Facebook Groups: From Zero to 500 Subscribers in One Week

By Guest Post •  Updated: 04/11/17 •  13 min read

Note from Sean: There’s always a lot of debate around Facebook and if it’s the best platform with which to grow a community or business. If done correctly, and in the right niche, Facebook groups can be a powerful asset.

But there’s a right way to do it, and in today’s post, Olivia Angelescu walks you step by step how to grow your subscriber base through Facebook groups.

It was the beginning of 2016, and I was finally ready to build my own freedom business. I had constantly been thinking about this for a few years (I won’t go into any details here about why it took me so long). Facebook Groups- From Zero to 500 Subscribers in One Week

I had gone through a lot of online training and all the free webinars I could get my hands on, in my desperate attempt to learn all I could about it (and yes, I am a total courses junkie!).  

By the time my simple website was up (I am all for starting before you are ready), I had a crystal clear business idea. And between reading Sean’s article here and Derek Halpern’s article here, I knew one thing:


But where to start?

I had zero connections online, nobody knew me. I was just a random woman from Romania who had this crazy idea that she could suddenly start an online business.

All my corporate friends thought I was crazy. I even remember my mother asking me for the 4th time if I was sure I was not trying to do something illegal online.

I also had another “small” problem: I had no money to invest in marketing.

I had spent all of my budgeted funds on a few expensive online training and courses. Plus, I didn’t want to ask my husband to help me with this, as I was not quite sure if I would be able to make any money at all.

So all I had was a deep desire to make this happen and some free time. And by “some free time” I mean not that much, considering at that time I just had my second baby and I was so sleep deprived!

The Importance of Guest Blogging

But since I was following all the gurus on the planet (well, almost all), I noticed one thing they all had in common: they all talked about how they use guest blogging to grow their lists.

Ramit Sethi, Derek Halpern, Amy Porterfield, and our own Sean Ogle. They were all swearing by the power of guest blogging. I knew that guest blogging would be 100% free and I also loved to write. So it made perfect sense for me to go ahead and try it immediately.

So, I started with guest blogging and yes, this helped me add my first 100 subscribers.

But it also took me a few months. At the beginning I didn’t exactly knowing what I was doing so, I spent a lot of time trying to find good websites to pitch my articles. Now I have an entire process for this that I use for my clients, but this came with a lot of experience.

Also, while guest posting was great, it would take an average of one month from the time my article was accepted until it got published. So the results were not as immediate as I hoped.

But once you become familiar with guest blogging (or you develop an entire process around it, if you are like me) things start to move quicker. I’ve added almost 100 subscribers to my list in the last month using only guest blogging.

I don’t want to expand too much on this because Alp Turan did such a great job already covering the ins and outs of guest posting which you can check out here in the ultimate guide to guest blogging.

By July 2016, I’d been doing a lot of research to find the burning needs of my target audience. I did this both because I really wanted to develop a killer freebie for my opt-in page and also to have a few ideas about what kind of products I could develop in the future.

I think that being a curious person while also a total research geek really helped me because one day I instantly had the feeling that I had finally found the golden goose!

So, great, I had all my ideas but not much else. Here’s what I was starting with:

One night, when my baby was crying and I couldn’t get any sleep at all, I had this idea that I could build my email list by only using assets I already had.

You see, between all the free and paid online courses and my interest in online marketing and freelancing, I was already part of more than 87 Facebook groups! And they were full of people who I knew needed to hear about my freebie.

But wait, before rolling your eyes about being in so many groups, let me say that I hadn’t had the time to properly explore them all (have I mentioned I was deeply sleep deprived?).

So you know what the best part?

I built my list in 5 days by using only 3 of those groups! 

Yes, that‘s right. And now I am going to show you, step by step, how I did it.

Step 1: Research Facebook Groups

I began by spending 2 hours going through each of the Facebook groups I was in and carefully choosing the ones I wanted to use for my experiment. In the end, I had a list of 10 very good groups, but I decided to start with only 3 of them, as this was all I could focus on at that time.

In the process, I also unfollowed more than 40 groups (what was I thinking when I joined them in the first place?). They were nothing but groups where everybody just posted links to their own stuff.

Hint: Try to stay away from those spammy types of groups. Why? It’s simple: people will be attracted to you only if you add real value to their lives (like inspiring them, helping them out for free, teaching them stuff). And if the group is only about pitching, your good stuff will get lost in the shuffle.

If you’re not already a member of any good Facebook groups to start with, here are two ways you can find them in under 5 minutes:

Method 1: Go to your Facebook homepage and type in the Search bar keywords related to your targeted audience.

In my example below, I wanted to find groups where solopreneurs hang out.

facebook groups

Method 2: Or, you can go to your Facebook left side bar and click on Groups.

facebook groups 2

Then Facebook will show you:

facebook groups 3

Now you just have to go through as many of them as you can. Carefully read their description (to make sure it is really what you need – a place where your targeted audience is present) and then ask to join at least 30 of them.

I say a big number like 30 because, at the start, you can only see the group description and the number of members. Once you are inside you’ll also get a clear picture of the quality of the discussions within the group.

If you are accepted into a group and you see that the level of discussions inside is not the one you are looking for, do yourself a favor and leave the group immediately. They are a terrible place to find any leads, as there isn’t any space for quality networking when everybody just tries to pitch everybody else.

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Step 2: After joining

For every group you joined, carefully read the group guidelines. You can usually find them in a pinned post at the top of the group page. This is important because you want to respect the house rules. It is common curtesy and if you don’t pay attention you can get kicked out.

Accidents can happen, of course, especially if you’re new to the group. If you do accidentally break the rules, make sure you say you’re sorry right away and fix up your content.

Also, for each group, make sure you know if they allow any form of self-promotion before you start posting.

Make a plan

I basically don’t do anything before making a detailed plan first. My husband seems to get quite annoyed by it sometimes, especially right before we have to plan out holiday… I wonder why!

So I took a simple sheet of paper and I drew three columns. At the top of each column, I wrote the name of each of the Facebook groups I was targeting. Then I added three lines for the three days of the week I could spend 30 minutes in each of the groups.

It looked something like this:facebook groups 4
Start with your introductions.

Try to make your introduction as memorable as possible. Compliment the group host (in a sincere way), speak a little bit about yourself and what you do (without adding links to your website), and be as human and relatable as possible. You could also speak about your family, your pet, what you love to do in your free time, etc., anything to start making real connections.

Now, before going to the next step, you have to go into each group and make your powerful introduction, don’t skip this part. If you are new to a group (or if it is a lot of time since you last interacted with the group), then do this first.

The idea is that you want to see those Facebook groups like a room full of real people with whom you will start networking.

So first you will stand up, thank the group host for this opportunity and then effectively introduce yourself, right? Just like in real life.

Step 3: Take action!

For the next three days, I strictly followed my plan. I showed up in the groups two times per day (mornings and late evenings) for at least 15 minutes each. I searched the group for keywords related to my topic or area of expertise and I answered all the questions I could find on it.

When I didn’t find any new questions, I just tried to jump into the latest conversations and help in any way I could. And by helping I don’t mean being generic: I really tried to add as much value as I could.

For example:

All I did is just basic stuff, but I was completely honest in any feedback I provided and I had the mindset of 100% trying to help. I didn’t spend one second thinking about pitching anything to anyone.

Step 4: Go for it!

On the third day, I posted the same message in all the 3 Facebook groups, at the same time.

Note: Looking back, that is definitely something I have learned a lot from. I didn’t consider that those groups (on roughly the same topic) could have shared members who would see the same message posted by me in all the 3 groups. Some of them considered this to be spammy.

This is not something I would do again, make sure you avoid posting the same thing at the same time in different groups, even if you don’t have any intention of being spammy.

So I posted the three messages introducing my freebie and then I went to bed. The next morning, I woke up to this:

facebook groups 5

Yes, that’s more than 500 comments from people thanking me and even saying that they are willing to give me money if I was ever selling an expanded version of that freebie. As we all know, this is a very powerful validation that your product idea will sell.

And this was in only one of those groups. The response was amazing in all of them.

I checked my MailChimp account: 360 subscribers in 8 hours!

In the following days, after further updating my initial post in the groups to make my opt-in link more visible and even personally reaching out to many of those who commented on my post, I added another 50 people to my list and wrapped it up at 410 subscribers.

As you can see below, in the print screen taken from my Mailchimp account for that particular list, I started at zero and in July (on the 27th to be more exact) things exploded (at least for me, a total beginner who thought that it will take a lot more than 8 hours to go there).

facebook groups 6

This and my initial guest blogging results allowed me to quickly build my list from zero to 500 subscribers when I was only starting out.

As you can imagine, what I got was an immediate boost of confidence and motivation that helped me a lot.

Final Thoughts

So where am I, a few months later? I am proud to say that I still haven’t paid one dollar on marketing and I still use my free time to network in Facebook groups.

Now, because my 1 year old goes to daycare, I tend to have a little extra time. But guess what? I am also very busy working: I am fully booked for my VIP package. Care to guess where I got all my paying clients from?

Yes, still Facebook groups. I have a process now for getting clients from those Facebook groups, especially from the groups that have zero tolerance for any form of self-promotion.

I have learned a lot since my first attempt. For example, I would never make the mistake to post the same thing all over the internet at the same time again. Now, I have an entire process around it which I use all the time. It works.

I am sure it can work for you also. Go ahead and give it a try. As long as you remember the most important rule (to network in those group just like networking in person) you can have tremendous results.

Olivia Angelescu helps solopreneurs and small businesses make more money with simple and effective marketing hacks that really work. No more waiting for years until your biz takes off! She has launched and grown her freedom business without a marketing budget and she shows others how to do the same. Find out more here: http://oliviaangelescu.com/

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26 comments on "Facebook Groups: From Zero to 500 Subscribers in One Week"

  1. What an excellent post. Thank you, Olivia, I enjoyed all of it. You are exactly the type of person for whom I’m building my own biz: no time, no money, exhausted, over the top ambition. I went to your site and am now a subscriber. Perhaps you can guest on my blog in the very near future. 😀

    1. Olivia says:

      Hi Annie! Thank you. I am glad you enjoyed my article. I am 100% for business building hacks that work. 🙂

  2. carlos says:

    Wow. What an awesome way to start! 🙂

    1. Olivia says:

      Hi Carlos. Yes, it was a massive validation that I have ( finally ) found my biz idea. In the last month I used the same tactics to get from zero to fully booked for my content marketing and guest blogging services so it really works! 🙂

  3. Great post! I’d never ever considered Facebook groups but thinking about it, it’s a thriving community waiting to be connected with!

    1. Olivia says:

      Hi Jamie. Yes, just think about it: the Facebook groups are the equivalent of forums. They are full of people who have a need that you can meet with your service. So you just have to look for the ones that work for you and have a strategy in place. Just share super valuable tips/content on your topic, network and be really helpful and people will start to notice you and come to you.

  4. Gary says:

    Nice post, I found it particularly easy to read (and I’m not a big reader) Is there any reason why you didn’t screenshot your entire freebie post? I would have liked to have seen the full copy to see how you avoided seeming too salesy or spammy…

    1. Olivia says:

      Hi Gary. I am glad you enjoyed my article.
      It was a long post and I only wanted to focus on the metrics ( in this case the number of comments), to make my point.
      For me, not being salesly is always about focusing only on giving immense value. In this case, it seems that the value of my opt in freebie was really amazing to them : it is a comprehensive list of 100 websites that they could guest post for ( with all the needed info included like the editor ‘s email address, link to the guest blogging guidelines, traffic numbers etc). I think that your freebie is good enough when you could charge money for it. In this case the freebie helped them save at least 10 hours of research, so it was a no brainer that they signed up. 🙂

  5. Ryan says:


    Thanks for sharing your story.

    Would you mind elaborating on the details of the message you sent on day three? Was it just a link to your lead magnet? What did you say about it?

    To me, this is the most interesting part of the story.


    1. Olivia says:

      Hi Ryan. I simply told them that I have noticed that many of them struggle with X and that, because I am working with X, I have developed over time a file which I am sure will save them at least 10 hours of research. It was pretty straightforward, the idea is to shortly communicate the immediate benefit they will get without turning your post into a mini sales page. I always think about FB groups like rooms with people: so if you just enter the room and try to look the most interesting and pitch your services people will reject you. But if you are 100% genuine and helpful and then briefly speak about something valuable for them ( without insisting too much) that you want to share with them, they will pay attention.

  6. Agnieszka says:

    Thank you, it is really good and what I looking for 🙂

    1. Olivia says:

      Hi Agnieszka, I am glad you enjoyed it. 🙂

  7. Thank you Olivia & Sean
    Very good article and useful as well.

    1. Olivia says:

      I am so glad you liked the article. 🙂

  8. Joe says:

    This is quite straightforward and very useful – thanks.

    1. Olivia says:

      Thanks, Joe. 🙂

  9. Thanks Olivia for this powerful post. I have set up my blog but developed cold feet..no money,little time.. even scared to tell anyone about my idea and the blog.. but I know where to start from now.. thanks a lot.

    1. Olivia says:

      Dear Gloria, I totally understand, I was in your shoes not so long ago. I get it that few people from your circle understand what you are doing, I am lucky that my husband (kind of) gets it. 🙂 Also, when I was just starting out I had no money to invest in this and I also had a newborn, I was cooking every day and taking care of the household and my other 6 years old daughter (so I was basically grateful even for small things like taking a shower!). 🙂 So I had to find quick and effective things that work. And this did. So I totally recommend to try it and see how it goes.

  10. Awesome post Olivia. Can you tell us a little bit more about how you currently link to your freebie? In most of the groups I’m in, there’s zero self promotion, so I’m not able to point to anything that requests an email sign up.

    I often just go ahead and share my free offers, without the opt in page (a link to the download file) with the hopes that the right people will visit my Facebook page, and eventually find my website and other offers… but it hasn’t been terribly effective for me this year.

    In your screenshot Edit 3 mentions something about the Show & Tell thread – did you originally post it in a thread, and then posted it on it’s own? Or, was this within a promo thread itself? Those threads are often just “drop a link and immediately unfollow”, I’ve found… 🙂

    Do you also share your strategy/process for finding clients elsewhere? (on your website perhaps?) If so, can you share a link so I can check it out?

    Again, great article… thanks for answering my Q’s 🙂

    ~ Loralee

    1. Olivia says:

      Hi Loralee. I am happy you found the article useful. 🙂
      There are 4 types of FB groups: – they allow links without any rules ( stay away from those groups, nobody connects there, they are just full of people dumping their great offers there and then leaving);
      – they allow self promotion as long as you focus first on giving value;
      – they allow links in a weekly thread ( like the case I wrote about in my article);
      – they don’t allow any links ( I focused on adding regular insane value in the group and then regularly posted tips on my topic – Canva pictures including tips- people started messaging me, we connected and a part of them turned into paying clients).

      What I did ( and what you saw in the print screen in my article) is I posted about my amazing freebie that I knew they badly wanted ( like a short description) and then I said that I am going to add the link in the weekly thread. Then, after a lot of them were still asking where can they sign up, I edited my original post and told them again to go to the weekly thread or just to search for my name into the group. After that, as there still were people saying they couldn’t find my link, I personally messaged them and thank them for their interest and gave them the link. But really want to emphasize something here, as this is crucial (in any marketing strategy): my freebie was so good ( for them) that I could have charged money for it. This is the only “secret” to be honest. If you have this 99% of your work is done.

    2. Olivia says:

      I am regularly sharing with my audience my best tips and tricks on list building and getting clients so if you are interested in knowing more you can just subscribe by using the link provided at the end of my article. In this way you will also get my freebie: the list with 20 good Facebook groups for netprenerus. 🙂

  11. Joel says:

    Wow Olivia. That’s what I’m talking about. Honesty truly is the best policy isn’t it?

    Thanks for the tips.

    1. Olivia says:

      Hi Joel. Yes, staying honest always helps. 🙂 I am happy you liked my tips.

  12. CJ Haughey says:

    I’ve recently decided to switch my focus to Facebook so this post has really given me great hopes for using FB to grow my email subscribers and blog traffic. It’s amazing that you got such a response. I just need to think of an equally compelling freebie!

    1. Olivia says:

      Yes, the freebie must be worth charging for, I can’t emphasize this enough.

  13. Anna Pavlova says:

    Thank you very much for sharing your experience, Olivia. I have just recently started blogging. I truly believe in the ideas behind my blog and I have so many plans for it. But I also have a zero marketing budget.Like you said, It took me a lot of guts to kick start this project with all the naysayers and such. And now I’m a bit lost as to how to grow an audience and build a mailing list. Honestly, your article is the most useful information I have found online.
    I have a question for you: my blog is about the outcomes of my life philosophy (learning one new skill every year). Because I cover all kinds of skills, from riding a motorcycle or learning a second language to swing dancing or gardening, my target audience is quite difficult to pin point, except for their group age. What kind of Facebook groups would you join if you were in my place? Especial interests related to specific skills or general personal development groups?
    Thank you again!

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