So if you are considering opening a Facebook group for your business, today’s episode is for you because we’re going to be talking about how to start leveraging Facebook groups to get more clients if you run a personal trainer business. 

Now, there are really two types of groups that trainers are using: groups to interact with their audience and followers, and potentially try to turn those people into clients, or groups that are only for their existing clients. I know some people who have both, which is also totally fine. I think the first thing to keep in mind, especially with the client-based groups, is that the algorithm may not show all of your post and content to all group members.

So, using this with existing clients may not be ideal because you don’t want them to miss anything, obviously, especially if it’s pertinent information that they need to know, like, “Hey, it’s a holiday week, so check-ins need to happen by X date.” If they’re all active on Facebook and you’re not really sure about moving platforms or trying something else, I would suggest maybe trying a group Facebook chat, just like on Messenger. That might be a great way to communicate with them and guarantee that they will see it.

One of the things we talk about inside Content to Clients is about utilizing social media to grow your business without having to worry about ads or algorithms.

So when it comes to setting up your Facebook group, you want the name of the group to be really clear and specific.

And no one wants to join, you know, the Jess Creatives Facebook Group. That is super boring, and it’s not about me. The group is not to talk about me the whole time. Before, I had a group called, The Digital Lounge Design and Video for Entrepreneurs. It’s pretty long and kind of wordy, but it did describe what the group topic was about. So, people knew they could come in there and ask about design and video, and other business things, too. So if you have a niche in your personal trainer business, like working with moms, make sure that that is in the name of the group.

Once you’ve created the group, you want to make sure that the rules are clear in your group. What kinds of things can people post. For example, in your clients-only group, you may want to make sure that it’s clear that their check-ins need to be submitted elsewhere. You don’t want people to start posting their check-ins in the Facebook group. Then, that causes a lot of headaches for you because you have some that are here in Facebook and some check-ins that are in another platform. You could also have rules against spamming the group or promoting themselves, general type of Facebook rules that are common.

Now that you’ve got the group set up, we want to get people inside the Facebook group.

There are a few ways you can do this, but first, do not just add your friends and family without permission. No one likes that. No one wants to be added into the group without asking first. Because honestly, they may feel too awkward to even leave the group because they don’t want to hurt your feelings. Then you just have a lot of inactive members, and that’s no fun. So, post a link to your group on Facebook on your personal profile, and if friends and family want to join, they will.

You do want to be sure and also cross-promote your group on other social media platforms. So, make sure you’re sharing it on Instagram, and your business Facebook page. You could also have a link in your email auto responder. So when people join your list, maybe the confirmation email, you know, where it’s like, “Confirm my subscription. Give me the free download,” it could also have a link and a call to action to join your Facebook group.

So, hey, you got these recipes, these free workouts, whatever. If you want more of this type of content, be sure and join the community over here. You could easily also add it to your email signature just within Gmail, you know, when you’re communicating with clients and that kind of thing.

You could also link it somewhere on your website. But as I’ve mentioned in episodes before, you need to be careful about how many different calls to action are on one page. Think about the goals of your website. What do you want more? Do you want people to hire you or do you want people to join your group?

Once you have people inside the Facebook group, make sure you’re also engaging with people’s posts and comments. If you post something and people start commenting, make sure you revisit that post a few times that day and also throughout the week. If a member creates their own posts in the group, you know, asking a question or sharing something, make sure you respond to that as well.

I know this might sound obvious, but there are a lot of groups where the owners or the admins are not engaging. This could be a little more of a loosey-goosey rule if your group grows to 10,000 people, because it might be a little difficult to respond to every posts. But, try to be involved, and show up, and interact with your audience. Give people reason to want to hang out in the group, to want to hang out with you.

Getting engagement takes time, but people honestly love to talk about themselves.

They love to ask questions and play games, so really try and get to know them. And the more that they engage, the more prominent posts from the group will appear in their newsfeed. And the most popular posts in groups are ones that ask questions and actually promote engagement. Ask for comments, specifically. Comments are worth so much more than likes on Facebook.

Get people to interact and engage with fun questions, like name something that you used to believe about fitness but no longer do. When you connect with people, it makes it more likely that they will interact or buy from you in the future when you have a sales post. Running a Facebook group is about giving value, positioning yourself as a resource, and wowing your audience with how you can help them.

One other thing to consider in terms of engagement is you could consider making a quick video tutorial on how to turn notifications on inside the group, and then the link that video in the group description. If you use the Loom Chrome extension, they make it super easy to just record your screen real quick and then have a link to share. And if you’re still struggling to get members inside your group, you could also consider incentivizing membership.

So, you could do something like give away a free guide as part of joining and they get the link to download once they’re inside the group. But on the flip side of this, you also want to be sure that as many people as possible inside the group are joining your email list. And don’t call it a newsletter, by the way. No one wants to read a newsletter, so stop calling it that.

But anyways, you could make a post once in a while like, “Hey, did you see today’s email? What are your thoughts? Share below.” Then, people who are not on your email list will want to be because they’re like, “What are you talking about?” So, they want to contribute to that conversation. They want to be on the list. It’s important that people are on your list because if you decide to delete the group or people leave the group, you’ve lost contact with those people.

Now, at this point, hopefully doing all these different things is really getting people in your group, and now it’s really starting to grow. So, you may need to recruit some moderators to help control the group. I’d start with probably just one to two people that can help monitor comments, engage, and then kick out any spammers or rule breakers. This can also give the group more of a community feel, too, because you’ll have yourself, as well as the moderators, hopefully, who were consistently active, and commenting, and creating that more community-type feel.

Part of the goal of having a group is creating that community, and it’s not just to pitch your services over and over again. Because if that’s all you’re doing inside of the Facebook group, it’s not going to be effective. At the end of the day, running your own Facebook group effectively means three things: You need to establish yourself as the expert. You need to solve a problem, and you need to offer plenty of value before asking for the sale. Now, there is one other thing I wanted to talk about in regards to Facebook groups.

You can still get leads and clients from other Facebook groups, not just your own.

Now, this does not mean you just join groups and start promoting your stuff right away. Just like you don’t want people promoting themselves in your group, others don’t want you to do that in their group. But think about your niche, your ideal clients. Where are they hanging out? For example, if you are targeting female entrepreneurs, there are tons and tons of Facebook groups of female business owners that you could join. Once you join, just make it a goal to interact with people a few times a week and slowly make them aware of your personal trainer business.

I know you might be thinking, “Well, okay, but how does my interacting with people make that actually turn into a sale?” Well, first you could comment and answer people’s questions. And it might just be a question like, “What are you using for email marketing?” and you could answer, “Well, as a personal trainer, I use X, Y, Z.” You’re not pitching yourself. You’re not even linking your website or anything. But anyone who’s looking for a trainer might happen to see that and be like, “Oh, she’s a trainer. I don’t know her, but she’s in this group. You know, whatever.” Then, they click on your profile and hop over to your business page.

The other thing you could possibly do, depending on the group rules, is post in the group and ask a question, like, “Hey, I’m a trainer. I’m working on something trying to do some research. I’d love to know how many of you workout at home versus workout at the gym.” Again, you’re not selling anything, not even in the comments. Don’t be replying to people’s comments trying to get them to sign up. It’s just creating awareness about you running a personal trainer business, and you get some audience research in the process.

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