Facebook Groups are an amazing way to build and strengthen an online community centered around common interests. There are countless groups out there devoted to everything from local history to sales to administering the groups themselves. Whenever you have a common goal or interest, people will come together. But sometimes shit happens! And even the most bustling groups find themselves on the tail end of a Facebook change, trying to figure out what to do next.
And let’s face it, when this kinda stuff happens, it can be scary. Most of us earn our livelihood from online sales that are funneled to us using social media. If social media in general isn’t delivering, then what?
Suddenly there’s fear. What are we going to do? What if it stays this way forever? Don’t worry, you aren’t alone! Industry leaders , admin groups, and social media coaching groups, are all asking the same question. So know that you’re in good company! And I know you’re thinking, “Great, it’s not just me, thank goodness!” Then that’s followed by, “That doesn’t really help me with the situation I’m in right now. So yeah, I feel better, but what can I do about it?”
First, it’s helpful to keep in mind that we run our businesses on social media, and social media is basically just a program. As such it is subject to glitches, hiccups, and actual algorithmic changes that will impact our reach. But we can set up systems that will insulate us when most changes happen.
Social Media Funnels
The more customers you have the better, right? It’s always exciting to convert a follower to a customer, isn’t it? There’s a validating feeling to it, it’s proof your process works! The thing is though, is that a lot of people pay attention to one platform to the exclusion of all others because it’s tough to maintain more than one social media profile in a healthy way. Keeping one up can be a full-time job!
Unfortunately, by specializing in one channel you may be impeding your business growth. You’re missing out on an incredible way to keep in touch with people who may be interested in your product who aren’t on your primary sales platform. Moreover, if you can guide all of your fans to follow you on all the platforms you are on, then when Facebook has an issue, you can still reach them using one of the others.
Bottom Line: don’t put all your eggs in one social basket. If you aren’t sure how to build a funnel, don’t worry, I got you. Brenda Ster will walk you through the entire process in The Socialite Suite and on The Sassy Suite.
Idea Bank: If you want to get your Facebook followers to follow you on other social media channels, create a scavenger hunt that can start from any platforms. Have one post in each channel you use link to another to another, and form a loop with yourself. To participate people, need to find and follow you on each channel. It’s a fun game, people love to play it. AND you get the opportunity to connect with people outside of Facebook.
For most of us, our business pages were an afterthought. We set up our groups, closed them up, had parties, and pretended that Business Pages didn’t even exist. That works when you are just starting out, and you haven’t tapped out your warm market yet. Everyone is new to your business, so you have a huge community to draw from.
After a while though, your warm market dries up. It happens every time. And unfortunately, a group isn’t really the most effective platform to lure in new shoppers. Groups were meant to create and maintain community, not advertise sales, candles, clothes, and jewelry.
Business Pages on the other hand – now that’s a whole ‘nother ballgame. You have the opportunity for referrals and reviews and search engine placement. You can create chatbots to reach your fanbase, generate content that will attract new followers, and build ads to entice new shoppers. And believe it or not, you can make your page JUST as active as your Facebook group, if not more. (I have a VERY special training coming up in my soon to be announced premium group where I am going to talk about just that topic!)
This way, even if organic reach slows down, sponsored reach will still be an option for you. Making sure you have an active and robust business page that you can use sponsored posts to drive traffic to will help to alleviate the stress when other social media channels aren’t functioning at optimum levels.
Other Communication Methods:
Lastly, you want to make sure that you have diversified your methods of communication. The time for that isn’t necessarily when other social media channels are failing you, but it is something you can start to plan for when there is social media downtime.
Existing Customer List
In all the online groups, communities, coaching groups, bloggers, and podcasts that I frequent, industry experts all say the same thing. Your list of customers is everything. As it stands now, there’s no mechanism in Facebook for you to export your followers, group, members, etc. and their contact information. Considering the privacy concerns Facebook is addressing right now, it’s unlikely that will be an option anytime in the future.
However, I know that many of you have databases of your customer information from your POS system. The CAN-SPAM act does not require that customers opt-in to receiving messages from you* so you can use that database to create text messaging or mailing lists.
Building a Customer List
If you don’t already have a list you can access, and you want to get started building your own list, Facebook makes that easy! You can use your Business Page publishing tools to create a lead form which asks your customers for information that you specify (Keep it simple, Name, E-Mail, Phone Number). Once they fill out the form, you can download that information and use it in your mail or text marketing campaigns.
Something to keep in mind, is that users aren’t going to offer this information up to you. You may want to offer them something in return for this information like either guaranteed or a chance to win free product.
Text Messaging: I use Mobile Text Alerts. It costs $19/month for the base package of 1-175 subscribers per month. There are other free options available, but this is the one we like to use.
Mailing Lists: E-mails are another great way to stay in touch with your customers, although of the 3, the open rate is the lowest. You can use any online mailing list system you like, but be sure to check out their Terms of Service. Mailchimp has specific language that prohibits the use of their software for MLMs, so I tend to stay away from it, but there are plenty of free options like Mailer Lite and Smore . (I use Drip, if you’d like to try that, but I had to hire someone to administer it because it’s wicked complicated! I can refer her to you if you’d like)
Chatbots: Chatbots are set to explode in 2018 so that’s a train you most definitely want to be on. You can connect a chatbot to your Facebook Business Page. After your users opt in, you can connect with them directly through Facebook Messenger. This is an amazing platform with a high ROI, and help to mitigate any notification or reach issues you may encounter. We are in the process of building out bot using ManyChat. There are plans starting at Free (0-500 subscribers) going up to $145/month (25,000 subscribers).
Note: April 2018 – New activations of ManyChat on business pages are currently paused. This is not permanent. Continue to check back with them so that you can get yours going once they are up and running again.
Some of this may seem rudimentary, and for some of you this is a new way of looking at communication. Regardless of where you are in your business, diversifying your communication methods will create a social media ecosystem that allows one channel to compensate when another isn’t operating at optimum levels. Many business owners already have pieces of this put together already, so accessing the tools isn’t an issue. Have you as a business owner created an action plan for times of communication uncertainty? Do you have a problem solving tree you go down each time one platform fails? If not, now is the time to put one together. Create a streamlined plan for how you will manage your business if one or more platforms is glitchy, or having notification issues.
Because once you have a plan in place, though a change in notification and/or reach settings may be disruptive to your business, it wont be a catastrophe. Instead it will be a minor inconvenience that you can navigate by using the plan you already have in place.