bus tour to the Southern Living Idea house this past week, sent a follow up email with the video of my presentation, and got all of two people wanting to get on my email list – which was zero beforehand. There are many FB groups for design, I’d definitely like to start one, but not sure what to call it. My blog posts range widely in the Interior design world. Custom & Couture -is the hyphen after my niz name on my page. I find if I post about high end products (following the function and form of fabulous design) They don’t get as much tread. If I post a photo from the design house 300 people see it. But my fans do know my style – they actually call me out on it when I appear to veer from that (I’m all about color – not neutrals)!most of what I Pin on Pinterest is high-end and I even have a luxury products board. – Not sure my intended target is on FB. I have a client who is the CEO of a 250 Million company, and she very rarely posts on FB and if she sees something I post on my personal page (yes she actually friended me – all my clients do!) she might ‘Like” it. But she wouldn’t be good for my list as she already told me normal emails from me about our project are not as important as the ones she gets from her biz. she will text me a week to two later with a response. I’m not big on posting selfies or that kind of thing on my page – maybe I need to do more of that…in the life of…thing. Sarah – Any suggestions on where to start with figuring out my page name? I’m also in the process of adding woocommerce for custom products to my website. Enlarging my brand so to speak.
Hey Heather! I’d choose a focus that is a bit narrower and be as descriptive as possible for the name. It doesn’t have to be clever, just clear!
This is a very interesting and worth reading article! I now see Facebook in a different perspective. Now, I can see more traffic volume and money for my blog! Thanks for sharing!
Glad you enjoyed it!
Facebook groups give a great opportunity to reach out the same industry community and engage etc. I can attest that it really works. But it’s a matter of choosing which group to join, what group to create and who to invite.
Once you have those details ironed out it’s all downhill 🙂
Fantastic post – I am going to implement this now! Presumably from what you’ve said in the comments – plus the fact they weren’t mentioned in the post – you think a Group far outweighs the benefits of a page? I have a FB page for my blog but it doesn’t drive terribly much (if any) traffic there – and certainly doesn’t generate much in the way of comments. Is there a particular reason why Groups are better for this? I ask for comments on my FB page and try to generate discussion but it doesn’t seem to achieve much. Is it more to do with people’s perceptions of why they are a member of a group (or am I missing something bigger)?
Great post. Will be sharing this (as well as referring back to it!)
Hey Heather – yes, pages really, really lack engagement and interest, whereas posts to a group go straight into members newsfeeds. It really goes back to the fact that you are the only one to post on your page, so there isn’t a community on your page – plus, Facebooks algorithms make it so only a very small percentage of the page’s fans actually see your updates.
Thanks for the info.I used the Facebook groups for my blog before and it did produce some good results but not what I was hoping for. I will have to take these tips in consideration for my blog from now on. I also use the Google + communities and groups to help with my blog. You can see it here at http://goo.gl/AAeD97
Great post, great topic!
Your tips are very illuminating and show me why my FB group is a total joke. Full of spammers and get rich quick morons. In the end I gave up on it.
Despite the various tactics you’ve shared in terms of getting members and getting interactivity happening, I do think it’s important to target the right audience with the right group theme too.
So I will now create a new group with a new message and then implement your ideas.
Hi Kim. Other than my travel group that I started yesterday after reading this article, I also manage two or three other groups. You are right about how annoying spammers and the GRQ crowd can be. As I see it, you have to be ruthless with them. They only pollute your group and don’t add value. Sarah’s suggestions of providing a few guidelines (rules), is excellent. Watch out for fake profiles too. They can be hard to spot, but if someone’s FB profile was created very recently and they already belong to 50+ groups, it’s a little suspicious. That says “spammer” to me. Good luck 🙂
Good tips John!
I will be super diligent about the spammers and the fake profiles
I’m sorry to hear that about your group, Kim! Spammers and get-rich-quickers suck. Best of luck with cleaning your group up!
Great article and excellent idea! I have a FB Page for my Texas travel site, but never thought of building a community via a group. That changed yesterday after reading this!
I’ve seen so many people simply add all their FB friends to a new group. I decided to issue invitations instead. This way, I figured, I’d get people who want to be there, and this increases my chances of getting high participation. I got 100 members in under 24 hours, so I’m very happy.
Thanks for writing this great article, Sarah!
That’s a smarter approach, John. If they accept your invite they should have a good interest in your topic
That’s a great idea, John! Very smart to limit it to invitations. Engagement is important in these groups!
Nice one, am in love with this. think i will give it a try right now.
Awesome, Emeka – I’m glad you enjoyed it and are trying it out.
What I’ve also done on Facebook to drive traffic to my page and website is to post in groups where my niche hangs out. Thanks for the new idea. I’m setting up my new group now.
Hey Annette – hope it goes over as well for you as it has for me!
Nice post! Facebook groups can really drive traffic if they are done right. I believe with the right amount of article posting with a mixture of giveaways or so can earn you some loyal followers. Hopefully I’ll try to utilize this tactic to build up my fan following. 🙂
Great post again!
Good luck Shaheryar!
Hi Sarah, great tips and guides. Just want to know how many increase on traffic did you get using Facebook group? 🙂
That would be almost impossible to measure, because it would depend on how much you promote to your FB group (I just post new articles to the group) and how big your FB group is, how engaged it is, etc. It’s less of a traffic tactic the way I see it and far more of a community/relationship building platform.
It really wonderful to see you write this content. Sure this is my first time of reading your content but I can only say, Great and well done.
It really a bad feeling to write and see no comment, no engagement, nothing but a cricket.
I am one of the victims and I really need to snap out of it but yet the pressure is on.
Facebook is truly a blessing as you said and we need to exploit this blessing and makes it work.
Thanks for the content and I hope to hear more from you.
Thanks for reading and commenting! Good luck with your blog 🙂
Thanks Sarah for share most important tutorial to receive traffic in personal blog, after using this technics my blog traffic is improving. Thanks Again.
Great article Sarah. When starting a new blog we’re all faced with the same dreaded fear that no one will come after we hit “publish.” Participating in online communities is a great way to find an audience.
great tips! another way use G + community for sharing your articles 🙂
I agree with you Sarah, facebook always get us a huge traffic. How about another social media such as twitter and google plus ?
If we re-share another people video or article, how to make it interesting enough ?
Good one, Very interesting post. I am planning out this one with twitter followers.
Thank you for sharing a informative information with us.
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Does joining a FB group with your facebook page is better or joining with your profile?