The most successful online businesses with the strongest brands do more than offer content, products and services—they create community. And the best place on the Internet to do that, is Facebook.
Even while new social media platforms are constantly emerging and threatening to take all the cool kids with them, the majority of adults are still spending most of their time on Facebook—and that’s not likely to change anytime soon. Facebook’s core users are highly engaged, as the platform has been a community-building space from the beginning, designed to connect students, co-workers, friends, neighbors and family members.
If you’re a woman entrepreneur looking to establish yourself as an expert in a service-based industry, then it may be time for you to start, grow and nurture your own Facebook group. A Facebook group gives your people a place to connect with each other and with you, creating buzz and activity around your business and brand.
By now you’ve probably noticed that most of the action on Facebook is no longer coming from fan pages or profile pages, but from groups. Since the website changed its newsfeed algorithm, posts from pages have a slim chance of reaching those who’ve liked it (unless they’re sponsored), while updates to groups go directly to user notifications.
While the benefits of a group include having a more dedicated audience for your content and driving way more traffic to your site, for your group to be successful it really has to be about the members and what they have to say.
At Divine Living, we have several different groups that bring our community together for different purposes. The groups become a resource and a rallying point for our audience. Meanwhile we’re able to learn about their needs ands desires and communicate with them in an exclusive space. Our biggest job is to establish guidelines, uphold values, cheer everyone on and share exclusive, personalized messaging.
At Divine Living we have both open groups, closed groups where anyone can find the group and see who’s in it, and secret groups for our paid high-level programs. Depending on who your group is for and what you want it to achieve, consider which of these settings will be the right choice for the community you’re cultivating. If you’re going to be delivering exclusive in-group content for instance, then closed or secret is probably the way to go.
Any group needs leadership if it’s to stay on-purpose and be a true community space. No matter the exclusivity level, members should agree on set expectations for how to treat each other, what to post and what not to post. Draw up your rules clearly in the group description, pin a post of the rules to the top of the page, or introduce them in a gated squeeze page for private members. You may also want to set the tone in the welcome message you draft to new members.
At Divine Living we are famously fierce about this one. Our settings require that all posts be approved before they go public and we filter them every day. In our Divine Living Academy group for example, we don’t allow any pitching, meltdowns, complaining or going into overwhelm. We’re about seeking solutions and while we know emotions are real and we don’t expect everyone is always sunshine and rainbows, the group is a place where we agree to uplift each other and ourselves and keep the community moving forward.
If your Facebook group is exclusively for clientele, then you likely have a built-in audience that will join. Just make sure the group is laid out in your offering and include creating content for it in your program plans. On the other hand, you may be starting this group to bring together your blog and newsletter audience, social media followers, or people who’ve purchased your info-products. If that’s the case, make sure you’re promoting the group in your newsletter, feature it prominently on your website through a dedicated portal, or target influencers in the space by sharing their content through the group. You can even use the same strategies you know for building your list—like creating free products and opt-in sequences—and direct people to the group instead.
A great way to make sure your group becomes a trusted and valuable resource for members is to direct the content with a structure. For this year’s Divine Living Academy, we implemented a weekly posting schedule that holds the container for the conversation and helps the community focus on why they’re in the group in the first place. So far it’s been working really well and engagement in the group is at an all time high.
We keep our guidelines and weekly schedule pinned to the top of our group with a gorgeous graphic. Feel free to use it to facilitate your own group, or let it inspire you own on-brand design.
To kick off the week every Monday morning we start a thread inviting all of the participants to call out their big goals for the week, or tell us what they intend to focus on, whether it’s creating a sales page, signing up X clients, or taking time to get spiritually grounded. As it says in The Course in Miracles, “Thoughts grow stronger as they are shared,” and our group is a safe, supportive space for everyone to have their goals witnessed and be held accountable.
Diving into the work week, on Tuesdays we open it up to everyone who needs a resource or has found one worth sharing. Posts might say, “I’m looking for a great graphic designer,” or, “I’ve worked with this highly-recommended Facebook ads expert.” All of this gets neatly consolidated into a thread that members can always look back to anytime they’re on the hunt for information, people or tools.
Wednesdays are about anchoring in new awarenesses. However, we’re not trying to create information overwhelm, so we don’t allow for books, podcasts and articles. It’s more about the women sharing the insights they’ve had through working on their businesses and studying the Divine Living Academy materials. Just like in a mastermind, the idea is we have so much we can learn from each other. On a Wednesday thread you might see a story like, “I had a difficult client situation this week—here’s how I handled it, here were the amazing results,” or, “After committing to my wealth consciousness reading for two weeks, here are my new awarenesses that I’m actively applying.”
Peer-to-peer feedback is one of the most valuable aspects of being surrounded by people with similar interests and goals in life. Our Thursday thread invites everyone to share links and images to what they’re working on while taking a moment to review what others have created. Whether it’s sales and squeeze pages, new website designs, blog posts or anything else they’d like feedback on, the community really supports each other in achieving excellence.
It’s always such a highlight of the week (and awesome way to kick-off the weekend) to see all of the Divine Living Academy participants reflecting on the week’s accomplishments. Friday is the day we take a look at whatever it is we set out to do on Monday, though we encourage everyone to share any progress they’ve made in any area—even if things didn’t go exactly according to plan. It’s a core value of our community to celebrate the wins and we believe there’s always a way to do so.
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