#136: Run a Facebook Group Without Spending Hours Online

Like the idea of marketing yourself through a Facebook group…but feel like you don’t have the time? Well, Michelle learned the hard way but it IS possible to be present with your groups in a way that’s manageable for a busy schedule. Listen and learn her best tips and tricks based on running 20+ Facebook groups over the past 6-7 years.

👉 Join Michelle’s upcoming live masterclass: Create & Run Client-Generating Facebook groups at http://healthcoachpower.com/fbclass

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Hey there, Health coaches. Welcome back to another episode today. I want to talk to you about how to actually make running a Facebook group work when you are a busy person, when you have other responsibilities. So many of you have brought up inside our Facebook group, Health Coach Power Community. You've said, I'd love to start my own Facebook group, but I'm afraid of the time commitment, but I don't know if I can spend that much time cultivating something like this. So I am bringing you this episode, by the way, from the comfort of my freezing cold basement, it is a very snowy, very cold day out there, which also means my two children are home from school with no remote learning today. And the reason that I'm sharing this is because I too have a lot on my plate. And I have always found time to run my Facebook groups because they are remarkably easy to do as opposed to other means of marketing yourself.

So I'm going to talk a little bit more about that in just a minute, but to let you know, I do have a masterclass coming up on February 24th, all about how to create and run client generating Facebook groups. That means a Facebook group that you're not just running for the heck of it, but it's actually going to result in money in your pocket and you can sign up for that. It's totally free. It's going to be a full length masterclass. We were probably going to run over an hour of me just sharing everything that I know. I'm hoping to keep it under two hours, for sure. Just cause, oh my gosh, we are busy. But anyway, like I'm trying to tell you, this is not like a fluff piece. This is going to be an intense class full of stuff. You are going to be taking crazy notes and you can sign up for that at healthcoachpower.com/fbclass.

And I definitely want you to sign up for this. If you at all, have ever considered running a group, or if you're already running a group and you're like, it's not working or it's driving me crazy, I'm going to tell you how to make it work. Okay. So I have a bunch of my tips and tricks. I kind of pulled out of that training to share with you today, just to give you an idea of what we're going to be talking about. But today is just all about how to make it easier, how to make it faster, how to work more efficient, right? Smarter, not harder. And I've been running Facebook groups for about, I'm going to say seven years, probably a bit longer than that. And in the beginning, Oh my gosh. It was like, I was attached to the computer screen. I was checking every minute I had alerts going off.

Oh, somebody wrote something, somebody posted something, Oh, I got to respond to this. I got to respond to that. I felt like I was spending more time talking to my Facebook groups that I was spending, talking to my family. And that's not the situation that we want to be in, is it? So, fast forwarding to today where we have thousands and thousands of people in this Facebook group? I have run. I was counting up all the Facebook groups. I have ever been an admin for, you know, my own group. And it's like, well, over 20, how do you make this work? So the first thing that I want to share is that I initially started running Facebook groups because actually, because it was something I could fit into my life. I had little babies at the time, right? So my schedule was very scattered. You know, it was like crack in my day here and there, but I never knew what I was going to have a full hour to work.

So it wasn't like I could go out and run a workshop in public. I couldn't do that. I was like exclusively breastfeeding. The baby wouldn't take a bottle. Like I was attached at all times to my children when they're very small. So I just had a situation where I needed something I could do in not a lot of time and not a lot of dedicated blocks of time on my calendar. For sure. So Facebook groups fit in perfectly like that because if you think about it, when you are standing in line, when you are whatever, waiting for your kid to put on their darn shoes and get in the car or whatever it is, it's very easy to reply to a Facebook post in your group. So, if you're concerned that you won't have enough time to actually see what people are writing and respond to them, it's the kind of thing that you can do in like 20 seconds here, a minute there.

And I found myself, you know, while maybe I'm waiting for the, the water to boil on the stove, okay. Maybe I'm just going to answer a Facebook post right now. So for me, that worked really well at a time in my life when I could not do a better job of blocking out dedicated work time for myself. And I know that some of you may be in the same situation. So I just wanted to offer that up while it is possible to say, I'm going to spend one hour today between noon and one, o'clock just paying attention to my Facebook group, responding to comments, posting things. You can do it like that. But if you can't, you can still fit it into other little cracks in your schedule all day long. And sometimes we're doing that anyway, aren't we, you know, you're like, uh, online at the grocery store or something, and you're scrolling through Instagram like this, just to pass the time.

My suggestion don't do it for sport. Do it in a way that's actually going to start putting money in your pocket. So if you were spending that time instead talking to the members of your Facebook group, that's going to go a lot further for you than just sort of mindlessly scrolling through some sort of social media. Okay. So that's my first step. It fits into the nooks and crannies of your day. Does anybody feel a little bit of relief about that? I'm just curious for those of you that are here live. If you have any questions or comments on this topic, let me know in the chat. I have my eye on that so that I can respond to the things that are worrying you the most about running a Facebook group, especially when it comes to how much time it's going to take. Okay.

The next thing that I want to share for you is something I did not always do, but I learned is a must. And that is to always set your group up. This is in your settings so that all new posts are held for approval. So that means that if it's one o'clock in the morning and you're asleep, or if it's 3:00 PM and your kids just got off the school bus or whatever is going on in your life and a member of your group posts something, it won't just go out to the group. It's not just like open season for anything anyone wants to talk about at any time, because what will end up happening is by the time you see it in the morning, by the time you get to it, however many hours later, sometimes those posts can light on fire. There could be a bunch of people.

It could be a whole crazy conversation that you didn't even know what's going on. And I always found that to be really, really stressful. So you don't know what other people are going to post in your group. And so I always hold posts for approval. There's other good reasons to do this. But the main thing is you don't want to have a runaway topic that probably doesn't even belong in your group in the first place. Here's an example that comes to mind vaccines. Let's say that you have a group that in any way, shape or form talks about health, chances are somebody could post something either. Pro-vaccine anti-vaccine whatever, just talking about vaccines. And if that topic doesn't belong in your group, it's not something that you want to be talking about. That's a topic that could go like wildfire, and you're going to have people commenting and arguing.

And it could just get way out of hand. In the meantime, maybe your group, is nothing to do with vaccines at all. It has to do with like, you know, weight loss or something. So that would be a post that I would decline from my group if it were me. And if I did approve it for whatever reason, I would want to know when it was approved and then be able to keep my eye on it. Just so things don't get out of hand. I always found that the things that sucked my energy and stuck my time the most with Facebook groups is not just the ordinary posting commenting, things like that. But when there's a conflict, when you have people who are upset, either with each other, or with you or whatever it is, and you have to sort of put out a fire that can really be draining. So we try to head that off at the pass by always holding posts for approval. Now, another reason that I always like to hold post for approval is to make sure that our members are following the rules. So, for example, inside my Facebook groups, we have a rule about no self-promotion and that includes posting affiliate links. And you know what? We get a ton of people who try to do that anyway. So I like to hold posts for, because we can just decline, decline, decline. Anything that doesn't meet the criteria for the group. Not only does it keep that post from being published, but it sets the tone for the group. I am able to curate what appears in my group. And then everyone understands even without reading the rules, this is what this group is all about.

And everything just runs more smoothly. I will say one other thing that I like to... Or another reason that I like to hold posts for approval is because this way I have a chance to respond or in my case, our admin team has a chance to respond to posts that come in first. And sometimes again, this can just make things run more smoothly rather than having all your group members, shouting answers and maybe misinformation. And then you have to go in and kind of unravel that conversation later. Sometimes it's easier to just answer upfront and even sometimes turn off the comments. I did that today with a post in the group, because I felt like it could turn into a runaway train and I didn't want that to happen. So I answered it the very, very best I could. And then I turned off comments. So all of these things are going to help you keep issues to a bare minimum. And that's going to really maximize the time that you can use in a positive way inside your group.

Okay, Samantha is asking about how to create better engagement within the group that is something we are definitely going to discuss during the Facebook group masterclass on the 24th, so, make sure that you guys sign up for that. Again, it's healthcoachpower.com/fbclass. Creating engagement, of course, does include responding to that post while you're standing in line at the grocery store. In other words, being there, being part of your group, even if you have 200 million people in your group and you have a team of, you know, 50 admin, I would expect you as the leader to still show up in your group. And maybe you're not answering every post, but your voice is being heard. You're there. I mean, after all, at the end of the day, you're selling yourself, you're selling your product. So, your presence in the group is super-duper important to create that engagement.

And, for people to know that like, yeah, you're there, everyone loves that. They love knowing that like when they post something in my Facebook group, I'm paying attention. I might answer it in a Q and a like this during one of our live episodes, I might respond right there at the very least I'm kind of paying attention like, Oh gosh, that is the 10th person that has asked about say Facebook groups. I better address this stuff. Okay. So that's all that holding post for approval. Something else that I wanted to share with you guys is about having rules. Not all, I mean, yes. Have rules also make sure they are spelled out explicitly. So when somebody joins your group, they're going to be asked to agree to the group rules. You can also have them in a post that is pinned like a welcome post that's pinned or, held as an announcement at the top of your group.

And it should be in the description of your group everywhere that you can let people know what the rules are because when the rules are not followed, we kick people out. And I can't tell you how much time that saves me because earlier I didn't want to do that. I felt bad to kick somebody out of my Facebook group. I don't know why it would be like someone coming into my house, breaking my television, cursing at me. And then me being like, um, could you, could you just be nicer? No, get out, get out. This is my house. And that's how I watched you to run your Facebook groups as well. It's your house. So you make the rules. Nobody has to be there. They're not paying to be there and they can leave at any time and you can have them... You can boot them out at any time as well.

So again, you will save yourself a lot of time in negotiations with people who aren't playing nice rather than going back and forth with them, just cut them loose. As an add on to that. Sometimes you're going to make people mad, especially if you've kicked them out. That's okay. They can die mad. It is not up to you to make everybody happy. It is not up to you to make them feel better. You don't even have to reply, especially when they're sending you nasty messages. Can you tell that this has happened to me a couple of times, at least. So listen, you don't know what to anybody, it's your house. It's your rules. You want people there who are playing nice. Even if someone just says something in the wrong tone, you think they're just somebody who you don't want to have at your party.

Let them go. Because I always feel that my responsibility is to the group at large, not to one particular member, but to the overall group. So if I allow negativity, if I allow name calling, if I allow self-promotion, if I allow all these things that drag the group down, nobody wins. But if I can pinpoint the bad apples and get rid of them, everybody has a better experience. And so, I'm going to choose to do that and make that decision for myself and for like the other thousands and thousands of group members, just by quickly and a click of a button deleting and blocking anyone who's not playing nice inside of our group.

Niecy is asking will the topic of pop-up or temporary groups be covered in the training on the 24th? So, what I'm talking about today applies to all different kinds of groups that you might run on Facebook, but what I'm really talking about and what I'm really talking about on the 24th are groups that are used for marketing.

So not a group that you're running, like maybe as part of a paid program where someone's going to pay you to join your online course. And then they're going to get access to a Facebook group for support. That's different. That's a group that's part of the operations of your business. We're really talking about monetizing a Facebook group, creating Facebook groups that are going to help you find paying clients in other words, marketing your services. Okay. So let's say that you have, you know, you're going to start with like 10 people in your group, and then maybe you're going to have 20, and then you're going to hit a hundred and it's going to be a big day, and then someone's going to leave and you'll be back down to 99, but that's okay because someone else is going to join. You know, it's a lot of fun watching a group grow, but I noticed at a certain point when the size of my groups have, you know, reached a certain critical mass, not just the number of people in the groups, but depending how active the group is.

And if you listen to everything that I'm going to teach you guys on the 24th, you're going to know lots of ways to get your group engaged. So the more engagement you have, it just becomes a busier and busier place to be, which means it can take up more and more of your time. So again, as your group is growing, you're going to hit some sort of critical mass where it may make sense for you to get other admin, to help you out in the group. So you can go about that different ways. One way to do it is to simply ask very active members of your group, if they would like to be an admin. And they may very well feel completely honored to be in that role. And so pleased that you ask them, they're already participating in your group every day. Why not?

Right. They're going to get that little badge next to their name. They're going to get a little more like inside time with you. They could very well say yes, I would love to. And meanwhile, you're not paying them to do it. It's just something that they want to do because they like being part of your group. So for that, I would definitely go for the people in your group who are showing up every day or multiple times a week, they're always contributing in a positive way. You like the way that they interact with group members. And you can just tell they're really into it. The other thing would be if you have any clients that you've actually worked with or friends or anybody that you know well, and they're in the group, um, they also may be willing to act as an admin to keep an eye on things.

And you can ask your admin to do different things. Um, you could ask them to comment on posts, but not approve new posts. You could ask them to approve new posts, but not maybe approve new members, right? So there's all different tasks that go into admining a group. And you can decide like what makes sense to outsource at this point and other things that you might say to them, you know what? I'm going to continue to do this part. If you could just take care of X, Y, Z, so it can be super, super helpful. Now, of course, the other thing that you can do is actually hire somebody, somebody to help you in your group. So let's say you hire a virtual assistant. My virtual costs me about $35 - $40 an hour. She's in Canada, so the exchange rate is a little bit different depending on the day, but you could hire a virtual assistant at a rate somewhere like that.

And same thing, maybe they're just going to approve new members and that's all they're going to do. Um, maybe they, they don't know enough about the topic of the group to actually engage with the conversation, but they can help you with a new member admittance. So those are some different ways to get help when you need it. And also as your group grows, I find it takes on a life of its own. So you don't have to comment on every post. You don't have to be there quite as much, definitely want to be keeping an eye on things. And it helps to have a couple people keeping eye on things, but really this is not going to become a problem until you have hundreds and hundreds, maybe over a thousand or 2000 members. Are you going to notice like, Hey, we need some extra help around here in any case, it's always great when the group gets bigger and there's a lot more conversation happening that you're not even part of. It's a great thing. It's like hosting a wonderful party where everyone ends up in their own little groups and more people are coming and you're just walking around, serving a drink.

Okay, Christie's asking, will you be covering tips to grow our groups? And what about ways to invite members into an... Something I'm not sure what that stands for. Maybe I'm dense right now in OTR without constantly selling. Christie, we are going to be covering everything about growing a group and selling to your group members inside the master class. So again, you can sign up for that at healthcoachpower.com/fbclass.

This today is really for everyone who wants to sign up for the class, but something is kind of nagging at the back of their head going, but I don't have the time to do this. I'm already doing too many things, right? So today is all about helping you see how you can fit this into your schedule and how actually you may be able to save yourself some time by focusing on a Facebook group and not doing five, six, seven, eight other things, because there's so much potential with the Facebook group. So, let's talk a little bit about actually posting into your group.

It can be really hard just like with any social media, if you just sort of like wake up in the morning and you're like, Oh my gosh, what am I going to post about today? I need to find an article. No, I need to find a book recommendation. No, I need a quote. Like it's just hard. It takes a lot of mental energy to do that. So I always recommend having a weekly routine. So I always suggest, especially when a group is new, that you have a set schedule Monday through Friday. On Monday, you always post about whatever it is. You know, it's always going to be some sort of motivational quote. And on Tuesday, it's always going to be some sort of tool or resource, right? So you know what your themes are. And that way you can set aside an hour during the week, plan out all five posts for the following week and just get them scheduled.

And then they just go out on autopilot. I would just reuse the same themes every single week, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday. The other thing that you can do is have a dedicated day during the week where you welcome your new members. So Facebook actually keeps track of the new members. Who've joined your group over the last week. So if every week let's say on Thursday, you know, the first thing that you do on Thursday morning is you welcome your new members into your group. Great. So that way, you know, there's a post happening on Thursday. If you're going to do Facebook lives and these are not required, but highly suggested again, just pick a day. It is so much mental energy to go. Hmm. Maybe should I do it today? No, I don't know what I'm going to talk about. Maybe I'll do it tomorrow.

Oh gosh. I haven't done it in three weeks. Right. It's kind of like when we work with our clients on like grocery shopping and meal planning, you guys know everything goes smoothly in the kitchen. When you have a plan and you went to the store on Sunday and then all you have to do the day of is mix up a few ingredients and dinner is done. I mean, that's my plan for tonight anyway. So it's the same thing here. Give yourself a routine and then you just follow that routine and a lot more can get done. Then you think you just schedule each of your tasks into your calendar on the same day and time.

Okay. Sorry. I was just looking at other questions that may have come in while I was talking. I'm so glad that you guys are here live by the way. It's so much more fun when we can talk with each other. The other thing about posting and I kind of mentioned this earlier is that it's really nice when everyone starts talking with each other and you're not like the only one talking in the group, right? That's a good thing. We still want to be there, but you never have to answer questions in your group with like a long detailed response. If you ever find yourself going back and forth and back and forth and back and forth with the same person stop, that's not your job. You are creating a community of people. You are not creating a whole bunch of people that get to pick your brain for free as long as they want whatever they want.

So if you're involved in a conversation and you're enjoying it by all means continue. But also you want to keep the tone of the group such that yes, you're there. Yes. You're happy to answer questions, point people in the right direction, encourage members to talk to each other, but at a certain point, the best way to answer a question in your group is going to be one of two things, either download my free resource on XYZ topic, right? Whatever they're asking about. And we're going to be talking all about how to do that during the masterclass, because those freebies are really essential for converting members to paying clients. So that's one thing that you can do. Um, the other thing that you can do is point your member to a blog post or a podcast episode, or a Facebook live that you already did on the same topic.

You do not need to repeat yourself. You can just post a link where they can get more on that topic. And that also shows like, wow, what an amazing resource you are as the leader of this group. And the other thing that you can do is suggest that they book a call with you. So if you're offering a free call or whatever you're doing for your consultations, you can always say something like, Hey, I would need to know a lot more about what you're going through in order to provide you with any sort of direction, but you can book a call here. And that's just one of many, many ways to start bringing your group members into your world, where they're actually talking with you and converting to paying clients. Shannon is saying, I'm just getting started. And my email list is small. Should I wait until I have more people to start a group?

That's a great question, Shannon, and one thing that we're going to be talking about again, during the Facebook group masterclass, but I'll just share it here briefly is that Facebook groups act beautifully at the top of your funnel. So at the top of funnel means people from like the whole wide world can join a Facebook group. And then from there, it's an easier step to get them onto your mailing list, as opposed to just like going out, standing on the street or, you know, waving a sign at the grocery store and saying, join my mailing list. Um, whenever you're out in public, so to speak and you're inviting people to take that next step with you, ask them to join your Facebook group. That's easy for them to do. They don't even have to, you know, say, Oh yeah, great. Now I'm going to get emails from this person. So it works really well at the top of your funnel to get more people onto your list. So if your list is not that big yet, okay, that's where you are right now. One way to make it bigger is to start running a really phenomenal Facebook group and it will grow.

Great question. And the last thing I want to talk about on this topic about, I don't have time to run a Facebook group is this, it is going to take time. Of course, running a business requires your time. And there may be places that you're spending time that you don't need to be spending time. And this could be a better use of your time. Hopefully today I've shown you how to spend less time worrying about your group. But the point I want to make is even though you're going to spend time building a Facebook group, it takes $0.

And that is a wonderful thing. When you think about all the different ways that you can be spending in your business, right? Compare it to running Facebook ads where you might spend $2, if you're lucky, but maybe up to $10 per new name added to your mailing list, let's say you add 100 names to your mailing list in a month. That's 200 to like a thousand dollars per month that you're spending to grow your list. I don't know about you, but when I was just starting business, I did not have $12,000 a year to put into Facebook ads and hope to grow my list with the right people. I did not have like startup capital, definitely bootstrapping it. And I know that many of you are as well. So instead, what if you put in a couple of hours per week against your Facebook group, and then like, I was just telling Shannon, it becomes a way to grow your email list.

And then you add a hundred new names to your list that month. And you have spent $0. That to me makes so much more sense when you're first starting out in your business. Years later, when you have a lot of income, a lot of revenue you can afford to invest into ads. You can afford to invest in all kinds of tools. Great. But in the beginning, isn't this amazing. You can do this, but as $0, plus the people that you're going to get on your list through a Facebook group are better leads because they already know you. They already like you. They're already part of your group, see you as a leader and trust you. And that is going to hold so much more weight than someone who just clicks on a Facebook ad and signs up for your thing. They're very likely to unsubscribe from your list a minute later, you know how that goes, right?

So when you have someone from your Facebook group convert to your list, they're more likely to be a really active member. And once they're on your mailing list, stay there to me. This is a no brainer. I know time is money. So I'm not trying to say like, Oh, don't spend any money, but just spend all your time. No, but don't spend money. You don't have to spend and use your time wisely. If you don't have thousands of dollars to invest, you can say save the money that you do have. And instead put a little time into the Facebook group because no business is going to get built without spending time on it. All right, enough about that. Thank you guys so much for joining me today. One more time. I'd love for you to join us for the masterclass happening on February 24th. It is completely free. It will not be free in the future, but it is free to you now. So sign up at healthcoachpower.com/fbclass. And I will see you there. And next week I'll be back with the third installment. We're doing three episodes in a row, all about Facebook groups. And next week, we're going to be talking about building engagement. So we'll touch on that and we'll go much deeper inside the masterclass. All right, you guys have a great one and I'll talk to you soon.