Wondering whether you’re doing your best to post engaging content for your Facebook Group? Unsure of whether anybody sees or cares to see your posts?
If you want an engaged community or Facebook Group, you have to give members something engaging to respond to — so they can have direct two-way conversations with you and with each other.
But to do that, you need a plan. Not just any plan either. You need one that meets the needs of you and your group. You deserve to feel good about what you are doing and confident you’re doing the right things at the right time.
As the owner of Team Kubo, an online community management agency, I help people design highly engaged groups and train others to do the same. It also means I plan A LOT of content for A LOT of groups. If I seem better at it than you, it’s not because they taught this stuff in college. It’s because I’ve done more of it for a lot longer than you have. With practice, comes progress.
In this article, I’m sharing what I’ve learned over the years about how to plan content for groups to drive engagement and get results.
Read on to learn:
- How to plan content for your group
- How to create content that connects with your members
- Whether you should schedule your community content
- How to tell what’s working and what’s not
- 1 How to Plan Engaging Content for Your Facebook Group
- 2 How to Create Content That Connects with Your Members
- 3 Should You Schedule Your Community Content?
- 4 How to Tell What’s Working with Your Content Plan (and What’s Not)
- 5 Putting Together Your Own Engaging Content Plan
- 6 Need Help with Your Community?
- 7 Share
If you want to plan content in a way that’s efficient and effective, you need a foolproof system that includes the following steps:
1. Get a mechanism to collect your ideas
Ideas of what to share with your community can strike any place and any time. Figure out how to collect ideas when they come now so you don’t find yourself with a great idea and no way to remember it when it’s time to write. The easiest low-tech solution is to carry a notepad and pen in your purse or pocket to jot down ideas that come up when you’re on the go. If you’re someone who’s never too far from your phone, though, a voice memo or notes app might be more convenient.
2. Pick one method for writing your posts
Routines support consistency, so pick one method for writing your posts and stick with it. I prefer a Google Doc because it’s easy for me to use either from my computer, phone or tablet, and I like the document interface. If Google Docs don’t work for you, you can use Word Online, Dropbox Paper or a note-taking app like Evernote.
What’s important is not losing track of your best ideas.
3. Commit to a scheduling system for your content
Community engagement comes down to value. To make sure you’re delivering the value you’ve promised to your group members, I recommend planning your content schedule in a place where you can evaluate each post in the context of what else you’re publishing that week, month and over the quarter. A social media scheduler sort of does that, but doesn’t make it easy to move posts around as needed.
I prefer to sketch out my content schedule (what I’m posting and when I’m posting it) in a Google doc that makes it easy to copy and paste into the group. You might prefer using a spreadsheet or productivity application, such as Airtable, Notion, Asana or Trello. Whatever tool plays nicely with your brain and is easy for you to use consistently is the tool you should use.
4. Know what you want to say and what your community needs to hear
Once you have mechanisms in place to collect your ideas, write out your posts and plan them out, it’s time to figure out what you actually should say to your community.
To truly grow your group and get results, you need to share content that connects with your members. Even members who only visit the group a few times a month will notice if the content doesn’t align with what they expect from the community.
If you aren’t sure what to post, here are some ideas:
- Revisit your group’s purpose and promise — everything you post should complement the reason your group exists and what you’ve promised to deliver to your members.
- Review members’ most frequently asked questions — even the simplest questions can be answered in a variety of ways, and it doesn’t hurt to reinforce your key messages.
- Examine all facets of your group focus — brainstorm the “who, what, when, where, how” questions about your topic.
How to Create Content That Connects with Your Members
Every group is different. The secret to planning engaging content for your group isn’t figuring out what works in other groups. You need to only concern yourself with the content that performs best in YOUR group.
To figure that out, experiment. In every group I lead, we are always testing content to figure out what connects and resonates with members. We test, test and test again.
If you’re not sure where to begin, start with content that lends itself to facilitating connection between strangers online:
- Polls — Polls work well to drive engagement in groups because they are easy to answer. Most polls are multiple-choice questions. It’s easy to click the response that fits best.
- Video — Even one-way livestream broadcasts feel engaging to members. If your video offers the solution to a problem members want to solve, they’ll show up for it.
- Questions that encourage connection — Meet-and-greet posts, icebreaker questions, invitations to promote offers or post needs are all examples of questions that encourage members to connect with each other.
Need additional ideas? Check out our 30 Facebook™️ Group Engagement Posts That will Increase Interaction.
Should You Schedule Your Community Content?
Scheduling content in communities or social media can be controversial. Some experts say scheduling reduces your reach, which will negatively impact engagement. Others say scheduling is the only way to ensure consistency.
For what it’s worth, I’ve never experienced negative effects of scheduling content in the communities I lead. I also haven’t seen evidence of decreased reach or engagement when scheduling to any social media platforms.
Rumors aside, scheduling content in your Facebook Group or online community has its pros and cons — like most things in business.
Arguments in favor of scheduling group content
Scheduling content allows you to ensure consistency in providing valuable content to your group. You won’t neglect your group for days, weeks or months if you’re scheduling content regularly.
Posting on the fly, or when the mood strikes, doesn’t usually lend itself to making sure you’re covering the full scope of what your members need. Groups do best when they have content covering education, networking, entertainment, and available offers (if applicable). But when you’re posting when the mood strikes you, you’ll likely default to the one or two content types you personally prefer.
Practically speaking, the best reason to schedule your community content is so you can work ahead. If you have a few weeks of content scheduled, you can take time off or hyper-focus your attention in a different aspect of your business as needed.
Arguments against scheduling your group content
Depending on the focus of your community, you might need to pay attention to the relevance and timeliness of your content. Make sure to review scheduled posts to decide whether they are still appropriate based on current events and member priorities.
No system is perfect. Every automation fails from time to time. Scheduling content isn’t a perfect “fix it and forget it” system for ensuring the proper care and feeding of your group. You have to monitor the group regularly to make sure the posts are published according to the schedule you’ve set.
The main reason people shy away from scheduling content in groups is concern over how to manage the schedule during conflict or crisis. The only solution is to have a documented process for pausing the schedule or pulling down all scheduled posts when crisis or conflict demands it.
How to Tell What’s Working with Your Content Plan (and What’s Not)
Group leaders and even professional community managers rely on their instincts too often to gauge whether group members are responding positively to the content they publish.
“The group seems healthy,” they’ll say. Or, “ugh…it’s all crickets. I’m just talking to myself.”
Either could be true in any group at any time but there’s only one way to know for sure: dig into your data.
I’ve long said successful online community management is equal parts art and science. This is true.
The key part of that statement is one that sometimes gets lost: EQUAL.
What do the numbers tell you?
The art or instinctive side of online community management must be informed by data. They are two sides of the same coin when it comes to giving your community what it needs to yield the results you — or your business — needs in return.
Feelings are not facts.
No matter what your feelings tell you about your group or your member engagement, you need to look at your numbers regularly. Don’t be afraid to look at your numbers, and look at them often. Monthly best.
Data is neutral. It’s neither good nor bad. And it empowers you to make evidence-based decisions.
Here are the data points I track in the groups I manage each month:
- Growth — number of members gained and lost
- Engagement rate — number of active members divided by total number of members in the group.
- Most engaged members — The members who react to posts, comment and create their own posts each month.
- Most popular posts — The posts that get the most engagement each month.
I document these data points and look for trends to emerge quarterly. Doing so helps me to see what’s working and what’s not. I also look to see if I can connect any shifts in the data to things we’re doing from the management side.
Putting Together Your Own Engaging Content Plan
A plan for engaging content in your Facebook Group or online community isn’t hard to create, now that you know the steps required.
Whether you use a notepad and pen or phone app to collect thoughts and ideas while you’re on the go, it doesn’t matter. The best plans start with a dedicated method for getting your ideas in a single place. Having all of your ideas in a single location makes it easier to focus on what you want to say when it comes time to create your content. You can use any writing system that works for you, but don’t underestimate the powerful simplicity of a simple Google or Word document.
Once you know how you’ll get your writing and content creation done consistently, it’s a matter of figuring out what to say, the best way to say it (video, polls, etc.) and when you’ll be posting.
From there, you’ll want to be sure to gather and evaluate your data monthly and quarterly. Then you can be confident you know what’s working and what’s not.
Need Help with Your Community?
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.