If you’re growing a Facebook group, can I ask you…is it still just a Facebook group or is it a thriving community? And do you know the difference?
Anyone can have a Facebook group but to build a thriving community takes time, energy and a pinch of love.
I wanna to talk to you about ‘Culture’. Creating a culture with intention can mean the difference between a flop and a massive success when it comes to Facebook groups.
Have you considered the culture you’re cultivating in your group? And are you actively working towards it?
Facebook groups can be, for some, scary places that feel like they’re full of judgement and criticism…some of them actually are! People are often jaded by their experiences of groups that aren’t well managed and they become a wasteland full of gunslingers, monsters and leather clad ‘Mad Max’ characters who take the law into their own hands and anything goes….at least that’s how I imagine them…
But seriously, you have to bear that in mind when starting and growing your group. It is YOUR responsibility to create a space where people feel safe, a space where people enjoy being and a space where people feel comfortable and confident enough to show up and engage.
Something that used to bug me was when I’d show up with great content, giving away so, so much for free, expending time and energy for ‘these people’ and I getting very little if anything in return. Let me let you in on a secret; it’s not for them, it’s actually for you and they know that, on some level!
But I soon realised that being pissed off at people for not showing up for me was not only a waste of time and energy, it was also unfair. I’m asking people to come into my space, to give me their time, knowing that ultimately it’s to grow my business. Therefore, it’s on me to help them feel welcome enough to do that. To create a space that’s exciting to be in. It is on me to convey to them that their thoughts, stories and fears are valid and safe to express. The culture YOU create in your group is what will kill or crown it.
That’s your job as the host of a facebook group and the one big lesson I learned that helped Affinity go from being a Facebook group to becoming a thriving community.
So, when I started Affinity (it wasn’t called Affinity back then but it’s always been Affinity at its heart) I knew I wanted our community to be accepting, supportive and free of judgement. This was easy for me to create because this is who I am, so all it took was for me to show up as myself.
I was inspired by Brene Brown’s concert of a ‘Brave Space’ and wanted that for our group so I worked to create a space where people feel safe enough to not only share comfortably but to share courageously. So I show up regularly in my vulnerability, I share my personal story and this encourages others to do the same.
So in short here’s a few things you can do to create a space where people feel safe enough to engage;
1. Make the rules very clear and reiterate them regularly: people like to know what they can and can’t do.
2. Introduce yourself frequently: so the new members know who you are
3. Show up in your own vulnerability: share a bit (or all) of your story, whatever feels comfortable to you.
4. Lead by example: push yourself out of your comfort zone and talk about that to show others they are not alone
5. Be consistent: show up regularly (it doesn’t have to be frequent but it does need to be consistent)
6. Consider people’s state of mind: we’re all different, some people really struggle to be visible, engage, share their thoughts etc. so be mindful that not everyone is as brave as you are.
7. Invite people to engage: people often feel that they need to be given permission to engage or at the very least, an invitation. It makes it more comfortable for them (do this even when no one is engaging, persevere with it – trust me, I know it’s hard but it’s necessary). Do this on most of your posts.
8. Respond to comments: this is VITAL! You cannot invite people (who may have been nervous that their thoughts were important or valid) to share and then ghost them. Communities are all about building relationships and this is done via conversation. Converse with your members.
9. Encourage your members to post in the group: and to support each other by liking and commenting.
So there’s just a few ways you can bring your attention to creating an intentional culture and encouraging engagement within your group and I hope you’ve found it helpful.
The most important thing to remember is that people will share, engage and participate in a space where they feel comfortable and that is your privilege.