Free Groups—Powerful or Time Suck?

If you’re trying to build a business online, you’ve probably heard people talking about building Facebook groups as an endless source of new clients. You have even joined a few only to discover the logistics of participating in multiple groups every single day of the week. Well, don’t give up, because there is some truth to the idea that groups can be a powerful part of your business strategy, and I’m here to teach you my top three tips to leveraging your group without losing your mind.

Know Who You’re Spending Time With

The first important thing to remember is that you need a system, and you need to be able to keep track of everything you’re doing each week in groups. Not every group deserves your attention every single day. The truth is, not every group deserves your attention at all. Understand that you need to choose carefully. Look for groups that have a healthy balance, good engagement, and have a whole lot more conversations and dialogues than monologues going on. Size of the group isn’t as important as whether it’s engaging or not. If people are posting and getting answers from each other and getting answers from the organizers of the group, that’s much better than people posting and then not showing up till next week when it’s time to promote their own stuff again. So when you get into a group, look at who’s there, look at the conversations that are happening, think about if it’s a healthy group, and is it in your niche? If you sell products to new moms, and you join a group of moms who are about to become empty nesters, it’s probably not going to be your niche. No matter how wonderful of a reputation that you build in the group, it’s never going to serve you because it’s not the right market.

Cut the unhealthy groups right away. Get those out of your system and don’t feel bad about not participating in something that’s not serving you.

Get Organized

My second tip is to get organized. Create a spreadsheet to track your groups and to know what you can post where. Pay attention to which groups are healthy. If you’re in some of the groups that are posting a lot of promotions, you may notice that you’re not getting a lot of impact there. If you join groups that provide a sort of promotional opportunity once a week, that may be more helpful for you.  For example, you may consider joining a group that allows you to share your website and ask for feedback about it on Tuesdays. Healthy groups may be beneficial in other ways too. Let’s say every Thursday is “Ask the Expert” day and it’s a group run by someone who does web design. That Thursday sounds like a good time to get some help with your web design. If it’s not your area of specialty and the person running the group specializes in it, that’s a good way to get free or low cost help, or even to test out if that person is the right person for you to hire.

Get yourself organized. Think about what you’re going to say. Know each day that you’re going to pull up your list and follow what you’ve written.

Create a Schedule

The third thing you’re going to do is schedule your group time. You’re going to schedule your group times and you’re not going to worry about trying to be in there every 15 minutes. Once a day, pull up your spreadsheet, go over your groups and have the conversations that you need to have and then walk away. That’s it. If you’re in a lot of powerful groups that are really helping you, maybe make it an hour tops. Think about it: an hour a day for every day of the year—that’s a lot of time to invest in other people’s groups. So I would highly suggest keeping it to half an hour or less.

Also, think about what you’re going to say. Don’t schedule the same post at the same time across every group. Don’t post the same thing 10 times in 10 different groups. Mix it up a little bit. This is where your spreadsheet comes in handy. So if today, you’re going to post a question in the BOLD Women group that I sponsor, you don’t want to post the same question in 5 different groups of Christian women business owners. If you ask the question in my group today, then maybe tomorrow you ask it in another group instead of posting it there today. Then maybe on the day after, you post it in yet another group. You spread it out and give people a chance to answer. Do it purposefully. Be sure you’re asking questions that matter. Don’t add a lot of fluff to the group and make sure you’re not overly promoting yourself in the group—especially if it’s a non-promotional group.

Putting It All Together

Today’s action step is to remove any unhealthy groups or other groups that aren’t serving you. Get out of there and don’t hang out in there any longer. The second thing is to figure out what kind of organizational system will work for you and put it in place—a spreadsheet in Word, Trello, Evernote. Whatever you have to do. It could even be pen and paper, if that’s the system that works best for you. Find the system that works best for you and plan out your time in groups, what you will post, and make the schedule begin to work for you. Take a week to get organized, and then next week start using your schedule, thinking ahead of time and being intentional about what you’ll post in each group.

If you need more help building your business or need more help learning about positive things you can do or would like some advance training–including my list of top groups for female Christian entrepreneurs, join the Online Business Academy. It’s only $49 a month and you’ll have access to the courses already in there, and you’re going to get a new course each month. You’ll have an opportunity to participate in live training. You can go to AngelaJHerrington.com or click here and get the information on that course. I’ll see you in the OBA!