If you’re an interior designer and you need more clients, you need a Facebook group.
I’m sure that, by now, you’re aware that email marketing is an important part of your marketing strategy – and that’s not changing, by the way. Sure, people’s inboxes are as flooded as ever. But email marketing consistently has the best ROI of any type of marketing.
However, if you want even more of an advantage and are looking for a way to increase know/like/trust with your ideal clients, you definitely want to add hosting a Facebook group into your strategy.
In case you weren’t aware, Facebook allows you to organize groups, which you may link to your business page. You run this group from your personal profile, and creating groups for the purpose of networking with your ideal clients is free (for now).
A Facebook group is such an amazing tool for business owners – especially interior designers – because it’s like hosting potential clients in a virtual space for a virtual gathering where you can mingle.
The best part is that you control the tone and direction of the group, and you’re free to promote your business.
There are an infinite different number of ways to use your group to get clients, and I encourage you to let your intuition guide you about leading, but here are my favorite guidelines to help you be as successful as possible.
1.) Make sure you understand who your ICA is.
ICA is short for “ideal client avatar.” This is a character sketch of the ideal person you want to work with. Your ICA is intended to be very specific; you’ll want to know her age, marital status, education level, goals, fears, favorite movies, etc.
It doesn’t mean you won’t work with people who are similar, but not exactly like, your ICA. It just means that, whenever you create content or something like a Facebook group, you’re creating it for this person.
Using a specific ICA tells that person you “get” them and understand their deepest needs and desires as it relates to your business. Even people who are similar to your ICA will consume your content and think, “me too!”
So, when starting a Facebook group, make one for that, specific person. Ask, “what would she need from a Facebook group?” Is it a place to ask about design tips for mothers of young children? Is she a single socialite who needs a resource to create a sophisticated living space? Is she an overworked lawyer who needs a sanctuary and wants to chat with other lawyers?
Tailor your space for your ICA. Create a virtual environment she wants to check in with several times a day.
2.) Launch your group.
Facebook requires that you add at least one person to open your group, so just add your best friend, your sister, your mother – someone who won’t mind being added without their permission.
Otherwise, people usually hate being added to groups without their permission, so don’t do that.
Instead do this:
Create a post on your personal Facebook profile teasing a new group that you’re opening for your ICA and how great it’s going to be. Use a good photo of something relevant to your group’s purpose and ask people to comment if they want to join.
As people comment, reply with a brief response or emoji add them to your group. The engagement will boost your post in the feed and get more exposure.
Here’s an example of the post I used to open a group and grow it to 100 members within a month.
Also, if you already have an email list, send out an invite using your email service provider.
Either way, it’s good to kick off opening a new group with an upcoming event that gives people a reason to show up and participate (more on that in a moment).
3.) Invite ideal clients.
Within your network, you should have at least a handful of people you believe would be ideal clients. If they didn’t already join from the post you created, send them a message and ask if they will join – but don’t just say, “will you join my group?”
Instead, take one of two approaches …
First, you could hype it up. Tell them how amazing it’s going to be and all the great events that are coming up in the group. Talk about the fabulous people already in the group and how it’s all just going to be the bees-knees.
Ask, “may I add you?” rather than passively dropping a link and putting it on them to join.
Second, you could approach it as though you’re looking for feedback – because you are. Tell them why you’re starting a group, that you believe it could be a great resource for them, and ask if they’ll be part of your “kick-off focus group.”
Most people will have a hard time saying no to that. Don’t forget to end with, “may I add you?”
In the beginning, don’t worry about having a small group and/or a lack of engagement. Just keep posting valuable content frequently and consistently. For members, valuable content trumps a large group with no sense of community any day of the week.
4.) Plan and create online events in your Facebook group to keep your ICA engaged.
Yes, having a group can keep your pipeline full. But it’s your job to keep your group in your members’ feeds. You do this by creating a lot of content that engages your members.
The key here is “engage your members.” Put yourself in your ICA’s shoes and figure out what advice and resources she needs now, then give it to her. I promise, if you show up with good, engaging content, your ICA will notice. Then, they’ll become more engaged and possibly start inviting friends – that’s how things go viral.
Here are a few specific guidelines to help you out:
- Title your group with something that’s good for search purposes. I titled my group: “Interior Designers’ Marketing Mastermind | hosted by Nest & Prosper“. First, it identifies who the group is for (interior designers). Next, it mentions the purpose of the group: marketing. Finally, I added my company’s name to it, so that will show up in search results as well.
- Keep the content on Facebook. Posting links sends users away from Facebook, and Facebook doesn’t like that. So hold off on posting links if you’re growing your group. If you want to post one of your blogs, just post the text and add a photo.
- Go live (as in, livestreaming video) in your group every day – or Monday through Friday. Think of a tip or just something that’s on your mind pertaining to the theme of the group. Create a post, go live, and just talk as you would to a friend or a client. Livestreaming takes practice, and a small, growing group of fans is the best place to do it.
- Host live workshops and actually teach your clients something they can use right now. Try to host workshops at regular times each week; Russell Brunson says in Expert Secrets to host a webinar every single week until you know what you’re selling and how you’re selling it.
- Use your audience as a focus group and ask them questions using the “poll” feature. People love giving their opinion, so when you are writing a blog post or brainstorming an opt in idea, ask a question in your group and use the poll feature to capture responses.
5.) Keep promoting your Facebook group.
Once you have your group launched, a few dozen of your core fans and followers added as members, and you’re creating engaging content every day, you still need to keep promoting your group.
I recommend adding the url of your Facebook group (don’t forget to customize it in the settings) to the introduction section of your personal profile. You can also link your Facebook business page which helps fans of your page find your group.
If you have an email opt in, add a link to join your group in your welcome email.
And, if you really want to go guerrilla style, reach out by messenger to people in competitor’s groups to invite them to your group – but only do that once you’ve established a significant enough amount of rapport with each individual you plan to reach out to. You definitely don’t want to send messages to people you haven’t already reached out to with a friend request and some initial, introduction small talk.
You never know if someone might be looking for something you offer – and they won’t know until you offer it.
6.) Funnel group members to your email list.
Having a Facebook group is a great way to cultivate leads, but the real objective is to get these people on your email list.
Since it’s your group, you can promote as much as you like. So, to get the members of your group onto your email list, create an opt in or “freebie” to give them in exchange for their email address. You could even use the poll feature I mentioned earlier to have them help you decide which freebie to create.
You might be wondering how much time cultivating this group is going to take out of your week. The answer is: it depends.
Think of it like growing a garden. If you were to plant a garden, you probably wouldn’t think, “how much time is this going to take me?” Instead, you’d probably be excited to start something new, you would be eager to learn how to plant each item the correct way, and you would be diligent about checking in on it every day to see how much progress was made from the day before.
Think about growing your Facebook group the same way; there’s going to be learning and experimentation opportunities galore.