You hear the marketing gurus talking about this all the time.
“Use Facebook to promote your business.” That’s most likely why you started a Facebook page promoting your writing services. And if you invited everyone you know to ‘like’ the page, you probably have a few hundred likes already.
But…you’re not getting any writing inquiries.
There’s little engagement on your page. The occasional likes and comments might bring a smile to your face, but bring in zero clients.
You start to wonder if Facebook is even worth your time.
It’s true: you can use Facebook to get decent or even lucrative blogging gigs. But don’t spend all your marketing efforts on growing your Facebook Page.
Facebook Groups are where all the action is.
Put yourself in your potential client’s shoes. If you were a business owner looking for ways to grow your business, where would you hang out on Facebook? Not on some random freelancer’s Facebook page, that’s for sure.
You’d join Facebook Groups dedicated to helping business owners.
Because that’s where you’ll get all the juicy details: real experiences, practical tips, and lessons from other entrepreneurs.
As a freelance blogger looking for clients, you need to be part of the Facebook Groups action.
So, how can you do it?
Step 1: Scout Facebook Groups where potential clients hang out
First, look at the list of Facebook Groups you currently belong to. Most likely, you’re already part of a group for bloggers. Your fellow bloggers’ networks can be a great resource for checking out other Facebook Groups. For example, I discovered a great startup group suggested by Facebook based on my friend’s list.
Other things to consider when joining the group:
- The number of members
- How active the members are
- The types of members
Keep in mind, however, that the number of members and the frequency of posts are not the only indicators of a Facebook Group’s success. It’s important to look at the conversations, too.
Do they talk about real business issues? Do you have something to say about these issues?
If a group is closed and there’s no way you could check out the posts, you can always ask your Facebook friends who are already members of the group you want to join.
If you can’t find quality groups based on your friends’ lists, you can explore them on your own.
On the left side of your Facebook’s home page, click “Find New Groups” and type in keywords. For example, if you’d like to work with startups, simply type “startup”. Facebook will provide you a list of groups with this word in their name. You’ll also see if any of your friends are already members.
Step 2: Join the groups you’ve chosen
If you feel that you’ve found the right group, go ahead and join. Simply click “Join Group”.
For closed groups, you’ll need to wait for the admin to approve your request. Some groups have multiple admins. If your current Facebook friend is already on the group, they will be able to approve your request to join when they see the notification.
Step 3: Introduce yourself
Once you’re in, you need to make the best first impression.
First, read the guidelines for the group. Each group has different rules, so you need to check what types of posts and links you’re allowed to add to the group. Often, you’ll see the guidelines pinned at the top of the group’s page. If not, you can check it out under “Files”.
Pay attention to the types of posts that are popular and garner a lot of comments. When you’ve got a feel for the vibe of the group, go ahead and introduce yourself.
In your introduction, make sure to thank the admin for accepting your request to join (if it’s a closed group). Tell the members of the group why you joined and the things that you want to learn from them. Your introduction should not sound like a promotion!
Think of a Facebook Group as a virtual party. Make small talk. Be polite.
Step 4: Be helpful
Again, don’t promote your own content or services yet. You need to establish rapport and credibility first. There are many ways to make yourself useful in a Facebook group:
- Share latest news and trends about the industry. That’s why it’s crucial to figure out the types of posts that the group cares about — you’ll know which one would get the most response.
- Post a great video about content marketing. TED Talks is a great resource for high quality and inspiring videos. Marie Forleo’s YouTube channel is also a goldmine for marketing tips that will appeal to a wide variety of businesses owners.
- Share posts that provide solutions to the most common problems experienced by the members of the group.
Step 5: Ask questions.
When you’re confident that you’ve established a rapport and helped some members of the group, you can start furthering your agenda. Still, you need to be subtle.
Here’s the exact post I used for a startup Facebook Group:
Hi [name of Facebook Group]! I’ve been reading the posts here for the past couple of weeks, and it’s a pleasure to get to know passionate entrepreneurs. I was wondering, when you guys need a writer, where do you turn to? Do you have an in-house writer, or do you outsource it? Thanks! Good morning!
See what I did there? I didn’t say: “I’m a freelance blogger and looking for clients.” Instead, I asked a question that I’m really curious about.
At first I was discouraged. The first few people who commented on the post shared that they mostly do the writing in-house. So, I was surprised when I got private messages asking about my rates.
As it turns out, most businesses badly need excellent writers!
This one post resulted in five writing inquiries, an in-person meeting, and Skype calls that lead to consistent blogging gigs.
This all happened in a span of one week!
During this time, I was just starting out as a full-time freelance blogger. You can imagine how excited I was to get an influx of inquiries about my rates and writing services.
Facebook is still an effective marketing tool for business owners and freelancers alike. The key is to know where to spend your time.
This week, find a couple of Facebook Groups you believe can benefit from your expertise as a writer and a marketer.
Implement the five steps above. Tweak the process a bit if necessary. Most of all, provide value.
As a professional and experienced blogger, your mind is already a bank of content marketing ideas. It’s time to turn these ideas into high-paying and consistent blogging gigs.
How do you use Facebook to market your blogging services? Share your experience, failures, or successes in the comments.