I talk with a lot of massage therapists and lately several have said they’re really…
There’s been some big changes with Facebook recently and it’s really taking a toll on businesses. You see, Facebook decided that they’ll be focusing on groups, showing more posts from groups to people than they will all those posts from your business page that you worked so hard to put together. So should you start a Facebook group to help promote your business? Let’s discuss…
So Facebook has put out this new, or at least newer initiative that focuses much more on groups and building this sense of community on the site. That’s been their goal from the beginning and as groups have grown as a way for people to have that community with like-minded individuals on the platform, and businesses have continued to bombard users with sometimes wanted, sometimes unwanted posts and ads, they decided they’d give much more attention to all those posts in your groups.
Groups have a better reach, meaning that a higher percentage of those people see those posts within the group than those that are coming from your business page. Business page posts have an average reach of usually less than 10%-20%. So less than 10-20% of the people who like your page are seeing anything you post unless you’re paying for an ad. Groups on the other hand, while we don’t have very specific figures, are estimated to be reaching somewhere around 60%-80% of the audience depending on the group and content of course. Massive difference!
But just because it seems like you’d get a lot more engagement with a group than your page, that doesn’t mean you should just up and start one. So here’s some questions to ask yourself before you jump into starting a group for clients, and to help you map out what it’ll be like if you do decide it’s right for you.
The first and most important question to answer… What kind of community are you hoping to build?
You have to have a purpose behind your group. You can’t just start a group and think you’ll fill it with ads and calls to action and expect people to want to be a part of it. You have to offer some serious value and nourish a relationship, both between you as a business and those members, as well as between the members themselves. The whole point isn’t to have some private place to throw up a bunch of ads; people aren’t going to want to be a part of that. They see enough ads elsewhere. The point is to build a community, and to do that you have to understand the purpose. This is what’s going to drive the type of content you share and the entire theme of the group. It’s what keeps people engaged and returning again and again because they want to see what kind of value you’re offering and to discuss those topics with other like-minded individuals. There has to be a central topic that governs everything within the group and very little of it is going to be centered around your calls to action, and trying to entice people to book an appointment. Facebook groups aren’t about you and your business, they’re about the client and their life. The boost to your business comes later and as a secondary benefit.
Secondly, do your clients want to be part of that type of community?
I mean, let’s face it, a lot of massage clients don’t. This would not interest them in the least. But this really depends on your clientele. I mean, how many people can you realistically expect to join if a lot of your clients are simply people who come and get a weekly or monthly massage just to de-stress and relax and that’s it? Probably not many. But if you see that a lot of them are seeking more help with managing stress and finding ways to deal with associated anxiety and reshaping their lifestyles and some of their habits, then with the right content, it may just work. Or if you have a particular niche that you can share tips and guides with who want to be educated on a particular subject, go for it. Take a realistic look at whether a group really fits your clients.
Will you devote regular attention to this group for a year?
My theory is that almost anything new you decide to do in business should be tested out for about 6 months to a year before you decide whether it’s really working or not, and I think Facebook groups are no different. So are you willing to devote regular attention to this group, to post regularly, add value, build the community, and babysit adults. Or is this going to be too much of a time commitment when you’re already struggling to juggle everything else, and it’ll probably fall to the wayside after the novelty wears off in a few weeks? Be honest with yourself here.
Alright…if you think this might be a good idea and a good fit for you, your business, and your clientele and you want to move forward with it, do some planning. Will this be open to only clients or anyone in your area who would fit the community? So are you going to keep this as a clients-only group or more like a local wellness group? And, what kind of content will you share and how regularly? So for example, if you’ve niched down to athletes, you’d be looking at lots of health and fitness tips, ways to keep their body strong and performing its best, injury recovery – things that are and are not massage related. Keep the focus on the things athletes want to know about. Think of your specific ideal client and what they want to be educated on, the things that would make them stay interested and engaged in a group so they don’t just check out or ignore everything. You have more of their attention in that group, right, so use that to your advantage and be sure you’re providing them with real, substantial value.
If you’re considering starting a group, understand that this is a form of long-run marketing. You’re not going to get quick turn around here. You’re not going to put up some call to action and expect people to be scrambling to book with you. You might get that now and then, but the purpose is to build that community. It’s kind of like a really deep brand awareness campaign. You’re taking people on this particular path that builds up your brand while providing value, that educates your potential clients about themselves and your business, and then what naturally forms along the way is how those two things can come together for the better.
So are you going to start a group for your business? Or do you think you’ll stick with a page only? There’s no right or wrong here. Understand your business, your clientele, and your goals and decide based on all that.