Connecting with Potential Clients, Conducting Market Research, and Building Your Own Community
Facebook is much more than just a social networking site; it’s a business tool that can be utilized to find new clients, connect online workers, complete market research for your industry and build your own community.
If you’re a remote worker, run your own business, or are simply looking to build community around your blog, you should be using Facebook groups. Let’s talk about how to get started:
So you know you should be active in Facebook groups, but which ones do you join? You need to be strategic about which groups you choose to be a part of. Ideally, you’ll want to join groups that are active, but also smaller. If you become a member of a group with 600,000 people—you might go unnoticed and find it harder to make real connections. However, if you join a group with a couple thousand members, it’s more likely that you can show up consistently and meet new people.
You also want to join groups in your niche. If you’re a traveller looking to make money online, my Facebook group “Remote Work & Travel Blogging” would be a great place to start. There are groups for every niche, so type in keywords in the search bar on Facebook and you’ll start finding your community.
Most groups will do welcome posts every week, so make sure you introduce yourself in these posts! Also, comment on any posts from other new members and start getting connected. Go through the most recent posts and engage with members there, too.
Now that you’ve found your community, let’s talk about how you can use these groups as a tool to grow your online business.
If you’re an online service provider (business coach, Virtual Assistant (VA), digital creative, etc.) then using Facebook groups to conduct market research is for you. You can ask questions directly to your ideal clients and get a better understanding of what they need help with.
(Note: Always check FB group rules before posting.)
You can ask questions like:
- Where are my business coaches at? What are your biggest struggles in running your online business?
- What do you struggle with most while trying to build your online business?
- What qualities do you look for when hiring a VA?
- What are the top skills you outsource in your business?
- Which program do you want your graphic designer to have experience with?
- Which project management systems do you most prefer to use for your business?
You’re asking questions directly to potential clients; this is strategic. Let’s take the first question as an example. You’re talking directly to business coaches (your ideal client in this case) and asking them what they struggle with while running their businesses. And we’ll say in this sample, all the business coaches in this FB group respond with “managing my social media, answering DMs, responding to comments, etc.” Now you know that a hot skill online service providers can offer (that’s you!) is engagement on social media. You now know which services you should provide.
The better understanding you have of what skills people are looking for, the better you can market yourself. You can also start making connections with the people who respond to your post, because you know these people could use your help. This doesn’t mean you pitch to them right away—but it does mean you start responding to them, engaging with their content, and building relationships.
As you network, use this information to inform what kind of content you post on your own Facebook business or personal page. In this case, maybe you start creating content that teaches business owners how to save time managing their social media platforms. You’ll start attracting your ideal clients to YOU.
And as you strengthen these networks, you can start turning the conversation from friendly to business.
Like I mentioned earlier, you want to genuinely connect with people in these Facebook groups. This means giving more than you get. So if you see someone asking for recommendations or questions, answer them! Provide as much value as you can.
The more you show up in these groups, especially the smaller groups, the more people will remember your name. They will also start turning to YOU for advice, giving you authority in your niche.
People also like when you ask to know more about them or their work. Let’s say there is a blogger in your group asking if making the switch to WordPress is really worth it. You can offer your opinion, and then ask to see some of their work. Ask them to link their latest blog post. Read it, and then offer genuine feedback on how much you loved the article. Most Facebook groups won’t let people self-promote unless they’re specifically asked to provide a link (which is the opportunity you’re giving them!)
Similarly, you can also create a post like “Traveling to Greece this summer. Anyone have any blog posts related to Greece?” You’ll be amazed at the amount of responses you get. Take time to read the articles that stand out to you most and move the conversation from the group to a DM (again, make sure the group allows this.) Let the person know you’ve read their article and loved their work. Then, keep engaging with their content either on Facebook, Instagram, or on their blog. The more you show up, the more they’ll have you in mind when they’re looking to hire someone.
Another thing to look out for is job opportunities posted in the Facebook groups you’re a part of, especially if they’re posted by people you’ve been building talking with. But unfortunately, when people post jobs in these groups, they get a ton of responses. This doesn’t mean you can’t snag one of these jobs, but it does mean that you need to stand out.
They’ll tell you how to pitch to them (usually they say drop a link below or attach their email) and you want to do this ASAP. But, don’t stop there. A great way to grab their attention is also introducing yourself on another platform.
If you’re a VA and they are looking to hire someone to do Instagram engagement, email them your pitch, then also introduce yourself on Instagram with a DM or comment on their latest post. Make sure they know you’re serious about working with them.
You can also send a video with your pitch, introducing yourself. They are more likely to remember you if they’ve seen your face and heard your voice, over the person who just dropped their website link on their Facebook post.
You want to make sure you’ve researched this person and their business, to make sure they are an ideal client for you, and to show them that you know your stuff. If you hear back from them, make sure you get them on a discovery call ASAP, before they have a chance to hire someone else.
Lastly, make sure you’re searching groups frequently so you can be the first to respond to new inquiries.
Starting Your Own Facebook Group
If you’ve found your clients and now are wanting to spend more time building your own community, consider starting your own Facebook group.
Facebook groups are a great way to bring together like-minded individuals, build a helpful community, and simultaneously build awareness of your brand. When starting your group, think about what’s missing in other Facebook groups you’re a member in:
- What value can you add?
- What kind of blog material can you repurpose for this group?
Chances are, you’ve already met people in other FB groups that you can invite to join yours! And if you’ve been building genuine connections, these people will be interested.
In the group, do things that will keep the community active. Post things like polls, threads that allow people to share their latest work, and offer perks for being a member of the group.
Maybe you go Live every Saturday and answer questions from group members. Or talk about how to get started in your niche. Maybe you offer tips for growing your following on Instagram. Whatever it is that you offer, make this available only to members of your group.
As you start to build your audience and community, not only do you get to network with people who could be potential clients or refer you work, you also build awareness of your own business. Whether you run a travel blog, a virtual assistant business, or offer graphic design services—people buy from people.
Your group members want to get to know you first before they buy from you. They should also see you as an authority in your industry, which means offering valuable content before you try to sell anything.
As you connect with and attract loyal members, you’ll realize it’s easier to sell your products or refer people to your blog.
If you’re an online service provider, start taking advantage of Facebook groups! Not only can you build connections and find job opportunities, but you can also start building your own community and awareness of your platform.
Click here to join my Facebook group Remote Work & Travel Bloggers, where we share online job opportunities, monthly threads to share our work, and offer ideas for making money while travelling.