July 21st, 2022 | By: Sarah Humphreys | Tags: Customer Acquisition
Building an online community is no easy task, but the reward in doing so is worth the effort put into it. If you have built one before, you already know that online businesses not just should be, but NEED to be monetized. Online communities are a lot of work, after all, and nobody wants to work for free (right?!).
Facebook Groups are a great way to create an online community and build trust with potential customers. In this article, we are going to dive into how to start a group (for those ready to jump in) and offer all the different avenues of revenue that can be utilized on the platform with helpful insight from members of the Startups.com community.
Starting a Facebook Group is the easy part — especially if you are already familiar with the Facebook platform. Create a group page, enter the group name, a group description, add a cover photo, a group icon (profile pic), and a welcome message, then you’re ready to start inviting people to join the group.
You can start by inviting people you already know from your friends list, or use filters in the search bar to find people that fit your target audience.
Facebook groups are an easy (and free!) way of building an online community that can serve many purposes. These groups build trust with targeted audiences and can facilitate building a brand from the ground up, beta testing, lead generation, and overall product/service sales.
That is, however, only subject to whether the group is providing members content that is useful to what they joined the community for in the first place.
Monetizing Facebook groups that give back to the online community by way of resources, targeted content, and thoughtful entertainment is significantly “easier” than a Facebook group that is only out there to sell.
Group members know when they’re being sold, so how you sell/monetize the group really matters.
Not only is a Facebook group beneficial for making money, but it also is an opportunity to create a community around a topic that is important to you and your group members. It can be a space where people can share their stories and get support from others, build relationships within the industry, and help each other grow (and have fun while doing it!).
Don’t let the business side of things haze over the fact that you are building this community within a social platform and the social element is an important factor in how the community behaves.
Yes, Facebook groups actually make money, but it’s not so cut and dry as “I created a group, now give me my money!” For any online community to be successful you need to have a good monetization strategy, a good product or service to sell, a targeted audience that is engaged and interested in your content, product, or service, and enough Facebook group members in the online community that is opting into your various offerings.
In recent studies, having a group of 3,000-5,000 highly targeted group members could be enough to make money if the dollar value of products and/or services that you are offering them are high enough.
When considering brand partners (more on that below), a higher audience volume is desired to land an exclusive partnership in the upwards number of 10,000 group members. The more niche your group focus is, the number of members needed to create a profit will vary.
You can still make money with a small group of dedicated members if done correctly. While, the more members you have, the more opportunities you have to make money, a smaller group can turn a profit by way of offering a premium paid membership and other incentives within your content.
Facebook also recently added Facebook Stars where group members and fans can show their love and support for your on-demand videos, Facebook Live, and more (earning 1 cent USD for every Star you receive).
Bonus programs are also available for Facebook groups of any size that help magnify your overall earnings. When you join a bonus program you can earn money based on performance, earnings, or content challenges that reward you when you achieve key milestones. Both the stars and bonus programs are subject to terms, but you can apply and re-apply as applicable.
If you aren’t monetizing your Facebook group, you either don’t want the money, or you just enjoy working for free, which we have a hard time believing that either of those is true! In any case, yes, you should monetize your Facebook group as long as you have a solid collection of community members (targeted audience members interested in your product or service), and if you are able to provide true value to these group members.
People don’t want to pay for subpar products, and as the group admin, it’s your responsibility to deliver what you promised from the beginning — content, and resources that are relevant to the group topic that brought them there in the first place.
Facebook currently offers access to a full suite of monetization tools to give you the flexibility to earn money in ways that are realistic for your content and your online community. These tools are tailored to help build the community and increase fan loyalty with additional support directly from fellow group admins with tips and tricks on maximizing your efforts.
Community member, Eder Holguin, shares his perspective on how to make money with Facebook groups:
"There are different ways that you can make a profit from a Facebook group. The key is to understand your audience and know what type of services/products they would be interested in.
You can charge businesses or companies that are looking to target that specific audience a flat fee and post their products/services on their behalf.
You can add affiliate links for products or services that are relevant to your audience and earn commissions on the sales/leads generated from those links."
Paid partnerships are a great way to monetize a Facebook group, but it does come with a sizeable amount of guidelines. In order to be compliant with the many paid partnership policies, those interested in pursuing this avenue of making money must:
In order to earn money on Facebook, you must:
Follow all Facebook Pages, Groups, and Events Guidelines
Only connect to entities that follow all Facebook policies
Create eligible content
Live in an eligible country
Obey the “Community Standards”
Obey the “Content Monetization Policies”
Share authentic and original content
Monetize the group engagement
Follow all Facebook Payment Terms & Conditions
Develop an established presence
There are already plenty of free resources in the help section of Facebook and YouTube explaining how to get a paid partnership set up, but paid partnerships are a great way to drive results and traffic to your group as a way of bringing in new customers with sponsored content.
Workshops are a solid option to build trust with your customers. Many group admins with specialist services use Facebook groups for their online courses and other helpful workshops packed with free content.
You can host weekly group classes, or sell monthly membership deals for group events.
When workshops are geared toward the group's interests, they can help generate leads, sell products, or collect donations (depending on what the group owner created the workshop for in the first place).
If done right, even workshops in private groups encourage membership, which in turn will facilitate the continuation of monetizing Facebook groups.
A few ideas to give a broader perspective: group owners and Facebook group admins can create online training courses with incentives to upgrade to a paid membership, product, or service offering. With public groups, each group member can share content and invite other members to the Facebook group.
In the age of digital marketing, we should all be familiar with what affiliative marketing is and how it can boost your sales/generate authentic leads. But for those who have just come out from under their rock and have seen the light of day for the first time in their life, affiliate marketing is a way to make money by referring people to products or services that you like.
It's a simple way to monetize a Facebook group without being too "cringe" about it. If you like a product or service, check to see if there is an affiliate link that you can begin sharing with your online community.
Anytime someone makes a purchase using your direct links, there is some sort of financial kickback to you.
If you head in this direction of monetization, it is important to always remain on brand with your targeted audience. You don't want to market nunchucks to a newborn/new to parenthood group.
Take it from our community member, Carl Willis, who shares his thoughts here:
"I would suggest utilizing an Amazon affiliate account and pointing your audience to "great deals" on photography-related equipment and resources.
This way you are staying consistent with the theme of your group and you are simply adding value by making the group aware of things they could benefit from."
Another community member, Chris Allan, had some helpful insight on affiliated marketing as well:
"Depending on the level of skill of the group members, I would try some affiliate offers from Clickbank. I have done some Facebook advertising of affiliate offers and I have found that photography courses and foreign language courses convert pretty well.
In your position, where you have authority already as group admin, you should be able to convert a much higher percentage than I would use adverts. Look for a good course that has "rebilling" for recurring monthly compensation."
Remember, simply sharing a link won't bring all the success you are imagining. You have to continuously offer value to your Facebook group in order for them to trust that you aren't just trying to "sell them."
When it comes to membership fees, Bhaskar Sarma from our amazing community had some thoughtful input:
"I suggest creating a paid Facebook group and charging members a monthly membership fee.
You don't even need it to be too many people — target membership of around 300 when you get started.
Create great content and offer inside info around your core topic. Interview experts, set up AMAs on the private Facebook group, and have weekly accountability threads- basically any information that will improve the members' skills.
Often you won't even have to rack your brain- your members will tell you what they want the most.
Keep engagements level high and slowly open the gates as you see people getting value out of the group.
To ease your admin burdens you can appoint a few managers in the paid group, and give them a share of the revenue."
Generating valuable leads is especially important when hosting a community platform on Facebook. This is not so much about making instant money, but more focused on creating a list of those you can re-market over and over again.
Considering the fact that Facebook can shut your group down at any moment, collecting information such as emails (otherwise known as leads) is a smart way to ensure you can communicate with your potential customers if something were to go awry.
Also, don't underestimate the tried and true methods of email marketing — lead generation is step one of a sales funnel and could be one of the most important ways of monetizing your Facebook group.
This option of monetization is mostly geared toward people selling high-ticket content/resources such as corporate training or specialist services, like freelance website design or digital marketing services.
For example, a website designer may have a Facebook page for creating templates. They can use this group to offer their general freelance services. Here they can display their work in the group, or share examples as training materials (sharing downloadable assets as a bonus!).
This has the potential to generate leads by demonstrating the quality of their work to prospective clients.
We can't stress this enough — people love to download quality assets. Not just any asset, quality assets that give your target audience exactly what they want (it doesn't have to only be free content!). Downloadable assets are an easy way to monetize a facebook group if done right.
Assets can be in form of pdfs, ebooks, webinars, checklists, etc., and can be used to test out new business ideas. It's worth noting (again) that you need to create content that targets relevant audiences.
What's great about offering this type of resource to your Facebook group is that it can come at little cost to you (time and effort) and offer a massive return, to at minimum collecting leads (hint: if you were wondering about how to collect emails from your Facebook group, this is one way that is a win-win for everyone).
The section is exactly what it sounds like. Buying and selling their own products and services are one of the main components of why most people want to monetize Facebook groups, to begin with.
You can get extra creative and offer premium content to those with group membership, and keep a general offer to entice other Facebook users to join your online community.
Other ideas for things to buy and sell on your group's Facebook page for those that don't have a product or service to sell directly are:
Sell access to another community (if offered from public groups).
Sell access to a private chat room.
Sell products that are in beta to those with an exclusive membership.
Sell access to live streams on your YouTube channel.
Sell access to exclusive content.
Sell access to online events with your brand partnerships.
Sell media coverage (if you have enough of a following on your online communities)
You can also sell things you don't need, or things you are no longer using.
In addition to selling content and resources, you might find other members of the group will have products that you are interested in purchasing yourself. This is a great way to give back to the community and continue the exchange of energy here (we've all heard you have to spend money to make money!).
The community is always watching and sometimes buying something from a group member is a powerful way to monetize your Facebook group. A lot of the time a purchase is made in a private message, so make sure to tastefully thank whomever you buy or sell anything to in the news feeds of your group's pages.
Not only is this good online business practice, but constantly engaging with your audience is also something you need to get in the habit of to start generating income.
If you are interested in advertising with Facebook, there is a kickback of financial return. For eligible creators that are trying to sell products, collect leads, or grow their online business, paid advertisements will give users around $8.75 per 1,000 views and/or pay 2-4 cents per like on an ad if the user likes the ad within 24 hours of seeing it for the first time. Not everyone can make this return, so make sure to check your eligibility prior to shipping an advertisement into the wide world of Facebook.
The final way to monetize a Facebook group that we are going to cover is through live streams. As of 2022, viewers can buy stars and gift them to you when you go live. Those stars can then be exchanged for money.
Here are a few examples:
Offer free consultations (members can preview your expertise and are more likely to give you stars).
Show behind-the-scenes of your product or service.
Host a contest with incentives — when viewers repost or share it's a free way to bring in more members to your community.
Perform a task and do a tutorial on something your audience is focused on.
Important announcements about your business
Requesting donations — don't expect anything, but it never hurts to share.
What is great is you can always repurpose your live stream videos — so you can generate money and continue to utilize the asset long after you've created it.
You can also create ads from your repurposed live streams to boost the amount you make, or use these at the beginning of your sales funnel to make more money off of full video courses.
Whether you're an entrepreneur, a service provider, or just a regular person just wanting to stack some paper, consider utilizing one of the many ways you can make money from the free social platform.
The first step is to start your group. If you're nervous about randomly added people, send a private message to personal contacts that you know to make them aware of what you are doing and start to build support from your own network. Keep your niche dialed in and define who your target audience is.
From there, consistency is key. It isn't going to happen overnight, but if you stick with it and do it right, members shortly will arrive. We hope this helps you on your Facebook monetization journey.
Check back with more updates as the algorithms change and other benefits are launched on the platform. And explore the many articles we've written to support budding entrepreneurs trying to find their way in the sea of startups.
A long time ago, someone told Sarah that she was going to do great things. And even though that person was her own reflection looking in the mirror, those words have carried her through the thick of it all. You may find her singing in her car, cleaning things as stress relief, or using humor in uncomfortable situations. Sarah is a professional photographer, expert-level copy editor, copywriter, digital creator, and a nice lady to boot!