How to use Graph Search to find Groups on Facebook

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How to use Graph Search to find Groups on Facebook: video tech tutorial

How to use Graph Search to find Groups on FacebookEven before I had a business Page, Facebook was the #1 driver of traffic to my website. How? Because I was a part of a number of great Facebook groups where my ideal clients were hanging out.

And I’m not talking about popping in, promoting my services or latest blog post and hoping for the best. This sort of “drive-by” spam is icky and it doesn’t work, so just don’t do it. (Hat tip to Maggie Patterson for the “drive-by” description of this kind of promotion, it’s just brilliant.)

I’m talking about being of service. Answering questions, sharing resources you love and generally being helpful and supportive. I've said it before (in fact I wrote a whole post on this topic) but this kind of service is the best way to get noticed online and one of the best uses of your social media time. (And you’ll make really awesome relationships too! I’ve met mastermind buddies, biz collaborators and of course, clients this way.)

So how do you find groups on Facebook (that are ACTUALLY good)?

Step 1: ASK your clients and community

Send out an email to your list or notes to a couple of your clients and straight up ask them if there are any Facebook groups they love. (Bonus points: ask them where else they hang out online in general!)

Step 2: Use Graph Search to search for groups on Facebook

Last week before my Facebook from Scratch webinar, I was in a Facebook group with other business owners talking about how powerful Facebook, and Facebook groups, can be for reaching your ideal clients.

However, several of the business owners who serve “regular” people (as opposed to those of us who serve other business owners) said they found it VERY difficult to find groups on Facebook that weren't just a bunch of other business owners!

And I get that. Sometimes it seems a little bit like an echo chamber where every group is filled with the same gang of business owners!

But, given that Facebook has 1.23 billion active monthly users of which over 500 million are using Facebook groups (according to Zuckerberg in a 2013 Q4 earnings report), I’m going to go out a limb and say there are definitely groups of your ideal clients, you just need to know where to look.

And Facebook has an incredible tool called graph search that makes searching for groups really easy:

**UPDATED 25/5/2017: Facebook search has changed (again!). I've updated the tutorial below to reflect the changes. It's a bit less user-friendly than Graph Search BUT it's still possible to searching for groups of your ideal clients if you know how to do it:

Step 3: Join several promising groups

Read the description in in the group before you join it to know if it's open for anyone to join. Then spend a week or so just hanging out. Listen, see how the group is managed and familiarize yourself with the group’s guidelines. Introduce yourself (in a non-spammy way). If you see a question you can answer or someone you can help, jump in!
You are looking for a group that is active and has a pro-active moderator or moderation team (otherwise the group tends to denigrate into spam-central as it grows). And of course, it needs to feel like a good fit for you and somewhere you think your ideal client might hang out.

Don’t be afraid to join 5-10 groups and then leave all but the ones that are exactly what you are looking for!

You can also consider creating your own group! It’s a fantastic way to grow your community, really get to know the people in your audience and stay top-of-mind for potential clients. (If you curious what it takes to create a really active and supportive community, stay tuned! I’m going to be talking to a number of successful community owners in a future blog post and asking them to share their top tips with us. Don’t want to miss it? Join the email community and be the first to know when it’s published.)

Take action now

  • Do a couple of different graph searches and see what groups pop up. Join at least 3 that look promising!

BONUS: Ask your audience where they like to hang out online–include the question in your next email or ask on your social media channels.

I’d love to hear from you

Are you part of any Facebook groups? Which are your favs and why? Share with us in the comments below!

And if you found this useful, I’d love if you shared this post with other business owners who might be struggling to find groups of their ideal clients on Facebook. You can tweet, share on Facebook or Google+ with the buttons right below : )

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>> In this free training you'll learn:

  • The number one mistake people make when it comes to their social media content
  • How to generate a month’s worth of content in a few short hours(using the same system I use AND teach my private clients)
  • What works (& what doesn’t) on Facebook and Twitter (with TONS of real examples)
  • How to automate this piece of your social media presence so it works hard getting you noticed while you’re busy doing other stuff

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27 Responses to How to use Graph Search to find Groups on Facebook: video tech tutorial

  1. Siedah Mitchum June 12, 2014 at 16:51 #

    Absolutely love this video Jackie! So need to utilize graph search more. It is a great way to reach existing and new potential clients. Also can use for personal use.

    Thanks for sharing!

    • Jackie Johnstone June 12, 2014 at 16:56 #

      You are welcome, Siedah! Facebook search was SO bad for SO long, I think many of us don’t realize how much better it is now.

  2. Elizabeth June 12, 2014 at 18:12 #

    ‘Sometimes it seems a little bit like an echo chamber where every group is filled with the same gang of business owners!’ YES! Thanks for this timely post. I will definitely be using graph search!

    • Jackie Johnstone June 12, 2014 at 18:14 #

      Yay! It’s so fun to just experiment with it and see what pops out — it’s wild really how much Facebook knows about us when you start contemplating it!

  3. Kimberly Crossland June 12, 2014 at 18:15 #

    Great tips! It’s not easy finding the perfect Facebook group to grow your business but when you do… magic!

  4. Mariah June 12, 2014 at 19:48 #

    As always, GREAT tips Jackie!

    Can you tell me if I comment in an “open” group, if that gets shared in my personal news feed? I think it does, and I don’t like to do that. I feel like it spams all my friends and family ;)

    • Jackie Johnstone June 12, 2014 at 19:52 #

      Mariah, it can, yes. That is not the case with closed groups though!

      • Mariah June 12, 2014 at 22:10 #

        Thanks, Jackie! I will look for closed groups ;)

  5. Andrew Kirschner June 12, 2014 at 21:28 #

    You make videos look so easy. Great post, Jackie! There’s so much to explore when it comes to Facebook Graph Search (as I’m sure you could tell between our two VERY different posts, haha). It can so easily be overwhelming, but you packaged it together so neatly.

    • Jackie Johnstone August 23, 2014 at 10:53 #

      Thanks, Andrew! I find screencast videos really easy (being on camera is another story!) — they are much faster for me than writing this all out and formatting a bunch of screenshots! LOVED your Facebook Graph Search guide — there is a TON you can do with Graph Search, groups are just the tip of the iceberg :)

  6. Lyn Delmastro June 12, 2014 at 22:16 #

    This is SO helpful as I’ve been trying to find the way to find places where my ideal clients are hanging out and haven’t known how to do this!

  7. Maddie Spoto June 12, 2014 at 22:16 #

    Thanks for sharing! This is great info and a visual is always helpful!

  8. Michelle February 26, 2015 at 15:48 #

    Thank you Jackie! Great information.

  9. Jodi Ferrier February 26, 2015 at 16:58 #

    Jackie, thank you so much! You are so kind to share so much free stuff. This is so helpful to me as I have been avoiding the “search for groups on facebook” on my to do list for two weeks. You rock!

  10. Cassandra February 26, 2015 at 18:47 #

    I joined a group last year called Virtual Assistants Tips and Tricks by The Techie Mentor. This amazing group of people have really helped me grow and learn so much! So thankful for people like you who are willing to share their knowledge!

  11. Brandon February 28, 2015 at 22:27 #

    LOL I was watching this and did NOT expect to see my face @ the 8:30 mark!

  12. Gillian March 4, 2015 at 17:55 #

    I had no idea! Found several to join to help my business and personally! Along with discovering a post that could be a good lead for me! Thank-you Jackie!

  13. Bridget April 10, 2015 at 14:53 #

    This was genius Jackie – thanks heaps! You solved a real mystery for me :-)))

  14. James Brooks May 27, 2015 at 13:37 #

    This is a fantastic guide. Thanks for sharing!

  15. fkhamza June 12, 2015 at 03:35 #

    Hi, Jackie,

    This was so awesome. It helped me alot as i looked around and couldn’t find a solution. I tell you, I was in a rush so the video made a huge plus.

    Again thanks.


  16. Stevan Navetz December 8, 2015 at 09:39 #

    Thanks a lot for the article, I was able to find some good facebook modelling groups with your tips.

  17. Kristy April 6, 2016 at 04:59 #

    This doesn’t seem to be working for me at all. I suppose Facebook has changed, so this is now out of date? Bummer!

  18. Jackie April 14, 2016 at 23:59 #

    Hi Jackie! This is excellent. Thank you SO much for the video. It was fun finding different communities on FB and learning how to navigate the search. Now, my plan is to get over my nerves and start engaging ;)

  19. Dorene Oster October 21, 2018 at 14:35 #

    Hi Jackie, I was really happy to find your video on YouTube. Because yours was the only one that came up with my search question which was: [how can I find facebook groups my ideal customers are in]. I have a fairly new Facebook group (65 members) in Quebec where I teach francophone to improve their English and I tried some of your examples because I’m looking for places where francophones who might want to improve their English skills hang out. I joined this one group in California but then I started getting requests from people from India and names I can’t pronounce or read. I really want to keep my group targeted to French Canadians I know your video was made in 2017and Facebook has made so many changes since them with subscription groups coming soon. Is there a better way of doing this you think? I would appreciate any insight you may have.


  1. Start-Up Speakeasy with Jackie Johnstone | 6 Tips for a Breakthrough Year in Biz - September 18, 2014

    […] Graph Search to find groups. We touch on this in this episode, but we didn’t dive into this topic. Learn more from Jackie’s blog here. […]

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    […] note from Jackie: Here’s a tutorial on using Facebook graph search to find groups where your ideal clients are hanging […]

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