Facebook groups should be created to fulfill a sense of community; it’s about bringing people together with a common interest to converse and engage.  For any association, it can be difficult to directly engage with members except at events,  but here are a few tips to create a meaningful and effective group:

1) Evaluate New Members

It’s important to not let just anyone into the group.  It would be better to have 20 members that fit your association’s buyer persona then have 250 members that do not engage and converse meaningfully with each other.  There is also a setting where you can ask prospective members questions before accepting them into the group.  This is an excellent option to making sure that your group has the right people in it!

2) Engage Consistently

Posting frequently in your group with relevant information is crucial.  This is the place where you can show your expertise.  Your goal is to show that your association is the best in the business; the ultimate expert.  It’s also imperative to answer any questions as quickly as possible.  When creating new posts and conversations, ask open ended questions to strike up a lively debate or discussion.

3) Maintain Group Rules

Don’t be a tyrant but create a set of rules that are simple and easy to follow.  This will help ensure a positive and healthy atmosphere.  Your goal should be to make the group a safe place where members feel comfortable asking questions.

4) Be an Open Book

Your members want to know the ins and outs of your association.  What it stands for and against, its’ mission and values.  Share personal, real life stories so your members really get to know you.  It’s not about telling them your deepest, darkest secrets, it is about building relationships with your members.  Stories are how we learn and communicate with each other.

5) If You’re a Supplier Member, Avoid Overtly Selling Your Product

In any Facebook group, it’s important to not directly sell your product. Association members are generally comprised of both industry members and supplier partner members – and they’re all there to network and find solutions. As supplier, your  goal, in the long run, is to increase brand awareness, but overly selling a product in a group can disturb the atmosphere.  A Facebook group is a community and when a member or admins become too “sales-y”, the appeal of the group can be lost. The Association’s goal is to get members to sign up for emails, webinars, conferences. Supplier partners can share links to a blog, an event, useful content or anything that may be useful or relevant to members. But above all, it’s about connecting with each other in a meaningful way.

Some more food-for-thought, groups with 250 members or more will be able to access Facebook Insights. Insights are analytics within a group.  You will be able to see engagement levels, optimal times to post content, what content is most relevant, and much more.  These analytics can be extremely helpful when managing a growing group!

Looking to grow your social media presence? Contact our team to see how we can develop the ideal plan for your association. Or check out our blog post about  building engaged communities online.