Whenever you create a new group on Facebook, you need to decide if your group should be Closed, Public, or Secret.
Pick CLOSED every time!
If a group is public it means all the posts in the group are public. Anyone can navigate to that group and see what every member said. More importantly, it means a member's post MAY show up in their newsfeed. Depending on the topic of your group, your members may not feel safe posting.
For instance in a breastfeeding support group a new mom may not want ALL of her FB friends to know she is having a hard time with Postpartum Depression. She may just want the support of her fellow BFing moms. If your group is public she probably wouldn't bother posting.
If you want people to be able to find and join your group via a search then DO NOT pick Secret. Secret groups are 100% secret which means admins and members can add more members. No one will be able to find it.
Closed groups are the happy in between. They will come up in a search BUT only members will be able to see what has been posted.
In a past blog I spoke about how to respond when your ideal client posts in your local FB group. In order to "stalk" these local groups, you FIRST need to be a MEMBER of them. So today let's talk about how to find the groups.
One of the best ways to find local Facebook groups in the area you service is to ask for referrals. Go to all of the groups you currently belong to and post something like this:
"I am looking to join more local FB groups. Does anyone have a group they recommend?"
Believe it or not, some of the biggest groups I belong to are SECRET groups. If a group is classified as secret, it will never come up in a FB group search.
There are a number of reasons an admin may make the group secret but the most common reason is due to spam. I admin multiple groups and the bigger the group is, the more spammers request to join. Because of all the spam requests, I need to go into every membership "application" and decide if the person trying to join is a spammer. This takes time.
If I make a group secret, however, it means spammers will never find the group. New members would come into the group by way of referral (friends adding friends). As an admin, a secret group means less admin work fighting the spammers.
The Search Tool You Didn't Know About
I don't know why, but FB makes it hard for people to search for groups! There is a way to do it though, just follow the steps below for this example of what a birth worker who serves Miami should do.
Notice I did not search for "Miami moms". I kept it broad so I could scan through hundreds of groups and decide where my clients may be. If I had done a search for Miami Moms I would have missed out on groups named "Moms of Miami", "Miami Mamas", "Miami Mommies", "Lesbian Moms Living in Miami", etc.
So now that you were able to find and join local FB groups, what should you do!? You need to participate in the communities, "stalk" the communities, and run contests.
Many of the "good" Facebook groups do not allow blatant advertising. For instance you can't post something like this on the wall anytime you want:
But some groups will allow some sort of "advertising". Usually it will look like this:
If you belong to a group that has exceptions, as I stated above, that is a WIN for you! Now the trick is to make sure your post does not get pushed down and buried by the normal, every day chatter or by other people's "ads".
The Secret Strategy
The secret to making sure your ad gets seen is to get people to comment on it. Every time someone comments on a post in a FB group, that post gets bumped up to the top!
Here are some examples of what to do regarding the possible scenarios I posted above.
1. For these scenarios:
What to do:
"After I had a doula at the birth of my first child I knew it was the career for me! Did you have a doula at your birth? http://brentwooddoula.com/"
"So tell me moms, how much did the ultrasound tech say your baby weighted VS the actual weight at birth? http://brentwooddoula.com/2015/06/size-matters/"
2. For this scenario:
What to do:
3. For this scenario:
What to do:
If this blog helped you then it may help others. Please share it with friends and with groups you are in. For bonus points, ask a question when you share it so others will comment ;)
Was this helpful?
So you've been stalking Facebook groups (as I discussed in my webinar) but you are noticing that when someone asks:
"Can anyone recommend a [insert birth worker title here] who serves the area?"
That the post is FILLED with recommendations (by both the birth workers themselves and former clients).
Below is an actual post from one of the FB groups I own. There were 4 Placenta Encapsulation that were referred multiple times (you'll see that PC C was mentioned 5 times).
*I coded them as PC A, etc for privacy reasons.
What is a birth worker to do?
Here is what I recommend:
1. Always post a "Kind Reply". Follow the steps in the past blog. Even if you feel it is pointless to post as your comment is already 16 deep do it!
2. If this is YOUR group (you own it and moderate it) you need to revamp your rules ASAP! Add something like this to the description:
This group is moderated by [your name] of [your website] and you can PM her here, [your personal FB page url]. [your name] is a [job title] servicing the [your region].
- Do not post anything that is a solicitation for another doula or placenta capsulator.
- Be kind to each other.
3. If you don't own a group start one! This way, YOU can create the rules AND come across as an expert and leader in the community. I talk about how to start a group in the webinar.
4. Consider starting a brand ambassador program. Basically you will form a team of clients who used your services and loved you (you super fans). They'll back you up on Facebook (in a genuine and transparent way) and you'll reward them (perhaps with free services, free classes, invites to private play dates, etc). Google around for more information, they are VERY popular right now.
5. Above all, what you DON'T want to do is nothing. If you do nothing, I guarantee that client will not become yours.
Do you want to dominate in Facebook groups? Check out my next online class (available for a limited time).
If you watched my Webinar on how to use Facebook Group to find clients, then you are hopefully doing a few new things.
1. You own a Facebook group by now.
2. You are stalking the groups you do not own.
3. You are running Facebook contests like a champ!
In order to apply these three strategies, you MUST use your personal Facebook profile. Here's my personal profile (feel free to friend me).
If you are using your personal Facebook profile it means people are going to PM (private message) you via Facebook. Trust me, they will. They are going to ask you questions about your group, they are going to want your services, they are going to have contest question, etc.
Of course, by now, you know how to check your Facebook emails. But did you know that Facebook has this ridiculous thing called your "Other" folder. Sometimes people, who you are not friends with, will PM you and their message will go into the "Other" folder. If someone is NOT your friend they are probably potential client!
What is even more crazy is you CANNOT ACCESS this folder from your phone! Isn't that crazy!
Here's what you need to do to get to your other folder:
Login to your FB account from a computer.
Top right click the mail icon (circled below).
Then to the right of the Inbox click OTHER.
It is important to check this folder at least every few days.
Odds are, if a potential client PMs you THIS is where the PM will go.
So I'm curious. How many emails were in your Other folder? Where any of them important? Please post your answer below by commenting.
In my free webinar I spoke about "stalking" Facebook groups. By stalking groups you can often "advertise" your services without breaking the group rules that say "no spam".
For example, when a pregnant woman posts this question:
"Can anyone recommend a doula and midwife who have experience with home births?"
MOST group admins* will be ok with you posting about your services.
Now, the big mistake I see is how the service provider (that's you) responds.
Here is how NOT to reply to a post:
- I'm a doula!
- I have experience.
None of these replies say much about you nor are they friendly, kind, easy or professional. Facebook groups are communities. You want your reply to be supportive and easy to understand. No one has time to go back and forth with you if you just reply saying "I'm a doula.". We are all very very busy, so if you can take some of the "work" off the pregnant mom that will go a long way.
Now here is WHAT a good reply looks like:
- Congratulate the mom! Show her you recognize how excited she must be and that she's not just another pregnant woman to you.
- Let her know you can help her. Personally, when I send a support question to a company and the support team replies with "I can help you" it immediately makes me feel so good! Even before I read through the email I feel good.
- Verify what you do and that you are taking new clients (assuming you are).
- Make it very very easy for her to contact you, include your phone number, email, and website! This may seem like overload BUT everyone has their favorite way to communicate (personally, I'm an email kinda gal). The other reason you want to post all of this is because OTHER MOMS are reading your reply! They may not be ready to announce they are pregnant, or maybe they plan to get pregnant soon. You'll be shocked at how many moms (on the side) will PM you asking you questions about your services.
- ALWAYS, when posting your website on Facebook, include the WWW. This way the link will be live and people can just click it. See how we are always thinking about potential clients and how we can make things EASY for them!
- Finally, make it super easy (there is that EASY word again) for the original poster and Private Message (PM) them (via Facebook). If a mom mostly uses her phone, instead of a computer, it will be so much easier for her to PM you back rather than copy your email, open her email, paste it, and send you a message.
If all of this seems like a lot of work to you, do not worry. There is nothing wrong with keeping your reply as a template (save it on your computer) and using it again and again (making small adjustments as needed).
If you want to learn even more about how to use Facebook groups to find clients check out my online class, Marketing with Laura. Right now doors are open, and you can sign up for the class. Just know that soon I'll stop registrations and you will not be able to sign up for months.
* Always check the group rules before posting.
What is a Like-a-Thon (sometimes also known as a Like Ladder)
The best way to define this is to show you an example. Usually a Like-a-Thon is posted in a Facebook Group and goes something like this:
"Hi, I can really use more likes (and I know you can too). Please LIKE my Facebook page and I will like yours back! If we all like each others pages we will end up with 100+ new likes! Here's my page, post yours in the comments, https://www.facebook.com/momtomommidwifery"
There are 3 main reason you should NEVER EVER participate in a Like-a-Thon.
1. Low Engagement
Let's say you have 100 (real) likes but you participate in a like-a-thon and get 500 new likes, so now you have a total of 600 likes. When you go to your FB biz page and post a link to your latest blog on "Where to Buy Maternity Clothes on the Cheap", the 500 "fake" likes you got, are not going to click or comment. Why? They don't care! They are your peers, they are not pregnant, they are professionals just like you and they already know where to get maternity clothes, and they live far from you (they may not even be in the same time zone). So then out of the 100 REAL likes you have (true customers and fans of yours) let's say only 2 comment. Facebook will see this as out of 600 fans only 2 engaged (FB is big on engagement) and they will STOP showing your posts to your fans and their friends. Low Engagement = Low Reach
2. You Will Screw Up Your Chance at Cheap Advertising (I'm talking pennies)
One of the cheapest ways to advertise using Facebook is to set up a FB ad that targets those who LIKED you. You will sometimes just pay pennies to get your ad or blog or special offer in front of your fans. Clearly if you have "fake" likes you'll just be wasting your money advertising to them but you'll have no choice. You cannot remove "likes" from your page.
3. It Is Shady and Dishonest
We are in a time in our lives where transparency is in. People want the truth and if they are not getting the truth they are not afraid to blast lies all over the internet. If you have "fake" likes, your peers may lose respect for you and your potential customers may go elsewhere.
So now what? Work on getting Facebook likes from TRUE FANS who love and adore you (after all, you are awesome!).
Did you like what you read? Sign up for my free WEBINAR! In it, I will teach you how to really use Facebook to find more clients. Watch it today.
Laura Occhipinti is on a mission to help birth workers and holistic professionals grow their businesses.