Early on in my blogging career, I was a big fan of using Facebook groups to promote content. I know some people have mixed feelings about doing this. To some, it may come across as spammy, but I found it to be an effective way to reach my target audience. People who frequent chronic illness-related groups on Facebook are looking for support and answers to their challenges. If you’re putting out strong, useful content, then I’ve generally found it’s welcomed within these groups versus being viewed as spam.

Using Facebook groups to increase your blog traffic | Chronic Illness Bloggers

That being said, I think the question of whether or not to post content in Facebook groups really depends on the dynamic of the individual group. Some groups are definitely more friendly about link-sharing than others. My best advice for using Facebook groups to generate blog traffic would be:

  • Always read the group’s rules. Some groups don’t allow link sharing and doing so will get you booted from the group faster than you can ask yourself, “Why isn’t XYZ group showing up in my Facebook feed anymore?”
  • If you’re worried that you might be labeled as a spammer, reach out to the administrators of the group and ask for permission to post your links within the group. They may say no, but they’ll appreciate that you asked first.
  • I typically don’t post product reviews or sponsored posts in Facebook groups. These are usually frowned upon because members feel like you are trying to sell them something, and it comes across as too promotional.
  • The best posts to share within groups tend to be those that help members solve some sort of problem. Those ever-annoying but effective “16 tips to help you…” posts always tend to generate lots of engagement. Research- or treatment-based posts usually do well, too.

Another way to use Facebook groups to boost your readership is to start your own group. A few months after starting my blog, I set up a Facebook group called What Works for Fibromyalgia group, which now has almost 7,000 members. There are definitely pros and cons to starting a Facebook group.

The pros:

  • It helps me to develop a relationship with my readers. I try to check in with my group at least once a day to comment on members’ posts and share resources, so I’m approachable and available to them.
  • Since I run the group, it allows me the freedom to post my own content, including more promotional posts (reviews, sponsored posts, etc). I don’t have to worry about breaking the group’s rules because I set the rules.
  • I find that my content gets better engagement within the What Works group than on my Fed Up with Fatigue Facebook page. My hunch is that Facebook tends to show group content more freely than page content in people’s news feeds.
  • Learning is a two-way street. My members learn from me, and I learn from them, too.
  • I sometimes get blog post ideas from group discussions.

The cons:

  • Running a Facebook group is a huge time suck. As the group grows in size, it takes more and more time to approve/decline members and moderate the discussions. I’m fortunate that I have two group members who voluntarily help me to moderate the group, but it’s still a time commitment. I suspect the time that I’m investing is probably not worth the traffic that it’s driving to my blog.
  • As with any group, sometimes there are disagreements between members. This is definitely the most unpleasant part of running a group.

As always, I’m providing some links to articles that you might find helpful…

SmartBlogger: How to use Facebook groups to get more traffic and traction for your blog

Forbes: How to use Facebook groups to increase traffic and engagement

Moz: How and why to build a booming Facebook group

Neil Patel: An eye-opening guide to how to grow a Facebook group

2 thoughts on “Using Facebook groups to increase your blog traffic

  • June 19, 2017 at 2:25 pm
    Permalink

    Thank you for the wonderful article!

    Personally, I’m a member of a couple of facebook groups myself. I’ve managed to read the rules, and it looks like I should be able to post some blog posts.

    But I’ve also seen other groups out there that won’t let me. I just don’t join those.

    I mean, I figure if I’m posting a post with useful content that people can relate to, what’s the harm in posting it? I’m not posting anything to solicit. But, at the same time, if it’s my blog, if I’m apart of a group that doesn’t allow soliciting, they might see it as soliciting. So, I just don’t join.

    But I love all the tips you give us. I never thought to reach out to the administrator to ask.

    Thanks for that!

    Reply
  • May 26, 2018 at 8:34 am
    Permalink

    I’ve noticed that the more local a facebook group is, the easier it is for people to get to know each other. One of the problems with big international groups is that you have no local frame of reference in common with many of the readers. I’m fairly comfortable link-sharing on a few local groups, but in large ones, I don’t share unless… for example, if I have an article about gardening, and someone asks for ideas on gardening that actually exist in my article. I’m much less link-share oriented in larger FB groups, at least so far.

    That said, link sharing to Pubmed has never been a problem. It’s pretty obvious when a link share is just someone paying the bills on their blog. And people give it attention appropriate to its level of usefulness. I think people are in need of more information and honest science interpretation than they are in need of products. That’s what makes it risky to monetize, you end up putting your already limited energy into making it pay rather than imagining what is needed for the community and thinking of ways to provide it.

    Example: I love a local restaurant, it supports my community and is safe for people with my illness. However, they are still just a restaurant. If I go all out and promote them (without good reason, like a fundraiser for research or something), what has the community gained? Not a lot – people who can afford it know they can go there, but they already knew because Yelp told them.

    But if I contact local food shelves and ask them what they would need to provide safe food for the needy who have my illness… that’s something people actually need. You can then promote the food shelf and feel good about it. And they will promote you in turn. And you get a bunch of ideas for what to write about as you talk to them. Each of those articles will help someone. Any of those articles will have lots of opportunity for link-sharing in a totally not-spammy way.

    Spend your time thinking about what people need, not what product they should want. If a product fits that, then great, go for it, but if the forethought hasn’t been done, you’ll let your blog rule you instead of the other way around.

    Reply

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