If you want make yourself a commodity, distract your clients from doing meaningful work, and neatly package all of your clients into one convenient spot for your competitors, by all means, send your clients to a Facebook Group.
If, on the other hand, you really care about your clients and/or the profitability of your coaching business, you might think twice before sending your clients to Facebook for group interaction. Here’s why:
Facebook Commoditizes Coaches
Facebook is “free,” requires virtually no setup, and your people are likely already there (even if they’re mostly wasting time). So what’s the rub with using Facebook’s convenient groups feature?
It’s exactly because it’s so easy to use that so many other coaches also use Facebook. So it makes all coaches look exactly like all other coaches. In a competitive space, you want to stand out, not look like everyone else. But when you use Facebook, you look exactly like every other coach in your space: you’re undifferentiated from your competition.
And trust me, your competition is on Facebook. But it’s your competitors who don’t have Facebook groups that you have to worry most about, because:
Facebook Makes It Easy for Your Competitors to Advertise To Your Clients
If you want to give your competitors easy access to your clients, send them to Facebook. Just organize them into a nice group, have them talk about all of the things your coaching program teaches, and let Facebook’s data robots collect all of that info. Its advertising engines will be happy to serve up your clients to savvy competitors.
Think about it: when you send your clients to Facebook and encourage them to talk about their problems and your coaching work, Facebook literally mines all of that data about your tribe and serves it on a silver platter to your competitors. I’m sure your competition is more than happy to accept your generosity: you do all the hard work of finding and organizing your clients, and then they get to swoop in with their tested marketing bait, irresistible offers, and sales funnels and happily take over for you.
I was recently at an Internet Marketing conference with a VERY savvy marketing crowd. One of the speakers asked the audience, “For how many of you is Facebook your primary, or only, marketing source for leads?” Nearly 80% of the hands in the room went up! The point that the speaker was making was to not put all of your eggs into one advertising basket. My point to you is that very savvy, smart people IN YOUR NICHE use Facebook as the primary way of reaching out to the people you’ve spent time and money on to become your clients.
Distraction is Facebook’s Business Model
Facebook doesn’t care if your clients achieve the goal of your coaching program. The goal of Facebook isn’t focused work, it’s the opposite: to distract your clients from whatever it is they were doing before, or whatever intention they have, so that they stay on Facebook. The longer your clients stay on Facebook, the more ads they’ll see, and the more money Facebook makes.
“If you are not paying for it, you’re not the customer; you’re the product being sold.” – Andrew Lewis
If you think that you or your clients are unaffected by Facebook Ads, think again: the only reason advertisers come back to Facebook is because it works.
So if I’m a part of a Facebook group that’s focused on nutrition and weight loss, when I go to Facebook, does it take me straight into my group? Of course not. My first stop on the way to the group is the general news feed, where relatives and friends are sharing their latest posts from vacations, their opinions on political topics, random birthday notifications, and more.
The longer Facebook distracts me from making it into my group, the more money they make.
And if you think that your clients are safe once they get into your private group, think again: Facebook already views ads in groups as its next big cash cow, because it’s reaching full saturation in its regular news feed. When the question comes down to the value of Facebook’s stock price versus keeping your clients undistracted, who do you think will win?
Bottom Line: Advertise on Facebook And Send Your Tribe Elsewhere
Dan Kennedy says that once you’ve assembled your “herd,” to build a high fence around it, get it depending on you for food and water, and to guard all entry. Obviously this is metaphorical, but you get the idea: when you do the work to pull a “herd” or “tribe” together, why in the world would you make them accessible to anyone else?
So what’s the real cost of Facebook’s “free” groups? Distraction at best and lost business at worst…just so I can save a few hundred dollars per month on a membership site tool? No thanks.
Personally, I’d rather be that savvy competitor: advertise on Facebook and fence in the “herd” elsewhere.