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Once I posted my first recipe in that Instant Pot Group, people immediately started coming to the blog. I started my This Old Gal Facebook Group to have my own space where I could really connect with people and teach them one on one.
If, like Jill, you’d like a platform for connecting with your readers in a more personal way, a Facebook Group may be the answer you’re looking for. Facebook Groups allow bloggers to build interactive communities for sharing ideas and stories, and a healthy community ensures a steady flow of traffic to your blog.
Rather than creating a Group centered around your blog, focus it on your niche. There will be ample opportunities to share posts from your blog to drive traffic, but in giving your Group a context focused on solving specific niche-related problems, you create a space that is as much about your readers as it is about your blog.
If you’ve found that your blog readers gravitate more towards paleo recipes, focus the group on adapting to paleo lifestyles. If your pressure-cooker recipes generate a lot of interest among people living in RVs, build a community that helps nomads feel more at home on the road.
The cover image is the first impression that anyone will have of your Group, so take some time with it. Make sure that it looks good on any device, that it’s clear, and that it’s enticing. Most importantly, find or create an image that conveys what your Group is all about so there’s no confusion.
First and foremost, your description should alert visitors to what your Group is all about. What can they expect to find on your Group’s newsfeed? What problems will they get help with? What questions will be answered?
The description is also a great place to give information about your food blog. It should help to establish you as an authority on the Group’s focus. Linking back to your blog in the description will help to bring more traffic to your site and back up your authority.
As with your blog, infrequent updates to and maintenance of your Facebook Group will likely lead to membership drop-off. Fortunately, no one expects 100% original content on social media, so there are lots of ways to keep your Group’s newsfeed filled.
Your own expertise can be the foundation that the Group is built on. Share your knowledge of the culinary arts through surprising tips and popular recipes relevant to your Group. Answer questions that your blog readers have asked, and of course, share posts from your blog.
Share posts and recipes created by other lifestyle bloggers you admire. Not only will it keep your newsfeed full, it’ll ingratiate you with key influencers who may be more willing to share your posts with their readers. Don’t limit yourself to food bloggers. If you’ve established a community that focuses on the Tiny House Movement, for example, you could find lots of relevant lifestyle posts to complement cooking posts.
If you stumble across news and current events posts that your members might find relevant, post them. These could be articles about related restaurants and trends as well as news bytes about health and wellness.
For a Facebook Group to be truly successful and sustainable, you need to get the communication lines running both ways. Encourage members and visitors to connect with one another by posting engaging prompts. You might ask the community to share their favorite meals or even their most disastrous recipes for a few laughs.
Now that Facebook offers Live broadcasts, you can really do some interesting things with your Group. Teach mini-lessons in knife sharpening or proper salting. Take viewers along on a tour of a local winery. The sky’s the limit.
Once you’ve got your Facebook Group set up, it’s time to recruit members. Include a link to your Group in your blog’s sidebar, at the end of posts, in newsletters, and even in your email signature. Share details about your Group across your social media channels. You can even bulk up your membership using Facebook Ads.
The best promotion is the community itself. If your members feel welcome and comfortable sharing their ideas and questions, they’ll invite their friends to join them. If you offer insightful guidance and interesting articles, they’ll share them. If you build a community that supports and encourages its members, you’ve built an audience for your food blog that will eagerly advocate for you.