This week we are excited to have with us a very special guest and former SMWL18 Speaker, Bella Vasta. Bella is the dynamic personality behind Jump Consulting. Bella has consulted with multi-million dollar companies to small mom and pop businesses. She is an author, podcast host, blogger, and been featured on NBC, CBS, FOX, NPR, Entrepreneur Magazine, and Huffington Post.
Bella has made a name for herself as a Facebook Group expert. She runs several groups which she has used to build her business and consulting business, and eventually, as a way to grow a six-figure business. We talked with her and got her insight on how other businesses can use groups to grow their business.
So Bella, how did your journey–and dare I say love–for Facebook Groups begin?
My journey with Facebook Groups is completely organic. It started back in 2012 when I was a member of some other groups and I just didn’t like the way they were operating. They were catty, they were full of drama and it just wasn’t my jam. So I decided I was going to start my own. I am a consultant in the pet industry and so I said anyone with a pet sitting company with staff. I really wanted to attract people with those particular set of challenges. I made many mistakes. It was intense. I went through a lot of different growing pains throughout it, but I found a groove there.
I opened up another group, which is actually the larger group (and they’re free) for anyone with a pet business. What they do is actually move from the really big group to the smaller group with staff and then ultimately to my mastermind, which is a paid monthly membership. That’s the short version of how I started with Facebook Groups!
People always ask the question if I already have a page, why would I make a group? What’s your response to that question?
I have this really great analogy. You know you have your front yard. Imagine if you were to put a swimming pool out there and then drag your barbecue out there and sit down and eat in the front yard. Cars are going by and you’re out there sunbathing. It’s a little odd, right?
So the way I think about this is, your page is your front yard. It’s nicely landscaped, there’s some stuff out there, maybe a scarecrow.
But, the cool people, the people you really want to connect with, you say come into my barbecue, come into my backyard. That’s where all the fun is happening. You’re going to the host, people are having fun. Maybe they’re doing different things. You might get them a drink, you may have some music on. You’re going to be entertaining and keeping it alive.
Your group is your backyard.
It was just announced that businesses can now join groups. Do you think there is a better way of handling that, whether is the company or the individuals?
My first reaction when I heard that was, “Ugh, why,” you know? But then as I kept reading, I do see that there are instances where this is useful. I want to encourage people, just because there is a new shiny object, doesn’t mean you definitely have to use it. You have to put it up against what your goals are for your group and see if it makes sense.
What are some things businesses need to know if they are going to get started with groups?
Before you even think about starting that group, you have to consider and figure out … what is the interest you’re going after, what is the challenge? There are a lot of different kinds of groups, there are pop-up groups that only last a certain amount of time, there are interest groups, there are groups you get into because you bought a product. There are so many different ways of using groups that I think you really need to be clear on what your intent is.
We want to give them something. That could be a Facebook Live every week. We want to give them something of ourselves or our company on a regular basis. Once a week, once a day, or once an hour. Reply to people! If someone posts something, reply back, maybe with a question back to keep the conversation going.
You can do challenges, you can do contests. You can have a social learner group where you can use units or files.
Okay, let’s say a business knows what kind of group they want to run and things they want to do, are there any things you would tell them to do or to not do?
Do have some sort of organization to it. It’s very easy to get overwhelmed in a Facebook Group, so utilizing the tools—like files and units—are really helpful. In one of mine, I have monthly cycles and I have roundups that we do. We all get on a Zoom call so we can see each other and connect, but what I do is on the first of the month I change the cover profile with all the dates we have. So if you have any kind of promotion coming up or meet-up I think that’s important.
If you listen to your group they’re going to tell you. They decided to come to your party and they’re going to want a fun environment for them. So allow the group to lead itself as well. They’re going to tell you when they feel really overwhelmed. I have people who say, “whoa, there is so much information in here and I’m overwhelmed.” And, other people say, “I need more posts, let’s post 10 times a day!”
So, do have organization. It’s going to be something you’re going to have to adjust.
There you have it! Some great tips and the how and why of Facebook Groups. Remember, Facebook Groups are a FREE tool you can use to connect with your audience and they are not taken advantage of by most businesses.
We really encourage you to think of your goals and imagine how you can use a group to get you there. If you have any questions, let us know! And, don’t forget to follow Bella to continue to learn from her.