Season 01, Episode 04
The Power of Community: Leveraging Facebook Groups for Business Growth (with Hope Long)
In this episode, we’re joined by the amazing Hope Long, who shares her experience on creating a successful Facebook group from scratch. Get ready to dive into the world of community-building and discover how to foster a sense of belonging, connection, and authenticity to drive your business growth.
Jade: So hi everyone! Welcome again to the Aligned Marketing Podcast, where we discuss an alternative to mainstream marketing and introduce you to resources, tips, and guests to guide you through your own aligned marketing journey where you will go from discouraged [with your marketing] to connecting with your ideal audience as your authentic self.
I’m your host, Jade Francesca, and if you’re like me and you need subtitles to understand what people are saying, get the transcript in the show notes.
So now let’s dive into today’s episode; I’m very happy to welcome Hope to this podcast because I have known Hope for a very long time and she’s really, really great at what she does.
She’s a lead generation specialist, she is also a coach, and works with a lot of people to do lead generation in a way that feels aligned with them and that can really help them move the needle forward in their business.
So, hi Hope! Thank you so much for coming and welcome!
I wanted to ask you first, how did you get started as a lead generation specialist? How did you decide to start working with Facebook and more specifically, Facebook groups?
Hope: So it’s kind of a roundabout answer. First of all, hi! I’m so excited to be here.
But, I like… stumbled into this, right? Because I’m a recovering alcoholic, and I felt very alone. And it was very hard for me, and I was coming out of a very dark time in my life, and I really needed connection, and then of course, COVID-19, and like all this crazy stuff was going on in the world and it was really hard for me also to connect outside in the real world because not everybody understood what I was going through, right?
And so I jumped online. I was like, you know, I just said; “I need to find a couple people that can hold me accountable and that I can talk to”, and in doing that, I found Facebook groups, right? And so I was participating in some of these groups, and then some of them had some female entrepreneurs in them.
And I’m like, “Oh, well that’s kind of cool.” And so then I just stumbled into checking on what they were up to, and where they were hanging out, and it kind of slowly morphed into this big picture idea of: I wanted to have my own group of women that could support other women no matter what they were going through.
So whether it was just personal development, maybe it was addiction, or, alcoholism. Maybe it was their business, maybe it was their home life, homeschooling their kids, whatever it looked like, right, for them. And I just wanted to build a supportive space that felt really safe.
And so, in doing that, that’s how it began. That’s how I got into Facebook groups and then I was like, “I just wanna do this all the time, right? I wanna make this my job, so how can I make this my job?”
And I got very into these female entrepreneur type communities, and started kind of talking to other entrepreneurs and really, it changed everything. It became its own brand. It became its own… beast, if you will.
And now, I have a community full of 2000 confident, successful, female entrepreneurs. And it all happened in a very, very short amount of time.
Jade: So for people who have that same feeling of needing a community and wanting to really get out there and get their own community, there are so many groups that are out there, as you know; I get invited to like a bunch of groups. Honestly, daily.
So what would be your best advice to kind of stand out and make sure that you get seen, and most importantly, you get seen by the right people. Because of course, we can all find a million ways to get seen, but we do wanna be seen by the right people so that we get the right community in our [Facebook] group.
So for you, when you first started, and still now are growing your group, what would be your best advice?
Hope: So a lot of how my group grew very quickly is… I talked about it all the time.
I was so excited about it; I was going to random places that I had not been, and I was just talking, talking, talking.
But on the flip side of this, as you grow, your interests change, right? What’s important to you changes. Your values can change, the things that you’re passionate about, and that spark, (your fire), can change, right? So six months ago Hope is different from six months-in Hope, right?
And so now, looking back, I could have done a lot of things differently, but I will tell you that whatever you’re really passionate about, you have to dial-in that messaging, as if you’re talking to yourself and pumping yourself up. You are hyping yourself up, because: like attracts like, right?
And so when you are filling maybe your group, your community, with your ideal clients or people that are interested in what you have to say, they care about the topic too.
So your energy that you’re putting into maybe writing a long post or maybe you’re doing a LIVE or something like that, it will help you tremendously to dial-in your messaging to really…I don’t know if “attract” is the right word but it will, it’ll bring in the right people into your space.
And a lot of what I was talking about in the beginning was, you know, “I just know I’m on this journey and I just want to feel connected. I want to feel safe. I wanna feel supported. I want to feel empowered.” So all of those things that I wanted, began to manifest in the people that were speaking with me, right? So I was speaking with other women who were like, very empowering. They’re like, “You go, girl, I love this idea. I’m backing you a hundred percent. This is fantastic,” and it was because of my word choice, right? My word choice and my passion behind it.
So that’s part of growing your community and doing those things.
The other part of being able to do that is, you need to do it every day, right?
What works with this though, this is the like the biggest thing I see in marketing, is if you don’t love your product a hundred percent and if you are not all about it, if you don’t breathe it, if you don’t live it, it’s not going to pan out in your best interest, right?
So you’re not gonna make 5 million dollars from a product that you hate. You are not gonna make a million dollars coaching in the realm of spiritual healing if you are not spiritual yourself, right? And if you’re not loving that yourself.
If you’re not heart centered and all about helping people, entrepreneurship is really hard ‘cause that’s all entrepreneurship is, right? It’s just helping people. We have something that solves a problem, so now we wanna help other people.
Jade: What are your thoughts on having questions before entering a group? And what kind of questions do you feel are really relevant when it comes to making sure you have the right people coming in your group and you have useful information about them?
Hope: Yeah, so there’s a couple different routes with this.
One of the things that you have when you have a Facebook group is you get to pick membership questions, right?
And those are really important.
I will tell you that in the last couple months, even though I have a group that has like 2,400 people in it, I have been very selective in the last couple weeks, especially because I really want to fine tune this process, right? Because every day we get better at what we do, right? And that’s okay. And that’s okay to be more selective on who you let into your world, because the other half of this is, it’s gonna be reciprocal energy.
You’re gonna get what they give and they’re gonna get what you give, right? So one of the things that I ask my people is how do they like to connect the best? Like, what feels the best for them? Do they like to go LIVE? Do they like to be commenting and engaging? Do they like to watch short videos?
That’s one of my questions, so that, one, it helps me create content.
And two, it helps me understand who’s in my community. Again, a lot of like the creatives, a lot of introverts, they prefer long form content, right? They wanna read, they wanna feel that intricate relationship to the author. So that tells me that that person is probably more of a nurturing style person.
My action takers love LIVEs. They love going and doing challenges. They love to show up on video and do all those things, and so I know that that person is more of an action-taking type, so, It helps me in that aspect with those membership questions.
When you’re inside of your community and you’re speaking to your community, you still have to remember you have different types of people in your community. You have people who really care about the facts. They want the A to B: tell me what the facts and statistics are, what’s going on in the realm of meta, all those good things.
And then you have nurturing people who really get very emotional with content, right? And it pulls something from them, it pulls a heartstring or they feel connected, right?
And so in your community, you have to kind of ask questions to all the different types of people if you have all different types of people.
So, in my group, I ask a lot of different questions, because we’re from all over the world. We’re all in different businesses, but we are all female entrepreneurs. So many of us are moms, many of us are wives, or you know, girlfriends, all that good stuff. We all have families, we all have other stuff we do; thus is being a woman, right? So I ask a lot of questions for fun. I ask a lot of like; “where would you like to travel? What are your goals in your business?” Those kinds of things.
But if you have a spiritual community, or maybe a wellness community, your questions are going to look a little bit different, right? You can still have those really fun engaging questions where you kind of get to dream a little bit and get to know people, but you also wanna ask things that are relevant to your niche, so that your conversation topic, stays on topic.
Jade: Yeah, absolutely.
I have to admit, even if I’m someone who likes to ramble, I like to create long form content, I like to write really long comments (when it applies, of course) sometimes I’m just on social media and you know, I’m tired. We’re all human. We all have so much to do, and sometimes we just wanna be on social media because we want a little bit of a distraction for 15 minutes or so, or we just kind of wanna see what’s up and what’s happening in our communities. And when I see those engagement questions like that, they’re easy to answer.
And that’s one of the things that is so, so, so important in marketing: you wanna make it easy for your audience.
You don’t want them to have to search for things or to kind of like hack their brain, trying to figure out an answer to something, because that’s not fun, right?
Most people, when they start a business, one of their goals is to have a life where they feel happy. And happiness can look very, very different for a lot of people. Success can look very different for a lot of people. For me, success looks like happiness and peace. For others, it looks like having their own private island somewhere. It really depends on what their definition is.
But at the end of the day, most humans, one of their goals is to be happy and it’s to have fun. It’s to live a fulfilled life, and you don’t want to make that harder for people [with your marketing]. You want to make that process super easy and to make it really easy to kind of relate to other people as well.
A lot of the groups that I’m in and a lot of groups that you’re in, I’m sure a lot of them are about business and the thing with that is that you wanna sometimes step out of that. You don’t want to make everything about business because, like you said, not everyone has “the amazing days” every day, and I would argue that no one has perfect days every day. That’s just unrealistic, and even the most successful people have bad days.
And on those days, it’s fun to show up and just talk about something that really is outside of business. Like: where would you like to travel? If you had a magic wand, which TV show would you like to be in? And like those are fun questions to kind of think about. They’re easygoing and you get to know people that way as well.
One of the summits I’ve been attending lately, it was called the EntrepreNERD. So it was for quote unquote nerds and geeks, right? And it was like called: Episode V, the Summit Strikes Back. So it was kind of like the Star Wars vibe and then the first question that everyone asked each other was: what are you a nerd about? What are the fandoms or the TV shows or the games or that you really really like?
And it kind of puts everyone at ease, because yes, we’re gonna talk about business. It’s a summit about business, but like it’s good to know like; oh, there are Harry Potter fans here, there are Star Wars fans, there are Doctor Who fans, and like, Star Trek, and all of those great things and that can really help to create rapport, because at the end of the day, more and more, business is all about connection.
And there’s a reason why Facebook groups are so popular and why Facebook profiles and pages are less so. I would even argue Facebook pages (the business pages) are the least popular option right now. People will connect more with your profile, even if you’re a business, and they are a business, they will connect more with your profile [than your business page]. Because again, people want that connection.
Sometimes I see, like on LinkedIn, some people making posts about “why is business now about connection? Like, we’re here to sell and make money. We’re not here to make friends.”
And I’m like, “Dude, you’re so far off, and you need to get on with like… the new way of doing business.”
Hope: Yeah. Today, more than ever, people actually care about the person behind the product. They actually want to know: “is she a vegan, or is she into–” you know, all these different things, right? Like, they want to know.
It’s not like, Coca-Cola, okay. It’s not like one of those big brands where it’s just on all the shelves, and of course that’s just what we buy because that’s what it’s there, right? It’s not that way, and it’s definitely not that way in marketing either, anymore. Even Coca-Cola has shifted their marketing. Nike has shifted their marketing.
It is more community and connection centered now more than it ever has been. And on top of this, when you’re marketing your business in this online space, you’re not just marketing your business, you’re marketing yourself.
So it’s important to talk about… (for example) I really like Sailor Moon, right? Like that’s my nerd thing. Okay. So I like Sailor Moon, so when somebody posts about Sailor Moon, I’m on top of that, like; “Oh my God, me too.” And I’m sending them pictures of my drawings that I’ve done and like any sketches I’ve done, and it’s… connecting. Right? And it’s just so cool to know that outside of business, right, there’s probably a million other women in the online space that also like Sailor Moon, right?
And so then we could get on a coffee chat if we wanted to, and hang out and just be geeks and that’s cool.
The old ways of marketing are freaking dead. They’re dead. They’ve been dead. And it’s just now coming to a head where people are making the change, right? And really, people do care. They care about the person behind the thing, or the product, or the strategy that you sell, or the service you sell. They actually wanna know what your life is like. They wanna know if you’re a single mom, they wanna know what you’ve been through in the past; if you’ve ever gone to Italy; if you have, you know, a thing for Sailor Moon, or Harry Potter.
They wanna know this stuff, because it makes you a real person to them, right? It makes you a real person and I just, I can’t express how important it is.
Part of marketing is showing up authentically, right? And I know you talk about that a lot, and you talk about that a lot in planning out marketing and being yourself.
People will love who you are. If they’re meant to work with you, they will. And if they’re not, they won’t. It’s just plain and simple. You’ve got to also remember there’s 3 billion people on Facebook. There’s at least 3% of them that are ready to buy from you, okay? You just have to go out there and find them.
Jade: Yeah, absolutely. Like I always say, a good marketing strategy attracts the right people, but also repels the wrong one.
That’s one of the things that, when I first started, I was afraid of doing. I was afraid of showing up as myself, I was afraid to show up authentically because I was like, “Oh, no, what if people think I’m too weird?” Because I mean, I have a long history of being [called] weird at school. I was “the weird kid.”
So I was made fun of, for like the weirdest things, like my hair. I had Hermione hair. Movie 1 [Philosopher’s stone] Hermione hair. I was bullied for my hair, for god knows how long, and I was that “weird kid”. And so to me, when I grew up, I learned, I cannot show myself because if I do, then I’ll be rejected.
As time goes on, eventually your true self will come out. The truth will come out one way or another, and it’s so much better to be on top of it and to be really just who you are.
Because at the end of the day, there will be people who will love you. There will be people who will accept you, who will want to see the real you.
And when I first started my business, I was afraid, I mean, rightfully so. And I was like; “Oh, no. Like, they’ll think I’m weird, they’ll think I’m blah”, because that’s the environment that I was kind of raised in and the environment that I grew up in with school, that can be just very rejecting on so many levels and I was like; “Oh, it’s gonna be the same in business.”
But that was not true, because what happened is that, when I was putting on this mask and I was pretending to be someone else (because I thought that’s what I needed to do to be accepted), yes, I attracted people, but I didn’t attract the right people. The people in my community were people that were attracted to the “fake me” and so that didn’t work out in the long run because I couldn’t keep up those relationships. I couldn’t keep up those connections, because I was just not feeling comfortable, because I wasn’t being myself.
And so, I lost a couple of months in my business because I was doing that and I burnt out, rightfully, because it’s very hard to not be yourself.
And being yourself can also be hard, it’s true, because you have to be courageous. You have to really just kind of face those fears that you might be rejected. And yes, by some people you will be rejected, but you want to be.
You want to be rejected by the people that you not wanna work with because that’s the thing: even though I was like a “persona” and I was someone else, I became very popular and I got booked out and you know, I kind of overbooked myself even, with clients, but it wasn’t the right relationships, and it just made me very worn out.
Because even if they were amazing people, and people I really respected, and I really liked the work that they were doing, personality-wise, we kind of clashed a lot because more of my true self would come out and they wouldn’t necessarily like that. They wanted the person that they had seen, which makes sense.
If you want to work with someone and you’re like, “well, I wanna work with that person that I did a connection call with and that I really got along with.”
But if it’s not your true self, eventually it will clash, especially if you’re a service provider because it’s a long term relationship. It’s not just like; “here, go buy my product.” And then you kind of don’t need to speak to people.
In which case, I still recommend to always be yourself, but you know, it’s less taxing on yourself to kind of…show up less.
But when you do, i.e. you do a service, you have to show up so much. Because people want to know [who they will work with], especially because it’s long term. They wanna work with someone that they can trust, that they like, and that they can get to know.
So if you’re not showing up as yourself, it’s gonna be very hard.
And authenticity is so valued nowadays and more and more so, because it’s not– Like when we think about Tiktok, for instance, I mean on Tiktok, it’s like Level 999 of authenticity. People are so authentic on Tiktok. Like for me, when I first joined Tiktok, I thought this place was so amazing because within an hour, the algorithm had figured me out.
I mean, the algorithm figured me out faster than I figure out myself. And they just kind of showed me a lot of people who are super authentic.
So, you can be fully authentic and you will find, like you said, there’s 3 billion people on Facebook. There you will find the people. It’s just about finding those people.
Hope: Yeah. Something that came up for me when I first came into this online space was… I didn’t know if I was comfortable saying that I was a recovering alcoholic, and so I had to get comfortable being uncomfortable about that, but it helped me in two ways.
One, it helped me build a very heart-centered and caring community. Because when I was putting myself out there and being vulnerable, I was repelling the people who were stuck-up, right, the people that didn’t wanna have anything to do with a recovering addict or alcoholic, and I was attracting the people who actually give a shit about other people. Right?
And so that was big for me. And then the other half of it was, that was such a part of my life, that it shows up every day in my business, whether I talk about it or not, because the personality traits that I have today are so different from that young woman who was drowning in vodka – six, seven years ago. Right. She’s a totally different person.
But had I not gone through any of that, I would not have the ability to talk to people, to empathize, to put myself in somebody else’s shoes when they’re going through a rough patch.
And it really became, I don’t wanna say it’s a pillar of my business, but it plays a major role of attracting the right people into my world.
And so, when I get on coffee chats, when I get on networking calls, [I say]: “Hi, I’m Hope, I’m a recovering alcoholic and I’m a lead gen specialist for Facebook groups.” And you can see the faces. The faces go, “Oh my”, right? And then shortly thereafter I’ll get at least one or two people who were like, “I think you are amazing. This was so great to meet you.” And they’ll want to hang out, right? They’ll wanna be in each other’s worlds.
So it’s really, that’s like one of the best advice that I have is if you’ve been through something painful, talk about it. Right? If you’ve gone through something that other people can relate to, be vulnerable, put yourself out there because that’s going to give you the people that need to be in your world.
Jade: Absolutely. For me, every time that I go on these [networking] calls and someone shares something more vulnerable, or they say like, “Oh, I’m a trauma survivor,” or like, “I’ve lived this and this”, I’m just always in awe of them because I’m like, “Oh my god, like you went out there and you spoke your truth.”
And I’m like, “Let’s be friends”, because most of the time when they share something I’m like, “Oh, I’ve also lived that,” although it’s not something that I will share a lot.
There is a lot of things [we can share].
Like most people have had some kind of trauma in their life. So when people talk about trauma, I’m always here like, “yes, I relate”, right?
And it’s like… when people show up like that, I just always love the courage. I really, really love the courage and being courageous, honestly, will make your business so much better, because you will get to meet amazing people who are like you, or who have lived something like you.
And for me to see all of those people being so vulnerable, being so courageous, it helped me be courageous. And I really hope that, by me being courageous every day and sharing more of my authentic self, I also inspire people to do the same, because that’s one of my goals, because so many people in business have inspired me to be myself. Which is why I am myself today.
I wouldn’t have broken out of that kind of persona if people hadn’t been authentic with themselves, because that’s the thing: through my entire life in school, nobody was authentic with themselves. Like nobody was.
So, no one was inspiring me to be myself because I wasn’t seeing anybody being themselves. Everybody was kind of wearing a mask. Everybody was just kind of like “faking it until they make it”, but they never really make it, and that was kind of the vibe.
And so of course I never really broke out of my shell.
But in business, I saw so many people being vulnerable, being courageous, being authentic, that I was like, “Oh my god, I want that too”, but I never would’ve had that thought if I hadn’t seen people doing it.
So if anything, if there’s anything you can take from this podcast episode, it’s to really be yourself and that will do so much for your business. Because if you are yourself and you talk about your product, service, business in a way that you are really passionate about, [you will succeed].
Because most people in business are passionate about their product, because otherwise they wouldn’t have started that because starting a business can be very long. It can be hard, and for most people it is, at first, and there’s a lot of doubt in it, there’s a lot of investment that you don’t really know if you’re going to get that back, and so you really have to love the product or the service you’re offering because otherwise it’s like… a lot of people won’t get that [their business] started.
When I talk to people that are not in business and I’m like, “Oh yeah, like I started a business. I’m starting a second one.” They’re like, “What? Like, you’re doing that?” They’re like, “That’s crazy. Like, like good on you. Like, that’s so courageous.” And I’m always like… “Right. It is. It is courageous to start a business.”
We kind of forget that as business owners, because we were in it all of the time, and everyone we know online, are like people who are also in business. But when you talk to someone who isn’t in business, they’re always like, “Wow. Like that’s intense. Like I wouldn’t have the courage to do that.”
And you’re doing something really special and it’s really about honing that in, putting that in your messaging and why you did it in the first place, because people like to know your why.
They like to know: why are you here, why did you do that? Because they will relate more to your why than your service, like half the time. And so that’s something really important to include.
So before we wrap this up, I wanted to ask you: if someone is interested in getting to know you more and getting to see if they can work with you, what would be the next steps?
Hope: Yeah, so obviously I talk about Facebook all the time, so I’m on Facebook. You can look me up. My name is Hope Long and then, I also have my Facebook group.
So if you’re a female entrepreneur, if you’re an aspiring female entrepreneur, I would love to have you in my community. We are very supportive. We’re uplifting. We talk a lot. We get together every Wednesday to have coffee. So, it’s called Confident Successful Female Entrepreneurs and my DMs are always open.
You know, that’s one of my big things that I wanna keep as this business grows, as my community grows, is my DMs are the most important place for me, because that’s where the magic happens. That’s where the connections happen, right? If you have questions or anything, you can always reach out. I love to talk to new people. I love to meet new people and I’m so excited that you had me on today. I so appreciate you.
Jade: Of course, I really hope a lot of people will wanna connect with you and I really invite you all to connect with Hope.
Honestly, I was in a lot of groups that I really didn’t like, because they were doing things in a way that didn’t feel aligned for me, but Hope’s group is really amazing. It’s one of my favorite groups and one of the groups that I still engage in to this day, which is really big, because I’ve left a lot, a lot, a lot of groups and it’s really fun to be in her group.
There’s a lot of things that you can do and it’s easy to engage. If you just wanna put one or two words, you can. Like you don’t have to write like these big, long comments. Of course, I always encourage, when you can, to write those long, meaningful comments, when relevant, but if you just wanna be there, you just wanna connect with people, Hope’s group is definitely great for that.
So all of that will be in the show notes if you’re interested. And as always, you can check in the show notes for the blog that is going to be accompanying this podcast episode.
And.. yeah, let’s wrap this up. I’m really happy if you made it this far!
So thank you again Hope for showing up and bye everyone!
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✅ How to set up your Facebook Group + CHECKLIST
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About Hope Long
Hope Long is a Lead Generation Specialist and Marketing Coach. She found her way into entrepreneurship when she discovered that the opposite of her very own struggles and pain was CONNECTION. That has been the driving force, and the foundation of her path to help female entrepreneurs not only get visible online, but make a bigger IMPACT.
How to connect with Hope:
About your host, Jade Francesca
Jade Francesca is the founder of Strategize with Creativity and is an aligned marketing strategist & designer. She helps heart-centered and passion-driven entrepreneurs & authors go from discouraged and overwhelmed to happy and aligned with their marketing so they can connect with their ideal audience as their authentic self.
How to connect with Jade: