How to Start and Grow Your Facebook Group (for free)!
If you’re wanting to figure out how to start or grow your Facebook group but you don’t know where to begin, this article is for you!
I was able to grow my own Facebook group to over 15,000 highly engaged members in just ONE YEAR … without hiring any help or paying a dime for advertising.
And that might seem impossible or unheard of, but these stats don’t lie babe!
And this chart is just from the first half of the year!
This stuff is kind of my jam.
And I’m about to share everything I know about growing your very own Facebook group.
But first things first…
WHY DO YOU WANT TO GROW YOUR FACEBOOK GROUP?
Before we get into the strategic tips that will teach you HOW to grow your Facebook group, let’s talk about WHY you even care to start one in the first place.
Most of us start and/or join Facebook groups for the COMMUNITY that they provide.
But if you can manage to grow your group into an engaged community of people that WANT and NEED your support and expertise, you can also build authority and earn some income from that group while you’re at it!
So, think about your own well-defined audience and what they want or need from you. Most of the time, our audience needs help solving a problem, filling a need, or reaching a goal.
How can YOUR GROUP help them do one (or more) of these things?
There are a ton of options when it comes to the set up and function of a Facebook group, so you need to come into this thing with a clear plan.
What is your purpose for the group? What is your overall mission, message, and vibe that you want this group to carry?
HOW TO START AND GROW A FACEBOOK GROUP FROM ABSOLUTE SCRATCH
Now you’re ready to head over to Facebook and create your group!
1. Log into your own Facebook account and (from your desktop), scroll down to the EXPLORE tab on the left side of your screen, and click on GROUPS.
2. The following page will have a blue button in the upper left corner that says “Create Group”. Hit that baby!
It looks like this:
3. Now, you get to name your Facebook group, add people, and choose privacy settings. You must add at least one person to activate the group (I just added my hubby)!
When it comes to privacy settings, you have three options: public, closed, and secret.
PUBLIC Facebook groups are visible to anyone with a Facebook account. Anyone can find the group, request to join the group, see who is in the group, and see everything that they post.
CLOSED Facebook groups have a little more privacy. Any Facebook user can find and request to join the group, but only members can see who is in the group and what they are posting.
SECRET groups are the most secure of these options, because ONLY the group members can find the group, see who is in it, and see what they post.
This means you would have to be invited to the group via a direct link in order to join…because no Facebook user is able to search out or request to join a secret group.
When choosing your privacy settings, I recommend going with CLOSED. You can always change this later. But I have found that most Facebook users want to find a community that is tight knit with people that share common interests.
People are far less likely to join a public group that is generally accessible to the entire Facebook world, so that’s out.
And they might want to join a secret group, but they have no way of knowing it exists, so they aren’t going to be able to … Neither of these are ideal if you want to grow.
Hit “Create” and your group is now a LIVE private community on Facebook.
** Happy dance time **
BUILDING A SOLID FOUNDATION FOR YOUR GROUP
Let’s start this project off right, with a solid foundation. I’m talking about your group name, your group description, and your group rules.
Here is exactly what I did when I started my group:
THE GROUP NAME:
I chose a name with keywords that my target audience might be searching for. My primary market is new bloggers that want to turn their new/hobby blogs into money-making businesses.
I chose the name Becoming a Blogger for my group, because it describes exactly what my audience NEEDS or WANTS to do. And it also includes a common search term: blogger.
Give some thought to the name you choose, and whatever you do, make sure that it has searchable keywords in it! You can change the name at anytime, but I highly recommend choosing something specific and sticking with it.
You want to be KNOWN for this name, and if you’re changing it all the time, people will have a hard time keeping up with you.
THE GROUP DESCRIPTION:
Your group description is visible to outsiders that might be interested in joining the group, so you want this description to appeal to potential members.
My group description has five main points:
First, a warm welcome to anyone that is interested in becoming a member.
Second, a brief explanation of what the group is about and who the group is for. This one is important, because you want to make sure you are building a well-defined community of people with similar interests and/or goals.
Third, a link to our group rules (which everyone must agree to before gaining access).
Fourth, a little list of perks/benefits that ONLY group members receive.
And last, some free tips, tools, and blog posts of mine, for anyone that wants to get familiar with my work before joining my group.
There isn’t just one right way to do this.
However, make sure that your group description is inviting for potential members that would find value in the space you’re creating. Keep it short and sweet; nobody is going to read a long, boring dissertation on Facebook.
THE GROUP RULES:
Every successful group has rules in place that the members agree to follow. It keeps these Facebook groups running smoothly, and it keeps the community safe, pleasant, and productive for all members.
My group rules are on the strict side, but this is only because my niche can easily turn into a spam fest is I don’t keep a lid on it.
Your group rules will depend on what kind of environment you plan to create in your community. Maybe you’ll have a “no self-promotion” rule or a “no negativity” rule. My only suggestion here is to join a few popular groups in your niche and pay attention to HOW those groups function.
This DOES NOT mean you should copy their exact systems or their group rules … just observe their rules, their issues, and how group members to respond to them. And then, create your own regulations that fit your plans, your needs, and your audience.
… IN ADDITION TO GROUP RULES
You should also create entry questions that help you filter out potential spammers. You can create up to three security questions that people MUST answer before gaining access to your group.
This filter has been a huge help for keeping most spam out of my group and keeping members focused on the goals of the group.
To create these security questions: log into your account, go to Edit Group Settings, scroll down to Membership Requests, and hit the grey button that says ‘Ask Questions’.
You’ll get there from this page::
This solid foundation will ensure that the RIGHT people join and engage in your group… because after all, having a huge Facebook group means nothing if people aren’t engaging and benefiting from the community.
CREATING A GREAT CONTENT STRATEGY FOR YOUR GROUP
Your Facebook group will be an extension of your message, your business, and your branding. And as such, your group content should reflect that.
The first thing that I recommend is having a “Start Here” post that sets the tone for the group and shows off some of your content in a helpful way.
You can create a regular post and then “pin it” to your announcement tab in your group, so that it’s the first thing everyone sees when they open your group.
Along with the “Start Here” post, you should plan to share helpful content with your members on a regular basis.
The content you choose to share will depend entirely on your niche, so I can’t really tell you WHAT to share … but I can tell you that you need to be present and providing this value regularly, even when the group is small.
How can you figure out what kind of content your members want to see?
You can do a poll. You can do a Facebook live where you allow them to ask questions. These questions are CLUES about what they want and need from you. Or you can just start posting stuff and pay attention to what your people are responding to.
I personally do social share threads DAILY, my own tips + recommendations at least once a week, and an occasional Facebook live.
HOW TO GROW YOUR FACEBOOK YOUR GROUP
At this point, we’ll assume that you have started and organized your group. We’ll also assume that you’re sharing quality content each week and you’re getting some engagement from current members (even if it’s not much).
How can you possibly GROW your Facebook group and get more members into this awesome community that you’ve created?
Here are a few ways!!
1. Put that group link in all of your bios across social media.
This is exactly what I did when I was growing my Facebook group. I set up all of my clickable social media bios to redirect people to my Facebook group. And even though my personal Facebook account is private, I do have a link to the group in my profile there too.
Here is a guide for doing that.
2. End all your blog posts with an invite to join the group.
Anytime you write a new blog post, you can sign off with a call-to-action that invites your readers to join you in your group.
Let them know WHY they should join, and then give them a link! You can say something as simple as, “want more tutorials like this one? Join us in my FREE Facebook group HERE.”
3. Get others talking about the group by doing awesome stuff for your members (like giveaways)!
The best way to grow is through word of mouth – OTHER PEOPLE recommending your group to their friends.
If you can provide entertainment, inspiration, education, or free stuff for your group, you can stir up some excitement that gets them talking to people outside of your circle.
I do a big giveaway every time I hit a new milestone in my group, like gaining 1,000 members! I also do hefty discounts for my group members and provide a ton of FREE value and training every single day.
Not gonna lie: this has been a labor of love and A LOT of hard work! I have to monitor my group carefully and constantly, to keep spammers and poachers away from my people. I’m spending time in my group every single day, answering questions, giving advice, and providing support free of charge.
As mentioned above, the hard work pays off in the form of a larger audience, more authority, and more income…but it’s still hard work!
4. Join similar groups in the same niche and engage with your peers.
You have to be proactive and get in front of the people that you want to have in your group. Chances are, they are already actively engaging in other groups that are similar to yours.
You can join these groups by searching for keywords on Facebook, or you can Google something like “best Facebook groups for XYZ (moms, teachers, bloggers, etc).”
Find active groups with over 1,000 members, request to join, and then contribute to those groups in a positive way.
Don’t be spammy. Don’t try to sell yourself… and definitely don’t break group rules by promoting your stuff if it’s not allowed. Give VALUE by contributing to the group in a positive way. Let your responses and your expertise speak for you.
** A few ethical considerations:
– You should never add people to your group without their permission.
Inviting members to join is fine, but adding them without permission is spammy and gross. So, don’t do that.
– You should never join other groups solely for the purpose of poaching members and pulling them back to your own group.
If you have something valuable to offer, let your behavior, comments, and group etiquette speak for you… and always follow group rules. If promo threads are available on certain days – feel free shout your group invite from the rooftops!
For a free list of 50+ promo groups on Facebook, subscribe to my freebie list below!
HOW TO INCREASE ENGAGEMENT IN YOUR FACEBOOK GROUP
Now, what if your group is growing at a steady rate, but you aren’t getting the activity that you expected?
Here are some things you can do to improve your group engagement:
1. Ask questions
The cool thing about an online community is that people are usually eager to share their stories or give you feedback.
If you want to increase engagement in your group, ask simple personal questions that make your members feel like their stories and opinions matter (because they actually matter A LOT).
When someone answers your question, be sure to respond to them personally.
2. Do polls
Polls are another simple way to get people involved.
You might find that a lot of group members turn into lurkers; they enjoy the community but they are hesitant to jump into the conversation.
Polls give them an opportunity to contribute without being front and center.
3. Create daily prompts
Daily prompts encourage people to either share their stuff, ask their questions, or work with other members of the group. Depending on your niche, you should be able to come up with at least a few prompts each week.
Maybe you’ll invite your members to share their social media accounts or share their best tips on a certain subject. Just try to be consistent so that your group gets used to these regular prompts.
4. Acknowledge top contributing members
Facebook group admins get insights that show you who your top contributors are in the group. Be sure to give these members a shout out now and then – they will appreciate it!
You can find top contributors in your Group Insights.
5. Welcome each new member by name
This is a quick and easy way to let each member know that they are an important part of the group. It’s also a great way to get engagement from new members RIGHT AWAY because you’re encouraging them to introduce themselves.
After adding some new members, you’ll see an update on the right side of your group dashboard (on desktop) that shows you who just joined. There will also be a button that says “write post” next to their profile images.
Looks like this:
If you hit that button, it will TAG each new member in your welcome post and they will get a notification to view your post.
This post doesn’t need to be elaborate. Just welcome them to the group, let them know what to expect, and invite them to introduce themselves!
PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER
When you’re trying to grow your Facebook group, it’s so important to LEAD BY EXAMPLE.
Set the tone, provide the value, and be a positive leader.
Focus on creating an engaged environment for your own well-defined audience. You don’t need a HUGE group in order to be successful. You just need to find people that need what you offer, and members that will contribute to the community in a productive way.
And as you grow, you just might find that your Facebook group becomes an amazing source of traffic and income. In fact, my blogging income nearly doubled when I started my own Facebook group in 2018!
Now, I know that it’s tempting to say, “well, Cate built a group in this niche and she’s doing well, so I’m just going to do what she did in the same niche.” Yes, people have actually done this to me, including copying my group content to the letter (which is illegal).
But that isn’t what YOU should do, because it just leads to disappointment, frustration, and ultimately failure (if you’re trying to build an audience in the wrong niche).
I chose a well-defined audience that needed my decade of business + marketing experience, and I built my Facebook group around filling that need. It worked for me because this was my area of expertise.
I urge you to do some research and build your Facebook group around YOUR area of expertise or interests. You will be much happier, and much more successful! And then you’ll be able to turn that group into a money-making machine based on the needs of YOUR well-defined audience.
WHERE TO GO FROM HERE
Once you have a highly engaged audience that looks to your expertise to help them solve problems, fill needs, and/or reach goals … you can work on monetizing your group.
By monetizing, we simply mean, earning income by sharing your business products/services with your group members (in a non-sleazy way, of course).
One of the best ways to earn income from a Facebook group is through affiliate marketing. And you can find many high-paying affiliate programs in your niche by using my affiliate marketing master list here!
IF YOU FOUND THIS ARTICLE HELPFUL, YOU CAN PIN IT FOR LATER HERE!