How to Use a Facebook Group to Grow Your Home-Based Business

Facebook is no longer just a fun way to reconnect with old friends or to post pictures of your kid’s birthday party. It has quickly evolved into a powerful tool that is reshaping how people do business. There are more than 400 million Facebook users. If Facebook were its own country, it would be the third-largest country in the world today.

No longer do you have to conduct a long and expensive market survey to see what customers think about a company, product or service. Those key customers are on Facebook telling you what they think. Businesses can now communicate directly with their customers in real time, getting instant feedback – a marketing dream come true.

You don’t have to be a billion-dollar corporation to build a following on Facebook. One good way for home-based business owners to capitalize on the power of Facebook is to create a Group. Here’s how:

1. Develop relationships. Don’t just start inviting anyone and everyone to join your group. Develop relationships with people first. Don’t post things that are only talk about your business. Make it subtle at first.

2. Create your group and invite people to join. Invite current customers, fellow business members and anyone who you think might be interested in keeping up with what’s going on in your business. Just use the “Invite People to Join” link to the left of your group’s main page. Your members can also invite others to join your group. Come up with some incentives, such as free products, to encourage people to invite their friends to join.

3. Send messages about important announcements or events. The cool thing about the Facebook Group is that it allows you to send messages to everyone in your group. If you have new products or deals to announce, if you want to invite people to an event or just have something important to say, message everyone at the same time. But don’t overdo it. You don’t want to spam everyone. Keep it to about one message per week or less.

4. Encourage people to write on your wall. When people post something on the group wall, everyone who is a member of that group can see it on their Facebook Home screen; so can all of their friends, which might intrigue other people to come check out your group. This is a natural and, more importantly, viral way to increase your contacts. Interested people who run across your group may join, and then invite others to join. As the administrator of your group, post frequent

5. Post photos and videos. You can post photos of events, new products or whatever you think might promote your group. You also have the option of letting members post their own photos or videos. Many cell phones now have video features, and you can upload your videos and pictures straight from your phone. You can pick up a decent-quality flip-cam for around $200. Film videos of demonstrations, testimonials or events. Encourage group members to comment on photos.

Facebook continues to evolve as an effective business- and network-building tool. These are just a few basic tips on how to use Facebook to promote your business.