Engaged Audience

How to Build a Community (& Increase Sales!) With a Facebook Group

You probably belong to at least one Facebook group, right? They’re a great gathering place for people to discuss and engage with each other over a shared topic. There’s a Facebook group for everything these days it seems.

There’s political groups, mom groups, yardsale groups, crafters groups, business groups, and the list goes on and on.

But have you ever thought about starting a Facebook group specifically for your business? If you haven’t, then you really should consider it. This could be a great component to your social media strategy.

This can be a great way to connect with your audience, grow your brand, extend your community and in the long run, help increase your sales!

They do take a lot of time and attention and aren’t for the faint of heart, but if set up and managed correctly, can be so worth it!

How to Build a Community (& Increase Sales!) With a Facebook Group-Handmade Journey.com

Why should I start a Facebook group when I already have a business page?

Facebook groups are different from your business page, in one key area. They promote interaction and engagement with other members, not just with you!

Obviously, you want to show up and post and chat with your members as often as possible, but promoting a sense of community is what a Facebook group’s ultimate goal is.

Here are a few angles you can take when starting your own group.

1. Exclusive VIP Treatment. Everyone loves feeling like they are part of an exclusive crowd. Starting a Facebook group specifically for customers that have bought from you in the past, or are part of your email list could be a great place to start.

When you run a sale or come out with a new product, share it in your Facebook group first and stress that they’re getting first dibs on that new product.

2. Current Happenings in Your Niche–Using your Facebook group to discuss the latest news, updates, and changes in your niche is another great way to utilize your group.

You could make your Facebook group a place to discuss the latest trends in jewelry with the customers who have bought your earrings. Or how about a mom’s group to discuss their toddlers’ antics for customers who have bought your baby hair bows? The possibilities in this area are truly endless!

3. Communicate With Brand Ambassadors–If you are a business that has a few brand ambassadors, and want a place to gather your team together, this would be the perfect place to do that!

Your brand reps can come together and collaborate on ideas, social media hashtags, or just to simply talk about your awesome products with each other. This would also be a great place to have some loyal fans available for product testing if you needed a warm test audience.

Okay, I’m ready to start a group, but how do I get people to join?

The biggest struggle we face when starting a new Facebook group is how to let people know it’s there. You can’t have an active, engaged community if you only have two members.

Ideas on how to grow your group could include:

  • Add an invitation to join your Facebook group in your email signature. Just add a link at the bottom and a call to action.
  • On all your pages where you’re linking to Facebook (Your Etsy store, Website, etc) add the link to join your Facebook group instead of directing people to your business page.
  • Link your business page and your Facebook group, and use the CTA (Call to Action) button on your business page to send people to your group.
  • Make a fun Facebook cover photo that highlights your brand and encourages people to come to check out your group.
  • Join other Facebook groups that allow self-promotions and use these groups to bring people to yours. (Be very careful to read the rules of these groups to make sure that this is something that’s allowed!)

I’ve got some people in my group, now what?

Another challenge faced by Facebook group owners is how to get your members to engage with each other. This can be tricky because no one likes to be the first to comment on a post.

Some fun ideas you could use to get the ball rolling could be:

  • Use polls/challenges/contests to get your members engaged and excited. Consider giving away a shop credit, or an E-Gift card as prizes to the winners. (everyone loves Target!)
  • Ask fun questions and require replies to be a GIF or picture, people love answering questions in quirky unique ways.
  • Make sure you’re commenting and posting the most so that people can get to know you and feel more comfortable participating.
  • Give everyone an opportunity to share wins, making sure to encourage and celebrate with them!

The unfortunate truth is that a regular post on your business page is a fleeting thing. We can post something today and only a handful of our fans or customers will see it, thanks to algorithms and time of day.

And then a few days later you can post an update, and an entirely new group of people will see the update without ever having seen the first post.

There’s a real disconnect from one post to the next. Within a Facebook group, however, this isn’t as much of an issue. This fact makes it easier to connect with other people, and have real connections form between you and your audience.

A Facebook group can, and definitely should be, a place where all different kinds of people come together to spend time sharing thoughts and ideas. People are joining Facebook groups because they’re a safe place to have real interactions and share parts of their lives.

By starting a Facebook group for your business, and making sure to engage with your members, you can promote your brand in a completely non-salesy fashion.

And hopefully, you’ll have a little fun while you’re at it!

If you would like to join a community of other like-minded handmade sellers in a Facebook group setting, I’d love for you to join us in the Handmade Journey Academy Facebook group!

This is a place where we answer questions, share wins, troubleshoot problems and have a lot of fun! All while we’re crushing our business goals. How cool is that?

What’s your take on starting a Facebook group for your business? Is it something you think would be a good fit?

Why or why not? Let’s talk about it below.

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How to Keep an Engaged Audience on Instagram

I hear these questions a lot these days; “How do I keep an engaged audience on Instagram?” or, “What do I post on Social Media?” or my favorite, “I keep posting pictures of my products, but I’m not getting any engagement!”

Do any of these statements sound like you?

When I first started on Instagram with my handmade business, I was in love. I made a plan to post my products 2-3 times a week and showcase different items and price ranges. How could this go wrong? I got my first few posts up and sat back to watch the thousands of followers I was sure would be interested just flock to my profile. 

It was a lesson learned after the first few posts garnered no engagement that maybe I was going about this the wrong way. Maybe posting nothing but my products wasn’t a way to get people engaged with my profile, so I changed my focus.

I stopped trying to sell to people on Instagram, and instead, I focused on connecting with them. 

How to keep an engaged audience on Instagram-Handmade Journey

Keeping an Engaged Audience on Instagram Means Stop Selling!

Let’s start with what you like to look at, and engage with on Instagram. When you open your app, are you going there with your wallet out thinking about making a purchase? Chances are you’re just going to unwind, relax and scroll through some entertaining or pretty pictures. 

That’s what your audience is doing too! They’re not thinking about buying something, they’re looking to be entertained. They are trying to connect with people, and build relationships with brands, companies and you! The real day-to-day down in the mud with your dogs and kids you!

It’s a known fact that people have to be exposed to your brand at least seven times before they’re ready to make a purchase. So why not use those times to show who you are, and why they should trust you enough to purchase your product or service? 

Any of the following ideas would make great things to talk about on your Instagram profile

1. Behind the Scenes, Everyone loves to go behind the scenes and get a real relatable view of what is going on in your world. Show them a package that you’re sending to the post office that day, or maybe you have a tiny human who needs to take a nap so you can get some work done. How to Keep an Engaged Audience on Instagram--Handmade Journey Show them the real parts of your life, and let them feel like they’ve been brought behind the proverbial curtain and granted exclusive access.

2. Your Why -Share your reason for your handmade business. Talk about your kids, your other half, or maybe you just don’t want to work for someone else anymore. Share these with your fans and create a conversation. 

3. Your Daily Routine– What is life like for a handmade seller? Maybe people don’t understand that you’re packaging orders while you’re at a soccer game with your kiddos. A ”day in the life” kind of post would be something really cool to share. 

4. Reviews from Customers-This can help build the know-like-and-trust factor that you’re always striving for. Post a couple of customer reviews and showcase how other people are in love with your products. 

5. Ask the Audience Give your audience a chance to be part of your creative process. Maybe you’re coming up with a new product and you can’t decide between two different fabrics. Post a picture with both of them and ask your audience to pick which one they like the best. 

6. Provide a Tip or Trick-Everyone loves a good life hack! Did you discover something that made your life easier? Share it with your fans! 

7. Inspiring Quotes or Funny Meme-There is no faster way to build an engaged audience on Instagram than to share a funny quote or a meme. People love a good chuckle! 

8. Talk About What You’re Reading or Watching– Did you just finish a great book? Or maybe you’re binge-watching a great new series on Netflix. Share these things for a quick way to build your engaged audience on Instagram! 

9. Mention Your Favorite Tools– Don’t reveal all the trade secrets, but if you just came across a new glue gun that doesn’t burn like the devil, the people have a right to know! 

10. Post a Reminder to Join Your Email List – Do you have a cool opt-in freebie? Maybe your fans don’t know about this. Let them know about it in a post.

11. Admit to Something That Didn’t Work or is Embarrassing-  You’re a relatable person, and people have embarrassing experiences! Showcasing how something went wrong, and how you fixed it, is a great way to build an engaged audience on Instagram. 

12. Show Your Product in Action A great way to build that know-like-trust factor is to showcase your product in use. 

13. Make a Hyperlapse Video of you Working- Maybe it’s not that interesting to you, but to others your creative process is amazing. I know I love watching hyper-lapse videos of people painting pictures, or doing lettering. They’re fascinating! 

14. Share a Blast from The Past- These are always fun to see! Whether it’s a celebrity, or just you from high school, nostalgia is a powerful tool. 

15. Hold a Hashtag Contest This one could be really fun! Post a picture of a new product, or a Pinterest fail of your own and have a contest to see who can come up with the funniest hashtag. The winner could win a shop credit, or a featured spot on your profile. 

 

These are just a few ideas to get your creative juices flowing. The thing to remember with keeping an engaged audience on Instagram is to try not to be too pushy. Remind them of your business casually, and use the rest of the time to just be real. 

Connect with them, show them your real self, and watch how quickly you gain a ton of loyal fans who might turn into repeat customers. 

Drop a comment below and tell me which of these ideas above were your favorite? Or maybe you have your own great idea about something to post? Leave it in a comment below and share it with everyone! 

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