eCommerce Made Easy

Leveraging Facebook Groups for E-Commerce & Online Business Success

February 27, 2024 Carrie Saunders Episode 43
eCommerce Made Easy
Leveraging Facebook Groups for E-Commerce & Online Business Success
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Creating and managing a Facebook  Group may sound like a time sink with little reward, but did you know it can be one of the most effective ways to create community and brand loyalty? In this episode, we will be going over the benefits of using Facebook groups to grow your business and how to keep it manageable!
 
Whether you are wanting to use your Facebook Group more effectively or are just testing the waters, tune in to learn how to make Facebook Groups work for your business!

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Carrie:

Growing your online or e-commerce business using Facebook groups may sound at first like potentially just extra work for you, but did you know it could be one of the most effective ways to create community and brand loyalty. In this episode, we will be going over the benefits of using Facebook groups to grow your business and how to keep it manageable. Welcome to the e-commerce made easy podcast. I'm your host, Saunders. When we started this business, all I had was a couch, a laptop and a nine-month-old. My main goal To help others. Now, with over 20 years in the e-commerce building industry and even more than that in web development, I have seen a lot. I love breaking down the hard tech and to easily understandable bits to help others be successful in their online business. Whether you're a seasoned e-commerce veteran or just starting out, you've come to the right place. So sit back, relax and let's dive into the world of e-commerce together. Welcome back to the e-commerce made easy podcast. In a previous episode, interview with Tracy Beavers, we touched on the potential of Facebook groups helping you engage with your audience and grow your email list and customer base. In case you missed it, we will link to that episode in the show notes, but today we're going to continue with more tips in this episode, as well as how to make it simple for you to manage.

Carrie:

As I know, with online business owners and just business owners in general, we are super busy, right, and so we want to make sure it's something that we can manage and is effective. So Facebook groups can be a powerful tool for attracting customers to your business for several reasons, and we're going to go briefly over each reason. For one, you can grab your target audience in there. Facebook groups allow you to connect with a specific audience that is already interested in your niche or your industry. By joining or creating groups related to your business, you can engage directly with potential customers who are more likely to be interested in your products or services. For example, I'm in several different business Facebook groups and they each have a little bit different variety and flavor to them, and I really use it to help refine my messaging, especially as we're rebranding the business, because we've been in business for over 20 years, as most of you know. Thank you. It's a lot different now, in 2024, than it was in 2002 when I started this business. So being active and engaged in current communities is very helpful as a business owner, because we want to make sure we're up to date, right.

Carrie:

Also in these Facebook groups, you can potentially be promoting your business in there. So, while it's important not to be overly promotional in any group out there, you can still share relevant content, offers and announcements about your products and services in a subtle and non-intrusive manner. Some of these groups actually let you promote yourself on specific days and some let you promote any day, but of course, you do want to be reasonable and not be promoting every day. That gets a bit spammy, right. But if you're in there helping like we've talked on in several episodes this can really help raise awareness about you, your brand and your company and potentially attract customers. This is how we started our business, which was with online forums, and we just naturally attracted customers to us because we were helping out in there.

Carrie:

You can do similar in Facebook groups. It's also a great community building tool. It groups help foster a sense of community among members who share common interests and goals, and by actively participating in relevant groups relevant business groups, irrelevant groups in your area you can build relationships with potential customers and establish trust and position yourself as an authority in your field. We all want to be in a community and I find that, with my experience in social media over the past I don't even know how 10 or so more years Facebook groups is the one place I find over and over again that people will share and most share more personal things and I'm not talking about security, wise personal things but really share about their thoughts and their feelings and their preferences. They will more openly talk in a Facebook group than they would on a business page, for example. So it really does create a really good community there. Also, engagement groups provide a platform for meaningful interactions Excuse me with your target audience. You can ask questions, share valuable content and respond to comments and queries, which helps to keep members engaged and interested in your business.

Carrie:

So you, if you do create your own Facebook group, which we'll talk about a little bit later in this episode you don't want to post it and forget it. So you don't want to like just post and ghost. Really, you want to interact with anybody who has commented on any of your posts. Similarly, if you're either creating a post and another Facebook group that's not yours, or you're helping somebody and creating comments, if somebody replies to any of that, you're going to want to make sure you go back in and reply. It's just one, very polite. And two, it shows that you're engaged and really care and you're not just throwing stuff out there to be noticed. You're actually there to engage and to be helpful. And then also word of mouth marketing. So satisfied customers who are part of your Facebook groups in particular, may recommend your products and services to others within the group or just within their own social network, so maybe even outside of your group.

Carrie:

Positive word of mouth referrals can be highly effective in attracting new customers and building credibility for your business. This is one of the ways that we grew very early on was basically word of mouth, and it's a very, very powerful business tool. I know as a business owner myself, I like to promote and recommend other businesses that I find value in and that I enjoy. I feel like it's just a one way to give back, and many of us want to do that too. You know, if you're a female and you found your favorite, favorite pair of shoes, for example, you want to tell all your friends about it, right? Or if you're a guy and I'm just talking generalities here, like typical here, because honestly, I wouldn't want the shoes, I wouldn't want the tools. So if you're a guy, or if you're like me and love tools, then and you have your favorite tool and it's really neat You'd want to tell all your friends about it too. So referral word of mouth referral is just so perfect for getting your name out there too. And then if we want to get a little bit deeper into what Facebook itself can do for you from a statistic standpoint is Facebook groups offer valuable opportunities to gather feedback from customers and gain insights to their needs, preferences and pain points.

Carrie:

This feedback can help inform your product development, marketing strategies and overall business decisions. I know for us I had this free Google Analytics, for course, to help people with a transition from universal analytics to Google Analytics for and it was great and people really liked it and really needed it. Well, I was wanting to revamp it in the fall 2023. I was realizing, looking in all these groups, that people were asking about Google Analytics for anymore. They just want a general search engine optimization help. So I created a free course on that. You can find the links on our website and our show notes if you need that. But what being in these groups helped me realize is that I didn't want to target the Google Analytics for anymore. I wanted to target in general search engine optimization. So I got some really good feedback from being in in these other business Facebook groups Also, facebook provides tools and analytics that help you track the performance of your posts and interactions within the groups, and this is very key here.

Carrie:

This data can help you understand what contents resonate most with your audience and you can then use it to refine your marketing strategies even more based upon that. So not only make sure that you are posting regularly in other groups or in your own group, but then take some time, maybe once a week, to review. You know, take 15-20 minutes, set a time or don't get too far down in the weeds, but try to find those trends. You know what are people more commenting on, what are they querying about, what are they curious about, and that's going to really help you with your marketing and your sales. All right. So also, last but not least, on as far as the topic is how this can benefit you, is its cost-effective marketing. So you can just use what I just told you in this pre the little previous segment for this and use it to then further your marketing efforts.

Carrie:

Otherwise, and compared to traditional marketing advertising methods. Leveraging Facebook groups for marketing purposes can be relatively low cost. It's going to cost your time, or maybe one of your employees time, and as long as you bound that time to what you can afford time wise none is pretty effective and it doesn't cost you a whole lot. So obviously it requires some time and effort to actually engage with group members, but the potential return on investment in terms of customer acquisition and retention can be very significant. I know I've met some of my best business friends this past year as I started to get engaged in these business groups, and some of them, honestly, I feel like we're like best friends and we've known each other forever. That's just kind of how we have the synergy and really sync with each other. So one is great as a business owner to not feel alone in running a business. But two, I'm also seeing potential customers too in these groups and being able to really understand their current needs and the current market better, and it's really helping me as a business owner from that perspective as well. Okay, so that was a brief overview of all the reasons you may consider doing your own Facebook group or at least picking a few to actually participate in, or potentially both.

Carrie:

So how do we keep it from being a black hole of time? Because, as we all know, social media can definitely be a black hole of time if we are not conscious about it. So, first off, if you're new to having a Facebook group and you want to make one, first start small, and I really mean that start small. Pick which days of the week you plan to post. This could be one time a week, it could be two or three times a week. Don't overwhelm yourself and feel like you need to post every single day when you're first starting your Facebook group. I know I didn't when I first started our Facebook group and I'm still not, as of this recording, posting every single day.

Carrie:

Yet in there I'm building up to it. I'm, you know, I create all this content with the podcast and we create content with a blog post and things like that. So we can repurpose all this content, like I've talked about in previous episodes too, and I can repurpose it for my Facebook group. So this is one thing that we're working on building even more momentum in our Facebook group and posting more than once more than posting daily, I should say, and then I want to go to more than once a day, too, and then as you grow, like I'm just talking about already, I do recommend you post daily. Facebook only shows a very small fraction of what is actually out there to different users, so the more you post, the more likely your post one of your posts is going to get seen by potential clients. So once you get in the rhythm and are posting daily, I could really actually recommend you posting, if possible, up to three times a day in your Facebook group.

Carrie:

I like to do morning, afternoon and evening in one of my other Facebook groups. That's been established for gosh almost eight years now. It's my side gig business that I do for fun, and I find that when I post three times a day, I really keep that momentum and the engagement up. Now, one of the things you can do, though, to make this not overwhelming is utilize tools that already exist in Facebook. Facebook has a Facebook schedule, and you can schedule your posts in groups, in case you didn't know that. So one thing I like to do, especially in my side hustle business that I do that I'm now trying to transition my knowledge I've generated from that the past almost eight years into my main business is I will batch schedule posts and that's, and when you think about that, try not to think of it as being in personal. What you want to think about it as a business owner.

Carrie:

And something I had to really think about as a business owner for this side hustle business was that I am planning ahead. I'm planning my content ahead to serve the people that I have around me. I did it to entertain them, I did it to them form them of new products coming out, and we generally have a lot of fun and for me, if I'm scheduling these posts out, then I'm not worrying daily what I'm going to post and what I could do instead is go in daily and interact and have conversations and make it be a community. So don't feel like you're cheating by scheduling your posts. There's absolutely nothing wrong with that and in fact, it's probably going to create a better, more engaged community if you do plan ahead, because then you can think about what you're doing right and then you can have the time to interact.

Carrie:

It's very important to be interacting right and whenever you do post in your groups, make sure you're creating posts of varying types. Facebook likes us to use all the different ways they have to create posts, so you want some of them to be photo posts. You want some of them to be text-only posts. Some people think text-only posts are dead and they actually aren't. You may want some of them to be reels, live videos, if you are to that point where you're comfortable doing live videos, or even recorded videos, etc. Now you can schedule all of those except for the live videos. You would need to use a software to schedule live videos if you wanted to do that. But having the different variety of posts not only gives people with different learning skills a different way to consume your content, but it also pleases Facebook and you're going to get a lot more engagement, and so Facebook does reward you for doing all these types.

Carrie:

So another thing that you can do in your Facebook groups is to plan out daily themes. You want to be entertaining, engaging and educating your consumers, and you want to do this across a variety of different posts, and you can help yourself do this by doing themes. So I like to, for example, my Facebook group do motivational Monday posts. Every Monday, I put up a motivational quote or something motivating to help us start off our week right. I find mindset is key, as I'm sure many of you know it's very important to our success and our personal lives and in our business. So I like to set the week off with a motivational Monday post. Now some other examples you could do, depending upon your target audience. You could do tell a Tuesday we're going to probably be starting up a Tech Tuesday because it's more appropriate for our audience.

Carrie:

I like to do a wacky Wednesday in my side hustle group. The ladies in there always have fun, always have a wacky fun game. Or you can do win Wednesday. If you're a bit more of a business side and I'm still trying to decide in our Facebook group, I might do a wacky Wednesday because, honestly, I'd love to have fun and I feel like we should have fun in our business. So I might find some fun entertaining wacky Wednesday posts for our Facebook groups that are still relevant to what we're doing. Another idea is throwback Thursdays Some people like to do that and fun Fridays, and then you can pick whatever you want to do on Saturdays, sunday, so you can really make any day of the week a theme that relates to what you do or and it also helps create engagement is what I really want to say there. You can use Google or chat GPD to give you some ideas and to create some themes around it. Some people find doing these themes really helps them stay focused per day. And then your consumers know what to expect. They know on Mondays they're going to get a motivational quote and they actually might go in their group to go find that motivational quote in case it doesn't show up in their Facebook feed, right. Or maybe they love to have some fun and they want to participate in your wacky Wednesday, so they always show up for your wacky Wednesday if you decide to do one of those. So having a set theme and regularity to what types of posts you're posting can also help the engagement and the happiness of your Facebook group.

Carrie:

And one thing to remember is that your customers really want to talk about themselves, so you need to make sure you're providing opportunity for them to do that. So every time you post, ask a question, and the simpler the question the better. What's your favorite color? That might not be appropriate for your niche or your customer base, but for some of you it would be. What's your favorite color? That's a super simple, easy question to ask and answer. Right People are going to say it. I would say purple, and then my second favorite color is blue. If you're a tech company like us, you could be like what's your favorite tech hack or what's your favorite app that you like to use on your phone? You know, think about questions that are engaging, that aren't directly necessarily related to your business.

Carrie:

On the motivational Monday, sometimes I like to ask a question about the motivational quote. You know whether it resonated with them or what other types of quotes I mean the, what other types of quotes, a little bit more complicated question to answer. So you do want to limit, like I'm saying, those more complicated answers. You want a bit more simple, but it is something you can ask. But always have your posts, have a question. That's going to encourage people to engage with you, because then they won't feel like they're being talked at, they feel like they're being talked to and with and they will be more likely to respond and give you feedback back to you. And the more you get your members talking, the more other group members will see your posts, and so then you also get to know your customers better with their answers to, and it's kind of like a sick little thing as soon as you can start getting some people commenting and posting in your group, more people are going to see your posts, more people are going to comment and it's just this wonderful big snowball effect that the snowball is running down the hill and getting more snow and getting bigger and bigger and bigger. So the more you ask questions, especially the simple ones, the more you're going to get engagement, the more other people are going to see it and engage and it just keeps going on and it's great.

Carrie:

And we have our own Facebook group, just so you know, and, as I've already alluded to a little bit in this episode where I break down the tech, we have entrepreneurs of all types in there. I do let you promote in my group anytime too. I regularly am going live to answer any technical questions the community has and we have a lot of fun in there. I want this to be a group where we're just having tons of fun and learning and it's very valuable. I don't want a group just to have a group. So if you would like to join it before we keep going on our episode, it's ecommercemadeeasypodcastcom forward slash Facebook and that should redirect you to my Facebook group. So just go ahead and go to ecommercemadeeasypodcastcom forward slash Facebook to join our Facebook group. Ok. So let's back up a little bit. Let's say you're not ready to create your own Facebook group yet, and there's nothing, absolutely nothing wrong with that. I didn't create our business Facebook group for BCC, obviously, right away. I just created it at the end of 2023.

Carrie:

So what you can do instead is you can search for groups where you think your ideal clients will be hanging out. Make sure you read and follow the rules and the directions that are in that group. Some of them let you promote on certain days, as I've talked about a little bit earlier in this episode. Some will let you promote any day I'm letting people promote any day in my group and some don't let you promote at all. Even if it's a group that doesn't let you promote at all, you can still comment on people's other questions and give answers and help them, and that's a way to do a soft promotion. So don't think that those aren't valuable as well, because sometimes those are. So your interaction and your engagement in the group will get your name out either way and it's going to create curiosity around you and your potential clients will likely look at your Facebook profile or look you up in general. So getting your name out there. Helping and really interacting in these groups is a great way to organically grow your reach in your audience.

Carrie:

It's obviously not going to be a quick fix. That's not what this is. This is a long term strategy here and it will build a ton of momentum once you get it going. Now I do recommend setting a timer or setting aside a specific time that you do this, because you don't want to get sucked in and spend all day in Facebook groups. Obviously, we need to be running our business too, right, but a power half an hour or a power hour of this a day, or maybe if three days a week, you know, you know what you have time for, and start that up and make it something. It's make it part of your routine. So, even if it's soft marketing, like I'm talking about in here, it's going to have long term benefits and if you're able to handle both having your own Facebook group and participating in other Facebook groups, the new reach will magnify even more and a lot faster. So keep that in mind.

Carrie:

Obviously, I don't want to overwhelm you. I want you to take this slow and do what you can at first. Pick one if you have. If you're not doing any of it. Pick one Facebook, your own Facebook group or find two or three really high quality Facebook groups and post in those and then, as you have more time and ability, start adding the other one in and work on both, and that's going to really help propel you All right.

Carrie:

So that's all I have for this week's episode of the eCommerce made easy podcast. I hope you learned a lot about Facebook groups and how to utilize them to grow your business. Be sure to visit our show notes at eCommerce made easy podcastcom. If you're watching this on the YouTube channel, make sure you hit that subscribe button and if you're listening on the podcast, hit that follow button wherever you're listening. If you're listening to this and you found value in today's episode or any of our other episodes on the eCommerce made easy podcast, we want to hear from you. What other content do you want to hear on our show? Drop us an email at podcast at bcsengineeringcom, or leave us a review. Thank you again for listening and we will see you next week.

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