As 2016 comes to an end and 2017 starts I'm starting to look at other ways I could utilise my podcast and one of the ways I want to do that is start talking about more topics that support women in business. I'm interested in many things from social media to business set up to helping women in business to fitness and nutrition to finding new apps and technologies to finding a work/life balance. I'm a very curious person and love connecting and reaching out to people to find out what there story is. I'm in the middle of brainstorming new ideas for 2017 so I can really make a go of 2017 and reach some key objectives. I've already set one goal and that is to walk around 150km of the Camino in March 2017 so I've started training for that! Can't wait! :) Earlier this year I walked 100km across the desert. So going forward my podcast will start to change and start to focus on conversations with people that can support women in business. My focus will be on talking to people from this region as we have so much great talent now in the Middle East I think they have a lot to offer. So if you have any suggestions, topic ideas or people you think I should have on the podcast then do let me know..... so on with today podcast.
In The Beginning
I remember when I started my first Facebook Group back in 2010. I couldn't decide if I should have done a group or a Fan Page. I remember researching trying to change my group to a fan page and couldn't do it unless I started again! anyway... 6.5 years on I'm glad I didn't. That group I created called 'Muscat - Where can I find' (MWCIF) is now over 44,000 members big and its purpose is to help people find what they are looking for in Muscat. Simple! Since then that group concept has been replicated in a number of cities and probably by members in cities I don't even know about.
I love Facebook Groups. I think they are just great spaces to build relationships, find answers, share with a community and feel connected. I'm part of many Facebook Groups myself and they too have helped me learn, grow, test and discover so much new stuff I may have not have found. I love it when I find someone who has asked a similar question - it reminds me that I'm not alone.
Facebook groups can support your business objectives and can be the right choice for your business. They are open spaces and I believe today they can create more traction than what Facebook Fan pages can because your audience choose you and identify with your key group objectives as something that could benefit them. We all know our organic reach of our Facebook posts are really low and if we want traction we need to pay for Facebook Ads that help generate leads or sales. This is where I think the power of Facebook Groups could come in useful for your business and maybe save you some money along the way too. So here are my 5 ways Facebook Groups can support your business objectives.
Networking and Relationship Building
Networking and Connecting support our brand awareness objectives and Facebook Groups are great spaces to do that. I know that connecting and reaching our audience is really tough these days. We are all so busy and our messages don't always reach our clients or prospects so this is where a Facebook Group would be a great safe space to share, connect and build relationships with people you know you can help. The key to any new business is building those relationship and networking your space to see where you can help. People buy from people they know and trust aswell as the research they've done first to explore the buying options. In a Facebook Group you can share questions, quotes, images, video, queries, ideas all as ways to generate that engagement and build relationships with new prospects or enhance existing client relations. In that space you don't sell to them, you share your knowledge or other people's wisdom that you know your group will benefit from. Through my own groups and through groups I'm part of, I've connected with so many amazing people that I would have never discovered if it wasn't for that group.
When someone posts in your group or comments in groups you are in you get a notification message in your news feed thus driving traffic to your group. In my opinion, Facebook Group do better with organic reach than fan pages. My MWCIF Fan Page has over 5700 likes but my group has over 44,000 members. I'd love it if people liked the fan page too when they join the group but really people will not bother. Its the group they want, not the fan page and they want to get on with asking or finding what it is they want. However, don't discount Facebook Fan Page they are still an enormously powerful marketing resources to use. I always promote my podcasts on the Learning Curve Fan Page and it always does well. However, I'm paying for that. In a group when a discussion is hot people will naturally be attracted to it and start sharing their comments and so organic reach is there.
Create Community Around Your Topic
I love being part of a community where there is like minded people and I bet you are the same. I've moved 3 times in 8 years and each time I've moved I've set about exploring key Facebook Groups in that city because I know the people in the know will be in that group and I'll be able to ask questions I need answers too. Its the same with your business, creating that space where you create purpose, community and fulfilment of the members questions is super powerful. People love to know the answer to their query is a question typing session away. You save them from researching google or asking friends or family. Sharing your content or content of others gives your members something to think about or read and it might help them at that moment too. My tag line for my group, MWCIF is 'somebody always knows something' - and its true. If there is an active community engagement around your topic in your Facebook Group people will be willing to help. it feels great to help someone find/answer/get something and help them on their way. I do this many times in my groups and in others I'm part off. And lastly on this point, keep your group active. Schedule your posts if you have too, stay involved in the conversations, help where you can, suggest/recommend where you can - being a part of the community is key to its success.
Who Should Have A Facebook Group?
Facebook Groups have a fit in lots of places. If you are a coach then tell your clients and prospects about your group. Its a space where you can share more knowledge, create more engagement and share great articles that will support your clients and prospects. If you make something - use the space to show off what you are working on, or feedback from clients or use the space to research what your clients are looking for and ways you can help solve their pain factors. If you have a hobby and want to share and connect with likeminded people. Become that space where people that have the same interest can come to share ideas, thoughts, opinion, articles, stories, videos and even podcasts. If you are not sure if a Facebook Group is right for you then let me know - we can explore it. I love brainstorming facebook Group ideas.
Owning An Active Engaged Facebook Group Is A Marketing Tool.
If you have an active, engaged, busy group then believe me you are on to a winner. Companies and Brands will be very keen to be part of your community in someway so they can benefit from your activity. MWCIF has over the years appeared in newspapers and been on the radio just because the community loves the group and gives people assurance they can find what they are looking for. Because of this traction brands have over the years wanted to collaborate and use the group to get their product in front of the Muscat community. Your Groups could do the same. You can cross promote with another brand to generate more engagement. You could have a joint venture partnership that takes traffic to the place you want potential customers to go. You could dedicate a day in your line up of posts to advertisers to get some free promotion space or charge them for it. Don't underestimate the power of your group - it could be an awesome tool for many other reasons beyond why you created it.
Facebook Groups are an awesome tool to help meet your business objectives and serve your clients and prospects when you are not serving them directly at a particular moment. You keep yourself in their facebook activity loop they create for themselves. Being a place where they can wonder through, see whats going on, interact and serve is a powerful space. And long term I think Facebook Groups are going to become even more powerful. The downside of group is the lack of analytics but I'm sure there are people out there working on it to get stats for us. Please do use them and if you need any help then let me know. I've created many community spaces with Facebook Groups in Oman and the United Arab Emirates. I love creating community spaces that aim to serve the community. I'm taking part in a seminar on the 21st November in Abu Dhabi about the power of Facebook Groups and I'll be there sharing my own stories about my Facebook Groups and helping people understand their powers. I'm currently working on a few offerings to support the event so I'll link it in the blog when the offering are ready.
OK so this was a question in my Facebook Group 'Get to Grips with Social Media'. Its a fairly common question because we are all suffering from dropping engagement on our Facebook Fan pages and its really disappointing. We've all experienced that excitement of sharing a new post only to find that a dribble of folk have liked it or even less have commented. So what can we do?
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Share interviews with Arab and Expat women entrepreneurs, sharing their entrepreneurial journey with their top business advise. We blog about knowledge, articles, FAQ on social media and share tools and resources to help us get going in our niche.