I just made my first sale on Facebook. Not the kind of sale that requires you to create an ad, choose your target audience, and pay so many cents per click. No, this sale wasn’t made that way. It was made in a Facebook group.
If you are a fan of Facebook, you are probably in a group or two (or twenty). Your friends may have started a group about something you’re interested in, like a hobby or a celebrity. They ask you to join the group so you can get regular updates on what is going on with the group, and to contribute to the discussion.
These groups tend to be closed groups, which means you have to ask permission to join, and your posts in the group will not show up on yours or anybody else’s personal page. More often than not, anybody can join the group if they meet the criteria for the group, such as being a business owner or a cancer survivor, if that’s what the group is focusing on.
These groups may start out small, and in time build up to hundreds, thousands or tens of thousands of members from all over the world. When you think of selling your product or service to somebody, these groups are probably not the first thing you think of as a source for potential customers.
I am a member of a couple of groups that are strictly for business owners. But what I find in those groups is that everybody just posts their businesses, like promotions and stuff, and no real conversations and making friendships and connections is happening. It’s just like a large spam group.
But I did find this one group, the Women Helping Women Entrepreneurs Facebook group, that has been different. People really support each other in this group. Women relate their hopes and dreams for the future of their businesses and ask questions about how to solve business problems with like-minded people. Some topics that have come up are things like: work life balance, running a business with kids at home, how to effectively market your product or service, and how to overcome stigmas about being a female in the business world.
I attend tons of local in-person networking events in my community. I have never made a sale that way. I’ve been a member of this group for two months, and based on the trust I have established within the group, one woman approached me about helping her with her website.
Facebook groups are a different way to network in many ways. One way is that you can go “hang out with the girls” any time during the day or night (although admin has to approve your posts, and I’m sure many of them are sleeping at 2 a.m.) If I’m working on a website, or doing market research, and I have a random question, I often don’t even need to ask it, because I can just keyword search the group and find another woman who has asked the same question, and get advice.
I have met women who want to do affiliate marketing with me, as well as offers to guest blog on their pages. And, of course, I’ve gotten some great advice on how to run my business.
While this group may not be the group for you, (for instance, you may be male, or not an entrepreneur,) there are hundreds of other groups you can join that will allow you to do the kind of networking that will lead to better sales. If you can’t find one that suits you, you can always create your own group.
Don’t underestimate the power of networking in making your business succeed. And don’t overlook this key way of increasing your chances of making a sale, making connections and getting some great advice.