Facebook is undeniably one of THE platforms to be when you’re trying to reach as many people as you want for your business or brand. As such, it tends to be swimming with so many competitions that it can be hard to stand out. In this episode, Steve Sims invites Arne Giske, co-founder at Group Funnels, to help you overcome this problem and into your goals by building Facebook groups. Arne is a course creator, traveler, and digital product launch agency owner who leads the Millennial Entrepreneur Community on Facebook with over 77,000 members around the globe. Suffice to say, Arne is a master at getting information off of Facebook and into other platforms. Here, he shares some of those great insights with us, particularly on re-engineering Facebook’s algorithm and looking at what it wants, so they end up working for you instead. If you are trying to get more traction on any social network, then get inside this great conversation to learn Arne’s ingenious hacks and more.
Listen to the podcast here:
Arne Giske: Group Funnel Master
Our guest is a 26-year-old kid that I’ve known for a while, but this guy dazzles me with the problems that he solves. He hosts one of the largest Facebook communities out there. He knows how to get information off of Facebook into other platforms like the emails. He’s a sharp guy, but he talks about reengineering and the algorithm of Facebook and looking at what Facebook wants so they end up working for you. Any of you trying to get more traction on any social network, learn about his ideas on reverse-engineering the algorithm, face shop lad. Arne Giske. Enjoy the show.
Arne, welcome to the show.
Thanks for having me.
I’m talking to someone who’s incredibly young. How old are you?
I am 26.
You’ve got a Facebook Community that’s large. How many people are subscribed to it?
I’ve got a couple of people in there. We’re coming up on an 80,000. We’re about 79,000 now.
Someone said to me that it was the largest subscribed-based Facebook group. Is that still accurate or are there bigger groups than that?
There are bigger groups. We can get into some interesting ones. One grew to over a million members in less than a month. I’m going to tell you a story behind that one, but we’re one of the biggest in the entrepreneur space that’s not completely full of crap. We built an amazing community over the last couple of years and so much has come of that. I’m excited to share more on it.
You built up solid engagement. I met you virtually a few years ago when we did an interview and then I got into the group. It’s probably one of the most engaging, articulate, argumentative groups that I’ve ever been in. They love to challenge and that’s one of the fun bits I’ve had. I’ve got in hot water a few times with my conversations in there, but you’re going to a lot of groups, it will be mediocre and beige and people will go, “That’s good. That’s an interesting point. I love that, thumbs up, give ear,” and your group would be like, “Why is that important? I tried that a bit, but it didn’t work. Try this.” They’re engaged. What first of all made you want to build a big dynamic group?
It all started off when I was in college. I was reading all these articles on Entrepreneur.com, Business Insider, and all this stuff. I was soaking it up. I didn’t have any online business at the time. In fact, I drove one of those pedicabs or rickshaws out in Seattle for $20, $40 a ride. I was curious about business, online business, and marketing. I read an article on the community on Entrepreneur.com and I reached out to the author. I said, “I appreciate that article. I was thinking about all that. I want to say, ‘Good job.’” He said, “Thank you so much. I started a community on Facebook for entrepreneurs. Do you want to come by? Come check it out.”
This was years ago before anybody was doing anything with groups for business. I got in there, started meeting people, soaking up the scene, chatting, learning, and that’s how I got into online business was through some of the connections and things I learned in that group. I thought, “This is fun and valuable,” but I see the owner of this group even more fun and even more valuable for him because he gets all the clients out of the group. I started to see all these little niche communities pop up here and there. More people were spending more time in groups instead of Pages, Newsfeed, and all that. I saw some good opportunities and I promptly started a few of my own groups, back-to-back that all tanks for one reason or another. I had four completely bombed failed groups before starting the fifth, which is the one that brought almost over 80,000.When you please the Facebook algorithm gods, they reward you by sending all the traffic you could ever wish for. Click To Tweet
When you please the Facebook algorithm gods, they reward you by sending all the traffic you could ever wish for.
We’ve talked about this mega-group, what is it called?
Is it only for Millenials?
It’s all over the place. That’s the main demographic, for sure. I saw one guy that joined. He said, “It was cool. I’m fourteen. I want to learn what you guys do here and I started a blog. I learned how to make my own website.” I love seeing that kind of stuff. These young hustlers coming together and do something different and try and make some business happen.
I would follow in the theme of your group argue with you. I wouldn’t say the Millennials were the cornerstone demographic of the group. They may be by default because of the name, but Millennial was the subject matter. There are a lot of people like me that are in it and I know another bunch of people because we’ve gone to events together. I know a lot of other people that are in their 30s, 40s and 50s that are also members because they want to understand the Millennial mindset. They are like, “What are the Millennials thinking?” Let’s be serious, the Millennials are moving on. There’s another generation coming along so it’s a way of marketers to get in and talk to people that understand that market, which is what the whole point of a Facebook community is. You’ve given a great pedigree there and a great group, but what’s the point for you? How does it benefit you?
When we take a step back and look at pieces of business, pieces of marketing, you have traffic, leads, and conversions. I don’t care if you’re doing a billboard, a handout at an event, Google Ads, Facebook, whatever. That’s how you grow a business. What we found is with Facebook Groups especially when you please the Facebook algorithm gods, they send you all the traffic you could ever wish for. What do you think Facebook’s number one goal is?
Content and engagement, one of those two, but I would say engagement.
To take it a couple of layers deeper, they want the content and engagement so they can have super active users, sell more ads, and increase their valuation to investors. When we reverse engineer that and say, “How can we get Facebook what they want?” “Highly-engaged users.” “How do we get a highly-engaged user?” “We put out good content that they care about, that they want to show up on, revisit again, watch all your videos, and comment on all your posts.” When you make the algorithm gods happy, they reward you by sending tons of traffic to your group, your videos, whatever it is. There’s no way I could have grown to almost 80,000 members unless I spent hundreds of thousand dollars on ads, which I didn’t without knowing how to engineer that. When you tap into Facebook, they take all the other two billion Facebook users and they send a percentage of them in your way. It is super powerful.
I want to pause there because anyone who reads this, everyone tries to do communities to emphasize themselves, magnify their voice, and to get users. You went, “How can I get Facebook to work for me?” You did reverse it and that’s a powerful thing. I have to admit, I have never thought about how do I please Facebook. I’ve thought about how do I please my tribe and community, but never how do I please Facebook to get them to work for me. You mentioned that there was this other group that you had some backstories. Was it over a million subscribers that are part of the community?
It’s insane. I’m not sure how much it is at now, but it’s a group called Beard Game Matters. The group was put together by people who sell beard products such as oils and combs. What happened was as more guys started joining this group, they would post up pictures of their beards looking good, all cleaned up, freshly shaved sides, and all that. It was this big beard party. Everybody’s like, “Cool.” Here’s how it went crazy and it went viral. The women started joining and commenting on all the pictures of the guys, hitting them up, liking, and sharing their stuff out like, “This guy looks good.” They are inviting all their friends to come to look at all these dudes posting up their bearded selfies. It went nuts. Once again, because they tapped into the Facebook algorithm of everybody commenting, liking, sharing, showing up, it was socially viral with the algorithm. It blew up. In less than a month, they had a million members and the creators ended up launching a dating app for women to find their bearded men.
That’s cool because they reverse-engineered the algorithm. Let us segment into one of your products. You built the tribe, you reverse-engineered the algorithm, built the following, and like Beard Game Matters, you then built the product, which is completely reverse to what we were at several years ago. Before, we built a product, and then we would go out there and try and find out if anyone were to buy it. You’ve built a tribe and then build a product for that tribe.
A couple of that way and it’s been amazing. I’m grateful for the type of business that I grew up with. How I learned business is how quickly you can pivot and change ideas, drop and pick up something new to start this, do that, jump in, get a funnel up in an hour and make those decisions. When I first built my group, I had a few different services that I was offering. My whole goal wasn’t just to sell my services to my group. It was to build an awesome group. It was to create a community that I didn’t have and have a high level of support and networking for Millennial entrepreneurs like me. Right around the 5,000-member mark, I threw out a question and said, “Do you guys want to learn how I grew this group to 5,000 members?”
I got 200 comments. It was nuts. I then went, “I’m on to something.” I got an exercise for everybody to do. If you want to validate an idea and you want to get leads, all you’ve got to do is write a post on Facebook and say, “If I put out training on how I helped a client do blank,” some tangible desirable result such as grow a group to 5,000 members, make $500,000 in eCommerce, grow my hair back, whatever it is. You can put that post out and then gauge it, “Yes or no.” You might get a lot of interests, you might not, but that’s the first step I always take when validating any idea for any product, training, opt-in or whatever it is, you can run with it. It’s powerful so I ended up creating the community first, launching a training on how to build the groups. Later on, we built software because people were getting good at building groups that they had the problem of, “I have too many people coming in. I need to get these leads and track the leads.”
The good thing about Facebook is it gives you another way and another platform to be able to communicate. As we all know, it’s not the only way of communicating with people. We got involved with each other because of your product, Group Funnels. We’re all used to it. Everyone’s already doing it. Whenever you get into a Facebook group, you have to answer three questions. One of those questions is, “What is your email?” It’s probably on the software that’s being used to populate that, but your email is then taken, put into a Google Sheet, which is then transferred into any CRM or mail program for Mailchimp, Constant Contact. You’ve then got them not only on socially but you can get into that email box. It’s an easy system that you’re not trying to pull these things out manually. Was there anyone else doing that before you came up with that?
I got the idea for it months before I did anything with it. As soon as the option to ask people three questions came out, we all started grabbing emails, and then I was like, “This is awesome,” also, a giant pain in the ass because there’s no way I’m going to copy and paste all of these, so my next move was to hire somebody to copy and paste it for me. I didn’t hire a new person and didn’t make the SOP, so I was burning emails as people join my group. I thought, “I’m not going not to approve them because I’m too lazy to hire a VA. I’m going to get them in there and lose the email. That’s okay.”
We made the tool to grab that, press Approve All, pulls all the data, and put them in your list. I didn’t have software experience and I still don’t have a lot of software experience. I have a cofounder on this one. Matt rang me one day and he said, “I’ve got this thing. I want you to take a look at it. You’re going to love it.” I said, “Let’s see what you’ve got.” He made a little basic version of this that pulled the emails out and picked him up and I was like, “This is gigantic. How has nobody ever done this?” He said, “I built this because it was such a pain in the ass in my group. You helped me grow my group to a few thousand members. I’m good with this tech stuff, so I built a basic version. I’m going to launch this and do this with or without you. If you want to partner up, what do you say?” I said, “I’m in. They’re going to love it.”
The next step I took was the exact post I told you to make. I said, “If you guys had a tool that could capture all those emails as people join your group, would you want it?” Once again, I got over a hundred comments. That was to my client’s group. We ended up selling 100 spots in three days for that first beta round and we made about $12,000. I was like, “I think this thing has legs. Let’s see where we can go with it.” It’s been a wild ride of creation and enjoying it. To date, we’ve helped our members approve over 3.5 million Facebook group members so far and that equates to almost about two million email leads without paying for ads.
How do you answer the naysayers out there when they say, “Facebook is going away?”
It is because nothing’s permanent, but if you see a truck driving by that’s dropping gold coins off the back and you can run over there and pick them up, are you going to say, “I might wait for another truck?”
Looking at the social platforms out there, we were digressing off a complete one, what other social platforms should people be paying attention to?
I’m not the best person to ask that because I always try and do less. When I first started, I had Twitter, Instagram, Quora, Pinterest, Facebook, podcasts, YouTube, all this other stuff, and I was worn out. I was not getting results anywhere. My content was not getting any attraction and I was barely making any money. I completely cut all of that off and focused on Facebook and the group. That’s what blew it up. Even when I started making a bunch more money, I was able to hire some people to help with content distribution. We said, “Let’s go big. Let’s get back on YouTube and Pinterest and all these other places.” Even though other people were managing it for me, it wasn’t pushing the needle how I want it so we cut it back again. Now, I have people to help me manage my groups. I have my podcast called Sell More Courses Podcast. That’s the main channel where we publish content. I’m less is more type of guy when it comes to social, figuring out where your voice in your content resonates the most and stick to it, go big, and be consistent.
The one key thing here that I want all of my people to understand is what Arne said last is irrelevant because if you think about the conversation prior to that, he’s already got all of those emails from the people that joined the group. If Facebook dies and one opens up called Bingo, he can invite all of his millions of followers over to the new Bingo platform. The point is that he’s right. He’s consumed himself with one platform, but in getting data that he can easily transfer over to another. If you’ve got a one set on MySpace and they are listening to you there and nowhere else, then it’s a three-wheeled car, you’re going to have problems.
For arguments, everyone is going nuts on TikTok at the moment. I’ve got a TikTok account and I’m up to a grand total of maybe 30, but who cares? The focus is to get traction in where you can best get it, but make sure you’ve got not your hands tied to be able to explore other networks. Through Group Funnels, you can gather that data and then shift the people over to wherever the new MySpace or wherever the new platform comes over. Maybe Friendster will make a comeback, who knows? The funny angle of that switch is email is a funny beast because we know that whenever we send something out on email, a lot of people don’t get it. Either it gets filtered out or they’re too busy or they’ve deleted it by accident. Email is one of these things that is tough to communicate on, but then we’ve got social platforms and we’ve got Facebook. Do you agree that everyone can say the paradigm of things to death? Should we still use them? Do you think that email is dying in the same way?
It’s about understanding. I always looked at marketing as an ecosystem. It’s not about this one platform here. It’s about the person’s overall journey on the other side that’s consuming that. We focus mostly on some chatbots, we do email marketing, Facebook Groups, and Facebook Ads. The technical side of that is somebody opt-in to get a lead magnet from me. They’re going to come into a chatbot. They’re going to give me their email. The mail gets sent out to their email, then they’re on a chatbot, follow-up sequence on the chatbot list, on the email list, on the email follow-up sequence, and then they get invited to the Facebook Group on both of those.Marketing is an ecosystem. All your messages and all your actions equal your results. Click To Tweet
From all that data, we can send them retargeting ads on Facebook. If I send out a chatbot, an email, a Facebook post, and a retargeting ad, you can’t escape it. I remember back at the Reno event, we went to a bar called Death & Taxes. I took a picture out in front of that bar. I was pointing up at the sign and I made an ad out of it. I said, “Three things you can’t escape death, taxes, and my retargeting ads. Learn how Group Funnels can help you show up in front of your entire audience and increase your reach.” It did well because we were like, “That’s good.” We always think about like, “It’s the ecosystem. It’s the sum of all of your messages. The sum of all your actions equals your results so do multiple things. Don’t go all in on groups or chatbots. Manage your risk and get those emails.” That’s the only list you truly own, emails, customers’ addresses, phone numbers, that kind of stuff. That’s your database. You can get kicked off of Facebook any day.
I’m glad you ended with that. People still fail to realize that they don’t own the people that are following them on Facebook. They can get turned off a heartbeat and then they’re screwed so with emails, they’re yours in your pocket. You can use those whenever. I was giving someone an argument saying that emails weren’t the best way to get through and he said, “It’s the content that could be the issue because my mum has not opened one of my emails.” If you’re spamming and people closing them and not reading them and delete in you, that’s because you maybe never had them in the first place if you are using it as an ecosystem uncovering them in different ways. I don’t remember that Death & Taxes advert. The only thing that pissed me off about that was I never got Death & Taxes picture. It was cool, easy, and impactful. On that last word, impact, how do you focus the impact in social in a world of mass noise? How do you simplify your message to get through?
What we see is everybody closely copying the next person next to them. The spinoff on the cover photo, the headline, the website, the sales funnel, and the products. It looks like a bazillion clones offering the same stuff to each other. It’s a big mess. What I’ve always found to be the most impactful in getting my message out is to remove more of my filter. We all have these filters of what’s on our mind, what we post, what we don’t post. You think, “This would be a funny post.” He then goes, “I’m not going to post that,” but then you do and you go, “That’s going to be good.”
It’s memorable so the biggest missing component that most people don’t have on social media is that they’re not memorable. They look too much like the other people. They’re posting the same type of content, but they’re not telling enough stories. They’re not truly engaging back and forth with their people. They’re not building meaningful connections and saying stuff that’s worth reading. That’s the end of it. Put out stuff that’s worth reading and have fun with it. If you do that on social media, people will remember you. People will reel for you and it’s a lot more fun.
I have seen the people when they get on social, they suddenly become a meme machine. They try to get these horrible little quotes, as they’ve come out of some kind of cracker. It’s like, “Be the one you want to be,” and there’s a picture of a puppy and then post it. They will then be upset that they don’t get a million followers overnight. I want people to hold standards higher. I love the way you say about the filter. I posted a video on it because there’s this thing going around at the moment, the Dolly Parton challenge. What do you look like on Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, and if you had a Tinder account? With mine, I made sure that, “This is me, it’s as good as you get.” A lot of people are trying to be different people on different platforms and are trying to filter so much that they dilute. They’re scared of coming forward and going, “This is me.”
It’s funny to know what you say about that Dolly Parton thing. When I did first adapt LinkedIn, people started telling me, “LinkedIn is different. You have to edit and proofread and be more professional.” I was like, “I’m not listening to that advice. I’m throwing in all my normal funny stuff, emojis, and crappy grammar. I’m not proofreading stuff and I’m putting it out there.” It did fine because of everybody else on LinkedIn. Somebody said LinkedIn is Facebook in a suit. I thought that was funny.
It is dark. It’s like someone giving you a new phone and saying, “By the way, when you speak on this phone you can’t tell any jokes. It’s a platform for communication, which is ridiculous.” I’m going to ask you this directly. I had a conversation with Dan Fleyshman and it got a bit dark, which was cool. You are a Millennial and I am not. We’re talking about people’s filters. There’s also a great deal of fear at the moment that what we say will offend someone that’s more woke. Are you in your generation scared to say what you think in case you upset someone?
We are all hyper-aware of the PC culture that sometimes we completely avoid things, especially in public discussion. I don’t touch politics with a 10-foot pole online because it’s not going to be productive. I know people are going to get pissed off. People that like me for everything else besides what I think about politically, they are not going to like me anymore. That makes no sense to me. At least for me, I feel like I can leave out of my online identity and still be everything else I am. A lot of people see that from both the brand side. I hope that people get more comfortable with people being different and don’t get offended so often. It didn’t come up at your event and somebody said, “This is going to get even worse.” People are going to get more progressively offended because they’re so in their own world and then when the world clashes, they retreat back and talk to the people in their own world.
For anyone wondering what that means, Arne came to a couple of my Speakeasies. He came to Elon Musk’s Gigafactory and then the BunnyRanch afterward. He came to that one. Up in Silicon Valley in San Francisco, we did Tesla and McColl gave us a personal walkthrough and education. I know ManyChat. You’ve been a Speakeasy alumnus. You’ve been there a few times. It’s a strange world. The one thing I like about your group, even though it appears to try to piss them off, is that they argue. There are two kinds of people we’re getting, the people that are fighting to say something because they bother the woke crowd out there and then the other people are getting fine to argue. He’s usually through a good argument.
Back in East London, you wouldn’t have a best friend unless you had a punch up with him. You had to bridge that thing. It’s like the intimacy of a relationship. The relationship is not a true relationship until you’ve been intimate. I find that when you argue with someone, you clearly get that position that tone, voice, passion, and enthusiasm in the subject. I’ve had arguments for people that I don’t agree with but I have respectful. That’s changes all. I hope they change because there are some dicks in there, but most of your group is challenging. They want an explanation of your view, they are argumentative and I find it compelling. I can’t post something in your group and think that I can get away or walk away. It’s got to start a conversation.
I do like poking the bear, but I love the way your boys and girls come back. If anyone is out there, you’re still accepting applications into the Millennial Group, aren’t you? Again, the full name of the group is the Millennial Entrepreneur Community. Anyone out there that’s going, “I’m not a Millennial,” get in there because you’ll be able to ask questions to Millennials and maybe you’ll get 50 responses that understand the Millennials better than you do. It’s a great way of understanding where the headspace is for that generation, so I commend you on that. Is the group funnel still going well?
The group funnel is going great.Put out stuff that's worth reading and have fun with it. If you do that on social media, people will remember you.. Click To Tweet
Where do they find out about that? I must admit, I have group funnels but I don’t have an affiliate account. I like to be independent because if group funnels were shot, I’d like to be able to go with group funnels. I don’t want to be saying good things about it because they get paid. I do not get paid by you, but I love group funnels. Where can people find out about group funnels?
Go to GroupFunnels.com. It will show all the info there and it is easy to set up. If you’ve got a Facebook group or you want to start one, I would love to help. Building a community is one of the funniest and most profitable moves you can make.
There is a Group Funnels Facebook Page when you’ve got Group Funnels so when things aren’t going right and you don’t know how to do something, you can go on there and go, “How do I do this?” They will tell you what button to push. I have Group Funnels that were set up easily and it works. I appreciate that. Are there any more things in the pipeline for you?
We’re working on some other potential software coming up. One of which will be a mystery until it gets closer. One of them I’ll let you know about, which is a software for removing inactive members from a Facebook group. The higher concentration of engagement you have, the more that you tap into that Facebook algorithm and continue to grow your group and get clients, and so on. Let’s say if you had 1,000 people in your group and only 200 consistently engaged, Facebook would say, “This guy has only got 20% of his group active.” If you chop that down to 200, they go, “He’s got a 100% engagement rate. This is crazy.” They would send them more members. It’s a good way to hype people up, so instead of having to do that all manually and track everything, we’re working on a tool that will do that on autopilot.
Will that work on your personal page as well or just on business pages?
That one is for the groups, but there is another software out there that does it for the Facebook personal page. That one is called FriendFilter.io. We’re going to be working with the guy who created that one and partnering up to do the one for the groups.
How do people get hold of you other than joining your Millennial Group on the Facebook Community?
The best place is to come swing by the group if you are curious about the software, GroupFunnels.com. If you want to hit me up personally, go ahead and join the group. Find me on Facebook, Arne Giske and send me a friend request. I would love to connect with you guys.
He’s chatty. I’m going to end this with one story that says a lot about this man. As a lot of you know, I went to prison and that’s an uncomfortable experience. I fully understand what it is for a lot of people out there to go, “I don’t want to go to prison with you,” but I took about 30 to 40 people into a level four maximum-security prison about three times a year. The night before we get together when we had drinks, Arne happened to be in LA and he said, “Can I swing by?” “Not really because the people that have been there had donated to the cause.” He said, “I want nothing for free,” and he donated for two people and turned up for the drinks, which I don’t even think he had a drink.
I don’t recall seeing a drink in your hand, but this man donated because of the cause even though he couldn’t go the following day. He has a big thumbs up in my book. Arne, thank you very much for doing that and being a person you are and building the group. Follow this guy because I’ve got some ideas over the next years. You’re going to see him throw stuff out. He will solve the problems you have. That’s what I like about the way he said works. Thank you very much for being on the show.
I love it. I appreciate the opportunity and I’m sure I will catch you on another episode of the future. We’ve got to bring you back to the group too.
We’ll be doing it, look after yourself. Thank you.
I hope you enjoyed the episode. If you want to come and hang out with me with some of my friends, maybe you should come to one of our Speakeasies. How do you do this? Head over to SteveDSims.com, look up Next Event, click Get Involved. We’ll find out where your problems are. We’ll find out how we can help you. We’ll give you a tremendous event. Hopefully, we’ll see you at Speakeasy one day in the future. All the best.
- Arne Giske
- Millennial Entrepreneur Community – Facebook group
- Beard Game Matters
- Sell More Courses Podcast
- Dan Fleyshman – Previous episode
- Arne Giske – Facebook
About Arne Giske