Welcome to the fun and dark side of growing your Facebook community.
Whether it is your Facebook group or your business page, we've identified that there's a couple of people who are running their own all by themselves.
Today's Co-Marketing project topic is not about starting a Facebook group; we will be looking at how we can maintain a Facebook group and ensure that the group is growing.
There's one key thing in business life that we all need to familiarize ourselves with. It is either dying or you're growing; there is no room for staying still. That being said, your group is either growing or it is dying and that's one of the things that we have to understand. We have to realize that people will leave your group when they notice inactivity and so, there is a natural drop-off.
This is something that we have to understand and accept as business owners.
What Is Group Dynamics?
Group dynamics is the study of groups and how we operate as a group. Every person whether you’ve learnt about group dynamics or not, lives in groups. Our entire social construct is all built around groups.
Groups are defined by boundaries such as location, age, sex, cultural, interests, hobbies and the list scope goes on. The boundaries are defined by people’s self identification with a group.
You might wonder as to why we live in groups, the answer is pretty very simple. There is a human element within our psyche, seemingly hardwired as part of our DNA or social constructs. The fact remains that we have a strong desire to belong. A desire to belong to something and that's what makes it so easy to understand and at the same time complicated to create groups. Because we self-identify with groups.
Because of the boundary side of things, we need to be careful how we define the boundaries for it is important how people interpret those boundaries. If we are to focus on the negative elements of defining the boundary, your members will attract people with negative attitude and the group will amplify those negative elements which will become very difficult to manage in the future.
While defining boundaries of a group, I highly recommend that we stay in more of a positive emotional boundary. When people self-identify with focus on the positive angle, members will attract more of a positive following rather than the negative. You'll find that when you go into a group on Facebook, it just amplifies that emotion of boundary whether it is a very good/bad element all depends on what you're trying to achieve.
The first rule you should have in mind when creating any group is that ‘the reason why somebody joins a group is not the reason why they stay’. There are at least two reasons why a person is going to stay.
Let’s look at it in the offline world of running a meet up group. It would be your event that would encourage a person to come along to the group for the very first time. That's curiosity and it is a very powerful way to get people to come into the group and to want to experience. That is the first reason why.
Often, the second reason why somebody comes back is as a result of the bonds and interrelationships with other members in the group and their experiences similar to a business mastermind group. This strengthens the desire to wanting to belong to something. So in that physical world, that's the reason why when you are running a meet up group, you are basically running “a type of club membership”. It's those bonds that naturally occur through human interaction that will help to grow a healthy group.
In larger groups, there will typically be five or six people who elevate to what I refer to as ‘Influencers’ and become leaders of subgroups within the bigger group. These are the people that others will naturally gravitate towards and it's through those interactions and friendship that they bond and they keep coming back through that relationship.
The limitation of a physical group is the issue of geography and location. So, in order to grow your group, you're always going to be defined by the distance and the population of that group as well as the interest.
The up side to Facebook is that it is a bigger and global group of people who make use of technology. The wonderful thing about technology is that it speeds everything up and amplifies whatever it is you have going.
So, when your group runs well, Facebook can be this really powerful thing that can explode your group and that, I must say is a wonderful element of technology. However, if your group dynamics are not balanced, technology will amplify the process and the group will fade away just as quick.
Simply because technology does not allow us have those interactive bonds of friendship and personal emotions that we get in a physical environment, relationships take time to develop. The downside to technology is that it doesn't allow for that emotional connection, that physical touch.
Facebook has short interactions. If you do not understand that concept you'll never really get the leverage that can come with running your own Facebook group.
There are two group models I recommend. They are;
- Celebrity model - look at any famous singer, famous person they'll start a group and they have fans.
- Community model - look at eBay where they bring buyers and sellers together.
The distinction between the elements is a celebrity (the leader) that starts the interaction when they release a new song which triggers the fans interactions and it's that interactions that allow them to bond and keep the whole system moving forward. Where eBay (the leader) starts the interaction by getting the seller to auction an item and buyers who are looking for bargains go hunting for those auctions.
Successful digits groups must have two important elements building into the group to ensure the short interaction occur. These elements are;
Habit entails encouraging the group to interact. So, with the celebrity model, if a celebrity is not providing a trigger point for the fan base to interact and to talk about them over time the group will fade away. Where they are constantly releasing new songs or doing something their fan base is interacting with, that spreads the fame and talks about the celebrity. This word-of-mouth becomes the natural invitation process to invite more followers to the group. If they stop with those triggers, their fan base and their reputation will fade away. The community interaction there needs to be a habit forming process within the group in order for the group to maintain itself.
A good Facebook group habit tactic is choosing a day – maybe every Tuesday – dedicated to doing a particular thing (e.g. share to story, photo, discussion etc). This becomes the habit forming processes that the group does every Tuesday. If you're using the celebrity model you have to trigger this.
With community model like eBay, you should have your community trigger these habits because it's about creating the habits within the group that keep that bond together.
You need to understand that your group is going to be losing followers and often, the reason why they drop out has nothing to do with the group. Most times, it is matter of time and priorities changing in their lives so they move on.
What you have to ensure is that your process of a natural invitation element is built into the group habits. This is often the main reason why leaders fail to build long-term groups.
You need to give permission to members to invite. Most people are just polite. If I was invited to a birthday party I'm not going to assume that I can bring all my friends with me. The group leader is the one that sets the boundaries and if you're not encouraging your members to invite others in some way, your group is not going to naturally grow.
You'll be left to constantly find new people to invite because your group has to keep growing. By building the habit where people are openly encouraging people to invite their friends to join the group, this will help. Just ensure that you set the boundaries and educate your tribe on who to invite and how to invite them.
The most common way is to invite people to talk about the group outside. It is a form of group self promoting. You see this a lot with the fan base of celebrities, by a celebrity doing something and their fans talk on the Facebook group and them going on to talk about it in real life, that builds up the awareness.
Other methods include building the habit of members sharing content about the group or running a competition.
As business owners, whatever model that you're choosing, ensure that you are also monetising the group. I encourage people to ensure that in your habit process, you put in soft messaging to highlight the products and services that you offer so that your followers are aware of it.
One of the easiest ways to do this is to talk about your stars, talk about your customers and share your customers story, share the human side of your customers using your products or services.
That’s it for now – be the leader and your business will grow.