A few weeks ago I shared my favorite Facebook Groups for Bloggers. I was blown away by the response (my most popular post yet!) and so wanted to explore that topic a bit more and dig deeper into how we can maximize our Facebook Group time. In this post we’ll talk about how to start your own Facebook Group!
As I mentioned last week, I asked the wonderful owners/moderators of the groups I’d mentioned in the above post to share their tips. Nearly everyone responded right away and I was floored by the wealth of information shared! So while I’d intended to just publish a single post, I made this a three-part series so we can fully digest all the great info! So if you’d like to know how to increase your traffic via Facebook Groups, how to start your own Facebook Group (below), and how to monetize a Facebook Group, you’ve come to the right place!
First, let me re-introduce you to these six awesome ladies. Becky Burgess (Blogging Newbs | blog), Jen Snyder (Women Winning Online | blog), Krista Dickson (Girl Boss Bloggers | blog), Lena Gott (Adventures in Blogging | blog), Marianne Manthey (Blog Beautiful | blog), and McKinzie Bean (Blogging Newbs | blog). I encourage you to follow their blogs, join their groups and learn from these amazing women!
Admit it. You’ve thought about it! So I asked these ladies, “If I wanted to start a Facebook Group, what should I do first? What are some pitfalls to avoid? How do you keep it under control, ie: people interacting and following the rules?”
McKinzie: Before you start your own Facebook group, you should brainstorm your rules and what the purpose is for your group. In Blogging Newbs my goal is to help new bloggers have a place to connect and find resources that will help them grow. With your new group it can take some time to get your first members and that is okay. Once you hit about 1,000 members Facebook will start to recommend your group more and you will grow more quickly.
Jen: The first thing you should do when starting your own Facebook group is just do it! So many people wait until everything is perfect or until they think they are ready. That time will never come so jump in with both feet and go for it! I think it is important to set the rules right away and then don’t micromanage the group. We are all adults. We know how to act in social circumstances. If you have someone that you feel is abusing the rules of the group, remove them. Don’t message them, don’t try to fix it, just remove them. Also don’t be so scared that other people are going to drop their links and outshine you. You want your group to be a place where everyone gets the help they need. If people feel they can’t share links, they will stop sharing, and your group engagement will die.
Krista: When you start your own Facebook group, I suggest setting up some general rules and guidelines for the members. You can post these in the group’s “description” section over on the right-hand side of the page. Ask that all members read through these rules upon joining the group and adhere to them. As your group grows larger, you’ll find that more and more “spam accounts” join your group in order to either promote themselves or to post irrelevant content in the group feed. This is definitely annoying, but don’t sweat it! Simply look through the feed a few times each day and delete posts that are against the rules or that are obviously spam. You can also remove members who frequently break the rules, if you like.
Lena: It’s so easy to start your own Facebook group. I would recommend starting one when you have a clear vision for it (who will join, how you will interact and how you might monetize it)
Becky: Find a need, a hole, a gap. Something that’s missing from Facebook that you would like to help fill. Perhaps you like someone’s Facebook Group but you have your own ideas about how to do it better. There’s clearly a lack of something that you wish was there, or that idea would have never crossed your mind. Make time each week to schedule out recurring posts. Then, you want to be super engaged. Answer people’s questions and comment back when they post. Make sure your group rules are clear in the description. I don’t really put up with people ignoring these. They’re pretty consistent across the board with most groups so when people break a common rule, that shows a lack of respect for the group, the admins, and the other members.
Marianne: The very first thing I did with my Facebook group was to create a very clear focus for it (which in my case is blog design help/feedback). This helps direct my daily engagement threads to keep members focused. I had studied other popular groups to get ideas for the types of daily threads to include and I now update the threads every few months to keep things fresh. Be sure to have clear group rules in the description and keep self promotions to a minimum. I only allow self promotions once a week in one of the daily threads. Some people don’t like this, but the focus of my group is to help you with your design issues, not to let you come in only to promote yourself. If you don’t keep this under control, the focus of your group will get lost in the sea of endless promotions. One thing I make sure to do is to welcome each new member that joins the group. This gives you a chance to direct them to the group rules and gives them a chance to introduce themselves. Last but not least, actively engage in the group yourself! People join your group because they want access to you and your knowledge, so give it to them! Answer their questions, and from time to time pose specific questions to the group that are designed to learn more about them so you can tailor content on your blog to help.
My takeaway: Find your purpose. Be highly engaged. Don’t sweat it, enjoy it! And just do it!
I’d love to hear what tips you may have for people thinking about starting a Facebook Group. Drop a note in the comments!