Facebook Groups as a Marketing Tool: Pros and Cons
By Karyn Greenstreet
Strategically, there are pros and cons of starting a free Facebook group as a way of creating a pool of prospective clients, students, or mastermind group members. Several people in my Synergy program asked about this marketing technique, so I thought it would be a great time to discuss the pros and cons. This helps you decide if its a good idea for your business model or not.
- It allows you to gather like-minded people together in one place.
- It allows you to build a relationship with them. They’ll be more willing to invest in joining your paid mastermind group because they trust you and enjoy working with you.
- It gives you a chance to share your knowledge and experience with them. This builds credibility and shows you know what you’re talking about.
- It’s an opportunity to hear what their challenges and concerns are — you can do your market research directly within the Facebook group.
- Just because people join something for free, it doesn’t mean they’ll be willing to pay for anything. My experience tells me that people don’t value what they get for free compared to the programs they invest money and time into. Commitment levels are low to free groups.
- People often tell me that it’s difficult to get people to join in the conversation in Facebook groups. It take a large number of people to get any real engagement going. Note that many people are passive when it comes to participating in Facebook groups or message forums, despite the value they could receive by jumping into the conversation. It take a real set of skills and talents to facilitate any group, and an online message forum is no different.
- If they can get all their questions answered for free in a Facebook group, why would they pay for a mastermind group or a class? Of course, one solution is to make this Facebook group a paid group, even a small monthly payment, so that you’re sure the people in the group are serious.
- It’s as time-consuming as you want to make it. If you’re simply going to post content and they passively consume that content, you’ll be exhausted having to create endless streams of content. However, if you can get them to engage around that content, it could be worthwhile.
The most important questions are WHY and WHAT
- Why do you want to create this free Facebook group?
- What is your strategic thinking?
- What outcomes do you expect from it?
- What is the return on the investment of your time and energy?
Consider the alternatives
When you answer the why and what questions, then consider that there may be many paths to the same goal — paths that have a higher ROI and/or take less of your personal time.
For instance, you might be better off offering a free monthly webinar, which would have the same effect of gathering your audience around you, and sharing what you know, etc., but with boundaries so that you aren’t giving away 24/7 access to you. It would also build your mailing list — email marketing means you have more possibility that they will see/read your messages and you can track their reactions to your marketing.
I’m not saying “don’t do a free Facebook group” — I’m saying “be sure you know your goals for such a venture and what it costs to reach that goal.”