Creating a Community on Facebook: How and Why
What does it take to create a group on Facebook?
In short, just a few clicks, as well as a name, a category, a regulation, and some initial subscribers to invite. But creating a community is more than that; it’s about creating a safe place for a group of people with a common interest to gather in.
Let's start from the beginning, that is, from you. If you have decided to create a group on Facebook it means that you have something to say, you can't wait to share it ,and you know that there are many other people out there that feel just like you. This is a great starting point.
What does it mean to manage a community?
Creating a group is easy, but managing and taking care of it is a whole other story. Creating and managing a community is challenging and requires constant presence, loving care, authority, diplomacy, and lots and lots of conviction. If you don't have the latter, it won’t be long before your community - after the famous honeymoon phase - falls into oblivion, or even worse, degenerates completely.
A community is not a place to gather as many people as possible; it‘s a place to surround yourself with like-minded people and engage in healthy dialogue that generates valuable content.
With this premise in mind, let's start with the first steps to help you create a group on Facebook and start a community.
Start woth the basics: why do you want to open a group? Find your niche.
Your reasons can be many: perhaps you’ve cultivated a particular passion and don't know anyone close to you to share it with, or you’ve managed groups or classes in person and would like to interact with subscribers even online, or maybe you're a freelancer and want to create a space to share with other freelancers like you, etc. It doesn't have to be a completely unique motivation but you have to feel it so much that you push yourself to start (and continue) this adventure.
If you know your motivation, you will probably also know the niche you want to address, because you will already identify with this niche know how to talk to audiences within it.
Find your community’s message
You have the reason and the niche, now all you need is a message. Why should people register? What does your community mean to the world? What kind of value can it generate? Without a clear message it will be difficult to both set up and start a community because even if you have all the best intentions in the world, you will only produce confusion without a clear and identifiable message.
Name your community
You have the reason, the niche and the message, now you have to find a name for your community. Just like the reasons that inspired you to launch your community in the first place, your community’s name doesn't have to be the most original in the world. I would suggest finding a name that evokes your message in a few words, and that is easy to remember. An example that I really like is the Facebook group ‘Multipotenziale Italia’, an Italian group of people who refer to themselves as multi-potentials.
Their description is:
"Multipotenziale Italia" was born as a virtual place of meeting and comparison for multi-potential people, or those who identify as such.
Open the group and take care of the details
You have the reason, the niche, the message and the name. The time has come for you to open the group and then start taking care of the details. Fill out the description (your community's message), choose how to manage privacy (do you want the group to be closed? Secret? Open?), consider the subscription process (everyone can accept everyone, or only you can accept new members? Do you want to ask questions before letting people in? Ask for registration?), and last but not least, posting (immediately or after approval?). Another important detail revolves around group regulations; it’s useful to be clear about what can and can’t be done in the group, and protect it from wild spam.
You can now promote your group online and offline, and invite people to contribute content (though you should ask them beforehand; nobody likes to be included in a group without prior knowledge).
Now that you have the group, make your members feel part of a community
You have everything: reason, niche, message, name, group and subscribers - now make them feel at home. Take care of them and the place you have created. At the beginning the content will be more like presentations or greetings. Say hello, thank you for the registration, ask new members to introduce themselves, and start a dialogue. There is time but after a while you will begin to understand what to do to get members to participate. Some actions can be weekly appointments (for example, Facebook gives you the possibility to tag the last subscribers in a precompiled post, which you can use to welcome those who signed up in the last week), monthly live, periodic live meetings, a good morning with a motivational phrase every Monday and so on...the possibilities are endless. Don't lose sight of the message or the regulations, both will change over time to keep up with the growth of your group, but they must always be clear and respected.
The original post was published in Italian at this link.
Dana Donato is UX and Web Designer at Britetrend.
She is the co-founder of “Viaggio Da Sola Perche’”, a community of passionate women traveling “solo”.