According to Facebook,
Groups provide a space to communicate about shared interests with certain people. You can create a group for anything—your family reunion, your after-work sports team, your book club—and customize the group’s privacy settings depending on who you want to be able to join and see the group.
I am the owner and admin of three Facebook groups. In 2014, I created my first group, Free Online Courses, which has grown to 30,000 members. I have two more groups for expats and travelers in Panama City, Panama, and Cartagena, Colombia. My groups have helped me to expand my online reach, connect with like-minded people, and generate income.
For a while, Facebook hung groups and admins out to dry by not improving the platform on a regular or consistent basis. However, groups appear to be heading in the right direction with a flurry of enhancements over the past year. Upgrades include:
- New layout and improved search functionality
- Group insights comprising of growth, engagement, age, gender, and top country analytics and statistics
- Admins can ask up to three questions to learn more about people wanting to join their groups
- Automatic membership approval settings
- Group type, which helps people see what the group is about
- Watch party, a feature that enables members to watch videos at the same time while continuing to comment and interact
- Members can select “Ask for Recommendations” in a post
- Admins can archive their groups
- Facebook page and group linking options
- Topics/tags can be added to posts to help group members find the information that interests them
Regardless of the platform, your social media activities should consider posting frequency and transparency. My goal is to abide by the same rules as members of my groups. For example, I post once or twice a day in my online courses group because that is what is allowed. I could post nonstop and abuse my position, but members would get upset, and the group would lose credibility. Also, Facebook could flag me as a spammer, which would attract consequences.
Transparency is vital to success in online marketing and selling. The United States Federal Trade Commission (or FTC) has guidelines about affiliate marketing, e-commerce, and what disclosures and hashtags to add to posts to inform consumers. I add “#Ad” to posts containing affiliate links and disclose advertising details in the about section.
Ways to Make Money with Facebook Groups
Like most ways of making money online, profits are a function of traffic, clicks, and conversions. You can profit from a Facebook group as an admin, moderator, and member. You don’t necessarily need to create a group, but ownership gives you control of activities and settings. Controlling the narrative is helpful, which is why I prefer to own groups. When I don’t manage a group but participate, my efforts can become wasteful. For example, some group admins monitor and approve/decline every post. In these groups, my posts are subject to delays and declines. Many of the ways to monetize Facebook groups carry over to making money with Facebook pages.
- Promote products and services as an affiliate marketer
One of the most practical ways to make money with a Facebook group is from affiliate and referral marketing activities. Since my group focuses on free access to online courses, I promote free course and trial affiliate programs from Coursera, CreativeLive, Pluralsight, and Treehouse. CreativeLive’s affiliate program is excellent as they pay per lead and sale. I occasionally promote products/services members might be interested in such as Hootsuite, a social media management service, and Fiverr, the largest online marketplace for freelance services. Where some affiliate marketers go wrong is by promoting items that have minimal relation or no relation to the group’s objective. For instance, it wouldn’t make sense to promote flight deals in a group about app development. To learn about affiliate networks, see my post.
- Sell products and services
Admins can create “buy and sell” groups by choosing it as a group type. Buy and sell groups come with different features than non-e-commerce groups. For example, a post will display sale and price details in bright green, and the post could appear in Facebook’s marketplace. A buy and sell group paired with the right niche could yield profits for you and your members. Suppose you’re interested in buying, selling, and trading stamps. You could create a stamp enthusiasts group to encourage e-commerce between members. Alternatively, you can join a buy and sell group to sell your products and services.
- Earn advertising and sponsorship revenue
Admins of sizeable groups can attract advertising and sponsorship revenues. I’ve sold advertising space to instructors. I charge twenty-five dollars to be featured in my group’s announcements. Ad placements/areas include announcements, about/description, and the group’s photo.
- Promote your website, products, and services
Social media marketing is a powerful way for individuals and businesses to reach prospects and customers. People use social media websites and networks to promote their companies, brands, products, and services. I promote my website daily by posting a blog in my group. Directing members to my site increases the potential for subscribers, affiliate and book sales.
- Direct members to a landing page to build your sales funnel
A lot of admins and marketers direct members to landing pages. A landing page is a standalone web page, created specifically for a marketing or advertising campaign. Popular landing page providers include ClickFunnels, Instapage, Thrive Themes (Thrive Landing), Ontraport, and Wishpond.
A typical landing page strategy is to encourage visitors to opt-in or subscribe to get “exclusive” content, for example, a checklist, video, webinar, report, ebook, and so on. Alternatively, landing pages are used to generate leads in which case the visitor would be prompted to provide more than an email address. A lead contact form might include text fields such as name, surname, email address, phone number, company name, budget, and details related to the item offered.
As you convert visitors into subscribers/leads, they become a part of your marketing and sales funnel. (A Facebook group can also be a part of your marketing funnel.) I created this landing page for free through MailerLite, a top-rated email marketing service. When a person subscribes, he or she will receive three emails over several weeks. These emails are sent automatically through an autoresponse sequence. My emails discuss who I am, what I offer, and the products/services I use. The goal of my autoresponse sequence is to generate affiliate sales.
- Look for customers, clients, and partners
Social media marketing and landing pages are valid methods to grow a business, but they are passive activities. Alternatively, engaging and contacting members is a fantastic way to get customers.
How might prospecting work? Suppose Joe and James belong to the same WordPress group. Joe, a blogger, posts a message about SEO plugins. He wants to know what SEO plugin he should use and why. James, an SEO consultant, comments on the post and recommends a couple of plugins. He tells Joe that he has sent him a private message. In the private message, James introduces himself, his services, and provides a link to a blog he wrote regarding the best WordPress SEO plugins.
Note: If you send a message to someone who you’re not connected with on Facebook, the person will receive a message request, which doesn’t appear in the regular inbox. Therefore, you should tell people that you’ve sent them private messages otherwise they may not check their “Message Requests” tab/inbox.
Facebook groups are excellent for developing relationships with like-minded people, and many people use groups to find business and marketing partners. I’ve been contacted several times for book reviews and marketing support after posting details about my books in Kindle-themed groups.
- Collect membership fees
My groups are free to join, but many content creators and marketers operate private Facebook groups for paying customers. A private group might focus on exclusive content, live video, or Q&A and direct access to the admin/owner.
You could charge monthly and annual fees, and a group can be a one-off or bundled offering. As a one-off offering, you might charge between $0.99 and $9.99 monthly and offer a discount for annual payments. Alternatively, you might build your community on Patreon, a membership platform that makes it easy for artists and creators to get paid.
- Earn money as a community manager
Groups need managing and time is money. Combine these two realities, and you could earn money as a community manager (or social media marketer), for example, $50 to $100 monthly per group. To gain work, you would inquire with group admins. I recommend approaching admins who manage active groups of 10,000 or more members. Also, you could list your services on freelance marketplaces like Fiverr and Upwork. Alternatively, you might secure a non-paying admin or moderator position to gain privileges and influence, for instance, the right to post content or affiliate links daily. Admins and moderators have different rights, so you’ll want to understand them before becoming a community manager.
- Create content about Facebook groups
This post is about Facebook groups, and hopefully, it will generate money for me one way or another. I have a video on YouTube about monetizing Facebook groups, which makes ad revenue. I previously offered an online course about Facebook groups for business owners, which generated close to eight hundred dollars.
Facebook’s help center provides mostly generic information about groups and their platform. As a result, content creators can make money by creating insightful how-to content about groups, pages, profiles, and so on.
- Sell your group
Perhaps it’s time to move on and sell your group. Facebook’s terms of service (TOS) is ambiguous about selling groups, and comments on threads left me scratching my head. The best approach is to keep dealings between you and the buyer private.
How do you value a group? The easiest way to price a group is by assigning a price to a member than multiplying that value by the number of members. For instance, a member of my group is worth $0.02. Two cents multiplied by 30,000 members yields a group value of $600. You might pay $600 for my group or negotiate a lower price. At best, members of most groups are worth a penny to five cents. To justify a higher price would require financial data or proof of group revenues.
Building a significant member count can take years in which case, you might consider buying a group. You’ll want to find the right admin, someone who is sensible and honest, to do business. Just like any business dealing, be meticulous and ensure proceedings are complete.
- Collect donations
It’s unlikely that member donations will net you enough to retire early, but you can ask members for contributions and use a link from PayPal or TransferWise to facilitate money collection.