By Frances Tang
Despite all the trendy new apps and viral TikTok dances, Facebook maintains its status as one of the most active social media platforms with over 2 billion active monthly users. Yep. That’s right. 2 billion.
No longer just a hub for family reunion photos or belated birthday posts, Facebook has become a go-to network for people to digest content, discover new products, and (most importantly) get involved in active online communities.
Facebook Groups are some of the most engaging virtual communities around. Over 1.8 billion people are a part of at least one Facebook Group, and 26% of those people are most active in groups that involve some sort of hobby or activity.
Facebook Groups offer businesses and brands an opportunity to create active, engaged communities that fuel growth without the cost of paying for advertising. The more time, effort and energy you pour into these groups, the more likely it is that you’ll build a community that will contribute value back to your business.
So if you’re exploring new avenues for virtual community building and want to give Facebook Groups a shot, read on to discover the three steps you need to take to get your community off the ground.
Step 1. FB Group Launch Prep
Like all worthwhile business ventures, Facebook Groups require a little bit of prep work.
People these days don’t just want to be sold something. They want to be given valuable information that they can go out and implement into their own lives. Because of this shift, the kind of content you put out on your Facebook Group is integral to its success.
It’s not enough to simply post your content on your group and call it a day. You want to make sure that you’re creating a dialogue that’s informative, welcoming, engaging and interactive. You want people to look forward to coming to your group and know that they’ll always find something interesting when they do.
To have your content ready, you need to first build a list of potential pillars and topics. These will be your future prompts to get the group going and encourage comments and engagement.
When it comes to choosing your pillars, think about the questions people ask you the most, the topics you have the most expertise on and the problems you can help solve. Get as specific as you can.
Once you have that, start brainstorming how you’ll present that information. Here some content formatting ideas you can use as a jumping off point:
- Experts you can bring in
- In-the-know news
When you’ve decided on four or five pillars, test out the content on other social media channels or anywhere else you have a consumer base. See what gets the most engagement there and focus more on those kinds of topics. If something isn’t resonating, replace it with something else.
If you don’t yet have a consumer base anywhere else online, test out your content with friends and family. Ask for their honest feedback and take it into consideration, but remember—the best kind of content to post is the kind of content you get excited about.
And after you’ve got your content pillars tested and ready, begin to build a strong email list either by sending out a weekly or monthly newsletter with valuable content or by creating a free or low-cost opt-in.
Nurture this list with more content while you’re gearing up for your Facebook Group launch, and by the time you’re ready, you’ll have a line out the virtual door of people waiting to join!
Step 2. Launching Your FB Group
Now comes the fun part: the launch.
If you’ve got your content pillars ready and the Facebook Group all set up, it’s time to send out the signal that you’re officially open for biz. Post about your group on your other social media channels, make a call-out on your website and send an exclusive email to your list.
In all of your various announcements, ask people to join but set an official launch date for a few weeks’ out. This way, you’ll have time to gather enough group requests so when people join, they’ll find more than just crickets.
And of course, don’t leave your new Facebook Group hanging without a welcome post! Ask a thought-provoking or icebreaker question along with a silly GIF. You could even go live within the group to celebrate the launch of its opening.
Step 3. Use Best Practices To Grow Your FB Group
Facebook Groups are like houseplants; they require constant nurturing and maintaining in order for them to really thrive.
As the sole owner and founder of the group, it’s your job to make sure it’s a fun place to be! And the biggest part of that is keeping it active. It never hurts to hire an assistant or task someone on your team to make daily posts, approve new members and comment or like other members’ posts.
This person should also act as the moderator who keeps hateful comments, spam and other unwanted content at bay.
Another big part of keeping your Facebook Group rocking is to make it a regular practice to find new members. Actively promote your group all over your virtual footprint, like social media, emails, newsletters, customer service chats and on your website.
And while you have a business and brand to run and can’t spend all day moderating comments, you should post or respond to comments at least a few times a week. This will not only keep your members engaged, but it will also help to build trust and transparency with your brand.
The more they know you, the more likely they are to buy from you.
However, it’s just as important to allow the natural flow of the group to emerge. Yes, members are there to discuss your brand and the things you teach, but they’ll likely have other similar interests that get brought up. Try not to be too nitpicky and micromanage your group. It’s there to help people connect in whatever way that might be.
As you and your team participate in the group, do not be salesy! Your community did not join to see a sales pitch in the posts or comments. For instance, at Awkward Essentials we created a Facebook Group called AWK Talk. They joined because they like our brand and want to continue those not safe for dinner table conversations.
Having that strong brand personality will help you maintain and attract new members, particularly like minded people. So make it crystal clear what the focus of your group is—and what sets it apart from the competition.
Creating A Engaged Community For Your Brand
Having an engaged Facebook Group can do wonders for your business. If you’re not using Facebook Groups yet, it’s time to get started.
So start by building a community around your brand or niche that you can continually grow and expand on. Remember: the more engaging and valuable your group is, the more people will join!
About the Author
Frances Tang, Frances is the founder/Captain Awkward/CEO of Awkward Essentials, a company that makes products that address the unspoken parts of hygiene. She is also the inventor of the dripstick — an after sex cleanup sponge. Frances Tang never intended to build a company around a post-sex cleanup tool, but the Awkward Essentials founder saw a need — and an opportunity — for an entrepreneur willing to go there. Now, Frances is leading a revolution for female founders, showing that fearlessness is a founder’s most important value.