This is a guest post from Melissa Fassel Dunn, founder of Grouptize, where she teaches Facebook group admins how to successfully connect their community groups to their own online businesses.
In 2013, I started a local community Facebook group. Originally a group intended for a few friends and me, it grew, and quickly! By 2015, I had grown a little tired of working for free as admin, and feeling like I had 5,000 bosses. So, I connected the group to a new online business by adding a companion website and a newsletter, plus a suite of options for advertising.
I was unexpectedly laid off from my “real job” in early 2016, and decided at that point to make the new Facebook-group based business into my new job and to begin my entrepreneurial life.
I often get asked how I did all of this, so I’d like to share some easy tips for community Facebook group admins on how to get started with monetizing a Facebook group.
Even if you’re not sure if you’re ready to monetize your Facebook group, these steps will prepare you for the process and will also serve as some general best group practices that will benefit your group.
Step 1: Reduce any free advertising in your group to one day per month.
Assuming you are permitting free advertising in your group, you will want to drastically reduce – almost eliminate – any free advertising – meaning group members posting independent plugs or ads for their business in your group.
If you currently allow unlimited or frequent free advertising, you’ll want to do this gradually, and you’ll want to end up at one day of free advertising per month. I allow free ads only within a designated thread on that day, not as a separate post, but you should feel free to do what works best for your group.
By only allowing ads one day per month, you are giving group members a taste of your advertising product, and you are also creating scarcity. Scarcity means that when you fully monetize your group, they’ll want more of what you have to offer!
Step 2: Collect email addresses
Change your group membership questions so that one of them is for getting an email address for updates on group-related news and info. I recommend that you ask this as the third question in your group so that people don’t feel immediately “sold to.”
Not everyone will answer it and that’s okay! You’ll find that at least half will provide their email address, particularly if you have something beneficial to them to offer, such as a freebie or an excellent e-newsletter.
Don’t know what to do with the emails yet? Collect them anyway! Maybe you won’t be using the addresses right now, but this is fine! Keep all collected emails in a spreadsheet for when you develop a newsletter and/or for future social media targeting.
You’ll never regret having these email addresses! They also give you a little bit of distance from the Facebook platform.
Step 3: Turn on post approval
I didn’t turn on “post approval” until my group grew to over 10,000 members, but man, I wish I had turned it on sooner!
I feared that by turning on post approval, I would set myself up for even more work as an admin, but as it turns out, I was preventing so many drama-related issues and rule-breakings, I ended up saving myself time.
I was also worried that my group members would complain and give me a really hard time, but I got surprisingly few grumbles. I think as admins get more disgruntled with doing their admin work for free, and as groups continue to grow, post approval is becoming increasingly more common.When you turn on post approval, you can prevent all of those free advertising attempts from happening, which further creates that much-desired scarcity we discussed in Step 1.
Step 4: Consider changing how you show up in your group
How do you come across on your group so that people know that you are the owner of the group and maybe even the founder of your own business?
How you “show up” or “behave” in your group honestly depends on your group dynamics. It may mean a few different things. For example, you might distance yourself from any group drama and a little bit from Facebook too. It could also mean you post more – in the form of engaging questions or polls.
As a leader or an admin, you should demonstrate leadership qualities. Be consistent with your group and rules. Don’t make exceptions for friends, for example. If you must make an exception to a rule for any reason, communicate why you’ve made the exception and if it’s a big enough deal, pin that post to the top as an announcement.
Communicate effectively, firmly, and kindly – so that people know what is going on. This means, when you reduce free advertising or if you decide to launch a business from your group, you should be transparent about any changes. Reflect your changes in the group rules and also consider pinning announcements for major changes to the top of the group.
Step 5: One easy thing to start selling
If you think you might be ready to start monetizing your group, an easy thing to immediately start selling is a weekly promotional post pinned to the top as an announcement. This is one of the easiest things to immediately sell because no design is involved on your part and you don’t need an external website to do it!
This could be a sale on something, a Facebook event for a local business, or just an invitation to send somebody to a business website or another Facebook page. The opportunities are really limitless, which makes it very flexible!
Facebook groups are an excellent resource for the community and an even better springboard for launching a business.
Learn more about building a business from a Facebook group:
If you’d like to learn more ideas about how to monetize a Facebook community group, download my freebie, 16 Strategies for Your Facebook Group.
Melissa Fassel Dunn is an entrepreneur, an artist, and a mother of three girls. Melissa is the owner and founder of Grouptize, where she teaches Facebook group admins how to successfully connect their community groups to their own online businesses.
Additionally, Melissa is the host of Broad Appeal, a local show about inspirational women, which airs on Milton Access TV. The show features interviews with strong female leaders and entrepreneurs from the Boston area, as well as a variety of segments that are useful and fun.
When she isn’t running one of her businesses or filming, you can find Melissa in her art studio, painting colorful, whimsical landscapes.