Using Social Media in an MLM: Connecting and Engaging with your Ideal Customer on Social Media

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That's a direct quote from Kelly, a Pruvit promoter I've been working with for a few weeks now. She is a stay-at-home mom who wanted to be able to contribute financially to the family, and saw Pruvit as the way to do so, but no matter how much time she put in, she wasn't seeing the results her upline assured her would come. She was 'filling the pipeline' with people who had liked or commented on her posts and hit up her friends and family to buy, but she wasn't converting those people to actual paying, recurring customers.

That's when she saw one of my Instagram posts and reached out to talk about working with me. We worked together to figure out who she wanted to do business with, where to find them and when, and how to speak their language and connect with them on an individual, personal level.

Kelly now gets comments and DMs every day from people who have questions or want more information about Pruvit and the products she promotes. She doesn't have to chase people down, send dozens of cold messages, or guilt her friends and family into buying to help her stay active. She gets to help her family pay their bills and even put a little aside for their next family trip or big purchase. She's getting to live the life that she had dreamed of when she first started her network marketing biz in the first place!

If you're a network marketer or direct seller who can relate to Kelly's story, I'm BEGGING you, please shoot me an email so we can chat about what I can do for you. I know what it's like to watch your upline go on incentive trip after incentive trip and tell you that you'll be on the next one, just to watch the same tactics they preach fail to give you the same results. Especially if you offer a health and wellness/fitness product, you need to take a different approach, and the old techniques most companies are still using just aren't effective anymore.

There's a better way, and I can help. Let's talk!

Start at the End (I Can Explain)

Let me start this post by saying: I have always and will always say that anyone and everyone can be an entrepreneur in their own right. There is plenty of room for everybody, and I welcome anybody who is willing to put in the work, even if they happen to work within the same niche or industry that I do.

That being said, we need to talk about some things, friends.

First of all, the universal disclaimer: The internet is not real life, and it should always be in the back of your mind that when somebody posts online, they are showing you their lives as they would LIKE you to see it. Just because somebody posts photos of tropical bungalows, fruity drinks, and airport VIP lounges does NOT necessarily mean that A. they are even in the locations they post about and B. that they are living the luxurious life they paint on their feed. Let's also not forget that there are very few who legitimately make a living this way, and to approach social media with the expectation that it will happen for you is unwise, unless you already have an incredibly large following or already live the type of lifestyle portrayed. For the rest of us, we need to have a Plan B, and that means, we need to have something to offer.

Whether a service or a product, any business centers on it's ability to provide a commodity to be bought. That's why I encourage my clients to start at the end

It can be so easy in this culture of instant gratification and lightning-fast communication to get stuck on the next step, the immediate needs of your business, but I find that when we allow that to happen, we get too bogged down in the details and nitty gritty of getting started that we keep putting off getting where we want to go.

Start by envisioning your ideal customer relationships. Do you want to provide a product your customers keep coming back for? Do you want to offer a product customers buy once, but refer everybody they know to you for? Do you want to offer a service in which you work with clients long-term, building relationships and watching their progress from the front row? Whatever it is you want to be, THAT'S your end-game. From there, we can build the steps and actions necessary to get you there. That's where the real magic happens, my friends.

 

 

 

New Year's Resolutions For Small Businesses

Guys, it’s almost 2018. 

What happened? Weren’t we just counting down the days until summer? It’s -6 degrees outside (-20 with the wind chill factor) as I write this, and I’m feeling a little robbed!

Either way, it’s time to look ahead to 2018, and that means setting some new goals. At this point, you should have a pretty good idea of where your business stands in terms of your vision for 2017. Now is the time to evaluate what worked, what didn’t, and adjust the sails for the coming year.

I’ve never been a huge fan of new year’s resolutions. Mostly because I could NEVER keep them, but also because they can cause us to put a lot of pressure on ourselves to “be good” and not break the promise we’ve made to ourselves. That being said, I don’t play around when it comes to my money, so in collaboration with some of my current clients, allow me to share with you a list of some of the resolutions we’re making for ourselves and our businesses as we look toward 2018. Feel free to borrow them for your own biz, and if you have any you’d like to add, drop them in the comments!

 

-I will charge what I am worth. It can be easy to think that, in order to stand out in the marketplace and earn new customers, we have to undercut our competitors’ prices. It’s natural. We know people are on a budget, and we know that everyone loves a good deal. Here’s the problem with allowing that mindset to dictate your pricing structure: It may work in the short-term, but it is not a sustainable way to establish and grow your business. You will create customers who refuse to pay the retail price for your product or service. You eat into your profit margin, which means you must sell even more in order to achieve your sales goals. Potential customers become conditioned to expect a discount, and will wait to buy or look elsewhere until one is offered. Research your competition, especially those in your local area. Find an average, fair price for what you do/sell, and price your offerings according to the value and quality of your product. Don’t be afraid to charge what you are worth, and stick to your guns here. Ratcheting your prices down or offering deep discounts can cause your current, retail-paying clients and customers to question their purchases.

-I will make networking a priority. As much as we wish we could build an entrepreneurial empire all by ourselves, it’s only through the relationships and partnerships that we cultivate that we can see real, LASTING growth. Find people within your industry, locally or otherwise, and talk to them. Don’t sell at them, don’t grill them about how they do business. Simply share experiences, talk about industry trends and news, or ask about collaborating with them. Even if you work within the same exact commercial sphere, you will inevitably have different audiences, and by connecting on a genuine level with other entrepreneurs and businesses within your industry, and in industries that compliment your own, you build a network of referrals and amplify your message beyond your own audience.

-I will simplify my business. One of the biggest mistakes new business owners make is falling into the trap of believing that they need to offer as many products or services as possible, and that growth and sustainability will come via diversifying their offerings. While this may be the case for some, it's very rarely so for new businesses. Do a handful of things, and do them better than anyone else in your field. Once you've established yourself as an authority and well-respected brand in your industry, THEN you can explore new products and services, because you'll have an eager audience of fans just waiting for your next big release. Diversifying too soon or over-diversifying can dilute your brand and the quality of your product.

-I will diversify my business. Conversely, some business owners get so comfortable in their own little corner of their industry that they miss the opportunity to branch out and diversify their products and services. One you have an established, quality brand, don't be afraid to try some new things out on your audience. They will let you know if it's a hit or a miss, and once you find something new that works, you open up a new audience that you weren't interacting with before. Business is about calculated risks, and you'll miss the boat if you don't bother to leap once in a while!

Social Media Saturday: Tips, Tricks, and Best Practices for Going LIVE

Social Media Saturday: Tips, Tricks, and Best Practices for Going LIVE

When we utilize the live streaming features of platforms like Facebook and Instagram, we take down the barriers that separate us from our followers and potential customers, a fact that may send shivers down your spine, but will reap massive rewards if you know what you're doing. This week, we'll delve into some of the similarities and differences between Facebook Live and Instagram Live, as well as some pointers to help make your next (or first) live broadcast a successful one.

Social Media Saturday: Why You Can't Beyoncé Your Way to Instagram Success

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Whether or not you're a fan personally, you have to admit that Beyonce has amassed a following unlike any other. With 107 million Instagram followers, 15.1 million Twitter followers, and over 64 million likes on her official Facebook page, it's hard to deny that people want to hear what she has to say, and the Beyhive has shown in the past that they aren't shy about their devotion to the Queen B. However, for all of her influence and social media clout, she actually breaks just about ALL of the widely-accepted rules of social media etiquette and conduct. Let's break it down. I'll be focusing on Instagram, since it's the fastest-growing social platform and the one she is most successful at (4th most followed on IG versus #14 on Facebook and outside the top 100 on Twitter). Check out these 3 reminders that you are not in fact Beyonce, nor should you take your cue from her in managing your Instagram presence:

Following Literally Nobody (aka Why Don't You Love Me?)

For ALL of those followers, Beyonce is following absolutely ZERO other users. Granted, this may be a conscious decision to avoid drama or misconception, but the standard in the social media world is that in order to achieve higher engagement, you have to engage with other users. By choosing not to follow or engage with any other users, you will seriously hamper your efforts to build an engaged audience.

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Multiple Posts Back-to-Back (aka Deja Vu)

For about three months now, Queen B has made a habit of posting in groups of three (something that will look REAL cute when the rumored 4x4 grid layout hits the platform). For we mere mortals, this presents a couple issues. First, the posts would likely share engagement, therefore diluting it's impact. Followers are far less likely to like or comment on all three posts at once than they are to do so on just one. It makes it more difficult to promote your posts as a group than individually. Second, you'd be creating your own competition in terms of trying to rank on the Top Posts and Discover pages of Instagram. It's hard enough to compete with all of the other users on the same hashtags, but when we overpost, we are now competing against our own content as well. The general rule of thumb is to post once or twice per day, and if you have multiple photos that "go together," share them in one post using the carousel option or space them out so that you aren't battling with your own content.

No Captions or Hashtags (aka incomplete Formation)

We RARELY see captions used with Beyonce's posts, and when she uses hashtags, it's usually a single hashtag and one that she and her team have created themselves. This would NEVER work for we commoners. First off, the caption is where most of us communicate the actual message we want our followers to take away. It's also where we place a CTA (call to action). It's where we direct users to our bio link, ask them to check out a business that sponsored our post, or ask them to follow if they like what they see. We use hashtags to reach new audiences and connect with new potential customers, clients, or partners. All things Beyonce doesn't really need to worry about, since her followers are doing it anyway.

Moral of the story: Unless you're a multi-platinum recording artist with millions of people anxiously awaiting your next post, you'll probably have to do a few of the things above. If this has you Ringin' the Alarm and Wishing on a Star for help, you've come to the right Baby Boy. Good social media is Irreplaceable, and Me, Myself, and I are here to give you the tools and support you need to Run the World. Contact me through e-mail or Video Phone to set up a free consultation and strategy session. You won't be Sorry you did!

**Dear Beyhive: Please don't come after me for this. I love Her Majesty as much as anybody, but let's be real, none of us will get 107 million followers doing what she does. She woke up like this, but we did not.**

Social Media Saturday: Why Sharing Memes is Good for Business

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In meeting with prospective clients about the direction they'd like to take with their social media presence, almost all of them have expressed something to the effect of "I don't want to post a bunch of random stuff that doesn't have to do with my business." I get it. The natural inclination is that we want to post as much as we can about the value and benefits of your products or services, so one would assume that your posts should all be geared toward doing just that. Not only is that not necessarily true, but I also believe that it's one of the top reasons young businesses fail at social media, ESPECIALLY for those of us in network marketing/direct sales. Before you stop reading this article, close the window and forget about me forever, let me explain what I mean by "fluff." When I talk about fluff posts, I'm referring to the chain letter-style graphics that get passed around and around through social networks and then die off eventually. Let me share an example I recently shared myself on Facebook (these types of posts generally perform much better on Facebook because of the ease with which they can be shared):

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Notice that this is a simple graphic (although posted as a video for some reason, even though there is no video element to the post. I can only assume the original creator did this as a means of tracking views and not only likes/comments) meant to help users determine a Halloween costume. Nothing particularly value-heavy here, BUT posts like this are engagement-boosting MACHINES. When people see posts like this that pose a question or present a call-to-action, our instinct is to provide an answer or response. We WANT to share by nature. Notice the view count on this. Over 4.5 MILLION views in two days (posted 9/21, screen shot is from 9/23). On my page alone, this post received about double the number of comments I typically see, and people in my network are engaging with each other as well...all on MY page. Meanwhile, a post I shared earlier the same day highlighting a new product from my MLM received....one comment, and that was from my mom.

Here's why this matters. If you've done any digging at all into Facebook and Instagram, you've heard of 'THE ALGORITHM,' or the formula these platforms use to prioritize content based on it's relevance and importance to the individual user. When you post on your business Facebook page or Instagram account, there is no guarantee that all of your followers will actually see it. Wild, I know, but that's the social media world we live in. The way we as business owners can help our content perform well enough in the algorithm to be featured on our followers' feeds and on the Top Posts feature in Instagram is by accruing solid engagement figures. If you have a follower like and/or comment on one of your posts, the odds that your next post will be featured prominently on their feed improve drastically.

Nobody wanted anything to do with my post about my newest product (to be fair, I'm with a health/wellness MLM, and it's notoriously difficult to get engagement on product posts for us, because users are expecting that any kind of engagement will be viewed by the poster as an invitation to message them directly and attempt to sell the product to them), BUT because I utilize other posts that people DO want to see and DO engage with, I can be rather confident that many of my followers at least SAW the product post. So in a way, that mentality of wanting to put your products and services in front of as many people as possible holds true, but the methods necessary to make that happen are not as straight-forward as you'd expect.

For those of you currently hyperventilating at the thought of voluntarily sharing cheesy memes and "What is your drag queen name?" content on your page, breathe easy. There is ABSOLUTELY a way to incorporate the methodology that causes these fluffy posts to go viral overnight into your brand and marketing strategy.

You can get a little but fluffy with your content without selling out and going full fluff. Lucky for you, that happens to be a specialty of mine. If you're finding yourself wondering if it's time to switch up your content strategy but aren't quite sure where to begin, I can help. Send me an e-mail at imrobjackson@gmail.com to request a free consultation. We'll take 30 minutes on Skype, over the phone, or in-person for those in the Bangor/Orono area to discuss your current strategy, your goals, and some ways I can help you achieve them. No commitment, and no pressure. Embrace the fluff, my friends.

Until next time!

Social Media Saturday: Why Choosing a Color for Your Brand is So Important

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In general, most of us have a favorite color. I like red. And most of us are aware that certain colors can evoke a particular emotion or memory in people. It can impact the way we perceive the flavor of a particular food, the effectiveness of a placebo on our bodies, and even the way we select jelly beans. It would make sense then, that color can play a very powerful role in branding and marketing your business as well. Let's take a brief look at color and how it can help, or hurt your brand image in the eye of the consumer.

Red

We tend to associate the color red with love, power, boldness, and youth. We get EXCITED about red, and it's no surprise that red is an incredibly popular choice among department stores and restaurants. Coca-Cola, Target, Kmart, and Budweiser are some of the brands most notoriously associated with the hue.

Orange/Yellow

Orange and yellow often stir similar responses in the human mind, conveying a sense of warmth, friendliness, confidence, and happiness. The iconic smiley face graphic is yellow for a reason. You're likely to see these colors used by brands that may have substantial competition, but rely on your sense of loyalty and trust in them to keep you coming back. They want you to feel welcome and like you're doing business with a friend. Brands that have made use of these colors include Best Buy, Sprint, Amazon, and Boost Mobile.

Green

Green, of course, is a well-known indicator of all things earthy, healthy, peaceful, and growing. It's no coincidence that is the most popular choice for health food and organic-choice purveyors like Whole Foods, Starbucks, Tropicana, and Publix. On the reverse side of that, we have brands like British Petroleum, Hess, and Land Rover who perhaps seek to offset the invariable un-greenliness of the petroleum and automobile industries by casting themselves in a more earth-friendly light.

Blue

The color blue inspires a sense of trust and dependability, strength, competence, and corporate-ness. Blue is a popular choice among tech companies, such as AT&T, Hewlett Packard, IBM, Intel, NASA, Dell, and General Electric. It's also common with banks and other financial institutions, as well as the color used by many social media platforms, such as Facebook, Twitter, Vimeo, and Wordpress. Blue is the color you choose when your business is other people's business. When you want to attract clients to your brand or platform, you use blue to instill in them the impression that you are a dependable and hard-working choice for the job.

Purple

You don't often see brands use purple, but when they do, it imparts a feeling of authority (from it's associations with royalty), sophistication, and creativity or imagination. Some of the brands to harness this power include Yahoo, Hallmark, Big Brothers Big Sisters, and Monster.com. I selected purple for my logo when branding my social media consulting business. I want my clients and prospective clients to be assured that I have the creative mind and authoritative knowledge to create and execute a comprehensive social media strategy and branding campaign on their behalf.

Pink

Aside from the obvious and overwhelming use of pink to designate products and brands as feminine or for girls and women, it also can bring about feelings of sophistication and sincerity. Not surprisingly, brands that utilize this color include Barbie, Victoria's Secret, T-Mobile, and Playboy.

Brown

Much like green, brown conveys a sense of earthiness and groundedness, albeit to a lesser extent. Brown also gives the mind a feeling of ruggedness, durability, and a certain sense of home, making it the choice of brands like UPS, M&Ms, Olive Garden,, and Hershey's.

Black

Black is overwhelmngly the choice of high-end, luxury brands or those that seek to paint themselves as luxury brands. It evokes a feeling of sophistication and expensive taste, but can also be used to summon a sense of fear or grief. Brands like Nike, Adidas, Lexus, and just about every luxury clothing and cosmetics brand utilize black to help justify the typically higher price tag associated with their products.

White

White is the color of clean, giving the viewer emotions of purity, sincerity, and calm or balance. Apple is likely the first brand to come to mind for many, while many other brands use white to balance out the more aggressive themes presented by other colors, mostly black and red.

Rainbow/Multicolor

It is not common that a brand will choose to use many different colors in equal portions a part of their branding strategy, as it can often dilute it's effectiveness and confuse the consumer, but some very large brands have been able to pull it off. Windows, Google, NBC, and eBay all utilize at least red, yellow, blue, and green in their logos and branding, and doing so enables them to convey a message of diversity and inclusion, especially in the last decade or so as the topic of LGBT rights has become more prevalent and it has become increasingly lucrative for businesses to establish themselves as friends of the LGBT community.

Of course, other brands may use a combination of two or three colors to combine their effects. McDonald's pairs the warmth and friendliness of yellow with the bold excitement of red. Subway pairs that same yellow with a more healthy, earth-toned green.

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In building your own brand and selecting the way you want to present it to the world, keep some of these tips in mind. Of course, for those of you whose businesses are part of a larger MLM or direct sales brand, a certain amount of that work has been done for you, but that doesn't mean you can't brand your own personal business within reason.

I LOVE talking about brand strategy and creating a cohesive message from start to finish. If all of this has you reeling a little bit, or you're just not sure where to begin, please check out this page and contact me at the e-mail provided. I can tailor a social business strategy that fits your unique voice and target market, all with flexible pricing and services. I can't wait to hear from you!

Social Media Saturdays: Top Social Media Trends You NEED to Get In On

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Social media, like any other technology, is in a state of constant change. There is always a new feature, a new platform, or a crazy new trend to keep up with. As entrepreneurs and businesses, it's a never-ending battle to stay current and continue engaging with our followers and prospective customers in a way that resonates with them. Check out my list below for the 4 trends you can expect to drive social media in the near future. 1.  Live video will continue to trump photo and text content.

Millenials surpassed Gen-Xers as the largest demographic in the American workforce sometime in early 2015. Marketing and advertising will become more and more geared toward this age group, and research has shown the millenials prefer live video and interactive content to traditional still media. This should come as no surprise, coming from the generation that grew up on reality TV and social media nativism. Millenials want real and raw content, not the finely-polished, painstakingly-researched images that have been so effective in the past.

2. Paid/sponsored content will dominate the conversation.

If you've been marketing your brand on social media for any length of time, then you're probably at least somewhat familiar with the dreaded 'algorithm.' Most notoriously used by Facebook and Instagram, the algorithms employed are used to prioritize and display a users content feed based on engagement, namely likes, comments, and shares. Users have devised many different strategies for "beating the algorithm" and beating out paid ads and sponsored posts, but the hard truth is that, for most of us, we simply don't have the reach within our own networks to compete with companies with the money to force their content to the front of the line. As social media ad revenue continues to be a billion-dollar industry (and rising), I only forsee the algorithm becoming more and more skewed to benefit paid content, and wouldn't be surprised to see Facebook and Instagram crack down on pods like they did with bots.

3. If you aren't on Instagram, you will be soon.

The percentage of U.S. companies using Instagram grew from 32.3% in 2015 to 70.7% in 2017. Businesses initially struggled to figure out how to communicate with their followers in this new way, and others weren't convinced that Instagram would be a significant player in the social media arena, but it appears to be here to stay. Instagram is outpacing both Twitter and Snapchat in new users, and doesn't show any sign of slowing down. The VAST majority of top businesses routinely use Instagram to provide behind-the-scenes content, contests and giveaways, and live or recorded video clips. If you haven't already begun using Instagram as part of your social media strategy, you should start now, before you get left in the dust. As an additional note, look for platforms to begin a more concerted push to get users to convert their profiles from personal to business accounts, probably by offering a greater range of free analytics and business tools for doing so. Conversion to a business account opens up the possibility of paying for ads, but could also lead to more difficulty gaining engagement without it, too. Convert at your own risk.

4. Instagram stories will render Snapchat obsolete, particularly for commercial use.

Snapchat hasn't taken off with business quite like other platforms have, but the on-demand geofilter feature offers a fun way to personalize the user experience and share your brand. Look for Instagram's story feature to adopt this and other popular Snapchat features, much like it did with the interactive filters that made Snapchat so popular in the first place. With the ability to add a functional hashtag and geotag to an Instagram story post, look for stories to play an increased role in the social media strategy of many top brands.

 

Regardless of what new features and trends the coming months bring, we can be assured that the arena of social media advertising will only get more competitive. Instagram recently moved to increase it's e-commerce functionality, and Twitter continues to play around with stickers and custom hashtag emojis in an attempt to increase personalization and engagement. Don't forget that I will be offering a social marketing boot camp next month, so if all this talk of content and engagement has your head spinning a little bit, then join us for SMART Boot Camp! In this FREE course, we'll talk about creating a profile that will draw your desired audience, creating content that will invite engagement, and methods for building a larger following. This is great for those just getting started with a serious social-media driven business or if you've been conducting business online, but looking to tune up or improve your strategy. To register, fill out this simple form. I will be in touch to welcome you and provide you with the next steps/expectations. See you there!

Facebook Pages vs. Groups: Pros and Cons

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I've spent a lot of time recently working on my social media presence and learning how to do it like the pros do. You may have noticed the new look of this page. I've also claimed the crossfitrob.com and imrobjackson.com domains, which will help align my handles across the various platforms I use. I'm far from an expert on the subject of social media and marketing, but I have learned a lot of the things that will yield results, and a few of the things that do NOT (Pro tip: As much as you want your friends to love your product/service as much as you do, if that's ALL you ever post about, you'll find yourself down a friend or two). I've increased my Instagram followers by roughly 20%. My likes have tripled and comments have increased ten-fold. I'm seeing similar results on my Facebook and Twitter profiles as well. Because I'm a firm believer in paying it forward and sharing best practices, I've created a new series, entitled 'Social Media Saturdays.' Each Saturday, I will share a tip or lesson I've learned that will help you up your social media game. It may focus on one particular platform, like today's post does, or it could apply across several of them. If there is a topic you'd like to read about, please let me know in the comments and I'll do my best to include it in a future post. Introductions aside, let's dive into the first topic!

Facebook Pages

According to Facebook itself, Facebook Pages act and behave much in the same way your personal Facebook profile does. A user may choose to 'like' your page, and doing so will allow your posts to display on their feed. You post great, engaging content on your page, and your users will see it, like/share/comment on it, and your brand will benefit as a result. Of course, this is based on the assumption that the algorithm utilized by Facebook to prioritize posts will deem your content relevant enough to display on your fans' feeds. As pages are intended for public figures, celebrities, and brands, they are publicly viewable, even to those who have not 'liked' the page.

Facebook Groups

In contrast to a page, a Facebook Group is often a closed-loop community that requires the user join the group before they can see and interact with the content posted therein. In some cases, administrators may require that they or a designated moderator approve any admissions to the group page, or even that membership be granted by invitation only. In a group, members can typically post their own content in addition to that which is shared by the group owner.

Choosing a Platform: Why I Would Create a Page

Selecting a platform to use comes down to determining your intended use of the space. Pages are perfect if you plan to generate and share your own content regularly, run promotions, contests, or giveaways, or if your primary goal is simply to get your brand in front of as many eyes as possible. A page will be the easiest way to do that.

Page Pros:

-Public, and does not require admin/moderator to approve applications for membership or monitor and moderate member posts and discussions.

-Content is easier for users to share with their own networks.

-Page URLs can be customized to provide an easy way to promote the page outside of Facebook

-Pages offer more opportunity for personalization (customized banners, photos and albums, events, etc.)

Page Cons:

-Pages are still subject to comments from users, and as such will still require at least a cursory effort to moderate the posts shared by your page.

-Because fans primarily communicate with each other via comments on your content, it can be more difficult to efficiently moderate conversations between them.

-Pages can be harder to market in their beginning stages, and you may find yourself purchasing a Facebook ad or running additional incentives and promotions just to grow your fan base.

Choosing a Platform: Why I Would Create a Group

If rather, you're looking to create a shared community for your current and prospective clients or customers to engage not only with you, but with each other as well, a group may be a more tailored channel for your needs. The ability to filter membership allows you to restrict the conversation only to those you choose, whether it be potential buyers, confirmed buyers, or fellow entrepreneurs within the same industry/niche. For those of you in direct sales, a group can be your 'V.I.P' destination where users can get the first peek at your business' newest deals and products.

Group Pros:

-Member engagement is much greater, and gathering market data and feedback from them can be as simple as creating a poll or shared document for users to share their thoughts.

-Groups tend to read as more personal or warm to users, as you engage mostly as a representative of the brand, “behind the curtain” so to speak, rather than speaking as the brand itself.

-Groups offer greater opportunity to build networking connections with other businesses and individuals. If your goal is not just to sell your product or service, but to engage with other vendors, business owners, or entrepreneurs, a group is a great tool to do it.

Group Cons:

-Groups allow less opportunities for personalization and customization for promotional or aesthetic purposes (banners, custom URL, etc).

-Groups by nature will limit your audience, reducing the overall number of eyeballs that see your content. You are able to create the community you want, but the trade-off comes in an overall reduced reach.

-Groups can be more difficult to find unless a user is invited or referred by someone in their network. Unless your group has an INCREDIBLY unique name, Facebook search is likely to pull up several different groups with similar identical names, and sifting through them to find YOUR page can be daunting for the user.

-The Facebook Insights tool is not available for groups, leaving you without it's ability to provide information on post performance, reach, and engagement.

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In general, most business opt for a page as their vessel of choice on Facebook. The customization, business tools, and broader reach (ultimately) are too much to ignore. One thing I do urge you not to do is to get TOO invested in Facebook as the only presence your business has on social media. Facebook is great, and there's no denying that it is the pinnacle of the social media platforms, but it is best utilized in either form as part of a comprehensive social media strategy across multiple platforms of engagement.

Speaking of a comprehensive social media strategy...

I'm happy to announce that I will be rolling out my FIRST group social media training in October of this year! If you are a new brand, or an established brand that has yet to see the kind of results you'd like from your social media presence, then THIS will be the course for you! We will focus on establishing and promoting your brand online, while using on Facebook and Instagram as our platforms. We'll go over identifying and speaking to your target audience, creating a profile that will draw people in, and creating content that people will LOVE! Best of all, this course is totally FREE! You pay absolutely nothing to get your social media game off and running. To be added to the course roster, leave a comment below with your name and e-mail address. When the program is available for download, I will notify you by e-mail. See you there!