Facebook Groups, Social Media

How to Use Facebook Live to Grow Your Small Business

As a small business owner, Facebook is definitely not the hot place to be. With less than 5.5% referring traffic for our own site, Facebook was never the platform that made sense for us to invest our time on. Until they changed the live streaming landscape in August 2015.

FBLive-postgraphic.jpg

Now, it wasn’t until February of 2016 that all accounts were able to use the streaming capabilities on their own pages. From August to February the only type of accounts able to use live streaming were celebrities and journalists. But it’s interesting to note that these two (very different types of people) were using Facebook Live in the exact ways that would be helpful for small business owners (see, our obsession with Amy Schumer was for research!).

So, before we can get into the amazing impacts that Facebook Live can have for your small business, let’s squash some myths, and give you some tips.

  1. Periscope is practically dead. Although there are still some diehard ‘scopers out there who refuse to leave the platform most everyone else has jumped ship. The idea for the two are the same: you open the app and go live. The ease of going live is tremendously easier inside Facebook (one app for the win), there are next to 0 spammers and creepers (especially if you are Live in a group vs. a page), it’s easier to go back to type responses to comments (once the video has ended), and it can live forever if you so wish.

  2. Speaking of going live in a Facebook group...this is the only way we use the Live features. Facebook gives you the ability to go live on your personal page, your business page, or within any group you’ve created. Way back when we started our business we created a Facebook group so we could easily converse with our audience, let them know about new things coming, and provide support. It’s now grown to almost 4k members (and growing on average by about 431 members per month). It makes the most sense for us to converse here because these are the people who are truly invested (not only in their business, but in learning). If we’ve already got an eager audience why wouldn’t we cater to them?

  3. If you’ve been thinking about going Live, but don’t know where to start, it’s okay. Our first couple of Live streams didn’t have much of a plan or an audience. Until your audience starts to see that you aren’t just going Live for the heck of it they will tune in. Our views and engagement go up every time we go Live. We recommend having some talking points ready so you’re not a blubbering fish on live stream. Even if no one shows up, remember that your audience can watch it later, and you’re getting good practice!

  4. Just like any other platform if you aren’t being consistently present it won’t work. One Facebook Live won’t make you 6-figures on your next launch, but you can build the relationships with your audience to build on the goal.

Okay, so now that we’ve got that out of the way and we’re all on the same page, let’s move forward with The Super Duper Facebook Live Strategy for Growth Plan (did you read that like a gameshow host?).

At the end of the day what anyone’s audience wants is a closer connection, and more scoop. It’s why we follow celebrities on social media platforms and it’s why we’re addicted to their Live streams. We feel like we’re taking a peek behind the curtain and we love it. Now, don’t confuse this comparison with the idea that we want you to celebritize your business. We’re not asking you to chase that status at all, but what we do want you to mimic is the purpose. So how can we make that happen?

Get Real

This is one of the biggest benefits of going Live, hand’s down. Right now (depending on your other social media efforts) you might just be digital biz with no real human-ness to you. Going Live solidifies that you are in fact a real person, with real feelings, opinions, and personality traits. Showing these off gives your audience brand new ways to connect with you.

Oh, you have the same Ikea rug in your living room as me? TWINS

Oh, you talk really fast and use your hands to make a point? ME TOO

Oh, you sit in the Target parking lot to catch a quiet moment before browsing the dollar spot? I DO THAT ALL THE TIME

See now how we can begin to feel like we relate, and know each other on a different level? Yeah, this is business gold. This is the turning point where people will buy because they either kind of like or need your products or services to the point where they will buy just because you are kinda their internet BFF.

Give Sneak Peeks

Creating a new product? About to launch your new website? Have new packaging to show off? Let’s see it on Live! These are all great opportunities to give your audience on Facebook Live the VIP treatment. We all love to see something or find out something before “everyone else” so consider teasing whatever new thing is happening in your business as a Live stream.

Tell them how excited you are, ask for feedback, as for beta testers, show the new thing off even if it isn’t finalized. Guess what this will create? An eager line of people ready to buy whatever new thing you just teased. Boom.

Show Behind-the-Scenes

We’d all like to believe that we live in these Pinterest-worthy offices, in our HGTV ready house, and we’re always wearing pants. That just isn’t the case and that’s okay. Don’t let perfectionism hold you back from showing some behind-the-scenes action.

Maybe your audience wants a tour of your office or workspace? Maybe your studio is a hot mess with a huge custom order that is about to go out? Maybe you’ve got a wild set up for those new course videos that need recorded?

These are perfect opportunities to show your audience what it takes to create and make in your business. Once we get the big picture (you mean those watercolor tumblers don’t just make themselves??) we begin to understand and appreciate the hard work it takes to make the final product. This leads to a better understanding of your time frame, price or quantity. Customers who “get it” are the best customers.

Give, Give, Give

When all else fails (as in you don’t think any of the above examples will work for you) then you can focus on giving. Educating, inspiring, helping, strategizing, whatever works for you, do that. In our business model we’ve found that the more we give the more that comes back to us in outstanding ways. The better experience we can provide our audience the happier and more fulfilled they’ll be.

If we can establish our expertise enough in some Facebook Live videos that you go buy #AllTheCourses, great. If we show off what we know and it helps you right then and there, great. It’s a total win, win.

Consider taking the topic of an old blog post and dive deeper in a Facebook Live. Or maybe you learned something in biz/life this week that your audience could benefit from? Maybe you came across a quote that you just needed to hear so you talk about it on Live?


Now for your homework (homework in a blog post is kind of how we roll). We want you to pull out a calendar right now. Pick some dates that you could go Live on your page or in your group. Set it in stone. Then go through this post and brainstorm what you could chat about and provide on camera. Assign topics and a few bullet points to your dates then tell your audience that you will be there LIVE! Build up hype around your videos so your people know that you’re even doing them. Then just do it, hit live, take a deep breath and go for it.

P.S. We like to use this iPhone tripod while Live streaming to avoid shakiness.


We're always partying on Instagram!


Facebook Groups, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram

15 Essential Free Tools for Your Social Media Marketing

It is so easy to get overwhelmed when trying to devise a plan to make your social media not only work for you, but also to prepare your business to be more profitable. What if we could put you through a social media bootcamp and tell you EVERYTHING we know?

Well, lucky you, that’s what’s about to go down.

We have rounded up every tip, trick and secret to not only up your marketing game, but to give you tools to get started right now. Grab a cup of coffee and a notebook, and clear your space of distractions. We have a feeling you might be here for a while so put on some cozy socks and throw that hair up into a top knot. Let’s get to business.

15 Essential Free Tools for Your Social Media Marketing | Think Creative Collective

Instagram

Instagram has hands down been our favorite platform. We have seen some crazy insane growth - we are talking nearly 75 new followers a day. It has easily been our biggest income driver outside of webinars. Here is what you need to know:

Facebook

Facebook has been such an incredible way to meet new people. Connect with fellow entrepreneurs and feel a sense of community. Heck, that’s where Emylee and I found each other. Check out some of the ways we utilize Facebook.

Pinterest

Pinterest is a huge traffic driver for us. We see more than 43% of our blog traffic come directly from Pinterest. These strategies work! On average pins from our site see 68,329+  impressions per day. This sort of traffic has led to sales not just in the U.S. but all over the world. Just last week we were on a call with a customer from Belgium… talk about BANANAS.

Twitter

Twitter is a speed-based platform. With tweets lasting only minutes, it is hard to keep up. However, it can be a wonderful way to have some fun conversations. We’ll be the first to admit that we don’t put all our social media marketing eggs in the Twitter basket. We’ve decided to concentrate our efforts elsewhere (for now), but that’s not to say that there aren’t some amazing small businesses using Twitter to authentically grow their following.


Did you make it back up the rabbit hole we just sent you down? We know that was a lot of information so try not to let the overwhelm sink in. Focus on one platform at a time and perfect it like the total boss that you are before adding on another. It’s okay to not be everywhere! In fact we encourage you to be where your audience is. Find out where they hang out online and show up there with bells on.

Sit down with your marketing department (AKA you, you and you) and set a plan in place for how you can use 1-2 platforms well this quarter. Set up a strategy, put it in place, and don’t deviate from it. That’s the only way you’re going to be able to get true data on how a platform affects your business so you can begin to see real results from it.


COME SEE HOW WE USE INSTAGRAM FOR OUR BUSINESS


Facebook Groups

Facebook Reinvented: The New Way to Combat Tricky Algorithms

As small business owners, we use and rely heavily on the power of social media platforms. It’s difficult when that platform decides to change up how it operates. Instead of getting overwhelmed or defeated when a (free) platform changes up its algorithms let’s focus on how we can continue to use that platform to our business growing advantage. 

Facebook is changing. Sure, it has been doing so for years, but as many other small businesses have noticed it isn’t driving the traffic or giving you the organic reach we were once used to. In the beginning Facebook was a hub to help small businesses thrive. Unfortunately as all things do, there are changes which make it much harder to compete without forking over the cash. However, there are alternatives and they don’t cost any money. 

When we realized that our Facebook Page traffic was next to nothing we decided to take matters into our own hands. These are simple strategies that, with consistency and quality, can outshine the audience growth and engagement you’re seeing (or not seeing) on your Facebook Business page. 

As small business owners, we use and rely heavily on the power of social media platforms. It’s difficult when that platform decides to change up how it operates. Instead of getting overwhelmed or defeated when a (free) platform changes up its algorithms let’s focus on how we can continue to use that platform to our business growing advantage.  |  Think Creative Collective

Be a Resource Not a Sales Pitch

Nobody likes a salesman. And better yet no one likes listening to other people talk about themselves. Turn the tables, focus less on promoting your business and spend more time listening to what your customers want. Give them opportunities to talk about themselves or share their personal story. Listen to their concerns, struggles and road bumps and then turn the tables and offer solutions. Even though it is tempting to start selling you need to first offer a bunch of solutions… for FREE. Your willingness to share will lead to trust which is a crucial in keeping people coming back for more. 

Members Only Groups

Since our Facebook page only generates 4.88% of our monthly traffic our efforts are spent elsewhere. We get people to our site via Instagram and Pinterest and focus instead on providing pure value in our member’s only group on Facebook. We wanted a place where we could engage, chat with and get to know our audience. That group grows daily and the conversations in there range from sharing goals, asking for feedback, sharing successes and so much more. We absolutely love hanging out inside our group, but maybe creating one for your business doesn’t quite make sense. You could try:

  • Being an ambassador for one of your favorite groups. This would give you the chance to interact and engage with a particular audience, but without you doing all the work to get one running. 
  • Being super engaging and value adding in other groups. Become known as the expert in whatever it is you do or offer by always showing up in the threads and comments of other groups.

After managing our own group for a while and being active participants in other groups we’ve gathered up our best tips for you to make the most out of you time. We don’t want you lurking in Facebook groups!

When you are a star Facebook grouper you get noticed. People see you, learn from you and value your input. You increase the worth of the group as a whole by your participation and that comes back, friend. So if you’re still silently creeping along the edges to not be seen here’s what it’s costing you.

Connections

When you post or comment often (in a non-spammy way) you get noticed. Other members will start to connect your face and name with what you do and you will become known for it. By not doing this you’ll also be missing out on the opportunity to turn an online relationship into something physical. When you share about yourself you’ll realize that there are probably people in your area that you can meet up with in person. The value of bridging that connection is one of the main reasons we started our very own group. How amazing to be a part of a group that creates and inspires in-person meetups of similar interests?

Sales

Getting more sales should never be your main focus for joining a group. It’s most likely heavily monitored how often (if at all) you can plug your own content. The reason for this may seem silly at first, but trust us if you’re a part of a group that is constantly selling to you, you’ll understand. However, just by being an active member of a group (commenting and posting regularly) people will notice what you do. When the time comes for you to share a promo link it will be received a lot more authentically if you haven’t been hiding for 6 months. 

Referrals

The best part of being a non-lurker is getting to work with the people inside the group on a professional level. We’re part of groups that constantly ask the members if they sell or offer what they need before looking anywhere else. We know the power of word of mouth referrals are amazing and there’s no better place to get plugged then a group of your like-minded peers! 

Education

Trust us when we say, that most moderators of the groups you’re in are highly knowledgeable and willing to share what they know. For our group specifically we wanted to create a space where you could pick our brains, come to us with questions or hash out your struggles….for free.

We know not all of you are ready to drop down some Benjamins for a strategy session so we wanted to provide something for all of you. If you aren’t posting, commenting or participating you are letting this go to waste. 

So how do you remedy past lurking behavior? Luckily for you, it’s not difficult or awkward and it can start to totally change how these groups work for you. Here is a quick and painless guide to be a non-lurker:

  • Introduce yourself and your business
  • Be sure to include where you're from and some funny quirks 
  • Make an effort to comment or respond to someone once a day
  • Post meaningful/non promo link materials (think articles, stats, quotes, personal stories)
  • Share any of your own blog posts or things you’ve learned that might help another out
  • Ask for feedback on a new offer, product or service
  • Be open and honest about your personal or business struggles (someone can always relate!)
  • Respond to your industry related threads like an open book 
  • Keep your voice encouraging and supportive

By following that guide you’ll add tremendous value in whatever group you’re in. Every moderator or admin wants to see you benefit greatly from the space they’ve created for you, but the only way you can do that is to take advantage!


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Facebook Groups, Facebook, Ideal Client

How Facebook Groups Can Grow Your Raving Audience

Facebook groups are far from new, but as they continue to grow in popularity their potential benefits to your business also magnify. What if you could be seen by thousands of new people, the kind that need your product or service and are already primed to buy? What if you could gain highly valuable survey data without fumbling with forms and spreadsheets? What if you could sell in your sleep? All this and more is possible by utilizing Facebook Groups.

How Facebook Groups Can Grow Your Raving Audience  |  Think Creative Collective

Whether you have your own group or intend to just participate in a few, you have the power to grow a raving audience. See all the crazy benefits and how you can start gaining momentum today.

Get High Visibility

When participating in groups specific to your niche you are automatically in a virtual room full of all the right kind of people. And bonus, more of those same kind of people join every day. By speaking up and participating you have the opportunity for high visibility for yourself and the brand you represent.

Sense of Community

Over time and with consistency you start to learn about these people. Who they really are, what they really do and how you could work together. This is a community in which everyone wants to support everyone (and if you are in a group in which this isn’t the case, unfollow!) I don’t know about you but I could use all the love, support and encouragement I can get. Air fives and Friday celebrations are always welcome!

Mastermind with Top Industry Professionals

Have a business idea? This is your time to speak up. There are TOP industry professionals lurking in groups all over Facebook. Find them, talk to them and learn. They are in the group because they want to help. Don’t just private message people, ask the whole group, you never know who is going to have the answer you are looking for.

Market Research

This is where your watching and listening skills come in. What are other people posting about? What are their struggles, pain points and biggest hurdles? How can you tweak what you offer to continue to serve this audience better? Seems a little crazy, but consider this the never ending Focus Group primed for your business.

Sell in Your Sleep

By watching, listening and participating you continue to become a more prominent and visible member in the group. Overtime people know how you can help and will often tag you if they feel you are the best (wo)man for the job. Ripe referrals can lead to hot hot hot sales. You might even start selling in your sleep!

Ideal Clients, Friendships, Networking or maybe your next Biz Partner

It seems odd that you could find all this in one place, but it is exactly what happened to us. Emylee and I continued to see success in our business through active participation online. We struck friendships around the country and across the globe. Seriously, who else do you know in South Africa? 

You might be surprised, you could be exactly the person someone else was dreaming of connecting with. I never imagined I would have a business partner and even more so I never imagined I would meet her online. 

You can read more about our crazy story over here.

At the end of the day we want you to be a successful company on and offline. Since opening our doors just a couple months ago we have opened the doors to over 500 creative entrepreneurs. Everyday we see people growing, learning and striking up new valuable relationships. 

Join our private community and as a bonus you will get instant access to a library of resources for small business owners, creative entrepreneurs and bloggers.


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