I'm archiving my free Facebook group, and here's why

I'm mindful that as I write this, archiving my free Facebook group maybe isn't big news to everyone. You've seen more prominent names and people with bigger groups close down their free groups. But it is a big deal to me, and I wanted to share why and what I've learnt along the way.

I know I find learning by people going behind the scenes and sharing what's worked and what hasn't worked in their business powerful and helpful. So I'm doing more of this kind of content and teaching in 2022.

I started my Facebook group back in 2018. Initially, it was engaged. I would go live at least weekly, sharing tips and advice, plus I'd do free webinars. Originally, it's where I found my clients and where my members came from. But over the years, I saw a decline in engagement.

I will not "just" blame Facebook, the algorithm, or say, "Facebook groups don't work anymore". However, many of us are in far too many groups that we aren't active in anymore!

But I believe they still can work for your business if:

  1. You're clear on the focus and purpose of the group. 
  2. You have the right balance of strategy, time, and effort. 
  3. You develop a group with the right audience and grow it with potential customers.

I'm not sure what came first, me putting less effort into the group? Or the lack of engagement?

Here's where I think it went wrong.

Mistake number 1: The group is now called The Inspiring Women in Business Facebook Group and has around 1.4K members. I've had it for a few years now, but I kept changing the group name and purpose rather than starting a new group as my business changed. 

Mistake (or learning!) number 2: I heard some random advice that said, "once you grow your group to 1000 members, start engaging, and it "looks after itself" why on earth did I believe this and use this as a strategy??

Mistake (or learning !) number 3: I also focused on my podcast and email list. I felt a bit stretched being on so many marketing channels, but I kept trying to grow the group anyway! 

Mistake (or learning !) number 4: I stopped showing up regularly and stopped making an effort to engage the group.

So I decided last year to do a test and develop a plan where I would test out engagement and results from Instagram versus my Facebook Group before I decided whether to close it or not. And Instagram won hands down. I'm not saying Instagram is easy, though. That also takes time and effort, significantly as the platform is changing allllll the time.

And this is how I measured it:

  1. Conversations - I had more meaningful conversations on Instagram.
  2. Engagement - More engagement on lives, Reels and posts on Instagram.
  3. Reach - More reach on Instagram
  4. Direct messages - More DMs on Instagram.
  5. Sales and leads - more people say, "I found you on Instagram", or send me a D.M. to find out more about how we can work together.
  6. Collaborations - I met more people and collaborated on guest masterclasses, podcast interviews, or guest Instagram lives. 

I also tested out setting up pop up Facebook groups for short live promotions, which worked well alongside email marketing and launch activities rather than trying to use one free group for everything.

My words for this year were "to do less good", so this is why I'm cutting down how many channels I'm on and doing a better job on fewer channels.

If you want to succeed in your Facebook group, don't do what I did! And learn from my mistakes.

  1. If you want sales and leads from your Facebook group you need to be very clear on who you serve and what problem you solve, and be very focussed on the groups purpose, don't try and solve every problem.
  2. The number of people in the group doesn't matter, I had more engagement and sales from a smaller group than in a bigger group. What matters is whether people want to get involved in discussions in the group.
  3. Don't just start a group and expect your members to do all the heavy lifting. You need to set the purpose of the group, encourage engagement and motivate them to engage and post as well.

You also need to sell, and you need to sell early - as Janet Murray said about her own experience of Facebook Groups:


"I speak to so many business owners who started Facebook groups as a way of generating leads and sales for their business who feel frustrated because the moment they try to sell in their group, people get upset or offended. How dare you sell in the group you've invested time and money in growing. This is known as Baby Bird Syndrome – a phrase coined by sales expert Jessica Lorimer. Baby Bird Syndrome happens when your audience gets so reliant on your free content that when you suggest they actually buy something from you, they feel abandoned, fretful and may even lash out at you. This is why you need to sell in your group – and sell early.It could still be worth having a free Facebook group in 2022, but if you want it to attract leads/sales for your business, you need a strategy. Without that, it could be a waste of time and money. If your current group isn't working, you need to ask yourself some tough questions about whether you've created the right kind of group for the people. It is possible to 'rescue' a group that's not working, but sometimes it's better to start from scratch". Janet Murray.

Or you could focus your efforts elsewhere. You cannot do everything, and you cannot be everywhere. 

Remember when you're considering where to put your efforts," email generates $42 for every $1 spent, which is an astounding 4,200% ROI, making it one of the most effective options available" (source Hubspot). But unfortunately, it is much harder to track and analyse your ROI from social media marketing.


So I would pick focusing on building my email list and creating content overgrowing a Facebook group. That's not to say I won't have a Facebook Group again in the future, and I do have a very engaged Facebook group for my paid membership. Remember, though, you don't have to be everywhere, and your list is yours, whereas social media is borrowed land.

Ruth x

P.S. Whenever you're ready, here are three ways I can help you… 

  1. Love a motivational podcast? Catch up with the latest episodes from my Inspiring Women in Business podcast.
  2. Want something quick you can implement quickly? Download free tools to launch, grow and run your business without burning out in the Business Building Hub.
  3. Looking for a business coach without the hefty price tag? Join the fantastic business owners and me in my coaching membership, The Online Business collective.