“What is happening? Why aren't people responding to my Facebook fanpage? What am I doing wrong?”

Does that sound like you?

Maybe you have heard the news…or perhaps you're still trying to figure this whole social media stuff out and haven't paid much attention to what Facebook is Thinkstock/Anatoliy Babiydoing.

Facebook is a business, and a profitable one at that.

Facebook has decided to make “pay to play” a part of the new Facebook criteria, at least for fanpages.

How many saw that coming? I did! But there is hope.

Fanpages are still a great place to engage your audience regardless if you have to pay or not. I choose not to pay, simply because I’ve learned how to work social media to produce results. It’s all in the engagement.

Building engagement starts with trust. People will trust you when they see you are being genuine and real, and not tossing out “spammy” messages all the time. You will find success by creating posts that drive engagement, and you will inevitably build fans, friends and followers.

Engagement builds your social influence. And it's that influence that creates trust. So by being social, by posting regularly, you in essence create an experience that people want to be a part of.

But did you know that you can sort of manipulate the system in your favor and get new customers by using Facebook’s own system against itself?

Yes, you can, at least until Facebook realizes we found their loophole and are making money with it.

What I'm talking about and what I'm about to share with you is simple and ever-so-clever and it can help you to build a better, more profitable business. 

Facebook group pages 

Group pages are like fanpages but with a more controlled group of individuals. Some are open to the public, which means anyone can see your posts and can join. Some are closed to the public, which means your posts are not accessible until you join. And others are secret, which means only those that know they exist will be able to join.

With a fanpage, anyone can “Like” it and start enjoying your posts. With a group page, only those approved or that meet a certain criteria can join. In order to get a group page going, you may have to add friends from your personal page.

Use caution, as some may like the page and stay and some may find being on another group is too much and leave. Keep in mind, though, that group pages are designed to maximize conversation in a more localized demographic.

Building connections with group pages

In my town of Lancaster, PA, there is a group page started by a local realtor called “The Lancastrian” and it currently has more than 2,300 members. What's cool about this group is that most people post old photographs of the area. Spammy messages are deleted right away to give more room for actual dialogue.

It's through that dialogue that conversations about “Which contractor should I use?” and “Are they any good?” and “What’s their phone number?” are becoming common.

Social influence at its best!

Now, let’s get to the good part.

How to use group pages

As you are all cleaners and restorers, you no doubt want to see how a fellow entrepreneur used group pages to ethically land more jobs.

Let me introduce you to Kevin Mortensen, founder of Western Restoration LLC and Mid-State Restoration/Chem-Dry Carpet Medic in Utah and how he scored big time using Facebook group pages. 

“Amanda” (see photograph) posted on Richfield’s 24/7 Yard Sale, a group page on Facebook, about needing a carpet cleaner. She was specific in her post. She wanted someone who had a great experience with a local company, and a company that could do stain removal. Kevin’s company was mentioned and a telephone number was shared. Amanda called Kevin and booked the job.

Then that same day, another person saw that exchange and sent Kevin a message asking if his company would travel to a nearby county. You can see the example in the second photograph.

Kevin ended up booking several jobs off that Richfield's 24/7 Yard Sale group page.

The following week, Kevin using another group page to sell his older van, and shortly afterwards he received a message not inquiring about buying it, but if his service cleaned couches. You can see this message in the third photograph.

Get started today

Imagine how profitable you could make your business just by being social on a few group pages. Now, you can make money using Facebook without spending extra money boosting posts or creating ads that may or may not work.

You could even start your own group page that applies to your own community and one that potential customers may find interesting. (See the “Steps to creating your new group page” sidebar.)

Start a new group, join a few groups, interact with others and educate, entertain and engage to build trust and attract fans, friends and followers.

Rob Anspach is the author of “Social Media Debunked” and “Share: 27 Ways to Boost Your Social Media Experience, Build Trust and Attract Followers”. He teaches entrepreneurs how to maximize their online and offline marketing experience, how to attract and retain affluent clients and how to profit from their passions. For more information, visit www.RobAnspach.com