How To Start and Grow a Facebook Group for Your Business
You know the feeling you get when you think about everything you want to create and achieve with your business? That oh-my-god-I-want-it-all feeling?
That I-freakin'-LOVE-my-business feeling?
That I'm-going-to-be-OPRAH-rich feeling?
But then when you sit down and try to figure out HOW you're going to make your dreams happen you start to slightly panic inside because you think “oh crap, how am I actually going to do this?”.
And so you get a little anxious…
Your mind starts swirling with all the “what ifs”…
And you start to second guess your dreams?
I get it.
We've been there.
And we know what it's like to beat your head against a wall trying to figure out the “how” of it all.
In fact, for the first two years of running the Screw we pretty much did it all wrong.
We assumed we knew what our audience wanted.
We assumed we had it all figured out.
And we assumed that just because we created this brand we were proud of that obviously people would opt-in, pay attention to what we were saying and buy whatever we created.
Like, not even close.
So we struggled.
Have you ever experienced that with your business?
It sucks, right?
Trust me, you're not alone.
Melissa Ramos, from SexyFoodTherapy.com experienced the same thing…for years and years and YEARS!
It wasn't until she decided to create a community around her brand that things started to click for her.
So how did she do it?
She created a Facebook group for her business.
And like us, it has completely changed her business.
From growing her list, to getting to know her audience on a deeper level, to building a tight-knit relationship with her members, to using her community to launch, not one but TWO stupid-successful programs (to the tune of $65,000!!), this group has transformed her brand.
Want to know how she structures her group, how she's built it and exactly how she's used it to make $65,000 in less than 6 months of opening it?
Click play, baby.
**Note: Okay, so here's the thing…
The video is a liiiiittle choppy *shakes fist at the internet* so to help you get the most out of it, I've transcribed it below the video and summarized all the big takeaways that will help you create a wildly-popular Facebook group for business.**
J: Take a quick minute and introduce yourself
M: So, my name is Melissa Ramos, I'm a nutritionist with a background in Chinese medicine.
I’m also the owner of Sexy Food Therapy which helps people feel sexy from the inside out, and poop and hormones are my jam!
J: I’ve known you since the early days of Sexy Food Therapy. So tell me, what was your business like before you started your group?
M: My business was doing well…and I always had in my mind “yeah yeah yeah I know my people, like I know my people. I don’t need to survey, I don’t need any other staff, I know my people, I know what they want..”
And it was interesting because I got to a point where things just plateaued and it was really frustrating—and I think you remember—because no matter what I did, nothing was paying off.
So that’s kind where I was before and then when I implemented the Facebook group, it literally gave me a whole new sense of connection with them to really sort of hone in what the issues were….
And the issue at that point was that my programs (that I had at that time) were cannibalising on themselves, which meant people weren't purchasing them.
Instead, they would say things like “Oh! I went to this program but i'm not done with this program”.
And I think I was just in a big state of disconnect.
J: So how many members do you have inside the group now?
M: Ahhh I think it’s around 2,800 right now.
J: And what’s funny about that is you really grown that quite quickly! When did you start your group?
M: Oh my god, not even a year ago. Probably around June? Not even six months!
Jill: That’s so good! And I remember you tossing around the idea of a Facebook group for business so what pushed you to actually start one?
M: Well, I ended up starting one because I had plateaued.
I needed clarification.
And I thought “okay fine I’ll give this whole idea that I need to connect with them (my audience) more, even though I think I know them.”
That was a huge smack in the face because I didn’t really know them.
And I realized that it’s so important for me to feel connected to them.
“I’m not running a Facebook group to make a buck. I’m doing it because I actually give a shit about these people.”
Being able to create a sisterhood…which is what my group really advocates.
And there is definitely a sisterhood tribe, not only just with me and them, but with them and each other which never actually happened before…and now there’s that massive opportunity for them to bond together.
J: Well I think you hit on such a good point there—the community. It’s not just about you and Sexy Food Therapy.
It’s got this whole community ‘family’ feeling to it…
And this is something you and I talk about, and you know I’m a HUGE believer in community.
I really think it’s EVERYTHING!
And you’ve done a really great job at fostering that community, so let’s break down…
How do you structure your group?
Do you host themed days? Basically, how do you run your group?
M: Yeah, I host theme days.
I have Monday Motivation, Tasty Tuesdays—which works excellently for my group because it’s all about food. So they are there posting, you know, recipe photos and others will ask for the recipe.
Then, like yourself, I have Win Wednesdays, I’ have a Thursday Follow Love Fest, I’ve got Feel Good Fridays and Saturday Sweat where people post their photos of some, like big hike they just did, or the bike ride they went on or playing with their kids in their backyard, and I think it really does promote and advocate health with other members
And it just really helps with engagement!
J: And why do you think automated themed posts work so well?
M: I think the number one thing is really it just keeps the feed fresh, otherwise it can die out.
Like, it’s the engagement factor that I really want and that community feel to the group where they are all chatting with one another, because like I said, it’s not just about posting and me replying.
It’s also about other members seeing what they’re doing and encouraging them along.
J: I think you really nailed that. Because, if you think about it, these people are experiencing big wins, like busting through a health plateau, or in our case, they’ll have a big win in their business, or their first sale or their first launch and they wanna share that.
M: Yeah, and people around them might not get it.
I know, specifically in health, you know, you’ll go to a party and you will have just started a new health regime…
It’s really hard to find other people around your family or friends who really get it.
And so they might be like “ohhh are you into all that healthy stuff?”. And I’m like, fuck, when did being “healthy” become a foreign word?
So, you know, at least these women can share their struggles with the group and they feel like it’s a safe place.
Because health is something, at least in my group, is something where you need to feel safe to talk about REALLY personal, private health issues that you otherwise wouldn’t feel comfortable doing.
And that’s one of the biggest reasons why I started it…because they’re not going to post that stuff on my fan page if it has 50,000 people following it.
Everyone else will see it.
J: I think that’s a great point, because I really think the privacy is a huge part of the lure with these Facebook groups.
It’s essentially fostering a supportive and safe place where someone can really unleash what they’ve been thinking or feeling or experiencing in their life.
And just like you said with health issues, on our end with building a business…that really changes your life fundamentally.
And a lot of people (sometimes family and friends) really push back against that sort of stuff.
And so you feel lonely or like no one gets it.
Whereas when you really focus on building a community that’s a safe spot, people feel supported.
They feel like they’re surrounded by a bunch of cheerleaders who are shouting “don’t worry about them, keep going” and I think that is so HUGE if you can build that support network around your brand…
Because people will associate your brand with that.
They’ll think “this is where I come if I need a kick in the ass” or “this is where I come if I need to be picked up”, you know what I mean?
Like, it’s SO huge to have that behind your business.
I really believe that.
It will help take your business to the next level when you have that kind of community pushing it forward for you.
M: Oh, for sure! Because it’s…they’re the ones that are really building things up as much as possible.
Like, it’s not just me.
So it helps.
J: Alright, so how did you build your group?
M: I do several things…
My blog posts all have links within them pointing to the group.
I also do a lot of media work here in Canada, so I’m on a national show that’s called The Social, I did run Facebook ads to it before, doing other people’s podcasts really helps, and of course guest posting.
J: This is great because there are so many different ways to build your group.
I mean, you have this media platform that not everyone has, so there’s a few things we do that people can steal to build up their group.
For example, we have a button on our main navigation bar that immediately redirects to our Facebook group the minute someone clicks it, and that’s been huge for us.
You can also add an image and call to action in your sidebar that prompts people to click and join your group.
You can add it to your calls to action in your content.
We also have it in our Indoctrination email (which is just a welcome email) when someone joins our list…it’s, like, the second thing we tell them to do in that email.
You can push it in all of your social profile bios…
Like, I push it anywhere I can.
I pimp it hard.
But let’s go back to engagement…
So once you get them in there, how do you start to build engagement when people are new to your group? How do you get that first initial interaction?
M: Well, I have a “Welcome” thread that is pinned to the top of the group and in it I ask people to comment with where they are from, what their name is, and what their biggest health struggle is.
And I find a lot of people use that, so that helps quite a bit.
The other thing I do is I’ll post random questions in the group if I see any sort of drop-off…
I also think that’s a big thing…
You can’t just leave your group and not pay attention to it.
You actually need to listen to people and be there.
J: Totally and you need to show up and be consistent with it.
I’m so glad you mention that because I just see many people group owners who are like “okay, cool, people are joining…my job here is done”, but really that is just the beginning.
M: Yeah, I now have 3 touch points that I stick to throughout the day.
Some days it’s two, but I like to commit to a certain amount of time in the group 2-3 times a day.
And while I go through and comment, I also just listen.
That is a really big thing.
Because when you listen you can find out exactly what they want and need.
Another thing I was doing for a while which really helped with fostering engagement was I used to shoot Happy Birthday video messages.
Now it’s gotten a bit too big to do that, but in the beginning I think doing stuff like that is so huge for your community.
Finally, another thing I’ve noticed is that with Facebook groups, I really believe it’s more about quality than quantity.
Because think about it…
You can have 3,000 people, but if they aren’t engaging then who cares?
J: Yeah, I’d so much rather have 1,000 super highly engaged people in our group who give a shit, versus 10,000 who are, like, “meh, it’s okay” and don’t really care or participate and then leave your group.
So many people focus on the numbers, because it’s a vanity thing.
But if you have 10,000 members and it’s a ghost town, then what’s the point?
It’s not even gonna have an effect on your business.
And let’s keep it real, if you’re going to create a community around your business then there has to be a purpose to it, right?
I mean, you need to use it to actually grow your business.
M: Totally. So, I like to post a bunch of freebies in my group, but some of those freebies do require someone to opt-in to get them.
Fortunately, I’ve never had a single complaint
J: Of course! You’re doing it to build your business, so it’s gotta be done with a purpose because you’re not there to just away your time for free all day, errrr’yday.
You still need to keep your priorities in mind.
So now that you’ve mentioned you like to use the group to build your list, let’s talk about the success you’ve created. Because you have had some HUGE success in your business as a result of that group.
So let’s chat about that…because I would assume some people might be thinking “okay, yes, I can start a group and build a community…but what about making money?”…
After all, if your business isn’t making money, you don’t have a business. You have a hobby.
So let’s talk about money…
You used your group to have a wildly-successful $30,000 launch, right?
M: Yep! Well, the Number 2 Plan launch did $25,000 and my most recent one is at $35,000 so far, and the majority of that was in two days.
J: So that’s $60,000 and you opened your group less than a year ago!
Like, THAT is what’s possible when you really commit to doing this properly….
When you foster that engagement and that community, but do it with a purpose behind it and get your brand out there in a big way.
So let’s talk about how you did that because one of them you created a new product-specific group, right?
Let’s break that down.
M: Yeah, so I had this idea where I thought “let me open up a free (for a limited time only) Facebook group specifically for the Number 2 Plan” and what I did was I posted to my fan page saying “hey guys, would you be interested if I opened up a private digestive group?”
And my fans were all about it…so I opened it up, and I specifically put in the FB cover image that the group would only be available until this date of the product launch.
I also put that in the welcome thread that I pinned as well.
Plus, I kept mentioning it because I didn’t want to piss people off when the product launched and they all got booted out if they didn’t buy.
So I wanted to make sure I told them the deal from the get-go. Like, this is how it is going to go down and, not only that, but I did this probably about a month and a half before the product launched.
So, those members got my time and my free advice for a month and a half before I launched.
Do I feel guilty for removing them if they didn’t pay? Fuck no!
If they didn’t want to pay, that’s fine, they got that six weeks with me.
But after that, you have to pay.
Plus, like I said, they got my time and loads of freebies because I wanted to get them jazzed about it.
So I did that in the lead up to the launch and then had the launch stretch out for over a week with certain discounts on certain days, and then on the day before and the day of the cart closing I said in the group “the group will be closing”.
And what was cool is because I’m so big on creating a sisterhood within my groups, I had people running to purchase so they wouldn’t be kicked out of the group…because they didn’t want to lose that community.
“I had people running to purchase…because they didn't want to lose that community”
Which is interesting because they are getting all this free advice and content, and they start to bond with people and they start to see the real value in it, and then they think “shit, this is going to end?”
They don’t want to lose it.
It’s the only place they can talk about their health issues in private.
J: So you did the same thing with Sexy Lady Balls then?
M: Yeah, so for Sexy Lady Balls Group which is my hormone group…I’ve done about $35,000 so far for that, with around $17,000 of that being recurring monthly income.
J: Ummmm, $17,000/month is nothing to complain about! That’s a great start to your membership.
M: Yeah my target was 150 people and I’ve almost got 500 now.
So again, in that group people are running to purchase and that’s what happens when you create these limited time Facebook groups.
They don’t want them to end.
J: So these product-specific groups have become a baked-in strategy for your launches then.
So you have your main community, and then you fracture off your group into the specific interests, or pain points and then go balls-to-the-walls for four to six weeks out to really amp it all up, get that energy going, keep reminding them that the launch is coming up and the group will be shutting down and if you don’t purchase you will be removed.
It’s huge incentive and it’s so smart.
M: Yeah so to give you an idea of the numbers, Sexy Lady Balls had 1,900 people in the group and nearly 500 of them so far have purchased.
That’s a sick conversion rate.
J: That’s more than 25% conversion rate!!
And what’s so cool about this is, like I said, it’s only been six months since you created this group and it has completely transformed your business.
M: Yeah. I doubled my income and flew passed my financial goal.
J: That’s so wicked. So let’s start to wrap this up. What is one of your favourite things about running your Facebook group?
M: Honestly, I really feel that, again, it’s going back to connect with these people.
At the end of the day, I think that we have to remember that to be successful in business, you have to connect with the people you serve.
I interviewed Deepak Chopra and at the end he said to me that the biggest thing about business is not the members, it’s the relationships.
And that’s really it.
Like, these people are not just members, these are people who are suffering.
There are people who need to be heard.
And at the end of the day, you have to genuinely care. So I think that is the biggest part of these Facebook groups—the opportunity to get closer with them and build that relationship.
J: I’m glad you mentioned that because I feel like there is just a certain kind of magic that happens when you build a community.
And it’s obvious that Facebook groups are a great vehicle for that, because you can really get that kind of engagement from just an email list.
I mean, people can’t respond to each other, and I believe that a lot of people are starting to get a little guarded with their inbox.
The minute they seem an email show up they’re kinda like “ok now what?”, you know what I mean?
Whereas everyone is pretty much on Facebook…it’s just where a lot of them hangout.
So you’re just going and meeting them where they already are and saying, like, “let’s hang!”.
It’s such a powerful strategy.
Don’t even get me started on polls.
Do you poll in your group?
M: Yes, I run polls within the group and I have also used Typeform.
You need to survey your people to ask what it is they want, otherwise you’re just going to be guessing at it which is what I did in the beginning.
And then you’re gonna feel sad when you realize it isn’t panning out the way you expected it to.
J: Yeah we poll the group for pretty much everything.
I use it to ask people what strategies they want to learn, what content they want us to create…and we’ve used that insight to create our podcast topics, as inspiration for our funnels, we’ve used it for our products…I mean, it’s invaluable.
Alright, so let’s start to wrap it up…for real this time. What would you tell someone who is thinking of starting up a Facebook group?
What would be your biggest tip?
M: Just do it.
Stop thinking about it and just do it.
And not just that, but figure out what is the purpose of your group and what are you going to offer your members?
What I mean is…what are the objectives of the group?
Because if you just go in and try to wing it, you’re not really going to know what to do and you’ll probably get frustrated and want to give up.
So give the group a purpose, set a plan for how you want to run it and keep refining it.
J: Thank you so much for hanging out with me and talking about all things Facebook groups, because you know how I feel about them!
Where can people join your group if they want to start feeling sexy from the inside out and deal with some of their health issues?
M: Go to SexyFoodTherapyCommunity.com and you can check it all out and meet the members.
J: Awesome! Thanks so much for chillin’ with us and again, huge congrats on your launch!