And though the answer can be found fairly easily by searching through Meta helpdesk articles, it’s really a question within a question:
The surface question asks to understand the difference between these two key Facebook properties.
The deeper question is which properties make sense for you given your stage of business and the goals you want to achieve.
To further confuse the situation, Facebook recently launched professional mode, which gives personal profiles some benefits historically only available to pages and makes it even more confusing to figure out what is what on the world’s largest social network.
In this article, you’ll discover the key differences between Facebook groups and pages, so you can make an informed decision about which is best for your needs. Then you’ll be able to leverage one or both effectively for business success.
If you want support in figuring out the best way to build an online community to support your business, we are here to help! You can join our free Facebook group to meet other new and established community owners and managers, or fill out the form below to talk with a member of our team.
What is a Facebook Profile? Understanding the Basics
Facebook is still the world’s largest social network. As such, it’s evolved several times throughout the years. Launched from a college dorm room in 2004, it first became available to everyone with a valid email address in 2006.
Facebook’s early goal was simple: Connect friends, past and present, through status updates displayed on a centralized wall. Since then, we’ve seen the debut and retirement of countless features.
Profiles are where it all began. Pages and Groups (as we know them) launched in 2010.
How Do I Identify My Profile vs. Page or Group?
Your profile is your initial entry into Facebook. This is what you set up when you first join the network. If you’re abiding by Meta’s terms and conditions for Facebook, you have set up your profile using your real name (or the variation you use in daily life) and accurate information about yourself (age, location, etc.).
You are only allowed to have one account, and you’re supposed to use it for personal purposes. This is why you might hear someone refer to a Facebook profile as a “personal profile” because it’s designed to be your personal property on Facebook.
Whenever you log into the Facebook app via web or mobile device, you will enter through your profile login and password. The first screen you see will be your News Feed or timeline. If you have a traditional profile, you will connect with people you know through friend requests.
In recent years, Facebook has allowed people to follow accounts to see public posts without being connected as friends. When you look at your profile, you might see a mix of friends and followers next to your profile image under the cover image. Most people who use Facebook have a curated summary of their lives on their profiles: work history, educational background, photos, videos, interests, and shared content from other accounts.
As a personal property, profile access should be limited to one individual. It’s a violation of Facebook policy to share your login information with others or to knowingly allow others to use your profile on your behalf.
What is a Facebook Page?
A page is your business’ Facebook property. A Facebook page enables organizations and individuals to promote themselves online. Pages have many of the same options available as profiles. They also allow you to create an official fan base for your business or organization. You can interact with fans, post updates, and send out invitations to like your page.
Creating a page also gives you access to Meta Business Suite. This is a tool for analytical data, post scheduling, and advertising. Pages can be managed by teams, and employees or consultants can be given varying levels of access to page management. Pages also have access to auto-responder tools in Messenger to facilitate lead generation and customer service.
What is a Facebook Group?
A Facebook group is a space for people with shared interests to connect and communicate.
Groups can be large or small, public or private. Group members interact and share content with each other in a container separate from their News Feeds and profiles. Depending on your settings, you’ll automatically receive notifications when new posts or comments to posts are added to the groups you are in.
Key Differences Between Groups and Pages
Each property on Facebook was designed for a specific purpose. Key differences between groups and pages are expectations of privacy, functionality, and connection. Knowing these differences will help you decide which to create for your business and how to manage them well.
Difference #1: Expectation of Privacy
The biggest difference between these Facebook properties is the level of privacy you can expect.
Groups are designed to be communities of like-minded individuals. Depending on your goals for your community, you can make the group public or private.
If a group is public:
Anyone, on or off Facebook, can see what members post, comment, and share in the group
Any Facebook user can see the group’s list of members
Any Facebook user can see the group’s admins and moderators
If a group is private:
Only current group members can see what members post, comment, and share in the group
Only current members can see the group’s list of members
Any Facebook user can see the group’s admins and moderators
When members invite friends to join a private group, the invited individual will see the group in preview mode for 30 days or until their invitation is accepted or rejected.
As a group owner, you can choose to either block pages from joining your group or allow them in. Be aware that a page can have several admins. If you allow pages in your group, any admin can act as the page to see group content, post content, or interact with posts and members of the group.
You can also set the group to be visible or hidden. A group’s visibility determines who sees it on Facebook.
Anyone can find visible groups in search or other places on Facebook. Hidden groups can only be found by current, invited, and former members. Public groups are always visible; hiding them isn’t an option. Only private groups can be hidden from non-members.
Facebook pages are set up for maximum visibility. Your page can often be found via online searches, even by those who don’t have a Facebook account.
However, pages do have privacy settings that can be adjusted according to your preferences and goals. Page admins can:
Restrict who can see and like your page based on their age and location
Control whether visitors can post on your page or comment on your posts
Set up filters to block certain words or profanity
Manage what happens when others tag your page in their posts
Hide or delete comments
Limit who can comment on your posts
Block/ban individual users from your page
Difference #2: Functionality
Another key difference between groups and pages is how they are designed to function for those who own them and those who encounter them.
How Groups Function
Groups are designed to function like communities on Facebook. They allow members to interact with each other, the group’s leaders, and the content shared in the group.
Depending on the purpose of the group, you can organize content in sections labeled Guides and Files, allow for video and Reels, as well as host events exclusive to group members. Other functions that are possible in groups include:
The only limitations to group size is that set by group leaders. However, when your group gets beyond a certain number of members, you can’t make changes to key structural elements.
How Pages Function
A page functions a bit like a billboard in that its main function is to provide a place for customers to visit. Created as a business’ Facebook storefront, pages are set up to promote sales. You can host events for your customers and prospective customers, and offer deals or discounts. There is no limit to the number of followers a page can have.
Pages get access to Meta Business Suite. Within Business Suite, pages can plan and schedule content, manage their Messenger inbox, and run ads. Business Suite also offers analytical data to support tracking, measuring, and evaluating key performance indicators (KPIs) on the page, its content, and its audience.
Difference #3: Connection
Throughout Facebook’s evolution, one thing hasn’t changed: The social network has always focused on connecting people. Groups and pages both allow for connection, but connection doesn’t look the same on each property.
What Connection Looks Like in a Facebook Group
Groups are the Facebook property most set up to facilitate connection. Part of what drives connection in groups is that they are a smaller segment of Facebook. They make the large world of Facebook a little smaller and more focused.
The average Facebook user actively participates in five groups each day, and they consider the people in those groups to be closer friends than the people they know in real life. That’s the power of connection provided by groups.
What Connection Looks Like on a Facebook Page
Pages, on the other hand, are set up for visitors to make the first move in connection. You can’t send messages through Messenger to just any user. They have to make the first move by either sending you a direct message or commenting on one of your posts. When it comes to growing your followers, you can invite your Facebook friends to like your page or send follow requests to people who have already interacted with your page.
It’s a bit easier for pages to connect with other pages, thanks to the addition of a page-specific News Feed in the New Pages Experience.
Which Gets the Best Reach and Engagement?
Comparing reach and engagement between pages and groups on Facebook doesn’t make sense. Because pages are public, anyone can what they post — followers and non-followers. Page posts can also be easily shared throughout Facebook. Groups, on the other hand, are more private. Even in a public group, you have to join it to be regularly exposed to content posted there. Most groups, though, are private and that means nothing posted in the group can be shared outside the group.
For these reasons, reach will always be higher for pages than groups.
Engagement rates, though, are much higher in groups than in pages. We usually see pages have engagement rates around 2% to 4%. Active groups will have engagement rates around 20% or higher. But this doesn’t mean pages are better than groups. It means they are different.
Groups have higher engagement than pages for the following reasons:
Most groups have fewer members than pages have followers. The bigger the audience, the lower the average engagement rate.
Being in a group requires a higher level of commitment than following a page. The act of following a page is passive. Joining a group requires a few extra steps, which usually means members have a higher level of interest in the group.
Group content is interest-specific. Because groups are usually created to meet a specific need, the content is targeted to the interests of members. Page content is often more general.
Group members see content based on their notification settings (user-driven). Page followers see content based on Facebook’s algorithm (AI-driven).
If you don’t have a group or want to see what’s truly possible when it comes to amplifying the reach of your page content, you can run ads from your page. Posting ads or even boosting posts will increase both your reach and engagement over a page’s organic performance. Ads take time, though. If advertising is something you want to try, keep your budget small (up to $5 per day) and test it for six months before judging its effectiveness.
Facebook Page vs. Group: Which is Best for You?
Pages and groups serve different purposes on Facebook. A page is like the front porch of your house. Anyone who drives by your house can see your porch. If your porch looks inviting, or if they are driving down your street specifically in search of your home, some people will stop and walk up to your porch.
Of the people who walk up to your porch, some — like the Amazon delivery driver — stay just long enough to drop something off for you to pick up later. Others ring your doorbell or knock on your door in hopes of catching you at home. When you open the door, you might have a brief conversation before sending the individual on their way. Or you might chat with them for several minutes on the porch.
A few, though, get invited in.
If a Facebook page is your front porch, a Facebook group is your living room. A group is made up of the select few who aren’t left to just hang out on the porch. These are the people who want a deeper relationship with you, and you want a deeper relationship with them.
You don’t mind if they see a brown half-eaten apple on the coffee table or have to move the laundry pile to sit on your couch.
Group content is often customized to the members and their desired outcomes, whereas page content is more general in nature. You tend to have a closer relationship with people in your groups, and they have stronger relationships with each other compared to page followers.
Choosing the best one for your and your business comes down to goals. You might choose one over the other. You also might decide you need both to fully serve potential clients at every stage of the awareness journey: from awareness and consideration, to purchase, retention and advocacy.
Goal #1: Getting Clients
Pages and groups can both help you get clients on Facebook.
Promotional posts with “buy now” calls-to-action can work on pages, though they don’t seem to get seen as much as other posts. One way around that is to leave links out of your captions. Instead, ask people to comment with a codeword if they want more information. From there, you can follow up in response to the comments or by sending a direct message.
Making money from your group requires time and intention. You want growth strategies that attract the right members, an onboarding process that diagnoses what stage of the buyer’s journey they are in, and systems for education and sales so they can make informed purchasing decisions when the time is right.
Groups can help get you clients because they provide a central location for past, present and potential future clients to gather. Being part of your closer network exposes them to what it means to be in your ecosystem, which warms them up to working with you even without direct pitches.
Goal #2 Connecting with Ideal Clients
Connecting with ideal clients on a business page requires enough familiarity to understand how their needs intersect with your offers. Posting polls, market research questions and broadcasting video livestreams are all tactics that help identify how many ideal clients are following you. If your page content resonates, followers will share your posts and extend your reach to their networks as well.
There are two types of groups that business owners can create to connect with ideal clients: prospecting groups and customer/client support groups. A prospecting group is usually free and welcomes anyone who is looking for solutions you provide with your products or services. For example:
Customer/client support groups are for paying customers. Some businesses, like those listed above, have separate communities that provide a higher level of service for paying customers and clients. Other businesses only host communities for paying customers. Examples of these businesses include:
The Style by Color Closet Outfit Planner community – Style by Color has communities for each of its products. The Closet Outfit Planner is their signature style program. Other products include digital color connections, color academies, image consultant certifications, and a VIP membership.
Team EBG’s Party Pad with Lizzy and Emma – Open to anyone who has bought anything from Elizabeth Goddard.
Some companies host both types of groups, while others only have one option available. In either case, you are gathering people together who you know want what you have to offer. The perception of privacy in groups leads to stronger connections and conversations that go deeper.
Goal #3 Connecting With Business Associates and Collaborators
If you’re using Facebook to grow your business, you’ll want to use your business page to connect with associates and collaborators. You can post authority-building content on your page, but the real connection happens when you engage with the content other businesses post on their pages. By being a good follower, you can elevate your relationship with other professionals. Today, you might be commenting back and forth on each other’s posts, and tomorrow you might successfully make a DM slide that doesn’t come across as creepy or predatory.
If your business has an affiliate program, you might want to create a Facebook group for your promoting partners. The features available within groups make it easy to share promotional assets, timelines, and incentives. You can also use the group to facilitate relationships among your promoting partners, and as a forum for them to share how they are sharing your products and services within their networks.
When a business associate or collaborator becomes a true friend, send a friend request. Establishing friendship through Facebook is also smart when you know you’ll want a seamless way to send private messages back and forth.
How to Effectively Manage Multiple Facebook Properties
There are only 24 hours in each day. After you account for eating and sleeping, you don’t have a lot left over for work. You have to be wise about how you spend your social media time. Every property you have on Facebook has to earn its keep by having a specific function within your business model. If you don’t know why you have a page or a group, it’s time to reconsider whether you need them.
So before you think about how to manage a page and group together, first decide whether it makes sense to have both Facebook properties or if one is sufficient.
Quality beats quantity when it comes to content, but consistency is important. Aim to post three to five quality posts on your page each week designed to attract your ideal client. In your group, where members can keep conversations going with or without your input, aim to post two to three times per week.
Content that performs best usually includes a mix of conversation-starters, educational resources, tips, trends, relationship-builders, and offers. If you’re looking to drive engagement in your group, certain types of posts can help you achieve that goal while staying true to your group’s purpose.
Moving Forward with Facebook Groups and Pages
The right time or case to use a Facebook page or group depends on who you’re trying to reach and what you’re trying to accomplish.
Pages are designed to build awareness of your business and attract clients. Getting sales directly from a page isn’t impossible but takes a focused strategy. Groups gather together people from all corners of Facebook who share interests. You can use groups to build deeper connections with members or to sell specific products. Again, you’ll want a focused strategy that guides your members through the customer journey according to their needs.
In Conclusion — Make a Decision!
Understanding the difference between Facebook groups and pages is a matter of knowing the intent behind each property and how it applies to your social media goals.
From there, you can create a strategic plan for how you’ll use each to achieve the business results you desire. Put together the right pieces in the right format based on your target market, industry, and products or services. Test and evaluate, making adjustments as needed after three to six months.
This listing of resources for online community managers contains affiliate links, which means we might make a small commission from any purchase you make at no extra cost to you.
If you’re running a group, you’re going to need help. Though hiring help is nice, it’s not always necessary. There are essential tools and resources for online community managers that save so much time, it’ll feel like you’ve hired help – even if you’re a one-person show.
Whether you’re leading a forum, social media group, or any other virtual gathering, your active management of the community is vital to fostering healthy engagement, a positive culture and connection among members.
But you only have 24 usable hours in each given day, and the online world changes at a rapid pace. Whether you’re running your group all by yourself or you have a team of volunteers or contractors, there are tools and resources that make the job easier.
In this article we’ll explore the top tools and resources for online community managers.
From content scheduling and analytics to community-building strategies and beyond, these resources will empower you to create and maintain vibrant, successful online communities without devoting every minute of your day to life online.
StreamYard makes livestreaming into groups and across social media platforms easy.
Video Resources for Community Managers
Video is an amazing tool to connect with your online communities. They say a picture is worth a thousand words, but nothing compares with video when it comes to building meaningful relationships with people you have never met in real life.
If you love video, you probably already have a favorite app or software program. But if you’re looking for recommendations, I have two platforms I can’t live without.
Live video is my favorite way to connect with community members, but most social media platforms don’t have the most user-friendly technology in place. StreamYard is a browser-based live-streaming studio our community management team has been using since 2019. If you’d like a stable streaming service that allows you to broadcast to multiple platforms all at once, customize your show with banners and frames, interview several guests and easily navigate between views, StreamYard is worth exploring.
The joke around here is that I speak fluent Loom, because I send so many videos using Loom. I’ll send direct-to-camera videos in response to emails I receive, and I record a lot of tutorials using Loom because the service is so easy to use. To date, I’ve recorded and shared almost 2,200 videos using Loom. Whether I’m offering feedback to a client, providing a tutorial or starting a conversation, Loom makes it easy to do from my phone and my computer.
Loom hosts your videos and tracks views while allowing viewers to leave comments as well. You can trim, edit and embellish your videos – all within the app. And, you can download your videos to upload to various platforms such as Facebook and YouTube.
Email Marketing Services
Email marketing services allow you to send professional mass emails to your community members in compliance with anti-spam laws. Services like this are critical if you’re sending out newsletters, sales emails or are trying to build up an email list for business purposes.
But they are also a powerful way to connect with your online community members outside of your group, which is important if the community is hosted on social media. You never know when Facebook, LinkedIn or a similar platform will go down or be unavailable. I value having email access to my group members. In The Secret to Thriving Online Communities, we even have a specific email onboarding sequence that goes out to new members and establishes that direct line of communication.
ConvertKit has been around for AGES but has made significant advances in its level of service recently. I started using ConvertKit in 2016 when I had only 45 email subscribers. I was frustrated by MailChimp and looking to make a switch. Even though they didn’t have a free plan at the time, ConvertKit’s customer service and stability made them worth the investment. I’ve never looked back.
Nowadays, they have various tiers that work at just about any stage of business. The freemium plan is fully functional up to 300 subscribers. Lately, ConvertKit has been expanding features to benefit creators. I’m seeing a lot of authors, podcasters and livestreamers go all-in on using ConvertKit to connect with their audiences. It’s just as valuable for product-based business. They have great starter templates and a variety of features to allow you to customize your subscriber experience. They also have a brand-new Creator Network that facilitates collaborative list-building efforts.
I don’t LOVE Mailerlite, but many of my clients do. It’s not the most sophisticated email service but few business owners need sophistication if they are just starting out or enjoy having delightfully tiny email lists. Mailerlite has a free plan that is fully featured up to 1,001 subscribers and allows you to send 12,000 emails a month.
What I appreciate most about Mailerlite is the investment they’ve made in visually appealing templates for just about any industry you can imagine. Unfortunately, they no longer offer templates on their free plan. However, the block editor is easy to use, allowing you to truly create a custom experience with every email you send.
Social Media Scheduling Tools for Community Managers
I’ve used at least 100 social media schedulers over the years. Between my work as a social media manager for a university, an agency owner and a solopreneur, I put every tool through its paces. I believe most schedulers do one thing best or work with one platform best and do everything else “meh” — so make sure you know what your priorities are before committing to a paid plan.
As a people-first community manager, I have a different perspective on social media schedulers. I don’t use them so I can “fix and forget” my social media plan. I use them to publish content when my audience is most apt to see it, so that my time is freed up to develop meaningful relationships on social media. By scheduling my posts, I can spend more time responding to comments and commenting on other people’s posts.
Meta Business Suite
Meta Business Suite has finally integrated all content creation and scheduling tools to provide a pretty good level of service for scheduling to Instagram and Facebook, and moderating your comments. Best part? It’s still free.
The cost of free in this case is basic functionality. Meta will recommend posting times based on your followers’ activity, and even schedule Stories. However, you can’t schedule the first comment in a post, and the hashtag research isn’t very reliable.
I switched from SmarterQueue to Metricool in Fall 2022 because I love the integrated dashboard that combines analytics from my website with all connected social media properties. I also find its scheduler to be more reliable, while still allowing for posts to be recycled on a loop.
I use the paid plan, which allows me to schedule to my LinkedIn profile. Unfortunately, analytics are only available for company pages on LinkedIn. I like that I can schedule both my post and the first comment on Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn. If you don’t have graphics or images of your own, you can access their image library to illustrate your posts. Recently they even added AI copywriting to help improve the quality of posts.
The plan I have (the lowest) only allows you to connect one property per platform, which means you can connect Metricool to your Facebook page OR Facebook group (not both). I’m hands-on with my community and don’t schedule much content in my group, so I’ve chosen to connect Metricool to my page instead of group.
If Instagram is your primary social media platform, Later is the scheduler you need. It has good features for visual planning, scheduling Stories and Reels. Later is fully functional and supports scheduling to other platforms as well. The analytical data provided is pretty good, especially if you’re tracking hashtag performance.
At this time, Later doesn’t support scheduling to Facebook groups.
If Pinterest is part of your marketing strategy, you need to take a close look at Tailwind. No service is better at executing an effective Pinterest strategy. I don’t care for how it manages scheduling to other platforms but if your brand is Pinterest-forward, it makes sense to fully embrace Tailwind as your social media scheduler. Tailwind scheduling isn’t compatible with Facebook groups.
Productivity Tools to Support Community Managers
As a service provider, I have a lot of experience with productivity tools. I’ve tried several personally and professionally. Whether they are tools my team and I use in our business, or tools our community management clients use in working with us, the choices are numerous.
I believe you are your most important system. The best productivity tool for you is the one that plays nicely with your brain. You may have to try a few to find the right fit for the work you do, but once you make a decision, the time saved is exponential.
News Feed Eradicator
If you find yourself distracted by the overwhelming amount of content on your social media timelines, News Feed Eradicator will be your best friend. This free Chrome Extension wipes your news feed clean, so you can focus on the task at hand. It works on every major social media platform, including Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, Reddit, LinkedIn and more.
You can turn on the eradicator for a limited amount of time if you’re doing deep work on social media, or keep it on all the time to take control over your news feed.
My people-first approach to community management is made possible at scale thanks to GroupTrackCRM, which works on both Facebook and Instagram to keep track of conversations, ensuring nobody falls through the cracks.
We use GroupTrack for our high-touch member onboarding experience in The Secret to Thriving Online Communities, and I also use it to keep track of people I connect with all over Facebook (friends, page followers, peers, etc.). The bulk messaging feature allows me to stay in touch with people via DMs without landing in Facebook jail. GroupTrack is a great tool for anyone who wants to tighten up their process for cultivating leads via social media.
Basecamp is a web-based project management and collaboration tool that our team uses to manage work and communicate with our clients and each other. It offers a variety of features that can increase productivity, including task management, communication (direct messaging, group chats and message boards), file sharing and scheduling. Customize Basecamp by integrating it with other parts of your tech stack, like Proposify, Toggle, Timeshift Messenger and HoneyBadger.
Having one service to manage internal and external communication and project management has saved hours for my team. We’ve been able to eliminate weekly meetings and can now successfully achieve our goals by working asynchronous to one another. The functionality of the mobile app is just as convenient as the web app, critical for anyone who conducts business on the go.
Asana is a web-based project management tool that is designed to help teams organize and manage their work. Though you can view tasks as a kanban board, Asana is great if you’re a list person. It’s a great service for creating to-do lists, assigning tasks to team members, setting due dates and tracking progress.
Asana has been around so long that it integrates with most popular tech tools online business owners and community managers rely on. Slack, Microsoft Teams, Vimeo and Google’s suites of services are just a few. If you’re going to use Asana for project management, I strongly encourage you to add on Slack for internal communication. Otherwise, you’ll end up buried in meetings or email when you need to brainstorm ideas.
Slack is a cloud-based team communication and collaboration tool that provides real-time messaging, file sharing, and group chat features. It is designed to improve team productivity and streamline communication. Slack makes work easier by including all members of your team in discussions, regardless of locations.
The best remote teams I’ve been on use Slack for internal communication. I’ve also used Slack as a community platform. Not everyone likes Slack’s user interface, but if you take the time to organize your workspace in a logical manner, teach your team to use it effectively and hold everyone accountable to using it as designed, you’ll quickly come to love it. Slack integrates seamlessly with Zoom, Google, Asana, GIPHY and Loom (along with hundreds of other software resources).
Liz Wilcox’s Email Marketing Membership makes it easy to connect with members of the online communities you manage.
Courses, Memberships and Programs
Community management isn’t just a matter of running a Facebook Group or two. To have a thriving online community, you need a variety of other skills: building and nurturing your email list, graphic design, video production, and an understanding of search engine optimization (SEO), online learning and content management. You can hire service providers to do these things for you or enroll in programs that help you do them yourself.
This is not an exhaustive list of the programs I credit for helping me to get to where I am, but they are programs that solve what I think are some of the biggest problems facing community managers.
Liz Wilcox’s Email Marketing Membership (EMM)
If you’re using your community for lead generation, you need a way to connect with them outside of the group. Email is the best way to reach your members. Getting their email address is the first step but once you have email addresses for your members, what’s next? Ideally, you’ll start emailing them regularly so they get used to hearing from you in both places. But it can be hard thinking of what to say in those emails.
Enter the Email Marketing Membership (EMM) by NSYNC-loving Liz Wilcox. For only $9 per month, Liz will send you an email template and video explanation of how to use it every week. Her membership portal has a variety of workshops on how to grow your email list and turn followers into friends and clients. The membership includes a private Facebook community for team and peer support.
Viral Content Club
Design is not my gift but hiring a designer for social media content isn’t practical. Professionally designed graphics average $14 apiece. That means a package of 15 images would cost $210. That’s a steep price tag for social media posts with an average shelf life of a few hours.
So how do you get compelling graphics to slow the scroll on social media without breaking the bank? The Viral Content Club, a Canva template subscription, is my solution. I’ve been a lifetime member of VCC since 2019 and still find myself relying on these templates for everything from Facebook cover images and Instagram posts to YouTube thumbnails and infographics.
Aside from the Canva templates, members also get bonus resources each month. Recent benefits have included a 0-30K TikTok case study, Notion content database, and 10-day social media launch plan.
This video membership is helpful if TikTok, Reels or YouTube Shorts are part of your marketing strategy. OnVideo is Elise Darma’s membership focused on short-form video content.
Every week, you get five short-form video ideas and caption templates for TikTok, Reels, Shorts and Idea Pins. They are adapted to a variety of business models, whether you sell coaching, services or products. These video ideas are also great if you’re looking for quick videos to post in your community.
Attract & Activate
I’ve been working with Meg Casebolt and the Love at First Search team since 2020. I’m an Attract & Activate alumna and I hire the team each year for an SEO Roadmap.
Attract & Activate, delivered live twice each year, is the first course that made search engine optimization and keyword research make sense to me. Once I understood how SEO worked, I also understood what a beast it can be to do well. Hiring Meg’s team for my annual SEO Roadmap means the heavy lifting is done by professionals. The team does the keyword research for me based on my goals for the year, and provides me with a list of keywords to target and articles to write to support ranking for those keywords. If you found this article from an online search, you have the proof of the Love at First Search team’s success.
Additional Resources for Online Community Managers
Canva is a web-based graphic design platform that allows users to create a wide range of visual content, including social media graphics, presentations, posters, flyers, videos, and more. The interface is user-friend and the template options are vast. Even with no design experience, you can create professional graphics quickly and efficiently.
Canva was one of my earliest business investments, and it gets better every year.
When I launched my first online course in 2018, I looked everywhere for an easy, affordable learning management system. MemberVault caught my eye because it was the first to offer a marketplace dashboard that displayed free and paid offers side-by-side.
You can use it for coaching, consulting, courses, memberships, digital products, and even podcasts. I’ve tried other LMS platforms over the years but keep returning to MemberVault. Nothing compares to the value at this price.
Want Help Choosing Community Management Resources?
Team Kubo specializes in online community design, development and growth. Whether you need help with strategy, training your admin team or day-to-day management of your group, we can help. The first step is to complete our no-cost community health assessment, so we can identify your needs and customize a plan to get the results you desire.
Not only are we seeing a renaissance in online community-building, we’re seeing disruption in the marketplace.
Consumers are tired of emotionally manipulative marketing tactics.
Whether you call it “dude-bro marketing” or “bully marketing,” the sentiment is the same: We’re all tired of being convinced that a one-size-fits-all solution is going to make us money while we sleep.
I first saw the shift among consumers.
First, people started to question the free “trainings” that taught the “what” and “why” of a problem but dangled the “how” like a carrot with a very juicy price tag attached.
But they still handed over their credit and debit cards because what choice did they have?
This is how business was done.
Offer after offer was snapped up. During the pandemic, aspiring entrepreneurs hit the “buy” button like never before. Online marketers had their best year ever, some launches tripled their revenue projections.
And then what happened? Not much.
Pre-pandemic business tactics quickly floundered in our post-pandemic society.
On the other side of the fence, online business owners felt the shift as well.
As the market flooded with online programs and “make money while you sleep offers,” it was hard to ignore the predatory messages.
I compare it to death by a thousand paper cuts. After the first 50, you no longer feel the sting. But they all bleed just the same.
A steady flow of funnel-based marketing emails here and there don’t attract much attention. But when your inbox is suddenly filled with hundreds following the same “problem-agitation-solution” framework and adrenaline-triggering “act-now” bonuses, you can’t help but see all the blood pooling from those thousand paper cuts.
And though I can’t speak for others, my business besties all had the same observation: People who invest in programs with regulated nervous systems tend to have more success than those who buy when in the midst of fight-or-flight mode.
For the past year, I’ve been actively looking for others who see what I see and seeking those who are ready to do something different.
One of the leaders who have emerged is Sophie Lechner, a LinkedIn strategist who believes you can be successful at getting clients without becoming a salesy weirdo in anyone’s DMs.
That’s why I’m participating in Sophie’s Marketing Mutiny, a month-long conversation on LinkedIn about doing marketing differently. Specifically, the 10 business owners participating are sharing values-based marketing tactics that are working right now.
Obviously, I’m talking about online communities. Others, though, are talking about intentional one-to-one conversations, free office-hours sessions and other approaches that are on brand, heart-centered and – most importantly – get results.
Because we all know there is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all solution, my hope isn’t that you’ll walk away from Marketing Mutiny with 10 new strategies to explore. My hope is that each participant choose one that either layers on top of what is already working or replaces what’s not.
Click here to find out more about the program, which runs the whole month of April.
I love cats. I’m one of those people who can lose myself in an endless loop of videos featuring babies, animals, and Starbucks hacks. No. I don’t ever try to make the copycat drinks myself, but I enjoy watching other people do it.
But as someone who “Facebooks for a living” I can’t afford hours of doom-scrolling. I need to get in, do what needs doing, and duck out to focus on other things.
Whenever someone asks how I can manage multiple communities on multiple platforms at the same time, I always say I am forced to focus. Especially on Facebook, where there are hundreds of notifications and updates vying for my attention every time I log in.
So yes, I do focus my time on social media. I also have help.
My help is in the form of a handy Chrome extension called the News Feed Eradicator. You have to see this tool in action, especially after the major updates made over the past two years. It’s my best ally in making social media a distraction-free zone.
The video above is 9 quick minutes, but you can always speed it up if you’re running short on time. After you watch it, leave a comment sharing which feature impresses you most. I can’t wait to see what you think!
Are the planner(s), nifty pens, stickers and washi tape you bought on sale a few months ago still in use?
Or did you opt out of mixing the dying art of scrapbooking with planning your year and go with with a digital planner or mix-and-match printables?
I’m sure by now you’ve fixed out that no matter what type of planner you chose, it has not single-handedly created your BEST YEAR EVER.
I’m not here to knock planners. If they work for you, plan up a storm — with or without the washi tape.
The issue I have with planners is they are a tool often marketed as a system. And because they are pitched as a system, consumers mistakenly believe there is one planner or planning system to rule them all.
Then you get to March 1 and find out that you are the same person you ever were, with the same things holding you (and your business) back.
Finding the right system is the first step in realistic business planning. The second step is finding the right tool to implement that system.
This article isn’t about Steps 1 or 2, though. Finding the perfect planner or planning the perfect year is not my area of expertise.
What I really want to talk to you about is Step Zero, the critical decision you must make BEFORE you start planning: Figuring out what is enough.
Realistic Business Planning Starts by Defining ‘Enough’
Enough revenue. Enough hours. Enough launches. Enough time off.
If you don’t start by knowing your enough, you will spend months over-working or under-working while believing the lie that you can make up any shortfalls by the end of the year.
This is why defining enough is the starting line of effective planning. Sadly, I don’t hold the secret to your truth here. We are not carbon copies of one another. Your enough and mine can never be the same.
What I can do, though, is help you to figure out your personal level of enough.
It starts with your big goal for the year, which likely involves wanting more time, money or energy. More money is a standard goal. Depending on your goal with time, you might want to work more or work less. Energy goals typically are achieved by spending time and money in ways that are life-giving vs. life-draining.
This exercise is important because it forces you to decide now what’s required to get you from here to where you want to be on Dec. 31, 2023. And three months into 2023, you’re not late. You can stop and do this right now.
Setting Realistic Revenue Goals
Let’s take a money goal, for instance: Imagine you want to earn $60,000 from your business in 2023.
Conventional methods would tell you to take that goal and divide it by 12 for a monthly earning goal of $5,000.
Conventional methods, though, overlook a big red flag here. What do you mean when you say you want to earn $60,000 next year? Do you want $60,000 in gross revenue or net profit?
Here’s how that difference plays out using a simple 50/30/20 financial split:
Monthly Revenue – $5,000
Your paycheck (50%) – $2,500
Operating expenses (30%) – $1,500
Taxes (20%) – $1,000
Now you see that your $60,000 in annual revenue actually adds $30,000 to your family’s bank account and supports $18,000 in operating expenses and $12,000 in taxes.
If those numbers look good to you, great! Go with the goal of $60,000 per year and plan your 2023 work life accordingly. But if they don’t, you need to make some changes. You either need to earn more revenue in the year or spend less on your business operations to increase the percentage of revenue that goes to your paycheck.
By determining how much revenue is enough for you, you also determine what you’ll do to earn it and how much time it’ll take.
This is how you plan for the year knowing what is enough for you when it comes to money earned, time spent working and energy level when it’s all said and done.
Need Help with Realistic Business Planning?
It’s hard to read the label from inside the jar, which means that no entrepreneur can fairly evaluate their business because they are too close to it. Setting ambitious goals that are realistic requires support. If you’re ready for that kind of help, here are two options:
Learn a better way of setting goals — Everyday Effectiveness is an operational strategy company specializing in a specific style of business planning and accountability. CEO Gwen Bortner hosts a specific workshop to help female entrepreneurs align their goals with their values. Her next workshop is Tuesday, March 7, at 9 a.m. PT (Noon ET). As the fractional marketing and operations officer for Everyday Effectiveness, I get to produce the virtual event. Make sure to say hi to me in the chat if you choose to join us. The interactive workshop takes place over Zoom, and will not be recorded because watching people working through prompts on replay is as exciting as watching paint dry. This free training leads into Gwen’s quarterly planning program, which I also support. So come prepared for the pitch.
Plan your community strategy with me — If this is the year you want to make your free and paid online communities a priority, our team can help. We offer online community strategy and consulting services for heart-centered experts, entrepreneurs and enterprises who want to lead thriving online communities that get results.
You have surely heard the old adage, “You have to spend money to make money.”
But if you have an online business, your level of required investment is likely a lot lower than those who run brick-and-mortar establishments for several reasons:
If you’re a service-based business, you don’t have to worry about inventory.
If you’re a solopreneur, you don’t have to worry about payroll or benefits.
If you’re a product-based business, you have greater control over supply and demand because you don’t have a storefront to maintain.
Online businesses are easier to bootstrap because the minimum overhead startup costs are super low and you, as the owner, can determine your rate of growth based on available cash.
Still, investment is required and every entrepreneur makes costly mistakes at least a handful of times in their lives. That’s why it’s important for all of us to talk with one another and share our experiences. You telling me what works for you can save me hours of time and energy compared to me having to do all the research on my own.
In this article, I’m sharing my best business investments of 2021, which include a mix of services and service providers.
My 5 Best Business Investments of 2021
I hired a lot of help this year, but not much in the way of staffing. A mentor told me years ago that, when you’re feeling overwhelmed as an entrepreneur, the support you need isn’t always an employee or contractor for the business.
“Everyone thinks the answer is a virtual assistant,” I recall him saying. “But usually, especially in the case of women in business, the best support staff they can hire are professionals to help around the house. Most business owners need a housekeeper long before they need an executive assistant.”
Since that conversation, I’ve always been critical when considering my true needs as my business grows.
Do I really need a Pinterest manager or do I need a meal service so I can use the time I would typically spend cooking to manage my own Pinterest account?
Do I really need a paid writing coach or do I need a free writing partner to hold me accountable to my word-count goals?
These are the kinds of questions I’ve grown accustomed to asking myself when thinking of increasing my productivity and reducing my burdens.
And the two questions above are ones I asked myself in 2021.
I hired a Pinterest manager, and in six months, I have yet to see any return on the investment. I’m considering putting that visibility strategy on hold for a while. As for the question of writing coach vs. writing partner, I found I needed both. The coach helps with brainstorming, outlining, and organizing my content. The writing partner keeps me writing when I say I’ll write. So, the words actually make it onto the page.
But when I stop to think about the business investments I made in 2021, there are five that stand out as the best. Here they are…
Best Business Investment: Hire an Accountant (CPA) Who Understand Online Business
When creating a financial structure for their business, most people start with an accountant because they are terrified of making mistakes on their taxes. Nobody likes to pay more than they have to, and a lot of people fear getting audited more than public speaking or root canals.
They are happy to do their own bookkeeping, trusting that a good accountant will find and fix any mistakes they might make before filing their taxes.
I am not most people.
A bookkeeper was my first “big girl” business investment because I was doing way too much mental math and it didn’t paint an accurate picture of how much I was making or keeping. I chose to start with a bookkeeper because I wanted solid records that would show how solvent my business was. I also wanted to pay myself consistently, and learn how to decide how much I could afford to spend on supporting my online business efforts.
Having a bookkeeper made tax time a breeze, but I knew I’d need to add a CPA to the mix eventually. “Eventually” turned out to be June of this year. And I took the plunge at almost exactly the right time because the tax authorities came calling just a few months later, asking questions that I didn’t know how to answer.
Do you know what the best feeling in the world is? Calling your CPA and having them say, “I’ve got you,” and then having the situation taken care of while you focus on more important things (like thanking God you didn’t put off hiring an accountant until 2022).
My accountant might not be the right accountant for you, but I highly recommend seeking out a professional who understands the unique traits of online business because it’s vastly different from other business models.
As a creative entrepreneur, it’s not uncommon for your revenue to come in fits and starts based on when you launch programs or bring on new clients. A book advance or course launch might bring in more than half of your annual revenue in just a single month. Traditional financial professionals who look at cash flow on a weekly or monthly basis might cause you angst, while someone who understands online-based creative endeavors will help you understand how to work with your particular revenue rhythm.
Best Business Investment: Hire an SEO Team That Understands Your Online Business
If you know me, you know I’m a super-fan of the Love at First Search team. I participated in their SEOctober challenge back in 2019 and enrolled in their Attract and Activate course in the spring of 2020. I was fortunate enough to score an SEO strategy session with Founder/CEO Meg Casebolt as a bonus that year. I’m still in awe with how much I got from that single session with Meg.
So, this year, when I met with a publisher about writing a book on how to handle conflict online and they gave me targets to aim for in the areas of website traffic, email subscribers, and social media followers, I knew I needed Meg’s team to help me make it happen.
I could have dug back into the material from the Attract and Activate course or joined the Love at First Search membership program, but I didn’t feel like I had the time to dig in and create my own plan.
Key page improvements for 5 pages (Home, About, Services, etc)
Keyword research & SEO suggestions for 5 existing posts
A new content plan for 12 blog posts
30 days implementation support in a private Slack channel
For a little extra, I had the Love at First Search team update my existing pages and posts and create a dashboard for me so I can track, measure, and analyze the results of my efforts in 2022.
It took a couple of weeks to get my SEO plan in hand and another week for my site to get updated by her team, but it feels so good right now to know it’s all done. Now, all I have to worry about in the coming year is writing content that serves my existing community well and offers resources to attract new readers.
If you’re new to growing your audience and authority online, you might not need an intensive session like I had. But I think everyone can benefit from Meg’s SEO Playbook, which provides guidance on how to organize your articles and website content to attract the right readers at the right time.
Best Business Investment: Hire an Enneagram Coach to Help You Better Understand Clients and Peers
Have you ever encountered the type of person who seems to be offended no matter what you say?
It happens to me more often than I like to admit. And working as closely as I do with clients in their businesses and on big goals, it can be problematic. I can’t do my best work if both the client and I feel like we have to walk on eggshells around each other. There’s a huge loss of productivity when you’re constantly having hard conversations about what you said vs. what you meant.
Even my years of experience with mediation and conflict resolution don’t always help.
But what has helped me is working with Lori Young, an Enneagram coach who specializes in interpersonal communication and relationship dynamics.
I initially hired Lori to help me develop closer relationships with my children based on what motivates their very different behaviors. But after only one session, I quickly saw how working with her could improve my business relationships.
Since then, I’ve called upon Lori to help me sort out conflict in teams I’ve worked with, and find the right words to use in contract negotiations with potential clients. I also better understand why I continue some behaviors that I know aren’t in my best interests but can’t seem to stop.
Not only has working with Lori made me better in business, but it’s also made me a better human. By understanding my own reactions to people and circumstances, I have developed a deeper understanding of other people’s reactions to words and actions.
Best Business Investment: Hire a Homeschool Coach to Help You Stay Sane
From February 2020 to November 2021, I was a working homeschool mom.
If you had told me on January 1, 2020, that, in just a few short months, I’d be a full-time entrepreneur educating my kids at home, I would have laughed at you.
And then my eyes were opened to a whole segment of the homeschool population I never knew existed: working homeschool moms.
A business friend introduced me to the Working Homeschool Mom Club on Facebook, a community hosted by Jen Mackinnon of Practical, By Default. Though I love the Facebook group, the size of the group and speed at which people participate was overwhelming for me. I needed something smaller and more intimate where I could get answers to my specific questions and support juggling a lifestyle I never imagined living.
I spent most of 2021 in Jen’s High-Octane Homeschoolers program and have made lifelong friends in that group while learning how to juggle the demands of homeschooling while running a business. Now that my kids are back in traditional school, I’ve moved into Jen’s Coaching & Caffeine program focused on work-life balance for the entrepreneurial mom or mompreneur (not my favorite word, but it fits).
And if you haven’t picked up on the theme yet, Jen’s life does run on caffeine—as does mine. We’ve enjoyed many sessions chugging coffee like we’re college kids pulling all-nighters. It just makes me love her more.
Best Business Investment: Find a Social Media Management Tool That Works with Your Online Business
Having spent years as a social media strategist, I’m hard to please when it comes to social media management tools.
When I was managing all of the social media accounts for a major research university, I had the chance to test out tools of every size and scope. I spent time with the team at Sprinklr, which starts at over $100,000 a year, before leading the university-wide implementation of Falcon.io. We also tested tools like AgoraPulse, CoSchedule, SproutSocial, Hootsuite, and Later before contracting with Falcon.
However, my own business’s pockets aren’t nearly as deep as a university’s. Where the university scored a great deal using Falcon for under $40,000 a year, $40 a month is the threshold for my own business.
I have tested tons of social media tools since starting my business, trying desperately to get the best level of service for the lowest possible price. Over time, I’ve developed a list of priorities—my own non-negotiables—when it comes to social media management.
Since I don’t mind the native scheduling features of Creator Studio for Facebook and Instagram, being able to schedule social media posts ahead of time isn’t enough to make me love a third-party application.
I need MORE.
If I’m going to pay for a social media management service, I expect it to integrate seamlessly with every platform I want to be active on. I want to be able to see how all of my channels are performing in a single location, while easily responding to comments and interactions on all of my posts.
SmarterQueue is the Best Social Media Management Tool for My Online Business
SmarterQueue does all of this and more. It allows me to schedule feed posts and stories on Instagram, timeline posts on Facebook Pages and in Groups, as well as posts on LinkedIn and Twitter. There’s a Pinterest integration, too, but since Pinterest is its own animal, I prefer Tailwind for that.
As for content creation and curation, I love that SmarterQueue allows me to easily discover content that’s relevant to my audience from all over the internet. Whether it’s news articles, blogs, or specific social media accounts, I can easily add them into my queue. The analytics aren’t incredibly detailed, but they get the job done and allow for apples-to-apples comparisons among various platforms. But what I appreciate most about SmarterQueue is how it allows you to repurpose and recycle content.
You can fill your queue with several posts and create a schedule of when you want those posts to publish according to category and channel. SmarterQueue takes it from there. If you have a lot of content already created, you can let it go undisturbed, checking in every other week or so to refresh your queue with new content or variations of content already scheduled.
If you’d like to check out SmarterQueue for yourself, use this referral link for an extended trial. And if you’re a registered non-profit, make sure to apply for a service discount.
What Business Investments Will You Make in Your Online Business?
Now that you know what I’m grateful to have invested in this past year, it’s time to look ahead. Your best business investments for your online business might be different than mine, and we’re better together.
What business investments do you have planned for 2022?
Will you hire help around the house or in your business? Will you adopt new tech tools—or maybe a new computer?
Let us know in the comments so we can all learn from each other.
And make sure to come back next week to find out our community’s picks for best business investments of 2021.