Most people love the idea of creating a community of raving fans around their business but few understand how to go about it in a way that creates impact. Facebook groups can be a fantastic community-building tool when you know how to use them and how to leverage them.
Here are eleven tips to help you build a stellar community using Facebook groups.
1. Set Up a Closed Group
Why closed? Groups require leadership and you want to be at the helm — approving requests to join your tribe and you want to create a bit of privacy for the people joining. This closed group setup also helps to create a “red velvet rope” effect whereby people feel that joining the group affords them some exclusivity.
2. Create a Compelling Description
Think about what would entice you to join a group on Facebook. What would the copy need to say to break through the number of messages we see every day and elicit action? Take this approach when writing your group’s description and when deciding what is going to go in the cover photo of your group.
3. Create Group Rules and/or Guidelines
People need to know the rules of engagement. I have found that no one likes a pitch-filled feed so you will have to determine if and when pitching is permitted when you start out. Think about what sort of environment you want to create for the people in the group and use that as fuel to write rules that feel good and set the tone well. Use the document feature to save the rules inside of your group so you can refer to them and update when needed. Feel free to borrow my rules in my Facebook Group if you like, it’s easier to edit than it is to create from scratch.
4. Create a Custom URL for Your Group
Since you can’t use a Facebook group’s URL in your advertising and marketing efforts, you want to forward a custom domain name to your Facebook group. This way, you can direct new people to the group without bumping up against Facebook’s terms and conditions. I created the URL lisalarter.com/ppg for my group to make it easy to share and remember and then redirected that link to the long messy link Facebook gives you when you start your group.
5. Figure out a Theme for Content
In my own Facebook groups, I have themes created for each day of the week to teach, provide leadership and to build community engagement. Create an editorial style calendar that will allow you to easily see the content that needs to be created and shared each week. Some examples of what I do are Money Mondays, Practice Your Pitch Saturday, Sunday Social. When you have a theme, it makes it much easier for you to manage how you want to build engagement within your group.
6. Share Your Group in a Facebook Post and Invite Friends to Join
One of the best tips that I can give you is: do not randomly add people. This is akin to adding people to your list without consent — it only serves to upset people and Facebook groups are no exception. Instead, create a fun and engaging post and give people a reason as to why they would benefit from being in the community.
7. Create a Facebook Ad
Once you have your group established, consider running a Facebook ad to encourage more people to join. The simpler the ad the better. Focus on the key benefits that someone would receive from being a part of the community and watch the new requests to join flow in! You do this by creating a URL on your own website that redirects to your Facebook Group – then you can share or use that URL in your ad. For example, my URL is https://lisalarter.com/PPG – this links directly to my Profit Primer group on Facebook. I use that link for advertising since Facebook doesn’t allow you to advertise a closed group directly.
8. Link to the Group from Your Facebook Cover Photo
While you don’t want to use the standard Facebook group URL (see #4, above), use your custom Facebook group URL in your profile or page cover photo. This will give you one additional way to help people learn about your group.
9. Network in Other Groups
Share details about your group, without dropping the link, in other groups and ask people to message you if they would like an invite. This feels more personal and less spammy and works well to generate interest. If you are going to invite people in other groups, it’s a good idea to ask permission from the group admin first – especially if you do want to share the link.
10. Do Special Things Just for Your Group
One of the best ways to maintain engagement and retention in your group, and to create goodwill and excitement, is to do things that are just for members. For example, you could host a webinar or some type of live training that is exclusive to that community. Or, offer them a special discount on your next program.
11. Enforce Your Rules Diligently
If someone is posting spam, remove it and remove them from the group. Your members will look to you for leadership and you want them to feel that the rules apply to all. The only way to have them enforced, especially over time and as the community grows, is to start enforcing them from day one.
Now that you are armed with some ideas to build a stellar community on Facebook, what questions do you have for me? Leave a comment below with your burning questions about Facebook groups and, if there is enough interest, perhaps we’ll look at hosting a webinar on Facebook groups in the near future!