Congratulations!! You've started writing your nonfiction book, and now you're ready to hit the rooftops screaming and sharing your love. Love for your book, love for your solutions, love for the mission and values you're about to carry out. Love.
All you need now is to build up your author platform.
First stop, Facebook: because that's where people go when they have good news and want to tell as many people as possible. Then, it's time to create your Facebook VIP Group and add all your–.
For the love of all that is nonspammy stop before you add even one person to your group.
You want a Rockin‘ group, right?
You want a group that people want to check. Where they love your every post and can't wait to buy the new book, write glowing reviews, and maybe even slide a few swag items into their cart. Right? Then before you move any further with building your group, read this.
Don't Add Friends or Family
Let's talk for a minute about what people like to do on Facebook. Most people signed up for Facebook with one thought in mind: to make it easier to talk to friends and family, especially friends and family that live further away from them.
When they join groups, they join so they can connect with friends and family and make new friends over a common interest. See that? Common. Interest. You know what is not a common interest?
Don't get me wrong. Your friends and family love you and they want you to succeed. Even the ones who don't seem all that supportive or who think you made a mistake because “you need a real job” love you and ultimately want to see you successful and happy.
But that's not the same as sharing an interest in your book with you. They're proud you wrote a book, they love you for it. They will even tell everyone they know all about it. But that's not the same as having an interest in what the book is in relation to your business.
And guess what else?
By blindly adding your friends to your new group, you just proved to them that you care about the book first. Even without meaning to, and even with the best of intentions, you've still proven that you care more about your book than you do about your friendship.
Because a friend invites people to places — they don't just kidnap them and bring them somewhere without even asking.
Here's the secret: recreating the in-person experience is your best ticket to a successful group. What this means is if you want your group to work for you — provide leads, attract new customers, and grow your marketing base so you can make more money — then you've got to stop thinking of it as an offline group of people and start thinking of how you would treat those people if they were standing right in front of you.
Invite the people to your group just as you would invite them to your house. And while they're there, treat them just as if they were important guests in your home. Because guess what, they are. Invite them in, make sure they are comfortable, and talk to them like they are your friends, not your customers.
Don't Let Your Friends Add Anyone Either
Despite how much it hurts your group, it's still a popular idea to hold giveaways and incentives to get people added to your group. You see, we get it in our heads that large groups will automatically translate into higher book sales. Statistically speaking, the more people who see your book launch, the more will buy it. And so the giveaways starts.
“For every five friends you add to my group, I will give you a free bookmark!“
“All you have to do to be entered into my drawing for a free signed copy of my book is add a friend to my group and have them comment here.“
And wow, do some groups get huge doing that! No wonder it's so popular.
But it doesn't actually work like this in groups — larger does not necessarily mean better. Especially on a platform like Facebook that is actively trying to promote genuine engagement and connection between brands and consumers.
Go back to the concept of recreating the in-person experience with these people. Remember the time when your friend dragged you over to someone else's house and you didn't know anyone else there? How awkward did that make you feel? Did you really have any idea about what was going on?
The only difference is that if this happens on Facebook, you may not necessarily notice right away. About 10% of all people never see the notification from Facebook that they have been added to a new group. Well, that's no good, is it? What good is having someone in your group if they don't even know they're in there?
For the remaining 90% who do notice right away, more than half of them, 55%, are instantly turned off. Now they're mad at you for having the group they got added to, and they're mad at their friend for disrespecting them and adding them to a group without their permission. So more than half of the people that just got added are going to turn around and leave and probably block anyone from ever adding them again.
Well, that's no good either, is it? Because now there are countless people who might have actually been interested in your group who will never give it a chance because they got added so someone else could win a prize.
The rest of the people who get added and notice right away, totaling 35% of all the people added, also notice the prize that got them there. And so they stick around for more prizes. If you post something with a giveaway right away, they'll play along because they want to win. But after a while, even they will lose interest, especially if they never win anything (which is the only reason they stuck around).
So what you end up with is a huge group of people, but only a very small percentage of them have any real connection with you or your book. The rest of them are only interested in free stuff (your fault — you trained them to be) or don't even know they are in there.
Post the Content Your Members Want to See
Now, despite what you might think, no one is joining your group so you can sell them your book or the services your book may lead to. Not one person. When people join a business-related group, they join for different reasons:
- They want to know when something will be discounted or on sale
- They want giveaways or contests
- They want to learn something
- They want to have fun
The first two are obvious. If something goes on sale, post it. If you decide to run a giveaway, post it. But the second two are where you want to focus the majority of your attention. In fact, you want about 80% of your posts to fall within numbers 3 and 4.
So what do your people want to learn?
Mostly, they want to learn about your services — but not from a sales point of view. They can read all the reviews and the descriptions without being in your group.
What they really want to learn about is how reading your book will make their life better. And how they can be even happier. And what they're going to get if they take the next step into working with you.
Posts that will give your members a purpose for buying from you.
And as far as having fun, that is all about your personality and getting to know your people better. Games, memes, polls: get your members talking and they will have fun. Especially if you can get them talking about themselves. Have them share pictures of their dogs, their kids, their cats, their silly selfies. It doesn't matter if it's related to your book or your mission or not, it they're having fun, they will keep checking your group because they will want to see what you're going to do next.
Low Participation Affects Your Reach
The biggest problem with having a large group of people in which only a few participate in anything is that with a lower than normal engagement rate, even the people who want to see your posts may not be able to see them. It's all part of Facebook's algorithms on how to prioritize the posts that show up in a person's newsfeed.
If you have 100 people in your group, and 25 of them regularly comment or like your posts, that's a 25% engagement rate: Facebook will be trained to think that people in your group like your content and want to see more and therefore it will continue to show your content in their newsfeeds. This happens regardless if they have their notifications for your group turned on or not.
Now, if your same group suddenly grows to 300 people, but the same 25 people continue liking and commenting on your posts (because the rest of them don't know they're there, aren't interested in buying, or are only there for your giveaways) now your engagement rate is down to 8.3%.
You're no longer important. And with such a low engagement rate, Facebook will learn that people don't want your group to be prioritized anymore. Which means your posts will be shown less often.
Giving your 25 people fewer chances to like or comment… You see the spiral that could happen from this? If your same 25 people stop liking and commenting on your posts because they can't see them anymore, your engagement rate continues to go down, making it harder and harder for anyone to see your posts.
What if you already added people to your group?
While it's not a good practice to add people to your group, it's not an insurmountable problem. Revamp your content strategy, start posting more purposeful content mixed in with your fun content. Start attracting new members to your group using your funnel and attraction marketing. Slowly, the engagement will start to crawl back up.
And the rest of the people, the ones who didn't notice they were in there or were only in there for the giveaways, will either come around to the new group, or leave.
And it's okay if they leave, because you don't want them in there anyway if they aren't participating.
If you can manage to jar the relatively inactive people into leaving your group while simultaneously attracting new members to join, your engagement and reach will climb with very little extra effort on your part.
What about Loops and Joining Ladders?
Loops and Joining Ladders are filled with people who are only interested in growing their group to large numbers. The people in there don't care about you, your group, your products, or your company. They are only interested in getting you to join their group. So once again, you will end up with a large group of people in your group who have no interest in being a part of your group.
If you Really want to Create a Facebook VIP Group that Rocks (and keep it that way):
Remember that these first people you're inviting are your friends.
They are your livelihood and they are all that stand between your book's success and your book sinking into oblivion. That's important, far more important than any sale. And as such, it shouldn't be rushed.
Treat them as important as they are, and your group will thrive.
Did you enjoy this article? Here are some more posts on social media marketing you might like:
- Using the new Clubhouse App for Writers
- Please Get Rid of that Twitter Feed on the Sidebar!
- What to do when you get Overwhelmed by the Social Media Marketing World
- If You Have a Chatbot for Facebook Messenger, Here's What you Need to Know NOW (Updated for 2020)
- What are you really getting when you hop onto one of those Facebook Like4Like Ladders?
Facebook VIP Group FAQ
What is a Facebook VIP Group?
A Facebook VIP Group is an area in which you can build a community with your audience and customers who believe in you and want to know more about your books and services.
How can I Make my Facebook Group more Interesting?
1. Choose a fun and creative name for your group.
2. Use good imagery for your cover photo and pinned announcements.
3. Use a call-to-action on your group cover to offer members a free opt-in or other value.
4. Get your members talking about themselves with fun games and exercises that relate back to your book.
What are the Benefits of a Facebook Group?
Benefits of creating a Facebook group for your author platform include:
1. Building community and connection with your readers.
2. Built-in platform to turn your fans into ambassadors by integrating them into your marketing.
3. Receive immediate feedback on marketing polls and questions.