One of the best ways to get interaction from your prospects and customers is simply to create a Facebook group.
Personally, I don't particularly like Facebook, but I have to admit the concept of a Facebook group for business is extremely powerful if it is used properly.
For a start, nearly everybody has a Facebook account and is using the website basically every day – which makes it much easier to get people to make comments in the group. Whenever someone in the group posts something, every member of that group gets a notification.
Secondly, it is free, quick and easy to set it up. A group can be set up in less than five minutes.
The concept of a Facebook group is extremely similar to a Forum, and is a brilliant way to start your own community and to become perceived as an expert in your niche.
The idea is to make it a group that is worth becoming a part of though. There is not much point in just slapping together a group and hoping that people start posting stuff.
There must be something that gets people interested, otherwise you will see little activity.
I have come up with a list of seven reasons why you really should create a Facebook group for business purposes.
1. A place to invite your prospects to hang out to discuss relevant topics with you, and other members of the group.
Instead of having to go to all the effort of creating your own online forum, it is far easier to just create a Facebook group. The group should be the place where you invite all of your customers and prospects to visit.
It is best to first invite 10 to 20 people that you already know to get the group started, instead of inviting people to an empty group.
Encourage them to ask questions and participate in the conversation, and make them aware that they will be able to meet and network with other like minded individuals inside the group.
I would recommend introducing a "NO SPAM' rule as well to make it a pleasant environment to visit.
2. A place to discover the sort of problems your target market is experiencing (market research)
You will easily be able to do market research with your group, without any of the members even realising.
Ask the group certain questions to find out what common problems they are experiencing, and use this information to create products to help them.
By doing this you will be able to get an accurate assessment of what your target market likes and doesn't like, and also what they want and what they don't want. This is priceless information that allows you to fully understand your prospects and customers.
3. A place for your current customers to recommend your products or services to new prospects
If you have started to build a loyal customer base that love your products, you will find that these people will start to recommend your products to new members of the group. This will happen naturally and you will not need to do any form of self promotion to the group.
There is no more effective way of selling your products than having other people rave about them in an honest way. This is a massive advantage which gives you enormous leverage. People will start approaching you with credit card in hand.
4. A place where customers can mastermind with other people for help/customer service
The group is also an excellent place for new customers to ask for help and support if they are feeling a bit overwhelmed or stuck on something.
If the group is active then other more experienced members will be happy to point new people in the right direction, and answer any questions that they might have.
Quite often you can feel a bit lonely when you are marketing on your own (particularly if you are a newbie), and it feels much better to have other people to talk to and discuss any issues that you might have, in a community like atmosphere.
5. A place to build your brand and increase your exposure as an industry expert
When you create a Facebook group, it makes you look more like an expert (providing you know what you are talking about).
If you have decent numbers in the group and if you provide valuable information to your members, then they will see you as an industry expert.
6. If the group proves to be a useful one, members will ask other people to join in as well.
Again, it all comes down to how much value you can provide in the group.
If your members are highly impressed, then there is a good chance that they will tell their friends about the group and recommend that they join in as well. This creates a viral effect and the numbers increase naturally, with new prospects and recommendations from current members.
Remember the more members in the group, the more interaction and activity there will be. The goal should be to attract as many people from your target market as possible.
7. You have the choice of setting up an open, closed or secret group.
When you create a Facebook group you have a choice as to if you want to make it restricted or not.
If your group is designed to include prospects then it is probably best to keep it as an open group that anybody can join. But if you want the group to be private and restricted to authorised people only, you will need to create a closed or secret group.
The only difference between the two is that the "secret Facebook group" can not be seen in the Facebook search engine, where as a "closed group" can. Both of these types of groups give you the authority to accept or reject new member requests – which can be useful if you want control over who is in the group.
Whatever you decide to do with your group, just remember the golden rule – "keep it interesting or informative" (or ideally both).
A group will die off unless there are people participating, as human nature proves that people will be far more likely to join in if plenty of other people are. On the other hand if the group is dead quiet, then it is hard to get the momentum going.
One solution that never fails is to ask a difficult question that is relevant to the group, and to offer a cash prize to the first person that gets the answer correct. But make sure this is a difficult question that requires a lot of thought and deserves a prize.
You may even be able to do market research from the answers to the difficult question!
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