I’ve covered Facebook groups before to the point that I wasn’t sure what else there was to say. But, right now, many of us are turning to the internet and online communities, so learning to foster that is more important than EVER.
The thing is? Fostering community can be HARD. It’s tricky. And sometimes we miss the line we need to walk.
LISTEN TO EPISODE 182- HOW TO FOSTER COMMUNITY IN FACEBOOK GROUPS
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I’ve covered much about Facebook groups before. If you haven’t checked out these posts first, you might want to. Or, circle back after you finish this one.
HOW TO FOSTER COMMUNITY IN FACEBOOK GROUPS
SET THE TONE
First, you have to realize that YOU set the tone. And you definitely WANT to set a tone. Your group shouldn’t be for everyone. If you’re doing this right, some people might join and then want to leave.
When you first start a group, it will feel like talking to yourself. It’s hard, sometimes embarrassing work. Because you post and … crickets. But that’s when you NEED to press in and keep showing up. Don’t give up when no one talks. Just keep posting. Post what, you might ask? Great question.
POST ENGAGING CONTENT
Start easy. Post content that is easily engaged with. Viral memes related to your topic? Yes. Gifs? Yes. Questions that may not relate but will spark discussion? Yes. Especially when you start a group, you have to make things low-risk. People are more likely to answer “what show are you bingeing?” than a more serious question. Even better, give them a graphic like this one I made in canva.
Easy. Once people start talking, the algorithm shows your group more in their feed. And it trains them to talk. They’re more likely to start talking on ALL things, not just the easy, low-risk ones.
Use the option in the settings to create questions. Maybe give people a heads-up about your group vibe. I also let people add their email address and tell them they CAN opt into my list, but don’t have to. I have a short, one-email welcome email that they get when I manually add them. But this place is a great way to weed out people who change their mind about joining, or to make sure they see the expectations before they jump in.
Though my kids wouldn’t say they like the rules in our house, they NEED them. Kids need healthy boundaries. So do your FB group members. State them in the rules section in the settings of FB. Pin them as an announcement. Put them in the header image. People will still break the rules. But set the guidelines and stick to them.
BUT DON’T CREATE SO MANY THAT IT’S STIFLING
Some larger groups have to go WAYYYY overboard with the rules. I’ve found that the bigger my group gets, I still don’t really have tons of icky spam or bad behavior. I think that’s because the group overall has a sense of community and identity. When someone steps over, people report it. But if your rules make it so that no one can post EVER, it’s hard.
Ex: only questions on one day of the week
Ex: no links of any kind – so much easier in a reader group to have links
REMEMBER THAT YOU SET THE TONE
If you don’t set one, the members will. Consider how you want the group to function, then you keep showing up with content, questions, and comments that stay in that lane. Don’t worry too much about growth. If you’re super small, you can ask members to invite friends if they love it. I ask every week in my email for people to join, even though many are already there. Show up. Be clear. Have a voice, like a writing voice. You’ll draw your ideal reader, and it’s okay to send people away.