Creating An Engaged CommunityDec 22, 2021
How do I keep my groups engaged?
So when you say group, I know you might mean “challenge group”. I know you might mean Facebook community, free community, lead generating community, all of the things, how do I keep them engaged?
I wish that I could say that this was a simple answer. But there are actually a lot of things that you can be doing to keep your group engaged. So the biggest thing as a whole with any type of community that you are creating is you need to recognize that having this community is a long game strategy. If you tried to build up a group with simple numbers if you want out so many numbers so quickly, but you sacrifice the necessary steps to foster community within that group, you can have a group with 1000s and 1000s of people but it will still be dead. You can have a group with 1000s and 1000s of people and it still does not serve the purpose for why you created it.
Know the purpose
One of the biggest things you need to ask yourself first is “why am I creating a community?”, and “how is having this community going to enrich someone's life?” Just to give you an example, I've been actively building the Stop the Hey Girl Community for three years now. This community is a place for people to question things that they're getting taught in other places, discuss what's going on in a safe place, and know that people are not going to judge you or think any less of you or your business because you are open and vulnerable about your struggles. And so that's why my community was created. And we always keep that at the forefront of every single step that we take to build that community.
Establish a Baseline of Consistency
Now, if you've had a community that was popping, before, and now it's dead, or if your group has been dead for a while, or even if you don't even have a group, this applies to you. So the biggest thing, no matter what your group is, is you have to establish a baseline for consistency. And what I mean by this is your baseline of consistency means that people have to know what to expect from you and at what frequency. That is one of the biggest ways that you actually train your audience to check your group or check your community frequently, no matter where this community is housed.
I recommend having something be posted to your community at least five times a week. And that includes things that other people post, they don't have to come strictly from you. Now, at my agency Ybanez Media, we manage a lot of communities. And we for the most part in our communities will post for members two to three times each week. Why do we do two to three right versus five? We want to leave room for you to creatively come up with something or if you decide to do a random live or anything like that. We want to give you room for it.
Now that we have that baseline, the next thing you need to establish is a frequency of posting business-related and not business-related content. When it comes to creating a community, if you're only talking shop in every single post, people will start to tune it out. So start to think about what other discussions and things matter to your community, and a lot of communities, giving opportunities for people to share their thoughts and opinions performs very well. So I recommend starting to look at a ratio of business to non-business-related content.
So as an example, if your group is dead if people are not really seeing your content if they're not really engaging in your content, and most importantly, if they're not posting their own content within your group, you want to have at least 75% non Business 25% Business related content.
What are some things that you can be posting in your group? Conversation Starters, one of my favorite things that we do at Ybanez Media is, we have weekly strategy meetings for our clients that we do community management for. And we think about, you know, the people in this community and the people they want in this community, what are topics that they want to be vocal about. So creating posts that give people an opportunity to be vocal.
As an example, in my community, I have a lot of millennials and a lot of Gen X individuals primarily, that's my biggest target audience. So I start to think about what conversation pieces matter to people within that group. An example of a pop culture topic, which is also very prevalent in my audience would be N-sync versus Backstreet Boys, creating ways where people can have a discussion, share their opinion, share their thoughts. And the benefit of this right is, the more times people are liking commenting, and physically going into a group to view a post, the more often that group will come up, if it's a Facebook group, right, that's how often that group will start to show up in their scroll. And in their notifications. If you are hosting a group on another platform, the benefit is right, they're likely getting more notifications to their phone from that app if there is an increased activity from other people within the platform.
So now that you have that set up, what happens if let's say you start to infuse business content, and the group goes quiet, this happens a lot, and I want to share something that you can start to do. So we have a lot of clients. As an example, I'm thinking about my work at Ybanez Media that is heading into a launch period, either in January or in February. So what we are doing now is we are focusing on general engagement and community-building topics and starting to infuse business content. But sometimes what happens is we start to infuse business content, and the audience pulls back and they get quiet again. And so this happens, it's to be expected. So then what we do is we pull back a little bit on the business content, start to infuse conversational pop culture and community building content again, and once everyone is talking a little bit more frequently and commenting more frequently, we will start to infuse more business content again. Because what happens is, again, if your group gets all these people in and then you just bombard them with business-related content all the time, and you don't give them an opportunity for them to talk about other things that matter to them, that will decrease the likelihood that not only they'll see your business content, but that they'll engage and participate with your business content.
So something to think about again, is how long should I be prioritizing my group or community before I start to notice conversions coming from a group, everyone's feelings on this are going to be different. But if you are focusing heavily on this group, you can anticipate six months to a year. It's a long game strategy because to build a community that people see their kind of, it's a habitual way that they check it and that they trust what's coming from this community. That is how you are going to have people that are checking it frequently seeing what you post. And if it is sales and business-related content, they're going to be much more likely to see it and take action from it. It's a long game strategy. If it was something that could happen in a month or two, I would definitely tell you but again, because we are humans, we are humans that are distracted. We are humans that are busy. We are looking at all of these different things. It's important to utilize this in an omnipresence strategy. And so what I mean by that right and again with my agency, this is what we love to do. If we represent you so that you are appearing frequently in your group, even if it's not you in there all the time, which is a really, really great thing to do. Because if a group appears busy, people will be much more likely to check it frequently.
When I think about a community moms page, there's always some shenanigans going on in there, am I right? And so we're checking these groups frequently. So what are some other things that you can be doing that's going to increase the likelihood of people checking them?
Now I know you think giveaways, games, and prizes are the answer. But that's actually not. What that does is it trains them to look for that moment, and then not come back until the next giveaway. So I don't recommend giveaways.
But it's what conversations are nosy about. When I think about the strategy of this, what are the things that people have an opinion on, but it's not going to get so blown up that it could likely cause a fight. And this is where you have to really find the line, get close to the line, but not cross the line, right? So my personal recommendations are, if your brand is built on politics, and people know you for that, then go for it. As an example, my brand isn't really a political brand at all, so I don't really talk about that stuff at all. And that's fine. So think about your brand. But what are some other things that people get very opinionated about? It is oftentimes types of companies and business strategies. So when we open the door, and it is kind of a conversation with heightened emotion, most of the time, it's very easy to moderate and keep it civil. But this is something that you have to exercise caution with. If you are looking to kind of get into more of these polarizing topics within your group, I recommend having a team member or someone in your corner to kind of moderate the comments to make sure that it stays civil, respectful, and productive. I've only had maybe two or three threads in the past three years that required additional moderation. And one of them was kind of like a spoiler into how a company's compensation plan was going to be somewhat adjusting. And then reclassification, that got leaked early. And I'll even share the behind-the-scenes of exactly why I posted that spoiler because I knew that people were going to have very high emotions about this topic. But because I created a community and I created an environment where people felt safe sharing their feelings and emotions, and they knew that they weren't going to be judged for them, people felt very open sharing without coming at it from being defensive.
From your perspective, what are topics or things that you get nosy about, and do you want to know how other people feel? Or what other people are saying, use that in the forefront of your mind and use that to create discussions. It can be about very basic things. It could be about “do you open stockings first or presence first”, it could be about “do you share a bank account with your partner or not?” There are topics that your community as a whole can connect with, and everyone resonates with.
So those are some of my best practices on how you can foster an engaged community. It is just as much of an art as it is a science. So keep in mind, it is a long game strategy. Even if you use some gimmicky ways to get 1000s of people into your group. It's not about the number of people. It's about how much do the existing members participate.
And so when you use that, at the forefront of your strategy, you will find that people will invite their network in to participate in discussions and to participate in an active community.
If you have any questions about this, you know where to find me in the DMS.
I will catch you next week for another episode.