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About one-seventh of the world’s population is on Facebook. That’s a lot of people. Yet, for many bloggers, advertising with Facebook is a hard task only really accomplished by the elite. How are smaller blogs supposed to navigate Facebook? How can Facebook play a role in increasing your readership? And, most importantly, can you advertise on Facebook for free?
Why Is Leveraging Facebook So Hard For Smaller Blogs?
In recent years, Facebook has become harder and harder to leverage for smaller blogs, businesses, companies, brands, bands, stores…you name it!
The bottom line is that Facebook values user experience above all else, and, when considered with the fact that Facebook has no real competitor in the social media sphere, this means that Facebook can afford to focus primarily on their users. In short, this means that they set the rules and, unfortunately, we are left with no choice but to follow their lead and learn to adapt to their changes as they come.
In times gone by, one could simply make a Facebook Page for their blog, gain likes and enjoy an exceptional reach. Now, however, you have to pay Facebook to ‘boost’ your post just so that a decent portion of your followers will see it…let alone interact with it! And, to make matters worse, Facebook ads are getting more and more expensive and the organic post reach of Facebook Pages (i.e. posts that your fans see without you paying Facebook) is ever declining. So, what can be done? And how can we leverage Facebook without forking out the cash?
Enter Facebook groups!
Facebook groups are an old feature, often forgotten about, though highly lucrative when used properly. The main reason for this is because Facebook groups still boast a wide organic reach. Therefore, you should be using Facebook groups in addition to your Facebook Page!
Depending on the topics that you blog about, I would advise bloggers join large, relevant Facebook groups in order to expand their audience. Luckily, Facebook has its own great search engine built-in and so, if you just type, for example, ‘money’ into Facebook and then click the ‘Groups’ tab, you will easily be able to browse worthwhile, large and relevant groups to join.
Once you’ve found some great groups to join that are relevant to the topics of your blog, you can then share your content into them in a strategic way. The trick is not to be a nuisance, follow group rules, and to be patient in building rapport inside the group by sharing great content (this ‘great content’ does not even need to be your own blogs).
But that’s not the best part! There is so much more to Facebook groups…
Building A Neighbourhood Community
What’s really cool is that you are able to link your Facebook Page to any Facebook groups that YOU create. Therefore, for every topic that you blog about, you ought to also make your own Facebook group for that topic. For example, if your blog is called ‘Uncommonly Well’ and one of the topics that you blog about is ‘Food’, then you should make a group with a name such as ‘Awesome Food Recipes’ that is linked to your ‘Uncommonly Well’ Facebook Page.
The picture above shows my Facebook group called ‘St. Joan of Arc’ that is linked to my other Facebook Page called ‘Catholica’ that posts Catholic content (Catholica is my hobby outside of Syrup Bee 😜). Notice how your linked Facebook Page will appear inside your group. Moreover, if anyone likes any of your posts within your groups you can invite them to like your Page too. Double win!
Because of this and the wide organic reach of Facebook groups, I would suggest that you promote your Facebook groups over your official Facebook Page.
You can think of it this way: your Facebook Page is your centre on Facebook that is linked to all your groups, whereas your groups themselves are the neighbouring communities around your Page. This is where the true conversation is happening. And yes, the communities may take time to build, but they’re totally worth it!
Two Ways To Advertise Your Groups
Not only should you consider promoting your Facebook groups on your website over your actual Facebook Page, but you should also consider making the advertising of your groups a top priority on Facebook itself. This is a key way to building community within your groups.
The most effective (though riskiest) way that I have found to advertise your group is to share one of your Page’s post that advertises your group into another group. However, this only works in groups that are a freefall, open to anyone posting in it, and have no rules against sharing other resources such as groups.
Here is an example below of sharing one my Page’s posts advertising my group into another group.
I will then hit ‘share’ and find a relevant group to share my Page’s post into.
Once you’ve chosen a relevant group just hit ‘post’ at the bottom! I personally choose not to add any other words at the top, but, if I do, I won’t mention my group again since too much self-promotion will take away from the value that your post is adding to the group. However, notice, that the link to my group still appears right at the bottom of my post.
Even if there is no rule against self-promotion or posting other group URLs into a group, it is still SUPER important that you do so in a way that adds value to the group – otherwise it just reeks of self-promotion, is disrespectful, and might even irritate the group owner!
Notice how my shared post had the following:
• A cool picture
• An inspirational, relevant quote
• An interesting, relevant fact
• A clear reason why I was mentioning my group
In short, I wasn’t sharing spam into the group but was providing value.
If you’re really unsure whether your shared post might be considered as spam by the group owner, my advice would be to simply message an admin of the group saying something like this, “Hey! Could you please take a look at this post that I’d like to share with your group?” *Give them the URL to your post* “I think it’s a good post, but just wanted to check that you’re happy with me sharing it since it also contains a link to another group in it. Thanks!”
Even as I wrote this blog, I received this notification below from someone in another group who wanted to learn more about St. Joan of Arc and so asked to join my group. This happens roughly 3-4 times a day using this method. So it really does work if you do it properly.
The second (and less cautious) way to grow your Facebook group is to post a link to it with a short description on your actual Facebook Page and then clicking ‘Boost Post’. This, of course, will cost money and you will often find people will simply like your post (or, if you’re luckier, your Page) but without actually joining your group. If that happens, then you can at least invite those who liked your post to like your Page – so it is never a complete waste of time (or money!)
Here is an example above. Remember this is all done from your actual Facebook Page since you cannot pay to boost a post in a Facebook group.
How To See Fast Results With Facebook Groups
Ok, so you’ve made a few of your own Facebook groups to build a neighbouring community around your Page, but this is a long-term process of growth. Let’s now talk about the best short-term benefit of utilising Facebook groups!
This short-term benefit involves using Facebook groups to advertise your Page (ps. although groups have better organic reach, it is still a good idea to advertise your Facebook Page using Facebook groups!)
The alternative (and better known) way to advertise your Facebook Page is by using Facebook ads with a targeted audience, however, I prefer to advertise my Page using Facebook groups. In fact, by using this same method my side hustle’s Page, ‘Catholica’, gained 2,000 free likes in 3 months from real, genuine accounts, whereas—as you may be aware—using Facebook ads can sometimes lead to Page likes from fake, robot accounts. So not only is this method free, but it is arguably more effective. And, this is absolutely my favourite way of utilising Facebook groups!
In this method, you are not posting into other groups to advertise your own group, instead, you are sharing your Page’s posts that have been tailored to a specific group. You are not asking for anything, you’re just sharing great, relevant content.
For example, if you blog about saving money you could post a viral article on money-saving hacks on your Page and then share it into a relevant group with a big community. The reason for doing this is because, first of all, sharing viral blogs, videos or pictures related to what you blog about as opposed to sharing your own blogs themselves will get more engagement. And, secondly, people seeing your shared post from your Page into the group will have the option of liking your page by clicking ‘Like Page’ just below your shared post.
As you can see from this post above, someone has shared their Page’s own post into a group, meaning that whoever sees it in the group also sees the ‘Like Page’ button just below it!
However, it’s important to note that you’ll be sharing your Page’s posts into groups using your own personal Facebook account (Facebook does not let you share into other people’s groups as your Page). And so, if you worry that your Facebook friends will see everything that you’re sharing from your Page into groups, then make sure that you only post into ‘Closed’ or ‘Secret’ Groups instead of ‘Public’ Groups. Although, I personally don’t worry about this, since, in my experience, Facebook’s algorithm seems to be pretty good at hiding all my shares into groups from my Facebook friends.
Patience And Good Strategy Is Key
Making Facebook work for you as a blogger will take time and will require effort. Although I hope that this blog will have gone a small way to giving you a glimpse of the possibilities that Facebook still has to offer via groups!
And, on a side note, I am certainly not bashing Facebook ads with this blog. In fact, I still believe Facebook ads are effective when used properly. However, if like me, you want to blog strategically, making the most of what you have and not spending too much money doing it, then I hope I will have inspired you to give Facebook another chance if, perhaps, you were beginning to feel (like I was) it was an impossible nut to crack!
Thanks for reading! And one last thing before you go…Why not join my Facebook group, The Blog Hive, to ask questions, seek feedback/advice, and to share your blogs with our supportive community? I look forward to seeing you in there!