4 Tips to Creating Community Through Facebook Groups
For many of us, the thought of joining one more Facebook group makes us want to close our accounts for good and never log back in. With more nonprofits realizing the value of Facebook groups for social media marketing, users find themselves invited to groups they have no interest in or joining for one special event or promotion and then getting frustrated when they’re bombarded with notifications.
Overall, the problem here is that marketers are being told they need to use Facebook groups, so they create one but then don’t know what to do after that. Many small organizations treat their Facebook groups as just another page, but that is not their intended use. In order to have a successful nonprofit Facebook group, there is really one thing that you must focus on: building community.
Building a community in a Facebook group will require a mindset shift and consistent engagement with your group members at the beginning as you train them how to use the group. Here are some tips that you should know in order to foster an online community for your audience to connect with one another.
1. Utilize the ‘Accept’ Feature to Keep Trolls Out of Your Facebook Group
The trick here is not to keep your Facebook group a secret, but you can make it private (think: exclusive), so that users must submit a join request to gain entry to the group. During the initial setup, come up with a few questions that potential group members must answer in order to be accepted into the group. The people who fill out the join-request form with thoughtful answers are going to be your tribe. These are the people who want to hear from your organization and who are primed for making a donation or being an ambassador for you.
2. Give Your Group Members the VIP Treatment
In order to build community in a Facebook group, you want to make the group worth your members’ time. When coming up with a name for your Facebook group, utilize terms that evoke exclusivity such as “Insiders Group” or “VIPs”. Share exclusive content with them or members-only opportunities to engage with your organization.
Facebook groups also have a means for you to share files with your members. You could offer a monthly free download of a desktop or phone background or other content that your group members will find useful in their everyday lives. Making sure that your members are checking in regularly is a great way to train them to engage in the group as much as possible, so they receive all the benefits of their exclusive access.
3. Encourage Group Members to Engage in Conversation With One Another
Your group members will likely join because they want to hear about upcoming events, special content, advice, etc., from you. In the early days of your Facebook group, you will want to make sure that you’re engaging your audience and asking them questions. You can also use polls or prompts to get them talking. When a new member joins a group, ask them to introduce themselves with an informal post. Of course, your audience will always want to hear from you, so make sure to engage regularly. Consider posting at least three times a week and include Facebook Live when scheduling content for your groups. It is helpful to do your Facebook Live videos at the same time each week so that you can train your audience to know when to tune in!
When your group members come to rely on one another for information or advice, that is when you know you have built a true community. If you see a member answer another member’s question, comment and encourage that behavior by saying something like, “Thank you so much Jane Doe for sharing your knowledge with us! That’s exactly what we would have said!”
4. Encourage Use of the Search Feature in Your Facebook Groups
The search feature in Facebook groups is probably one of the most underutilized. Facebook business pages do have a search feature as well, but a user has to click around a bit to find it. Train your group members to use your Facebook group as a one-stop-shop for all information about your organization and its mission. Create content within your group that establishes your nonprofit as the expert in your field so that your members keep coming to you for important information and updates.
As nonprofit managers who just want to stay in touch with our audience, it can be hard to remember that the continual algorithm changes on social media sites aren’t intended to hurt businesses, but to make the overall experience more user-friendly. Facebook groups were created to be a unique way for you to serve your audience.
Don’t be intimidated at the task of “growing a community” within your Facebook group. If you utilize these tools, community growth will happen naturally as your group members see the value you are providing them. Are you still overwhelmed by Facebook groups? Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you with your social media marketing!