Facebook is one of the most popular places to host a community. It makes sense because it’s free and just about everyone is active there. And Facebook has been putting a lot of effort into making groups a bigger part of the experience.
But just because it is popular doesn’t mean I would always recommend it. However, I know that it is the place many will choose for a variety of reasons so I wanted to help people be as successful with their community as they can. So, I’m sharing how I would (and have) managed a Facebook group for maximum participation.
Collect Email Addresses on Facebook Groups
To start with you need the email addresses of your members, without their emails you won’t be able to connect with them anywhere else meaning once you’ve lost their participation and attention on Facebook you can’t really re-engage them.
You can set up questions from the admin team in your group settings. I would recommend having one question ask about their agreement to your policies, one asking for their email address, and a question asking them to like and comment on posts so they will see posts from your community.
Send Weekly Newsletters
Once you have their email addresses, you should be running a weekly newsletter to share what’s going on in your community, what the most interesting threads were, and what’s planned for the following week.
I’d also recommend not calling the newsletter a newsletter in the email subject, it should be changed by what’s going on in the content of the email.
Recruit Members to Help Seed Posts
One way to get more exposure for your posts is to get people to like and comment on them quickly upon publishing each post. To do this, find members of your group that you can add to a private chat.
Ask them before adding them if they wouldn’t mind helping and ask if they are available when you normally post so you can get their help. It’s good to have several people in the group who can help because Facebook will notice patterns of the same people liking and commenting.
You can also ask new members to join, this will give them a feeling of inclusiveness that other groups aren’t doing. When you do post something new, take the link of the post and put it in your private chat asking members to comment and react. This is called seeding a post and will help get it seen by other members.
Tag Members In Your Posts
Another way to make sure members see your posts is to tag them into the post. Using the @ symbol you can start typing their name, then select their name.
You won’t want to overuse this, so make sure you focus on using it with people who are active and would be interested in the post you are making.
A big reason Facebook will remove your posts from someone’s feed is they aren’t interacting with your posts (as mentioned above) to combat this, you have to post often, at least a couple of times a day.
This helps new members remember your group and gives them the opportunity to participate before they forget about you.
To make sure you are posting often enough, you should have a content calendar. This doesn’t have to be a strict calendar you follow, but it should help you plan out enough topics for every week.
You can easily move the topics around, but you need to have a bank of discussion ideas to add to the group in case members are particularly quiet.
You can add all sorts of content to your group: podcasts, links, videos (people love video), poll questions, off topic thoughts, articles, new blog posts, celebrity related content.
If you can’t find anything look at your competitors’ social accounts to get some ideas. Between their Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram you should be able to find a lot of hot topics for your community.
Email Members to Get Them To Post
Another way to get members involved is to identify when they’ve brought up a new topic in comments and ask them to start a post about it. A lot of times they will say yes to your prompting and you’ll have a new post from sending a short email.
Remember: members like to be singled out, they like to be asked to contribute. They may not always have the time to make a post about it, but they usually appreciate you taking the time to talk to them personally.
Make It A Point To Message At Least One Member A Day
In any community, you have to take the time to understand what your members need and what you need to provide to keep them interested. The only way to do this is to build relationships with different members, constantly.
The more you speak to your members one-on-one, the more you’ll be able to bring up the topics that are important to them. Consider this free research for your content calendar.
Have Members Change Notifications & Seen First Settings
Each group has a setting for notifications on Facebook. When members first join the group you can send them an email asking them to change the notification from Highlights to All, they can do this right under the cover photo for your group.
Additionally, Facebook allows users to select up to 30 accounts they can see first in their newsfeed. You should ask members to do this if they don’t want to miss any of your helpful content.
A lot of members will not take either of these steps, but that’s ok. The ones who do are your ideal members and those you really want to connect with. It’s good to ask everyone so that you can increase your exposure even the slightest bit.
Answer Your Members’ Posts & Comments
Last, but not least, it’s important to take the time to answer as many of your members’ comments and posts as possible. Even if you don’t know the answer, or know how to help you should take the time to answer and let them know you can either research it, or tag someone who can answer.
People want to know they matter and you can make sure they do by answering their thoughts. This is hugely important to keeping people active in your group. How many groups will you go back to when you aren’t answered?
Running your community on any platform you don’t own (or have a paid account with) is risky because business will always happen with someone else’s priorities in mind. Facebook has closed groups on people for little to no reason so we have to be careful.
But none of this is going to keep people from using the easiest solution out there, and I completely understand. By following the tips in this post you’ll have extended access to your members and be able to run an active/thriving group.
I hope this post has helped and if I can answer any questions, please let me know here.