Now that you know how a branded Facebook group can help your business grow, it's time to learn how to lead a successful Facebook group, so it produces the results you want.
Leading a successful Facebook group is not complicated, but it requires a good bit of thought. If you've ever been a part of anything that involves a lot of people online, you also know it takes a strong and consistent leader to manage the dynamics for the benefit of the entire group. Here are six super useful tips to help you lead a successful Facebook group.
How to Lead a Successful Facebook Group
Be firm and proactive
- Be intentional and specific. Start with the end in mind. You must have clarity of purpose. Why are you hosting a Facebook group? What are the benefits for your brand? What are the benefits for the community? How does hosting a Facebook group make a difference for you, your brand, and your customers? Do not launch a Facebook group until you can specifically answer these questions. You must have clarity of purpose. If you don't have reasons to participate in your Facebook group, neither will anyone else.
- Set specific guidelines. Whether you call them rules or guidelines, you must have a framework for how you and participants interact within your group. If you don't, your group may dissolve into something between chaos and anarchy. I've seen it before, and you want to avoid it.
The types of guidelines you have will depend on the type of group you are hosting. For example, the main purpose of IBN's member group is ongoing entrepreneurial masterminding, and one of our guidelines is that participants cannot promote themselves except on certain predetermined days. We also have guidelines prohibiting the discussion of religion, sex, and politics, and curbing the use of profanity.
Conversely, if the main purpose of your group is to allow people to post things for sale, you might require that each post disclose a specific sale price, payment method, and whether or not shipping is included. In each case, the guidelines help maintain order for the benefit of the entire group.
Not everyone will like your rules, but you cannot be swayed by that. It's fine to adjust your rules from time to time when necessary to achieve specific goals (see number one, above), but avoid changing them just because people don't like them.
You may also wish to warn people not to block you or any of the group administrators, and if they do, you should probably delete and ban them from participating.
- Be a peacemaker. From time to time, a discussion thread will hit a sensitive topic, resulting in everything from angry outbursts to hurt emotions. It is critical that you handle these situations quickly and consistently.
In order for your group to be successful and for you to earn respect as its leader, you must not get into a public disagreement with anyone at any time, including over discussions like these — and what to do about them.
Sometimes, it's enough to politely end the discussion by announcing that the discussion is closed and everyone should move on. Other times, it's best to delete the thread entirely.
I have never hesitated to put the brakes on a thread when necessary. Consequently, in five years, only three people that I know of (people can leave without you noticing) have ever left one of my groups over a thread disagreement or how I handled it. I let them go. (Sometimes, they came back.)
In extreme cases, you may have to remove a person from your group.
Your skills as a business leader will be tested and sharpened here, so it's critical that you step up this plate with authority and fairness.
- Welcome people. Your branded Facebook group can be likened to the living room in your home. When people enter, make sure they know how happy you are to see them. Invite them to introduce themselves to the people who arrived before them, and make them feel as comfortable as possible.
If your group is well maintained and it's clear why you are hosting it, like-minded people will find their way there. Once they arrive, welcome and acknowledge them.
IBN's member group is a professional business Mastermind group for artisan business leaders and handmade entrepreneurs. We welcome each and every new member personally, and invite them to share a little about themselves and their business, thus spreading goodwill and happiness that reflects positively on me, on all of our members, and on IBN as a brand.
- Use graphics and video to initiate relevant discussions. Most people will be participating in your Facebook group using a mobile device so try to use complementary graphics to introduce discussions. You can upload videos if you want to share a message with everyone (keep it short if possible), and you can even use Facebook Live in most Facebook groups now. These free, convenient, and easy-to-use tools provide variety and keep things interesting for your everyone.
- Invite administrators to assist you. Whoever sets up the group will be identified by Facebook as a administrator of the group. Do not delegate this task to anyone else. You should set up your Facebook group as a user of your personal Facebook profile. Once you do that, you'll be the named administrator, and you can (and should) add other administrators to help you manage your group. If you don't, you'll find yourself spending way too much of your business time inside the group managing things. In order to have a successful Facebook group, all participants must know and respect the administrators. Introduce all of the admins to the group, letting them know that they are your co-hosts helping to ensure that the group operates for the benefit of all. Remind people of their obligation to respect the other administrators as they respect you.
Donna Maria, Indie Business Network
Do you lead a Facebook group? Do you do any of the things listed here? What works for you? What would you add to my list of tips here? Feel free to share in the comments below, or share on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.