Facebook groups are an undervalued source of blog traffic. In today’s post, I’ll discuss how to use Facebook groups to increase traffic to your blog, starting from what a Facebook group is and why it’s a great source of traffic. Plus, I’ll give you tips on how to choose the right Facebook groups to join, as well as what to do once you’re there.
All bloggers talk about traffic, but only a privileged few have plenty of it.
Let’s face it. No matter how engaging your content is or how great your landing pages convert, it won’t matter if no one engages with your content or you don’t have anyone to convert.
Traffic is the key to blogging success and ultimately making money off it.
There are numerous ways you can try to promote your blog, but an underrated one is Facebook groups.
Much has been written about how spammy these groups have become, and sadly, it’s true. But NOT ALL of them are. It’s still possible to drive traffic to your blog from Facebook groups; you just need to have a strategy.
In today’s post, I’ll discuss how to use Facebook groups to increase traffic; from looking for a high-quality Facebook group, to joining, and finally to participating in Facebook groups the right way.
In case you only ever use Facebook to post pictures of your cat or like your grandmother’s pictures of her cat (hey, no judgment here), Facebook groups are a feature of Facebook that allows a group of people with a common interest, cause, or activity to communicate with each other. Members of a group can post content, discuss issues, organize events, and share related content with one another.
Below is an example of what a typical Facebook group might look like.
Yes, it does.
Here are some reasons why Facebook groups can drive traffic to your blog:
You (probably): “Uhm, what does this have to do with anything?”
I have a point, I promise.
Let me just address one of Facebook’s rules that some internet workers think is a bane: Facebook groups only allow personal Facebook accounts to join. That means they can’t use the Facebook page for their business or blog to join Facebook groups. Note: In this section, I’ll use the term “business” to mean your blog for the sake of simplicity.
Most social media users, myself included, want to separate their personal network from their business network. The logical thing to do is to maintain two separate personal Facebook profiles; one for actual personal use and another for business use. This sounds very reasonable, but again, Facebook rules throw a wrench in this seemingly reasonable course of action.
Facebook terms state quite clearly that:
“You will not create more than one personal account.” AND “You will not use your personal timeline primarily for your own commercial gain, and will use a Facebook Page for such purposes.”
So where does this leave us?
Well, hypothetically you can open a separate Facebook account using another email address and use that to join Facebook groups to promote your content and engage with other group members.
Hypothetically, this approach can be successful, especially if you use your “business” Facebook profile as you would your “personal” Facebook profile; that is, posting, reacting, commenting, and sharing content, as well as adding friends at an unsuspicious rate (that is, not too few and not too many friends at a time).
But personally, I think this is a risky move to make. If you’re going to use Facebook’s services, you’re going to have to play by their rules. Opening two accounts is a direct violation of Facebook’s terms. The worst that can happen is they disable both your accounts. If they do, there goes everything in both your Facebook accounts: personal contacts and content, as well as your business contacts.
What you can do is take advantage of Facebook’s privacy settings to control who sees what. You can also set up lists so you can organize your contacts and keep your personal contacts separate from your business contacts.
Once you’ve set up your lists, pay attention to the privacy settings every time you post something on your Facebook profile. You can set it up such that updates about your personal life can only be seen by Friends (or whichever list you choose), and then any updates about your business or other things that you’re okay with everyone seeing can be Public posts.
You can also activate the “Follow” option in your settings so that your business contacts won’t have to add you as their friend to see your Public status updates on their News Feed. Also, if you don’t accept a friend request, they automatically become a Follower.
Also, your profile photo should be of you, obviously. However, you can use your cover photo to promote your blog. You can place your blog URL right on your cover photo, so curious folks clicking through on your profile photo to know more about you can see your blog URL right away.
You can also edit the About section of your profile. Simply add your blog URL and then set its visibility to Public so that anyone who clicks your profile can see that link and be able to click on it.
If you haven’t set up your Facebook account so that you’re ready to promote your blog, start right now, even before you join your first Facebook group. Plan ahead so you can connect with people without worrying about whether your business contacts can see photos of your drunken weekend or your cat.
For your Facebook group strategy to be successful, you need to be able to select the right groups; that is, you’ll need to find Facebook groups that have the audience you want to reach.
It sounds pretty easy, but a lot of Facebook groups have nothing but unengaged users and spammers. To find Facebook groups that will actually boost traffic to your blog, you need to have a solid strategy. Here’s a guide on how to do that.
It’s best to have this list handy before you do your search so you don’t get easily sidetracked by the search results and Facebook’s recommendations. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve searched for Facebook groups about parenting blogs to join and ended up joining DIYers and hobbyist groups instead.
If you were following groups out of sheer interest, that’s fine, but in this case, you have a specific objective, so your strategy needs to fit that specific objective.
For example, if you’re in the travel photography niche, your keyword list may look something like this:
It depends on your niche and your usual blog topics, but keep your eyes on the goal, which is to find Facebook groups that have users that are your target audience, who will be interested in your content.
To search for groups in Facebook, type in your keyword on the Search bar, and then click on Groups on the navigation bar below the main toolbar (if it’s not shown, it’s collapsed under “More”). Below is an example of what the search results look like when I searched for “content marketing” in Groups.
On the search results, Facebook displays the group name, a portion of the group photo, the number of members they have, and how many posts there are in a day. There’s also the Join button to quickly join or request to join, depending on the privacy settings of the group.
You’ll want more information about the groups you’re looking to join. Click on the search result to get more information on the description and who the admins are. If the group is a public one, then it’s going to be easier for you to assess the group against the hallmarks of a high-quality post (details in Step 3).
At this point, you’ll have to think of an optimal number of groups to join. Start by shortlisting 20 groups and then plan to trim it down from there. The optimal number of groups seems to be 10; higher than that and you might not be able to engage with all of them in any substantial way.
If you end up with only 5 groups at first, that’s fine. Being a part of a few excellent groups beats being part of many inferior groups.
Click the Join Group button (either one) and join (or request to join, if it’s a closed group)!
The first thing you need to do is to take time to read up on the group policies and rules on posting. You might actually be a member of a high-quality group; don’t waste the opportunity and get kicked out because you didn’t read the rules thoroughly.
Hang around for a while in the group to get a feel of the group and decide if you want to stay. Some of the hallmarks of high-quality groups include the following:
Even if a group turns out to be low-quality, or you’re just not feeling the right vibe, you might feel weird about leaving it, especially if it’s soon after joining.
You could be thinking, “They accepted my request and let me join, and now I’m leaving them?!”
When you feel the guilt creep in, resist. Think of it as being a two-way relationship; you can’t provide value to a group that doesn’t provide value to you.
The value here is not just in the form of traffic to your blog (although this is an important aspect). It’s getting to see quality content on your news feed, having people to share your knowledge with, participating in discussions that make you ponder, and being able to ask for and receive help when you need it. After all, a Facebook group is supposed to be a community.
If you have to leave, LEAVE. It’s not the end of the world. There are many more groups out there to explore.
Now we get to the meat and potatoes of this article, which is ways on how to use Facebook groups to increase traffic to your blog.
You’ll notice a recurring theme, which is what your strategy can be distilled into: Always be providing value.
Remember to always give more than you take. The idea is when you’re able to contribute to a group even without linking to your content, other members will trust when you do link to your content.
I’ve mentioned this in the previous section, but I’m placing this here first because I can’t stress how essential this is.
Before you post anything or comment on anything in any Facebook group, read the group guidelines. They’re normally on the group description or in a pinned post at the top of the group page (a post that’s always at the top of a group page and is reserved for important information).
If they are on the group description, then you have absolutely no excuse not to read them, because they were literally available before you even joined the group.
Some groups allow self-promotion, others don’t. Some groups don’t even allow including any kind of link in a post, but allow you to place links in the comments. Respect their rules.
It doesn’t mean these groups are worthless; it means these groups mean business and will kick out spammers if they see them. That’s actually good for you and for everyone in the group.
Facebook groups display a prompt asking new members to basically introduce themselves to the group. Even without this prompt, it’s a good idea to introduce yourself when you first join a group.
Don’t overthink this! Just a couple of sentences with your name, what you do, and why you joined the group would be enough. Mention that you blog, and link to it only if you’re allowed to.
For example, you might say somewhere in your intro “I blog about [your blog topic].” It’s short and sweet without being all up in people’s faces.
When you’re just starting out in a group and feeling things out, you might want to hold off on posting for a bit. Instead, try to comment first on other people’s posts, especially on posts that have calls to action (CTAs) that say so (e.g., “Tell me what you think in the comments!”). These posts could be posts that ask for feedback (“what do you guys think?”) or SOS types (“Help! I need advice.”).
Sometimes, there will be posts that you’ll find useful. Comments like “Thanks for this post, [poster’s name]! I especially found the [part you found interesting] helpful and will try to do/use/apply it today.” take so little time to compose but says a whole lot about you as a member.
That you took time out to say that means you want to build relationships with members of the group and not just idly browse through posts.
Other times, someone will post something you disagree with. Tread very carefully here. You might simply want to spark a healthy discussion, but you don’t know if the original poster will see it that way. Use your common sense and best judgment here.
Posts that ask specific questions may pop up on your groups. Their frequency will depend on a lot of factors, including the group niche and how active the members are. If you do come across one that you know the answer to, make sure to answer it.
However, don’t just post a one-liner. Compose a proper status update. Give helpful advice, provide practical tips and tricks, and be unique. All the guidelines you keep in mind about making great content for your blog should still apply in your Facebook posts.
Answering questions signal to other members that A) you know something about the topic, B) you’re willing to share it, and C) you’re interested in helping other members succeed (not just you). All of these elevate your status in the eyes of the other members and build trust in the admins. Ultimately, that’s what you want.
If you’re lucky to find yourself in a group that allows links to your content, don’t abuse that privilege. Dropping your link without context is, quite frankly, rude. It’s a surefire way to alienate other members and make them not trust you. Worst case, you’ll get banned.
Instead, create a relevant post filled to the brim with tips that members will find useful. Make sure it’s valuable enough to stand on its own. If you’re allowed to link to your blog post, reserve it for the end, as a footnote to an already great, helpful post. This gives members the power to choose whether or not to read more.
The idea is to build relationships and engage with other members. Who wants a relationship with a supportive but one-dimensional person?
People are attracted to stories and glimpses of humanity. Aside from posts giving advice, pose a real question that you have. Share something you’ve been struggling with and try to reach out to members who are struggling with the same thing, or who have struggled in the past but have overcome it and lived to tell the tale. Post about something you’ve read that’s relevant to the group and ask what people think about it, if they agree or disagree.
Aside from helping other people, give other people a chance to help you. Start a conversation. Incite a healthy debate. Genuinely connect with other members.
If you’re part of a group that has theme days, PARTICIPATE! It’s a chance to participate in a group-wide activity so you can engage and build relationships. Don’t forget to react and comment on posts by other members.
Some groups also have regular admin posts that ask members to share something with the group: an anecdote, a piece of advice, a life hack, or any other helpful tidbits. Reply to these posts to show everyone that you’re active and that your being helpful doesn’t end with what you blog about.
Some admins who want to support legitimate bloggers but want a controlled environment to weed out the spammers may publish posts like “Comment with a link to your blog posts/website/app/whatever project you’re working on below and we’ll give it some love!” to serve as a promotion thread. By all means, comment with a link to your blog, but also don’t forget to also check out what everyone else is doing and comment if you find something interesting.