I’m part of quite a number of groups on Facebook. The Facebook Group was designed to be an online community where like-minded people could connect and share information and ideas. Sadly, many of the Facebook groups I’ve seen, particularly in the business world, don’t always fit this bill.
So often, I’ve seen that some Facebook groups are plugs for products, services and events. There’s no discussion. There are no comments. There are no questions. You can practically see the tumbleweed blowing across the landscape.
Enter a Totally Different World
But when I joined the How Great Marketing Works Facebook Group, I entered a totally different world. The group is buzzing with discussion and comments. There are lots of colourful posts, full of interesting, challenging questions and discussion topics. Before I know it, I’m plunged into a discussion about the best way to market a website, or how professional someone’s headshot looks. People exchange advice and experiences they’ve had, and there’s lots of lively chat.
It’s a Companion…
I joined the How Great Marketing Works Facebook Group because it’s a companion to the How Great Marketing Works online programme for small business owners. People who are doing the programme can become members and share insights with other programme participants. And as I’m doing the programme, I thought it would be good to find out how other people were experiencing it.
It’s not a Selling Space
Finola Howard, creator of How Great Marketing Works, is committed to offering a Facebook Group experience with a difference for members. ‘It’s not a selling space,’ she says‘It's a place where we work through common marketing challenges and people can get feedback on their activities.’ Click To Tweet
Finola is a constant, warm presence in the group, encouraging everyone to get involved in discussions and offering advice. But she also steps back and allows the group members to have their say. This makes being a member of the group an enjoyable and rewarding experience.
So What’s the Facebook Group Like?
I find that there are lots of interesting discussions to get your teeth into. Each day, Finola puts up a different post that invites us to share our experience.
Goal Setter Monday gives me just the kickstart I need to focus my mind for the week. Strategy Wednesday gives me a chance to brainstorm ideas and gain wisdom from others. Then on Friday, there’s a post that allows you to celebrate your achievements. But the great thing is that if it hasn’t been a great week, there’s always someone there to cheer you up and tell you next week will be better.
It’s all about Interaction…
The other great thing is that it isn’t just Finola generating the posts. Members regularly put up posts sharing their experiences and dilemmas. People will say they’re stuck on a particular step in the programme and ask for insights from other group members. And the other members are quick to come back and say what worked for them.
It’s a Safe Place…
The group is a safe place to ask questions. Because every person in it is completing the How Great Marketing Works programme, I know they’re on the same page as me, so I can ask questions without worrying about looking silly.
For example, recently in the group, there was a video challenge. People are often afraid to make the leap into video, so the challenge is aimed at helping people jump over the fear barrier. They could post up videos of themselves without risk of being ridiculed.
I was a little late to the party, but I posted up a video about a week after the challenge finished. It was the first video I had ever made of myself. Though it was pretty amateur, everybody found good things to say about it. They complimented my voice and the words they had chosen. They gave me plenty of concrete advice, and I can use that advice to make more and better videos.
Direct Impact on Your Business
One of the people I received concrete advice from is Vicki McGowan, who embraced the How Great Marketing Works Facebook Group video challenge.
She’s now made video central in promoting her new outsourcing website for freelancers, Outsource2day.
She’s very comfortable with using video, and credits the group’s safe, supportive environment with her newfound confidence.
‘Knowing that only those within the group would have access was a huge benefit to helping me get over the fear associated with putting myself out there,’ she says.
The atmosphere of the group has the right mix of warmth and dynamism. When a new member joins the group, Finola puts up a post to welcome them, and this sentiment is echoed by other members of the group. There’s often a mood of celebration, as people share their triumphs.
Goodbye to Operating in a Vacuum…
Sometimes I feel a bit isolated as I sit in my office, but thanks to this group, I know I can reach out to friends who understand my challenges. Being an entrepreneur can be a lonely journey, but this group gives me a real sense of community that you don’t often find in the business world.
Fellow group member Meg Pier of Best Cultural Destinations echoes this sentiment. She was delighted with the feedback the group gave her on how to present her website’s homepage. It helped her affirm her vision for the site.
‘One of the biggest gifts of my participation thus far in the Facebook Group is not needing to figure it out on my own,’ she says. ‘Goodbye operating in a vacuum!’
Remote Back Up Support
Vicki McGowan values the fact that there’s always someone in the group that you can turn to for advice. ‘No matter what time of day or indeed day of week you may post a question, someone will always get back to you with some feedback or suggestions. It’s like a remote back-up support you can rely on.’
This group adds a valuable extra dimension to the How Great Marketing Works programme. If you are taking part in the programme, I strongly urge you to join. You’ll have a community of cheerleaders with you every step of the way.
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Enjoy and let us know how you get on. Would you add anything else to the list? What worked for you?