Facebook. What a time-suck, eh? It’s just for wasting time, posting pictures of how amazing your kids are, and stalking your ex, right?
At the moment Facebook is the single most effective source of contacts for my business, and I haven’t spent a penny on ads.
So in this post I’m going to run through a handful of ideas that I find are very effective at building relationships and you will learn:
- How to use Facebook Groups to increase your network and get great opportunities for exposure
- How to avoid coming across as spammy
- Why having your own group might be better than having a business page
- How to share stuff about your side hustle without your boss seeing it (because like dope you friended your boss, didn’t you?)
As I mentioned, Facebook has been, hands down, the best tool for me to find, reach and connect with my ideal client. No matter what your niche or business model is, if your business involves people and those people are on Facebook you will be able to use some of the following ideas and strategies.
How to use groups to increase your network and get great opportunities for exposure
The first thing to do, is to join some Facebook groups where 1) your peers, colleagues and competitors are hanging out, and 2) your ideal clients are getting together and talking about their pain points (that you can solve).
- Join groups of your peers so that you can meet like-minded people, share best practices and ideas for growing and developing. You might even make a contact that can refer work to you, or vice versa.
- Join groups with your ideal clients in them so that you can
spam the heck out of them trying to make a saleprovide immense value to them and establish yourself as an authority in your market.
To find these groups you can search using keywords for your industry or niche, or you can use “Facebook Graph Search” and type something like “groups joined by people who like insert keyword here”. Graph search is pretty powerful and you can search Google for exactly how to use it, but here are a couple of examples:
The number one thing you can do in these groups that you join is show up regularly and contribute, in a positive way, to the discussions going on.
How to avoid coming across as spammy
Check the rules of the groups you’ve joined. These are usually in a pinned post at the top of the page, or in the group description. Stick to them. Introduce yourself in the welcome thread or your own post, but avoid linking to your website or page yet – I know it’s tempting, but hold off for now, until someone asks you! Jump into the discussion and whenever someone poses a question that you have thoughts on, get right in and provide valuable insights. Again, don’t link directly to your stuff (DO make sure your personal profile has links to your website or page for anyone that clicks through – see below).
If you do this consistently and not just on promo day, people will notice. The admin / owner of the group will notice. The owner of the group may even approach you and thank you for your positive influence. They may invite you to be a featured writer on their blog or a guest on their podcast.
When someone needs help with your field of expertise, they may very well reach out to you and become a paying client.
Why having your own group might be better than having a business page
You absolutely should have a business page on Facebook. You can set up your personal profile to show that page as your place of work and make it easier for potential clients to find out what you do.
But, in my humble opinion, you should also consider building a community in a Facebook Group. At the time of writing, The Freelance to Freedom Project Community that Leah started has over 3,500 members. 3,500 people who are loyal, friendly fans of Leah’s mission. 3,500 pairs of eyes on content that Leah produces. That’s in addition to the email lists and blog readers. Yes there will be overlap, but you get the idea.
If you believe in the adage that “the money is in the list” but struggle to build that list, I would urge you to start a group and invite your ideal client to join it. In my own experience, the growth of my group is at least 10x the growth of my email list. I also find that few people actually interact with emails they receive, but in groups they like and comment on posts, and support each other.
When you share content on your Facebook business page, only a fraction of the people that like your page will see it. In a group, a significantly higher number will see, like and interact with it.
How to share stuff about your side hustle without your boss seeing it (because like dope you friended your boss, didn’t you?)
I believe in adding people you interact with and would like to work with as friends on Facebook. But this presents a problem for many people who feel that their Facebook profile is just for them and their close friends to see.
Well, did you know that you can assign your “friends” to different lists on Facebook?
Go to your personal profile and click on the “friends” tab.
Now hover over the little tick next to one of your friends:
For anyone that you don’t want to see “personal stuff” add them to the “Acquaintances” list, and then change your standard sharing settings to “Friends except acquaintances”.
But here’s how to share stuff about your side hustle without your boss seeing it.
Click on “Add to another list…”
Scroll down to “+ New List” and create a list. I created one called “Marketing to”.
Now add people to this list if you DO want them to see stuff about your side hustle. Whenever you share something about your business, share it with this list, and they, and only they, will be able to see that. Anyone not on your “Marketing to” list won’t see it in their feed or on your timeline.
Neat trick, eh?
- Join groups where your peers and your clients hang out, and be nice to people. People like people who are nice.
- Don’t spam people. People hate spam.
- Start your own group where you can build a community of your ideal clients and help them.
- Make “friends” with people and add them to the appropriate list so that they don’t see your personal stuff. Create a “marketing to” list so that you can share business related posts only with the people you choose.