If you have a Facebook page, you may be getting increasingly frustrated by the low engagement or eyeballs you're getting on your posts. A recent change to Facebook's algorithm means that the posts from family, friends and groups will be given priority.
That doesn't mean you should get rid of your Facebook business page. But you do need to ensure that the content you share on your page is going to generate conversations between users, and not in a spammy way. Ways to boost the visibility of your page posts include using live videos, not sharing links that send people off Facebook, paying for advertising and creating content that gets people talking.
But what about groups. Should you create a Facebook group for your business? After all, the new algorithm specifically says that groups will be given priority. But is running a Facebook group just another job to add to your to do list? Will it actually do anything for your business?
I run two Facebook groups. One supports my business, the other is the business. Here's my experience of running groups and tips on how to do it.
The Campfire Club
This is a free Facebook group I set up as an extension of my Campfire brand. I set it up because I know how hard it can be running a business. It can feel lonely, overwhelming and demoralising when everyone else seems to be nailing it, yet you're battling to make any money. Sometimes you just want to ask a quick question or get advice, without having to pay a fortune for an expert's help. So I set the group up as a way to have a virtual campfire with a warm, supportive and friendly vibe. It's my way of giving to people who may not be able to afford my services.
How I run it:
I have three set days to drive discussion:
What does it do for my business?
I set this group up a year ago. At the time I didn't have a Facebook page and I had a basic website. I didn't have a business. All I had was an idea - to get more women out walking and to help them connect. I set the group up as a way of doing that. It has grown to over 900 members and is largely the business. For now (I am working on other ideas behind the scenes). It acts as a way for women to find other women to walk with, share ideas, pictures and walks.
How I run it?
What does it do for my business?
Facebook groups have given me a completely new way of connecting and communicating with my ideal target audience. Yes it has added to my workload, but the insights the groups have given me have been invaluable. So would I recommend having one? Yes - if you have a community that you want to learn from and a business you want to grow. Be sure you know who your audience is before setting it up. Keep it targeted and you're more likely to be successful.
How to set up a group
Got any tips on how to manage a Facebook group? Share them in the comments. And if you want to join either of my groups, feel free.
Click here for the Campfire Club
Click here for Glamoraks (women only)
Over on the Campfire Club, someone asked how you manage when you simply have too much to do. I shared some tips on making a list of what has to happen and then outsourcing. But it got me thinking. There are just 5 weeks until Christmas and only 6 until 2018. It's like someone put the clocks on fast forward. And for many people, there is too much to do and not enough time to do it in.
Often the worry of what we need to do is actually bigger than the thing itself. Once you've written a list, it's easier to see what you have to do and can start to tick it off. But sometimes it will still be easier to hand some of the tasks over to someone else.
But that in itself can seem like a job: Find someone to do XYZ, brief them, manage them. What if they don't do it well enough? And so you don't do anything and your to do list gets longer.
I wanted to share three examples from the last week of how I helped people by taking something off their plate effortlessly. They didn't need to spoon feed me or wait on lengthy proposals or micro manage the process. They simply got in touch, explained what they needed and I did it. Job done.
Peter got in touch on Sunday and asked me to write an award submission for him as the deadline was fast approaching but he couldn't find the right words. I chatted to him at 3pm yesterday. He had his completed award submission by 6pm. Job done. He said:
'Thanks Melissa, That looks good.'
Jane got in touch last week, saying she needed words for a flyer for an event, but didn't seem to be getting to it because of everything else she had to do. I took a brief in the morning and she had her copy that afternoon. It's now with her designer and printer. She can hit her event with marketing materials sorted. Job done. She said:
'Yep - this fits the bill very nicely!! Thanks, Melissa - I knew you’d crack to for me!'
I went to see Helen and team on Wednesday last week. She had some blog posts that needed to be written, one of which I felt could make a good press story. By yesterday afternoon I had written a communications plan; four blog posts; three emails going to staff, customers and colleges; researched an industry issue; discovered that it was going to be covered in the Autumn budget speech tomorrow; wrote up a press release; found the email for the CEO of a company we wanted a quote from; reached out to her and got her quote approved via her press team; wrote tailored pitches for trade, regional, national and broadcast press; found the right press contacts; sent the news out; put the news on a wire service; sourced a videographer for them; identified three award opportunities for the company and am now working on those. Job in progress but mostly done. They said:
'Thank you Melissa. All fantastic!' and 'You are a machine!'
My point? You don't have to do this all yourself. If you have little thing that needs to be written or a major project that you need help with, I - or someone like me - can take it off your plate. I work fast and efficiently. If I see marketing opportunities that may benefit you or have ideas that might work, I'll suggest them free of charge.
I charge an hourly rate or if it's a big project, can give you a project-based quote in advance. It doesn't matter if you are a sole trader or a big company, I am the extra pair of hands you need to help you get through your to do list. Get in touch and give yourself the gift of time this crazy season. You will be so glad you did.
Ever since I set up Campfire Communications (almost exactly three years ago) I have wanted to run a virtual campfire for small business owners and start ups. But I wasn't sure what it would do or be or if it should be free or a paid membership club.
I've done plenty of research and asked my regular tribe of campers. A few things kept coming out time and again. They just want to feel less alone, more motivated and less intimidated by all the apparently successful people out there. They want to chat and discuss things, rather than have to consume heaps of information. They're overloaded with information already.
What they want is a friendly, non-judgemental group who they can ask questions of, get advice from or simply be supported by, without feeling as though they have to fake it or pretend to be something bigger than what they are. They want to find business besties, accountability partners, butt kickers or actual business partners.
These are the people who have ambition and dreams but equally value honesty and integrity. They may lack self-confidence or self-belief. And they may feel very small in contrast to what everyone else is achieving. Or they may have felt like that in the past and have now got to a place where they feel so much stronger, more confident and happier about where they are in their business journey.
Based on all of that, I have created The Campfire Club. This is a free group run on Facebook. It is open to anyone thinking about starting up a business, new start ups, people who have been running their small businesses for a while, people who want to pivot their business, career changers, sole traders, solopreneurs, entrepreneurs, and small business owners. It's open to men and women and you can be based anywhere in the world.
The aim? To make you feel less alone as you head out on this adventure of running a business.
This group is NOT for people who like to tout how they have made six-figures in a matter of weeks or how if you buy their unique formula you can transform your life. In fact, this is a zero bullshit club. It's also not for people who join simply to plug their wares before leaving again. It's for real people who value honesty.
The vibe: Imagine a crackling campfire. The air around you is crisp and cool, but the fire is keeping you toasty. You have a mug of hot chocolate or perhaps a glass of your favourite red wine. The sun is setting and the stars are coming out. You hear the breeze in the trees and can savour the epic view of mountains, lake or sea. You're sitting with a bunch of people just like you. You chat, ask questions, share some of your challenges, get friendly suggestions, a much needed pep talk or a comforting hug of understanding. This isn't corporate. It's not competitive. It's not fancy. It's down to earth and real. You leave feeling revived, cheered up, motivated, ready to tackle that thing you've been afraid of, knowing you've got a friendly place you can return to anytime you need help again.
What can you do in the Club:
Every Monday it's #CampfireConnections time - your chance to find a business partner, business bestie, an accountability partner, someone who can help you with a specific issue or project or job you need doing, or just someone to kick your butt. Start off your week by asking someone to hold you accountable and make sure you eat that frog by the time the week is over.
Get it off your chest
Every Wednesday it's #CampfireConfessions time - your chance to share whatever it is that is bothering you. Perhaps you feel deflated or flat. Perhaps the thing you launched has failed. Perhaps you feel like a fraud. Perhaps you have no clients but don't know how to get them. Whatever it is, this is your safe space to open up and get some advice, motivation or simply some sympathy. It's not meant to be a pity party or a place to simply moan about how hard it is. It's your chance to get whatever is bothering you off your chest and for others to help you move forward. You will be AMAZED at how often others are in the exact same boat. All it takes is for one person to open up and you'll quickly discover that you're not alone. Together you can help each other to move forward and believe you can do it.
Share your celebrations and successes
Every Friday it's #CampfireCelebrations time - your chance to let us know what amazing things (no matter how small) you have achieved. Perhaps you found a business friend or finally ticked that thing off your to do list or secured your first client or made your first sale. Whatever it is, it's time to celebrate it. Feel free to stuff your face full of marshmallows as a reward.
You can ask questions any day of the week. Just use #CampfireQuestions and ask away. As a member of the club, if there's someone you can help, answer them and try to be supportive. That way, they get the info they need and you get to showcase that you're an expert. It's the best way to win new business. Being genuinely helpful is what people remember and they're far more likely to do business with you as a result.
That's it! It'll probably evolve over time but for now, this is enough to kick us off.
JOIN HERE - it costs you nothing. And please share it with any fellow business pals you may have who might benefit from it too.
Chat to you round the Campfire!