When done right, Facebook groups are a powerful way of building a community and ensuring that your diary stays choc-full with sales calls. However, without a strategy in place they often prove nothing but a drain on your time or a magnet for vampire clients.
As an accountant, bookkeeper or outsourced CFO looking to grow your practice, the chances are that, at present, you’re pretty time poor. You don’t have great quality clients and your monster business is not making the impact that you hoped it would. A Facebook group is the answer you’re looking for, but only if you get it right.
Let’s take a look at how to correctly leverage Facebook groups to start conversations and book sales calls with high value clients.
It’s Really Not a Numbers Game
There’s a lot of misinformation out there about Facebook groups, but the most common piece of bad advice that I see is that it’s a numbers game.
I constantly hear people bragging about how many people are in their Facebook group. If your group is still small, this may even make you feel bad. The thing is, it’s easy to fill up a Facebook group with thousands of people but it’s quality, not quantity, that counts here.
I’m not saying this out of spite or jealousy because my group lacks members. In fact, we currently have over 4,500 accountants and bookkeepers in our Facebook group.
But it’s no use having that many people if the entire group consists of spam and it’s always crickets in the comments section.
You don’t do marketing just for fun. You run a Facebook group because you want to get more sales calls in the diary. Anyone can create a large Facebook group but it takes strategy to leverage a Facebook group to attract high value clients.
A Facebook group which you let anyone into will quickly become an ineffective marketing tool that’s nothing but a drain on your time and energy.
What matters is creating a community of prospects who interact with both each other and you. A Facebook group should be a valuable resource which allows your movement to gain momentum. It’s not about having as many members as possible.
Create a Community
A sense of belonging is an undeniable human need. We all want to be part of a community and a movement that is bigger than ourselves.
Facebook groups are fantastic for appealing to this need.
As an accountant or bookkeeper, you have a message to share with the world. You have knowledge that will help your clients to transform their businesses, and their lives. A Facebook group is the perfect place to appeal to people who believe in your vision – aka your ideal prospects – and develop a relationship with them.
Facebook groups enable you to start conversations and engage with your ideal audience on a more personal level. As the leader, you have the group’s attention, even as they interact with and learn from each other. You’re always front of mind.
Your group should be a helpful resource for your audience, because this positions you as the answer to their problems. They get to know and like you, and they feel understood by you.
Finding a Name
You don’t have to spend hours figuring out the perfect name, but your title should make two things very clear:
- Who you’re trying to help
- How you will help them
For example, my Facebook group is called ‘Superpowers for Accountants and Bookkeepers.’
You can then use the description box to expand and share more details. You might want to explain how the group is to be used, what kind of resources you will be sharing and who is (and, crucially, ISN’T) allowed in.
People will come to you looking for help and stay for the sense of community, so make sure that your ideal client knows that this group is for them.
Keep It Private
Make sure that your group is set to private and don’t let just anyone in. Your group is for prospective clients only, not any old Tom, Dick or Harry. As I said before, it’s about quality, not quantity.
I only let accountants, bookkeepers, CPAs and outsourced CFOs into my Facebook group because they are who I serve. There’s no point in me allowing hairdressers in, because they wouldn’t benefit from the group, nor would they have anything significant to add.
Most importantly, don’t let your peers into the group because they are definitely not going to buy from you. Most likely, they will simply use it as an opportunity to promote themselves. Your group is not about giving your competitors free advertising.
Worse still, if your group is public then you are likely to get completely random businesses promoting themselves, too, and perhaps the odd pyramid scheme. The whole thing will descend into spam and your ideal prospects will lose interest.
In a similar vein, you should limit promotions from your prospects too, otherwise you again risk the group timeline turning into one long promotion, and no-one will be interested in that.
If you want to give your prospects the opportunity to promote their businesses occasionally, create specific promo days or threads. Create strict rules around this and make it clear that those who break them will be removed from the group. This leads me onto my next point…
In order to stop your community from descending into chaos, you need to create a comprehensive set of rules. It may sound boring, but I’ve seen so many well-meaning groups ruined because the admins allow members to get away with spam and hate speech.
Have your group members read and agree to the rules before they join and pin them to the top of the group so that no-one has an excuse to “forget.”
Of course, rules vary from group to group but some good staples are:
- Be civil
- No spam
- No advertising
- Report rule-breaking
You need to actively enforce these rules. Don’t be afraid to remove people from the group – those who behave badly are likely to turn out to be vampire clients anyway. For example, I recently banned two people from my group for failing to stick to the rules and being unkind to others. If you don’t remove the trolls, more will soon emerge.
Meaningful conversations lead to sales conversations. Be sure to use call-to-actions (CTAs) often in your group to encourage engagement and discussion. This will help to build relationships with your audience and foster a sense of community.
You can use the group to check in with your prospects, ask them about their pain points and even spark friendly debates. I also like to use polls to better understand what my audience wants to see from me in the future.
Just as you would on your regular social media profiles, use the group to post advice, tips and updates about your practice. You need to keep all eyes on you – you don’t want to be a ghost inside your very own group!
There’s no point running a Facebook group if you don’t use it to interact with your prospects. Show up in the group every single day to ensure that your group doesn’t lose momentum and turn to tumbleweeds.
Summary: Build a Community and Get Clients
The best Facebook groups out there are the ones with a purpose. The groups that function as a valuable resource and create an impact are the ones that get people clients.
You’re not going to create this kind of group by being general and letting anyone in. You’re certainly not going to do it by rushing to fill your group with thousands of people. This approach will not get you sales calls with high value clients. At best, it will help you on your way towards a monster business filled with vampire clients who bleed you dry.
You attract high value clients by being strategic, so be picky. Be super clear on who your group is for, and only let those people in. Create a clear set of rules and actively enforce them. Show up every day and focus on building a community, because communities translate to clients.