Build it and they will come…
That’s what everyone seems to say about Facebook Groups.
But is it true?
If the group you built is far from your field of dreams, you’re not alone.
It’s the No. 1 complaint that leads writers and business owners to seek out my services.
“I have a Facebook Group – Now what?”
The answer to “now what?” is my three-step framework: Suit Up, Show Up and Speak Up. Read on to find out what that looks like for you as a new group owner or aspiring group owner.
Suit Up — Set the Stage for Group Success
Setting the stage for a Facebook Group’s success requires that you prepare the way for the people you hope to welcome into your community.
Thriving online communities start with solid group structure. There are foundational elements that are critical to a group’s early and ongoing success.
You’ll want to carefully consider the following elements:
- Your Facebook Group’s cover image
- Your group description
- Your group rules
- Your group’s screening questions
These elements are your group’s calling card to your ideal group members. Make each one count by being intentional about how you use them.
The cover image is like a bumper sticker, calling out to people all over Facebook. You want a cover image that grabs attention and clearly communicates what your group is about.
Whether your group is “public visible” or “public invisible” (levels of group privacy on Facebook), everyone on Facebook will be able to see the description. This space is valuable real estate when it comes to helping people appreciate what your group is about and who it serves.
Community culture is made up of the collective rules of engagement for a group. This is how you help people understand what is and is not appropriate for your group, and how you create a structure to protect the members of your group.
Facebook allows you to ask prospective members up to three questions when they request to join your group. Questions can be open-ended or multiple choice. How you use these questions is up to you and depends on what you think matters most.
Show Up — Make Time to Help Your Group Thrive
Showing up for your group is one of the most important activities you can do to ensure the success of your community. To show up consistently, though, you have to make time to be in your group.
Starting a Facebook group — or any online community — takes a significant investment of time. If you invest the time well in the beginning, however, you will find that the amount of time needed to maintain your group diminishes over time as the group becomes self-sufficient. Self-sustaining groups are healthy groups.
Speak Up — Make Yourself Known
As a Facebook Group leader, your greatest power is your voice and you need to use your voice to help your group stand out. The first thing you need to do is decide what sets your group apart from all others, and help others to appreciate your differentiating factor.
Understanding what makes you and your community unique is the only way you’ll be able to clearly communicate who should join you and why. Once you do that, you’ll be able to promote your group in a meaningful and effective way.
Find Great Examples to Follow
If you have a group and aren’t yet sure the best way to carry out the advice above, seek out examples of groups run well. If you need help — or a community of fellow online group owners — check out The Secret to Thriving Online Communities, my free Facebook Group that blends the practical with the ideal so you can grow your group without losing your mind. It’s one of the nicest communities on Facebook filled with leaders strive to serve their groups well.