Facebook group used to be the starting of an online community. With more alternative platforms available in the market, here is how to grow your online community
Until lately, when you heard the word "community," you thought it referred to a Facebook group.
With 2.6 billion users, virtually everyone on the globe who has access to the Internet has a Facebook account. Given this, it seems self-evident that if you want to build a community, you should start with a Facebook group. Nobody is going to be upset at you for that, yes?
However, there are very particular reasons to start a Facebook group and put in the effort to offer an active community there today.
As well as a slew of other reasons not to.
Why? Because, in recent years, a new category of community platforms has arisen that has largely replaced the requirement to simply make a Facebook group in all situations. You now have alternatives that you did not have previously, especially if you are offering online courses, creating a membership site, or realise the importance of having your own direct interaction with your members away from Facebook.
This means you may be more selective about how and where you develop a Facebook group or improve Facebook group participation.
The easiest approach to expand your Facebook group is to first grasp what Facebook can and cannot accomplish for the community you create there.
At first sight, Facebook groups appear to be the ideal location for building your community since “everyone is already on Facebook and people don't want to have yet another login.”
However, this is no longer the case. Many people are extremely concerned about their privacy and distrust Facebook; some like to meet other members more organically; and yet others seek to concentrate and just want to escape the noise and diversions of social media while mastering something essential you are giving.The reasons for starting or growing a Facebook group are becoming fewer and further between.
So, when should you look at Facebook group alternatives vs growing and engaging a Facebook group? When it makes sense to start or expand a Facebook group, consider the following:
Facebook groups appear to be the best platform to use if you really want to start a group for fan culture, political conspiracy theories, or more polarising or lightweight “joke” topics that lend themselves to memes, quick cynical quips, or that strengthen someone's existing views systems by trying to connect them to people who share the same beliefs.
Why? Because the Facebook algorithm will guarantee that your group receives a continuous supply of new members, and the engagement model is ideal for a feed that considers a view as less than 3 seconds of a post flying by.
If you've invested in building and expanding a Facebook group over the previous several years, it could make sense to keep using it to expose your group to new potential members and create the broadest audience possible for anywhere you want to move it in the future.
This option is not open to everyone, particularly newcomers deciding if a Facebook group is the best location to establish a community from scratch today (sadly, it may not be). However, for those who have established groups that receive a constant stream of free new members through Facebook search, having your Facebook group open and public makes more sense.
Finally, if you feel you can access Facebook's sophisticated ranking algorithm that determines what appears in people's facebook feeds for free for any purpose besides the two listed above, go ahead and do it.
In a sophisticated "black box" formula that is impossible to grasp, let alone master, the Facebook platform evaluates who a user normally connects with, the type of material in a post (whether it's a video, link, or photo), as well as the attractiveness of the post. However, if you have a great insight or advantage that will set your Facebook group apart from the competition, it may be worth investing your time, energy, and ingenuity in getting your group to appear in Facebook search results or pushed to other members in related groups.
But be warned: it will be continuous labour with a high possibility of failure.
As you can see from the above list of reasons to develop a Facebook group, the top reason not to build a Facebook group is when the only option to expand your Facebook group is to buy traffic and visibility from... Facebook.
Even though article after article claims that the "proper" method to establish a community in 2021 is to:
Don't pay attention to the "experts." This is not a good bargain for you. Unless you fall into one of the three circumstances outlined above, in which you may use Facebook to generate free traffic to develop your Facebook group, you must proceed with caution when purchasing advertising for your Facebook group. This is why:
So, while you may have formed a "free" Facebook group, they are built in such a way that Facebook is compensated whenever you want new followers, even though the group itself profits Facebook with data about your group activities, which they then use for improved ad targeting.
If you want to purchase traffic from Facebook (which is undoubtedly a wonderful source of traffic), consider building your virtual community on a platform where you have complete access to every user while still receiving high interaction under your own identity. While this was not previously a possibility, a new type of community website software is now accessible to do so. They will also provide you with a significantly better return on investment.
If you fall into one of the best categories for developing a Facebook group for free, there are five things you should concentrate on to expand your Facebook group:
Now that you know when, how, and the best method to approach developing your Facebook group, you can focus on how to effectively engage one.
The following concepts are the greatest engagement techniques for your Facebook group:
Work intelligently rather than harder. The material you provide for your Facebook group is not what drives engagement. It is about the discussions and interactions your members form with one another. What is important is that you concentrate on activities in your organisation that foster relationships. Plus, if you've mastered a few easy strategies, it's a lot easier to accomplish than producing fresh ones.
Craft a "Great Purpose" or incentive for your members of the group to be a part of it. The drive for your community is the root of all community involvement. Simply put, what will your members get from joining your Facebook group? Will they have a stronger feeling of belonging, or are you bringing people together to perfect something?
This is less important for any of the previously stated groups, such as those where conspiracies or tribalism drive all of the light engagement that Facebook optimises for. However, if you're bringing individuals from various backgrounds together, or if you want to inspire people to share more fully, being clear about members' motivation–and the outcomes they'll gain for participating–matters.
Adopt a consistent timetable to instil a habit in your members (and you). Finally, you want to teach your members and the Facebook search algorithm to know when to expect anything from your Facebook group, even if they're just lurking and not participating.
To get your members chatting to each other, use intriguing questions and surveys. Once you've established a Big Purpose and a consistent routine that's creating a habit among your members (and yourself), you can incorporate daily questions and polls meant to encourage your members to share their stories, experiences, and thoughts, while also connecting them to others.
Experiment with new stuff. Experiment with various forms, questions, and ways to connect your members in your Facebook group.
Keep an open mind. As you attempt new things and speak to more of your members, have an open mind and utilise what you learn to try new things. It is what will give you fresh energy, joy, and originality while operating your Facebook group, and it is one of the primary reasons for starting a community in the first place.
Ask for feedback and comments. While you want to create a community with a point of view and organisation, don't be hesitant to ask your community for suggestions on where to go next. You don't have to know all of the answers; just provide a framework for your members to achieve results from your community and feel comfortable talking to one another.
These principles are only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to capturing the patterns that have been shown to produce engagement in a Facebook group or across communities more generally.
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