An open community that’s built around your brand is the hub for ALL, and I hope that more business owners realize just how powerful communities can be. Maybe by the time you’re done reading this, you’ll be inspired to start your own community too. Here’s how to grow your community online.
If you have a business, you might be wondering how to start, and I’m excited to share some of my favorite tips on doing exactly that. This way, just like me, you’ll have amazing people who are delighted to be part of what you’re doing.
I’m talking about loyal people who value what you do, are excited about the things you are working on, and are the first in line to sign up or purchase your service or product. You are there for them, and they are there for you. I believe all business owners deserve to have that because let me tell you; it makes the world of working for yourself a whole lot more fun!
Ready? Let’s dive in!
Let’s define community first; a feeling of fellowship with others, as a result of sharing common attitudes, interests, and goals.
I have this sense of community woven into my business. On my website, social media, the newsletter, you can find it everywhere. Truth be told, I actually love the fact that I have a business that’s not all about ‘me’. It’s about the resources I share to help others. Creating a community feel around my business has always come very natural, because I personally want to include others in what I do. Over the years, I’ve used social media to connect to people, but quickly realized that the conversation can sometimes feel a little one sided.
The whole concept of speaking at people, rather than with people. If you have a business, with social media you probably know exactly what I’m talking about.
- Newsletter, YOUR sending an email to others.
- Instagram, YOU post your photo and captions.
- Facebook page, YOU post your status.
SOCIAL MEDIA ACCOUNTS VS COMMUNITY PAGES
Now, don’t get me wrong. ALL these are forms of communities and a chance to connect with people, and that’s what makes them great. They are platforms built for you to share what you are most passionate about.
BUT…if we’re all being honest, it often feels like we’re standing on a stage speaking AT people rather than WITH people.
When I think of the word community, I think of like-minded people being together. Chatting about the things we care about and sharing things we love. It’s a busy, welcoming place to be and feels like our favorite place to hang out with people who simply get it because we have things in common.
For the sake of keeping things focused, I want to teach you how to build a community. A place for your ideal customers/clients to hang out and spend time. Where you can share the things you’re passionate about with people who care and connect with them on a personal level. Where you can have open conversations with people rather than being the sole speaker.
The perfect place for this is in a Facebook Group.
Maybe you’ve thought about starting one. Perhaps you already have one but are struggling to get it to grow with the right people. If that’s the case, I’m excited you’re here because I’m about to tell you everything you need to know to build your very own Facebook group community.
You’re probably wondering; How the heck do you build an online community around what you do, and have it grow into a space for you, your business, and those who will become some of your loyalist supporters?
I’m here to tell you, and it’s actually a lot easier than you might think!
FIND YOUR FOCUS
The first thing you need to do is figure out the focus of your group. If you have a business or a passion, you probably already know what you’d like the focus on. Ideally, you want to create a space where you can connect with people who care about what you do, the service you offer, or the products you sell.
What kind of community do you envision?
If you had to choose three topics as the focus, what would they be?
How will the focus benefit those in the group? How will it benefit you and your business?
For a moment, I want you to imagine that you had 10,000 members in your group. What kind of guidelines would you want in place? This will be your group, and you’ll be in charge of making sure that this space is the kind of space people want to spend time. Think about the groups you’re currently in. What kind of posts do you enjoy, and which ones make you want to leave?
Some of my guidelines are (and you’re totally welcome to copy paste these for your own group guidelines!)
- This group will be a positive space to learn, grow, and share. Please refrain from venting, bashing, complaining. All negative posts or comments will be removed immediately.
- Always be respectful and helpful. I will personally help educate, others are welcome to give tips and advice. Please be sure to remain encouraging to others so they, too, can learn and grow.
WHY GUIDELINES MATTER
You probably noticed, but it’s VERY important for me to build a community that is a welcoming space for everyone. I want people to be able to learn, grow, and share what they love. I’m proud to say I get raves about it being exactly that all the time, and I couldn’t be prouder.
When someone joins the group and is quick to judge, bash, or be negative towards other members, they quickly end up leaving because they learn that my group isn’t the space for that. Even with a group with over 16,000 members, this happens maybe once a year…if that. I’m telling ya…it’s a whole lot of sweet people in my group.
Think about guidelines/rules as a way to ensure that the people in your group will remain happy there in the long run. Focus on what guidelines you feel are most important, and you’ll see how over time, those core values of a group just become stronger and stronger.
You’re going to want to come up with a game plan for content because let me tell you, being a group, where no one is active is not very much fun. The more active your group is, the faster it will grow. People enjoy spending time with other like-minded creatives, and a community group is a perfect place for that.
The best advice I have for your group is to come up with your content posts ahead of time. Post them in the group, even when there aren’t a lot of people. It might feel funny at first with a smaller group, but I promise, if you continue posting, others will as well.
Make a list of 7 types of posts, then use this as your weekly guide.
This could look something like
- MONDAY – Weekly Goals: Share what you’re working on.
- TUESDAY – Introductions: Tell us about what you do.
- WEDNESDAY – Share: Post some of your work.
- THURSDAY – Help post: Post about something you need help with.
- FRIDAY – Follow Friday: Post your social media account. Fun way to connect with everyone in the group.
- SATURDAY – Helpful Tip: Give your group a helpful tip.
- SUNDAY – Promotion Sunday: Promote one of your products or services.
Of course, you can alter these to match your services and products and create an environment for your community to engage and connect with topics that align with what you and your business are all about.
Once you’ve started a group, you’ll need to start telling people about it. You can post about your group and invite people using your current social accounts or newsletters. Since groups have a much higher organic reach, they work better than Facebook pages and Instagram pages so it’s not a bad idea to try and get your followers/customers/clients into your group.
Now, this is often the tricky part of groups. Getting the engagement up. The truth is this; you’re group MIGHT be slow to start, and that’s ok. Consider it more like a very private hang out for your favorite people. I promise if you stick with it, it will grow, and engagement will go up as well. In no time, you’ll have a group filled with people who love what you have to offer.
ADJUST YOUR FOCUS
Now, as time goes by, don’t be afraid to revisit your focus. It’s normal and perfectly ok for you, your business, your vision, and your group to adjust as time passes by. Take notice of what people are posting in the group. What are the hot topics, and how have you been able to help those in your community the most? Try to incorporate these into your focus moving forward.
GROW YOUR COMMUNITY
Continue to grow your group and make sure to invite those that find you elsewhere to join you there. When it comes to social media, I put the most effort into growing my Facebook group. Even though it has fewer people than my Instagram and Facebook, it outperforms organic reach by a long shot.
MAKE SURE TO GROW YOUR LIST
The backbone of my business marketing all comes down to my email list. Of course, I love my Facebook group, and social media pages, but since it’s not something I can control (Dear Mark could literally change the rules on all of us tomorrow), I always make sure to maximize the way I grow my email list. An easy way to do this is to include a freebie in the questions they have to answer so you can welcome your new members with a nice freebie, while at the same time growing your email list as your community grows!
BUILD YOUR COMMUNITY TODAY
So if you’re ready to start building your community with people who genuinely care about what you do, then start your community group today! You’ll be so happy that you did. Interested in learning more about Facebook group?
Then hop on over to my newsletter list and Facebook Group so you’ll be the first to get my upcoming tips on building and scaling your business!
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