How to Use Facebook Groups for Authentic Marketing Two founders of Facebook's most popular groups for women entrepreneurs provide marketing tips on the use of social media.

By Salma Jafri

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Are you disheartened by the organic reach of your Facebook page? Desperately want to use Facebook, but wish there was a way that you'd get an enthusiastic, dedicated audience on it? There is a way to do that, and I'm not talking about Facebook Ads. I'm talking about the hidden, often under explored, definitely underestimated power of Facebook groups. Ta-da!

Often times, entrepreneurs, especially women, tend to want to focus on marketing strategies that feel authentic. Facebook groups aid in the power of relationship-building and forming genuine connections with your audience – an audience that may eventually buy from you as a natural extension of that relationship.

To show you how to harness the power of Facebook groups to power your business, provide you with a loyal customer base, make meaningful relationships and find your ideal clients, I turned to the owners of two of the most happening Facebook groups for women entrepreneurs.

Kimra Luna is a branding and online marketing strategist, who is the founder of the "Freedom Hackers MasterMind" Facebook Groups. The group has a thriving, growing base of 23,000+ entrepreneurs, mostly women, who are building their online businesses and sharing, supporting and strategizing together.

Jordana Jaffe is the owner of the 7000+ member strong Facebook Group "Gena + Jordana & Your Magical Business", where she partners with spouse, Gena, to help women entrepreneurs build the business of their dreams.

Here's what they had to share:

Why start a Facebook group?

Kimra: As digital business owners, we're still in a minority. Our friends and families don't always get us, understand what we're doing, or even take our businesses seriously. I created The Freedom Hacker's Mastermind as a safe and supportive space where new and emerging online business owners can meet, hang out, support each other and be supported so they're not tempted to give up on their dreams from the get-go.

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Jordana: I love creating communities. In October 2014, I thought it could be really fun to create an online community of women entrepreneurs to connect with and to also create a space where women entrepreneurs could create with each other. At that point, Facebook groups weren't so trendy or seen as a business strategy, so I didn't really see ours as one either. It simply was another opportunity for me to create a community of people to support each other.

Why did people join?

Kimra: When I started Freedom Hacker's the main thing I was giving was my time. I spent hours and hours every day in the group posting useful tips, answering questions, and commenting on practically every thread.

Jordana: I think word got out that the group was fun and engaging - in the beginning, I didn't think strategically about offering a freebie as an incentive for people to join. My entire focus and commitment was simply to show up every day, ask engaging questions, be present to our community and be open to whatever magical possibilities may follow.

How is community-building part of business-building?

Kimra: Building a supportive, thriving community is about creating something and being part of something that's so much bigger than yourself, where people form friendships, relationships, partnerships and so on, through their mutual beliefs and the way they look at the world.

Jordana: I truly believe that life and business is just more fun, ease-filled, and successful when you have a quality community of people to support you along the way.

How much work is required?

Kimra: A lot! Almost two years in and nearly 22,500 members later, I'm still active in my community for several hours on a daily basis. As my business has grown so has my team and I now have two VA's that help approve requests to join as well as making sure everyone is playing nicely and keeping to my strict no-promo rule.

Jordana: A LOT. But you see, it doesn't feel like work. I think when you love doing something, you don't really know how much time you put into it, but you're always working on it, thinking about it, dreaming about new possibilities. I'm in the group most days.

Related: How to Make Time for Social Media Marketing

Do Facebook groups have a tipping point?

Kimra: Absolutely. Facebook groups are a bit like parties in a lot of ways: you have to make people feel welcome and like they belong, let them know where everything is like your free resources and files and stuff and be honest about how you expect them to behave in respect of promotional activity and providing feedback on others' posts for example. From there, it's all about cranking up the volume, inviting engagement and being a great host who mingles and creates a great atmosphere.

Jordana: I don't know if that's a function of size - I think it may actually be more a function of engagement. I think engagement is the special sauce.

Can Anyone join?

Kimra: We approve almost all requests to join with the exception of a handful of accounts that blatantly look fake or like they might be run by spammers.

Jordana: The admins need to approve someone's request as our group is a closed group.

How do you encourage real conversations?

Kimra: Every day I have a scheduled post that goes out to prompt engagement around a different theme. Over and above the daily engagement posts, I think one of the biggest things I've done is to ensure that everyone in my group feels safe to express their opinions and ask for help.

Jordana: I think 2 ways --- the first is that you invite it and encourage you - you let people know in the rules of the group what's invited and allowed in the space. The second way is that you lead the way - you start the real conversation and discussion and you offer the real support.

How do you prevent a link-fest?

Kimra: I have a strict rule about promos and everyone knows that the Tuesday promo thread is the place to post them. If people post promotional material on other days I delete their posts and if they do it again after being reminded, I delete them from the group. People really value the space I've created for them so in a way, it's becoming self-managing too.

Jordana: By setting clear boundaries and rules and making them visible in the files section, the description section and/or the pinned post, and then by letting people know when they break the rules and if they break them enough times, removing them from the group. It's really just a matter of setting rules and then standing by them.

Related: How to Build a Social-Media Strategy That Works

How can you find ideal customers?

Kimra: I think every single one of the students in my signature program, Be True, Brand You was a member of The Freedom Hacker's Mastermind first. In the run up to my last launch I used my group to promote my webinars, drive people to the replays and answer Q & A's about the program.

Jordana: I think it's a bit of self-selection process. I think the real question is how I inspire the people in my group to become paying clients, and well the answer to that, is that I lead with generosity. I give a lot with no expectation to receive, and yet the awesome thing is, I always do.

What advice to women entrepreneurs can you offer?

Kimra: The advice or perhaps word of warning that I give everyone is to make sure they really understand just how much work managing a Facebook group really is.

Jordana: To not do it if it's purely a business strategy - to only do it if the idea of it lights you up, energizes and excites you.

Salma Jafri

Content Marketing Consultant for Entrepreneurs

Salma Jafri is the host of Content Marketing Tips, a weekly vlog and blog on how women entrepreneurs can market authentically to their audience by using their natural strengths. Grab her free cheat sheet: 25 Free and Feel-Good Ways to Authentically Promote Your Content.

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