This week I had the pleasure of talking with Nikolay Stoyanov; creator of the popular White Hat SEO Facebook group.
His group is full of well-known industry experts and provides useful, and even entertaining, information about doing SEO the “right” way.
Facebook groups can be an amazing way to establish yourself as an expert in your niche and to build up your reputation through it with no advertising budget. - Nikolay Stoyanov
For those of you who are actively trying to build up your business’s Facebook presence, now is your chance to hear about it from someone who has been on the front lines every single day for the past two years.
Here is how he did it.
1. How did you grow a Facebook community into 25,000+ users? How long did it take you?
Honestly, I never dreamed my community would grow to 25,000 members. It all started as a test. I got fed up with groups that were only trying to sell you stuff or were promoting grey/black hat techniques, and I wanted to make a change. So one evening, I just created this group and invited all my SEO contacts there. Most of these people I knew from before and was sure they could add value to the community. They were all interested in white hat methods and had a genuine interest in SEO. It was around 200 people, they were the core of the group, and this is how it all started. It took me about 2 years of hard work and enormous amounts of posts, polls, interviews, and discussions, but it was all worth it.
2. What benefits does having a large and active Facebook community bring to your business?
It helped me build my reputation and brand niksto.com. It helped me make some solid connections and good friends within the industry. I had the unique chance to get to know lots of great experts and people and some of them became my friends. The community helped me increase my own SEO knowledge and expand my views. Also, it helped me land some clients who read my posts, saw some value in them and decided to reach out and ask for my SEO services.
3. What kind of tools do you use to help you manage your community?
I used grytics.com for a few months before Facebook launched Group Insights. Could have done everything without it though. I guess I was just curious to keep track of some group stats; it didn’t help me grow the group faster or in a better way.
4. How do you grow a thriving community with no advertising budget?
That is exactly what I did. I haven’t invested a single penny in the group (with the exception of paying a few bucks for a few months while I was using Grytics). However, if you want to follow my steps you should be prepared to invest TONS of your time, energy and patience. You shouldn’t give up easily; such a big community cannot be built fast. It takes immense amounts of hard work, discipline, and love. But if you are really passionate about something, Facebook groups can be an amazing way to establish yourself as an expert in your niche and to build up your reputation through it with no advertising budget.
5. What 3 tips do you have for business owners in regards to building and utilizing their own communities?
1) Start today! If you are serious about your business and brand, having a big and successful Facebook community can be a great asset. Don’t overthink it; just start now and see where your journey takes you. It takes a few minutes to set it up but can be a powerful weapon in your marketing arsenal.
2) Be realistic about your expectations. Nothing great happens overnight! If you think you can have a community like this in just a couple of months of spending several minutes a day…don’t start. You will only get disappointed as it is not that easy. However, if you are super passionate about something and if you can provide tons of value to your current and future users - go for it and don’t hesitate. You will succeed in time!
3) Provide FREE VALUE every single day, and with each post you create. Engage, teach and engage again. There are numerous instruments you can use - posts that provide awesome free pro tips, video interviews, podcasts, “Ask me anything” sessions, polls, contests — you name it. Be consistent and don’t just write posts for the sake of doing so. If you don’t have anything useful to say, better wait until you do. Of course, you shouldn’t be serious all the time too. Try to be funny every now and then; people love being entertained. Cherish your members, and they will do the same for you! Good luck.
Thank you, Nikolay, for participating!
- Having a Facebook community offers lots of benefits such as making new industry connections, growing your knowledge and landing new clients.
- Use Facebook Group Insights to get statistics (such as new member numbers, audience participation and post engagement) which can help you grow your community faster.
- It IS possible to grow a community with NO budget, but ONLY if you’re willing to put in tons of work.
- If you’re willing to put in the work, then make sure you’re providing a plethora of value to your users.
- Make sure the value you provide is FREE. And, in the immortal words of Jean-Luc Picard — engage!
Have you tried to grow a Facebook community? What challenges or wins did you encounter? Please tell us about them in the comments.