Starting a Facebook Group: How to Build an Online Community to Help You Grow
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Building a strong and engaged online community is essential in today’s digital world. That’s why it’s no surprise that Facebook jumped on board with their announced in June 2017 about a range of fresh features and a new mission for Facebook Groups: “Give people the power to build community and bring the world closer together.”
It’s hard to ignore Facebook, as it’s the most active social media platform in the world
Online communities offer a space for people with common interests to come together and discuss topics relevant and important to them. But where should you choose to plant your community’s roots? It’s hard to ignore Facebook, as it’s the most active social media platform in the world, and you can find a group and an audience for just about anything! As a web designer or developer, these groups can be a great place to keep up with trends, connect with others in the industry, or find new clients.
Before you start thinking about creating a group of your own, it’s a good idea to join a few groups to get a better sense of what content works, how people engage, and the value these groups bring to the community.
Starting a Facebook Group
With millions of Facebook groups already available to join, you’ll need to establish what unique value your group will offer. Starting with a smaller niche demographic can be an excellent way to test out how to run a group and connect with your community and clients. For example, if you’ve done work in a particular industry and have insight and knowledge about that industry, create a group that brings people in that industry together so you can share your expertise.
Keep in mind that in the early stages of the group, it can take a lot of work to continually keep people interested and coming back to engage with your content and discussions. Over time, the group can start to take on a life of its own and you may not need to post as frequently, but it’s important that you remain active and involved.
Marketing your Facebook Group
Currently, Facebook makes it a bit challenging to promote your group to the world, but here are a few workarounds you can try.
Currently it’s not possible to promote your group through the group alone. If you’re looking to get your group in front of a larger audience, here’s a hack we’ve come across to boost your group outside of your audience network:
Create a custom audience that you want to target.
Draft a new post on your Facebook Business Page and add the link to your group.
Rather than clicking “Publish,” select “Boost post” and select the audience and budget you want to use. Click “Set budget.
Once you’ve started to grow the group and people are adding content and having valuable discussions, you can try sending out an invite to your email list or writing a blog post about the new community.
Remember, it can be easy to get wrapped up in the group member count and forget why the community was started in the first place. You could have hundreds of thousands of members, but if the engagement is low or the content is irrelevant, it’s useless to everyone — including you.
Measuring the impact of your group
There are some measurements that can help us evaluate the use of online communities, even if we can’t accurately measure the emotions behind them. A few metrics that we look at include engagement and community growth — how often are people responding and contributing to discussions within your group? At what rate is your community growing?. To make this easier, Facebook recently released Group Insights which gives you access to basic data on when members join and the overall engagement.
Another option is going above and beyond Facebook Group insights. Why not ask your group members directly what kind of value they are getting out of the group? Facebook offers the ability to publish a poll to do just this. This is an excellent way to see what kind of content the group wants to see more of, and find out what might motivate members to become more active.