There’s a simple reason—groups are the only Facebook vehicle that automatically shares every post with every member. When you consider that everywhere else in Facebook, organic reach has plummeted, that leaves Facebook Groups the center of marketing attention, as well as the center of activity.
But along with Facebook users catching onto the fact that Facebook Groups are the only vehicle for making sure your posts are seen by all “friends” (i.e. Group members), Facebook itself has realized this, too. You can no longer just blithely start a Group and expect it to build your following and generate leads all on its own: You need to give your Group a little informed and structured help.
This seven-step tutorial will help you bypass Facebook pitfalls and increase your leads and sales without losing your Group members.
Step One: Understanding Facebook Group Psychology, Culture and Current Structure
People on Facebook are there primarily for entertainment. That’s why posts blatantly marketing something produce only two major reactions:
• Irritation and hostility
• “Blindness” (tuning the offending post out)
For people to react positively to an ad or boosted post, it has to be so much on target that the person reading it feels it was put there just for them at that moment. In other words, it must give them something they want more than anything else.
If an ad or boosted post can do this, it has done the impossible and slipped past the barrier of “entertainment mentality.”
Think of your favorite television shows: How many ads do you tune out? Which ones make you sit up and take notice? And of the latter, how many do you actively take action on—and which do you immediately forget, once your show returns?
For example, if you are sixty years old and have no children or grandchildren and it’s August, an ad for a Tinselwings Fairy doll won’t even register with you—in fact, you’ve probably used the ad time to run to the other room for a snack.
If you’re a grandma, however, and your granddaughter, Jacquelyn, has been talking about nothing but Tinselwings Fairy dolls for weeks (and Christmas is coming up), you will watch the ad with interest.
But the ad creator has to kick it up a notch, to make you take action and buy that doll from the particular chain store commissioning it.
He lets you know that for three days only, that particular chain store is selling Tinselwings Fairy dolls for thirty per cent off—and that includes the “Princess with Dragon” kit your granddaughter has been begging for. You are immediately most likely to (a) note the dates the doll will be on sale (b) get yourself to that store early on the first day, to make sure you pick up the exact doll set that little Jacquelyn has been prattling about, non-stop, for weeks.
Marketing on Facebook is much the same, as we’ll see.
People who join Facebook Groups are not just there for the entertainment, however: They are there because of a shared emotional connection. They wish for a closer and more focused connection over this topic—a connection not appropriate for their general feed. They want an atmosphere of acceptance and trust, one where they can let their hair down, be themselves, and speak freely—often on a deeply personal level. (If the level is not personal, then it is usually a deeply obsessive level.)
These Facebook Groups all have something in common: They are special interest groups.
What the actual “interest” is for each group dramatically informs and changes the culture for that particular group.
• A Group for parents who have lost a child is deeply personal.
Members want the comfort and support of others who have survived the same life-changing experience. As they process their new reality and find some resolution and a degree of acceptance, there is often a strong motivation become mentors to new group members who are still going through the first shell-shocked reactions to grief.
• A Group who wants to market their first Kindle book is not deeply personal, though deeper personal connections than in the general Facebook feed are often made within the safe environs of the Group.
These members want to network, solicit reviews from each other, get questions answered, share tips, give feedback and ultimately celebrate each other’s successes (though let’s not kid ourselves: Each member’s own success is top of their lists!)
Guess which of these two Group types would be more amenable to receiving marketing messages, if these messages were targeted?
That’s right: The one whose focus is making a sale (of their books) and marketing these books.
Does this mean you can never present a product or service to the Grief Group?
No, of course not. But it does mean that you have to be incredibly sensitive and less blatant about it; and that the opportunities are limited.
You also have to craft your pitch differently:
• A Kindle Group member can happily post: “Hey, my book is finally on sale at Amazon! Please check it out and buy it if you think it looks like your cuppa tea.” and include the URL.
That’s a straightforward sales solicitation and because group culture allows it, no one in that particular Facebook Group is going to feel the least offended. In fact most members will automatically stop to read the title, to see if indeed it would be a topic they are interested in.
• A Grief Group member might post something like, “Just wanted to let everyone know that Marlene is holding a webinar to discuss ‘Your Child’s Death: Dealing with the Guilt’ on Saturday, February 15th at 2:00 p.m. It’s free.”
Here, the emphasis is on helping. Group members might or might not be ready to deal with the guilt that bereaved parents often find themselves feeling. But they are also more likely to be insulted and suspicious, even outraged, should “Marlene” charge money for this webinar, since the Group is seen as a place of comfort, help and healing.
There is no one “right” way to market to members of a Facebook Group. What is perfect or acceptable for one Group would be considered crass or a complete betrayal by a different Group.
Before monetizing anything in your Group feed (or for it), you first need to make sure you first completely understand the psychology and culture of the Facebook Group you belong to—or run.
Group psychology – How each group member feels
Group culture – How each group members processes information
You don’t have to hold a psychology degree to get into the Group “head space”. Simply look back through all posts and take note of the following:
• What type of monetization annoys members into complaining?
• What type of monetization or lead generation posts do they enthusiastically share?
In addition, you also need to:
• Familiarize yourself with the currently available Facebook Group marketing methods
• Make sure these methods or tactics are not in violation of Facebook’s Guidelines
• Select only those methods or tactics that would not emotionally violate your particular Group’s focus, psychology and culture
It’s also important to remember that people will not share posts that they, themselves, find offensive, lame, sales-y or pushy (unless that post is from their best friend or from a close relative—and even then, they are doing it under duress and they are unlikely to post a positive, heartfelt message with the Share).
People want to share posts that important people in their lives (or Facebook Groups):
• Will find interesting, entertaining, useful or exciting
• Will be able to appreciate in relation to the Group’s main topic of discussion
• Will thank the poster for sharing
And there is one more entity you need to take into account: Facebook itself.
Facebook wants to make maximum money off its members. Help them do this, and you’ve given yourself yet another edge: Hinder them, and your Group is liable to find itself banned. In other words—don’t get in Facebook’s way.
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