Ask someone ‘How to earn from a Facebook group?’ and over 90% will suggest that you collaborate with brands.
That’s certainly a great way to monetize your Facebook group.
But, how often have you been recommended to connect buyers and sellers through your FB group and earn via that partnership?
Not much, I suppose.
Honestly, when I first thought of creating this blog post, I was under the impression that connecting buyers and sellers is the second most popular way to earn from a Facebook group.
But, when I did a poll and asked the power admins in our Facebook group, I was shook seeing the results.
According to this poll, merely 11% of admins are monetizing their Facebook groups by connecting buyers and sellers. And approximately 60% of admins wish to know how they can go about it.
Seeing this, I can say, it’s one of the most underappreciated and untapped earning channels, considering how valuable it is for everyone involved.
Which makes it even more important to share everything about it with you.
In this article, I’m going to tell you the complete process as to how you can earn from your Facebook group by connecting buyers and sellers. And I’m also going to share how some Facebook group admins are making the best use of it.
But before anything, let me explain:
What exactly does it mean to connect buyers and sellers?
First things first.
People join a Facebook group either to find solutions to their problems or to seek a sense of belonging. Or even both.
As a Facebook group admin, the onus is on you to identify members’ issues, help them out, and provide as much value as you can.
When you collaborate with brands for purpose-led marketing campaigns and run contests or maybe organise games as a part of it, you are not only keeping your members engaged but also providing value to both, members as well as brands.
Similarly, you can make your group members’ experience more valuable and help the cohort of small business owners at the same time by bringing them under one roof, i.e. your Facebook group.
That’s exactly what it means to connect buyers and sellers.
You allow small business owners to sell their products in your community in exchange for a small fee, helping them expand their reach.
At the same time, it makes your group members’ experience even better.
A win-win for everyone involved!
P.S. No matter your group type, you can earn through this method.
Isn’t it one of the best things about it?
Now, let me explain the most important part…
How to connect buyers and sellers in your FB group? Step by step process
1. Understand the needs of your audience
After you’ve decided to onboard sellers in your community, the first thing you should do is understand what your members want.
Because if you don’t, your entire thought and execution will go for a toss. And that’s the last thing you want, right?
So, don’t rush into anything heedlessly. Instead, take your time and understand your members’ needs. After all, it’s the members and conversations that are the essence of a community.
Spend some time going through conversations in your community and figure out the kind of products your members are interested in.
For instance, if you have a parenting Facebook group or a cooking group, members might have enquired about baby toys and serving trays respectively.
Have a look at the post below. A member shares how she bought her baby’s diapers, stroller, bath chair, etc. from Amazon and that she relies on the shopping site for other things too.
You have got your cue from here that small business owners selling baby products like stroller, bath chair etc. are relevant for your Facebook group.
While this is just one example, there would be tons of other such insightful conversations.
These are the types of conversations you need to pay attention to. Going through them, you can easily figure out what things your members are interested in.
If you don’t find anything alike (which might be a rarity btw), don’t worry. Facebook polls are there for your rescue!
Not only do they have a higher reach, but also encourage silent members to participate.
So, if you did not come across anything satisfactory or want to double check, just do a poll and know it from your members themselves.
2. Identify and onboard sellers
Now that you know what products your group members want, it’s time to hunt down small business owners or sellers.
There are two ways to find them:
Yes, that’s correct! There might be so many small business owners sitting in your Facebook group you might not know of. So, do a post in your group asking all sellers to DM you.
When they do, chat with them and understand what business they are into and if it would be relevant for your members.
Besides, if you’re a part of other Facebook groups, seek permission from the admin and do a similar post. You might get some leads from there as well.
Don’t skip posting on your personal Facebook profile and Instagram story too! All interested people will reach out to you.
Sonia Aggarwal Konjeti, the admin of Pula Pune Ladies, has built a very successful ecosystem to connect buyers and sellers. Started out with her FB group, today she has a dedicated app for it. (More on this as you read ahead)
Sonia has a very strict verification process wherein she shares a Google Form with the interested entrepreneurs. They fill in the details, upload the necessary documents, and make the payment post which Sonia’s team verifies all details and shortlists the sellers.
Jyoti Aggarwal, Admin of Maa2Mom, also used to share a Google Form with the sellers who expressed interest. Now, she tags her admin team in the group post and all interested sellers reach out to them directly.
Is there someone in your neighbourhood who runs a business from their home? Do you have a friend that does? Or do your friends know of someone who does?
Contact them and tell them what you’re up to.
I’m sure they’ll be thrilled to get onboard!
This will also help grow your Facebook group.
Once you have a few sellers to get started with, it’s just a matter of time word will spread and more sellers will themselves reach out to you.
3. Verify sellers and maintain a database
Once you have got your initial cohort of sellers, please make sure to verify their details and maintain a database of the same.
Most of the Facebook group admins, including Sonia Aggarwal, Sheenu Goyal, Poonam Sutar, and Sarika Dhane, to name a few, who are connecting buyers and sellers, ask sellers for a copy of any government-issued ID proof.
They (or their team) personally verify each and every seller’s details and give them a go ahead only when they are confident about them.
“Collecting these documents from the sellers helps me be sure of their identity. Firstly, I am confident that they are genuine. Secondly, I know where to reach out in case of any complaint from the buyers,” says Sheenu.
In addition to this, Sonia and Poonam hand a unique ID card to all the sellers who get past the verification process.
Once a seller chooses the plan and makes the payment in Poonam’s FB group, Sakhi, they are given a unique identity card that comprises all these details: name, products the seller is dealing in, and a unique code.
Here’s how the seller card looks.
The unique code you see i.e. 157P3 is generated based on the date and month of registration (157 i.e. 15/07), initial of the admin who issued that card (P here stands for Poonam), and the time for which the membership is valid (3 meaning 3 months).
Sellers have to post this code each time they post in the group. Posts without the code are straightaway declined. “Besides, all business posts of non-verified sellers are also declined. We don’t allow them to post anymore,” says Poonam.
Make it a point to store all these seller details in an excel spreadsheet. It’s good to maintain a database of all the sellers associated with you, whether currently active or not.
4. Build trust between the buyers and sellers
Trust is the foundation of every relationship. And I’m sure you’ll agree with this.
As you’re starting out with this model, you need to build a strong foundation.
Basically, convince your buyers that the sellers are honest, genuine, and trustworthy. And that they can rely on their products.
Sure, building trust is a slow process. But, you can lay the foundation stone and do your bit by telling members about the verification process and the seller ID card that you issue.
On the other hand, you must convince your sellers that along with having a good scope of expanding their business, they will come across legitimate customers and will be able to build a loyal customer base.
You can do that by showcasing the demand of the products to sellers. Use your group conversations as examples. Maybe the poll you did to understand that members are interested, posts that convey the demand of products and more.
“I take immense pride in telling that we haven’t reported any single case of fraud up till now,” says Poonam.
5. Launch and Retain sellers
Start out by fixing two/three days in a week for these small business owners. You can also keep a time slot under which they can share their product posts.
On the other hand, you should go about creating posts (a few days in advance) and making announcements in your group. Basically, prime the members and get them excited about this whole thing.
After all, you want to make sure that every sellers’ post gets a good engagement.
The next thing you need to do is understand how this whole model is working out for the sellers. After all, it’s primarily for helping them drive some sales. And the fact that they’ll stick around only if they are able to generate some income.
You need to help them out here. How? By observing each of their individual posts.
Furthermore, prepare a list of the things that are on point and those that need improvement.
For instance, if you feel a particular seller is not pitching their products properly, go the extra mile and train them. Help them understand how they can master it.
Or go ahead and introduce new discounts, if need be.
But if, at any point of time, you feel that a particular seller is not performing well or is not able to fetch sales month on month because their products are not relevant or members are simply not liking them, please don’t go ahead with those sellers.
6. Scaling it further
Sharing with you the different ways you can let buyers and sellers take benefit of this collaboration.
A. Host a virtual event / fair
Do you remember going to trade fairs and melas offline before the Covid 19 pandemic hit?
You can recreate those offline events, host them online, and stream them on your Facebook group. That too With the same level of excitement, amazing display of products and services, and more.
The only difference will be that everyone will be taking part from the comfort of their homes.
If you’re wondering how, then let me clarify that it’s absolutely possible.
Jyoti Agarawal, admin of Maa2Mom, is doing a fantastic job at it. She has been hosting ‘online bazaars’ since last year. She proudly calls it ‘M2M Online Bazaar: Meri Online Dukaan’.
She came up with the idea during lockdown as she wanted to help small business owners who had little to no scope of earning during that time. It was inspired by her very own online summer camp which she successfully executed in 2017.
Personalities like Ms. Nandita Puri, wife of late actor Mr. Om Puri and Ms. Rupa Nayak, Director of World Trade Centre in Mumbai have been the guests of honour of Jyoti’s online exhibitions.
Till date, Jyoti has hosted 20 such super successful online exhibitions and helped over 400 small business owners earn a livelihood.
Besides, the buyers are not only able to get their hands on some really amazing products, but Jyoti also makes sure to keep them hooked.
She does that by including short quizzes (sponsored by the exhibitors) in different time intervals. Questions like the name of the exhibition are asked. The audience has to pick one of the four options and share their answers in the comments. At the end of the session, winners are announced and rewarded.
Sharing in brief about her process –
- Registration – Sellers have to fill a Google Form and pay a nominal fee of INR 299
- Shortlisting – From the list of registered sellers, Jyoti shortlists those whose intent matches with her group
- Collaterals – Jyoti’s team designs posters for every seller
- Spread the word – Help sellers create a short one minute video wherein they tell people about the online bazaar and encourage them to be a part of it
- Train sellers – Jyoti and her team train the sellers and explain to them all about how they should showcase their products, pitch them to the buyers, etc.
Read Jyoti’s complete story here and understand what ticked her to create a Facebook group in the first place.👇🏻
Now that things have gotten better covid-wise, Jyoti has launched the first ever offline exhibition in Lucknow to support these small business owners. Check out the poster
B. Monthly, Quarterly, Half-yearly promotions
If you want to pursue the idea of connecting buyers and sellers through your Facebook group, but are looking for a simpler strategy than an online bazaar, I’ve got you covered.
Just like numerous other admins I’ve spoken with, you can introduce the weekly, quarterly, or half-yearly promotions.
All you need to do is decide whether you want to go ahead with either or all of these packages.
Poonam Sutar, the admin of Sakhi, offers all three packages to the sellers (monthly, quarterly, and half-yearly). Prices are fixed depending on the business one is handling.
For instance, if a seller deals in Oriflame or Modicare products, which is multi-level marketing, they have to pay INR 600 for 3 months. On the other hand, for small business owners (the ones operating from their houses) or YouTubers etc., the charges are fixed at INR 400 for 3 months.
Since there are multiple sellers in her community, she’s introduced a posting schedule that looks like this-
- Sellers dealing in Oriflame or Modicare products can post twice in a day anytime between 9am to 9pm. However, other small business owners can do 4 posts in a day anytime at the same time.
- No posting is allowed for any seller on Monday.
- These sellers also go live in the Facebook group to showcase their products and services. For the same, each of them are assigned a time slot depending on the best times of the group, i.e. when most of the members are active.
If you’d like to learn about the other ways Poonam is earning from her FB group and keeping them engaged, you can check out her story here. 👇🏻
Shalu R Varadkar, the admin of Mommies World, comes up with quarterly events to help mompreneurs get the much deserved recognition and speed up the sale of their products.
It’s called Brand-o-maina and it runs for 3 months constantly where mompreneurs get to showcase themselves as a brand and boost their sales.
Here’s how it works:
- Shalu picks 4 best mompreneurs of her community
- These mompreneurs have to pay nominal charges
- Each of them have to prepare 3 videos (one minute each) which Shalu posts in the community – one mompreneur each week
- In the first month, the video explaining about their product/business/venture goes up
- In the second month, mompreneurs showcase their products in the video alongside telling about the response they got in the first video
- In the third month, mompreneurs thank the members and talk about the upcoming offers on their products
Monsoon Mania, on the other hand, runs for a period of 9-10 days where 25 mompreneurs are selected on a first come first served basis to showcase their products. The charges for this too are economical.
They have to post a particular set of pictures along with pre-defined hashtags.
Lastly, there are other such seasonal paid events like that on Diwali, Christmas, and New Year.
C. Launch an Application
This one’s for those who are successfully supporting entrepreneurs through their Facebook groups, but feel the need to expand due to some constraints.
Sonia Aggarwal Konjeti, who connects over 230,000 ladies of Pune through her Facebook group, took the plunge and created an application right before Covid hit to extend her support initiative for small business owners.
Till date, she has empowered 9,300 verified sellers via her FB group, out of which 900 are using the app with pleasure.
“Everything we community leaders do arises out of a need. I spoke to multiple small business owners who were promoting in my Facebook group as I wanted to understand about the other things we can do to support them. All the things they mentioned were not possible to do on Facebook which meant the need for a third party tool, and that’s how I decided to create an app,” tells Sonia.
Some of the issues the small business owners of Sonia’s community were facing that time were:
- Non-availability of a direct payment gateway
- Lack of knowledge of how to manage inventory (they were following an old book method and they used to write down everything by hand)
- No means to track profit or loss incurred in a month
- Paying hefty delivery charges intracity
After Sonia took note of all of these, in no time, she collaborated with a technical support corporation and shared her ideas. Together, they created a fantastic application that eliminates every single pain point of these small business owners.
They need to pay a nominal charge of INR 1000 to be able to use the application for a lifetime.
An amazing piece of advice from Sonia – “Don’t shy away from charging money from small business owners only because you feel judged or because there are people to defame you for this. Believe in yourself and your capabilities. It’s only you who know the time and efforts you are putting day in and day out building such a support system through your community. As it is, an admin cannot pour from an empty cup and at the end of the day, they need something to sustain and run the ecosystem they have built.”
For this monetization model, Sonia has registered her Facebook group legally and advises all other FB group admins (who are willing to get started with this) to do the same.
“If exchange of money is involved, you should definitely get your group registered, be it as a sole proprietorship, partnership, or a corporate entity,” says Sonia.
She has even partnered with a trusted Chartered Accountant to seek guidance and help.
Other than that, she uses a Current Account for these financial transactions. Sonia advises, “Do not use your savings account for this purpose.”
Here’s what Sonia aims to do next to support the small business owners connected with her:
- Build an aggregator platform to help small business owners deliver their products PAN India and globally
- Introduce AI to her FB group so that whenever someone enquires about any service, the small business owners get a notification on the app and can connect with them
- Help in the ‘service category’ by creating a directory where one can find and connect with trusted and verified service providers
To learn more about Sonia and how she has built a thriving business with her Facebook group, check out this video👇🏻
Amazing how these Facebook group admins are going above and beyond with this competitive yet wonderful format.
Not only are they bridging the gap between buyers and sellers, but also grooming small business owners in all the possible ways. Whether it’s about telling them how to pitch, showcase their products, or becoming technologically savvy, these admins are doing it all.
If you are new to the community building landscape and are looking for ways to monetize your Facebook group, you can get started with this method.
Reiterating a few things you must keep in mind:
Dos and Don’ts of connecting buyers and sellers through your Facebook group
1. First things first. Prepare a plan. See how you want to go about it and then execute.
2. Lay down a set of rules. Convey those to the group members and encourage them to adhere to them. Make sure to include everything in the rules, i.e. how and when sellers can post and what’d happen if they violate the rules.
3. Always ask for the sellers’ source of purchase and do your own research about it. Never compromise with the quality of products, no matter what.
4. If you are skeptical about this method at first, you can try it out with just a few sellers, without charging anything from them. See how members receive it and how well it pans out for the sellers. If it does well, start charging sellers according to your community’s engagement.
5. Do get your Facebook group registered after you’ve managed to scale this model. Besides, seek help from a CA, open a Current Account and use that for all financial transactions.
That’s about it. 🙌🏻
Start off with this monetization model and share with us how it worked for you! You can write to us below or share your experience in our Facebook group.
In case you want to learn about other ways you can monetize your Facebook group, this article will come handy.
Creating value in the lives of others with my content, little by little.✨
Working at Convosight, I do more than just wrangle commas. I’m passionate about innovating new ways to create super valuable and actionable content about Communities and Community Marketing at large, and sharing it with the right audience.
I also happen to manage a global community of power admins on Facebook, and that’s where most of my learnings come from.
Do check out my latest blogs and feel free to share them! 💛