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Facebook wants to amass 1 billion meaningful group members. While it has more than a billion users using groups, “meaningful” groups are communities that become a critical part of a user’s experience. In concert with its goal, Facebook makes frequent enhancements to group and admin tools. Arguably, groups are one of the main reasons’ users return daily.
Years ago, I saw the potential of Facebook Groups. I created a community for instructors to promote their online courses. My group grew to 40,000+ members, and it enabled me to generate passive income and drive traffic to my website. I was also able to build relationships with like-minded individuals. I liked owning my group so much that I purchased two more and grew my members under management (MUM) to 125,000. The other two groups focused on marketing and e-commerce. My goal was to reach half a million MUM.
Any efficient group administrator will tell you that managing members can be time-consuming. That became the case for me. I could have hired a community manager from a freelancer marketplace to run my groups but didn’t. Instead, I sold my groups to focus on growing my website and agency.
Given the many ways to make money with Facebook groups, interest continues to grow in that area. On the one hand, you can start a group and scale it over time. Your group’s focus and marketing activities will determine its growth rate. On the other hand, attracting enough members to realize your goals can take years. Thus, you might purchase a group to accelerate events. Let’s cover how to buy and sell groups, but let’s discuss risks next.
Regardless of what Facebook’s terms of service say (or doesn’t say), it has banned the selling of administration rights for community groups. If Facebook finds out that you have bought or sold a group, it might disable or terminate your account. It would likely discover your activities from another user.
People use Facebook for all sorts of reasons. My reason was to make money and owning groups supported that objective. Other aspects of Facebook didn’t interest me, for example, posting on my profile. I considered the potential outcomes for buying groups and was prepared for the worst-case scenario, i.e., account termination without notice.
Suppose you mainly use Facebook to run ads for your business or to post affiliate links on your page. Both activities help you achieve your sales targets. Alternatively, you might use Facebook to arrange social events. Would it make sense in any of those hypotheticals to purchase a group with the risk of account termination? You should assess the pros and cons.
The surest way to remain on Facebook is not to buy or sell a group. However, it’s a risk-reward decision you must make. Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s co-founder, is all about taking risks. He’s no stranger to unethical hacking, deception, and schemes to get what he wants. In many ways, he doesn’t “play by the rules.” Therefore, risking your account to acquire a group would be very Zuckerberg-like and could pay off over the long-term.
How to Buy a Facebook Group
- Define your goals and requirements
- Search, join, and review prospective groups
- Message group owners
- Agree on a price and transact
- Leave no trace behind
Define Your Goals and Requirements
Your goal is the reason for wanting to acquire a group, for instance, to promote your website, sell advertising, or grow your email list. You can have multiple objectives.
Your requirements define what you want, for example, an English language group with 25,000+ members and one admin. The group must have a business or marketing focus because you will relaunch it as a Shopify e-commerce group.
- Groups with less than 25,000 members aren’t worth your time or the hassle unless you can acquire them for a low cost and quickly.
- It’s better to approach groups with one owner/admin because dealing with one person is more efficient than negotiating with multiple stakeholders. Also, there is less risk and time wasted on figuring out who has the final say.
- Groups that don’t have customized URLs are more valuable than those that do. Facebook allows admins to customize URLs only once. After that, they’re stuck with whatever they chose. Prioritize groups with generic URLs.
Example of a generic URL: facebook.com/groups/1473701362936588
Example of a customized: URL: facebook.com/groups/bobsmarketinggroup
Search, Join, and Review Prospective Groups
Search for groups by using different keywords. Public groups allow you to see a group’s activities without joining it. You must enter a closed group to review it. Explore groups to understand what they’re about and how they’re being managed.
- Beware of groups that have too much spam. Spam is difficult to reign in and devalues a group.
- Assess the engagement and activity levels of admins. Disengaged and barely present group owners are good candidates. They could be open to offloading their groups for the right price. A telltale sign that an admin is detached is a pinned post that is greater than six months old. Highly engaged and omnipresent admins are less likely to sell their groups because they’re benefiting somehow.
Message Group Owners
Message group owners and say something like,
How are you? I came across your group and am interested in buying it. Is it for sale?
- Understand your budget and how much you’re willing to spend before contacting anyone.
- Anticipate different replies and your responses to them.
- Be patient as replies may take a while.
- Follow up with a second message in a week or two to remain in a position of strength (you don’t want to appear desperate).
- Don’t send a bunch of messages all at once. Limit yourself to three to five each day, so that you can improve your messaging and avoid Facebook spam radars.
- Ask the owner questions to learn more about the group. Also, you might want to request specifics from Group Insights, which provides metrics about a community. However, the admin might decline your request.
- Don’t waste your time with users who quote high and ridiculous prices. For example, I was quoted $20,000 for a group with 200,000 members.
Agree on a Price and Transact
Agreeing on a price to achieve a win-win outcome won’t be instantaneous. Some back and forth will ensue until both parties agree and are ready to proceed.
What’s the value of a Facebook group? A practical approach is to assign a cost to a member then multiply that value by the number of group members. In my experience, members are typically worth a penny or less. For instance, a group member is worth $0.01. One cent multiplied by 40,000 members yields a price of $400. Another method is to conduct price experiments by asking around. You might offer different amounts until you understand what a buyer or seller is willing to accept. Lastly, consider how long it will take to recoup your expense. If you pay $100, your goal should be to earn that amount back within three to twelve months.
- Inform and confirm with the owner that he/she will have no rights or administrative privileges after the transaction.
- Limit your group purchases to two a month to avoid the Facebook police. Gaining too many groups too fast might attract attention.
- Nobody wants to get zucked. You don’t want to pay and not get the group. The group owner doesn’t want to make you an admin and not receive payment. One solution is to use Escrow.com. It’s an excellent platform to transfer, buy, and sell digital assets such as domains and websites. If you deal with good faith actors, you should be fine. PayPal is another option, but only for sending and receiving money.
- You might have to negotiate to get the terms you want. Coursera has several online courses about negotiation skills. For books, review Amazon, and YouTube has many videos.
Leave No Trace Behind
Once you’re in full possession of your community; update the title, description, cover, and metadata. Make the group yours. There’s no need to announce new ownership, but that’s your call. The less that is known, the quicker you can move on with your goals.
- Consider how you’ll respond to questions about your new ownership. You could say something like, “The previous admin no longer wanted to manage the group, so I took it over.” End of story.
How to Sell a Facebook Group
- Search for prospective buyers
- Message leads
- Agree on a price and transact
- Leave no trace behind
Search for Prospective Buyers
Internet marketers, content creators, and group admins are good prospects. Active members in your group are good candidates as well.
Message prospects and say something like,
How are you? I’m thinking about selling my group because I want to focus on other projects. Any interest in taking it over?
Leave No Trace Behind
Review and delete your posts/activities in the group before transferring it.
A Facebook group is an excellent digital asset to own for marketing, sales, and relationship building. Starting a group and benefiting from it can take months or years in which case buying one might be more beneficial. However, there are risks involved because it’s against Facebook’s TOS to transfer administrative rights. Perhaps one day, there will be a marketplace for trading groups.
Many users want to buy and sell groups. It’s only a matter of finding legitimate parties to execute. If you want to buy or sell a community, be discreet and fly under the radar to avoid hassles later.