Whether you are just heavily interested in a particular subject and would like to find like-minded individuals to socialise with, or you are looking to build a community for promotional reasons, Facebook groups are an excellent tool in your arsenal. Still, as useful as Facebook groups can be, they have to have members—often lots of them—to achieve that potential.
There are several ways to grow a Facebook group, and, fortunately, the majority of those ways have nothing to do with spending any money. In this post, we’re going to take a deeper dive into what Facebook groups are, why they might be useful to you, and what you can do to ensure the success of your group or a group you are part of.
What is a Facebook Group?
A Facebook group is essentially a place for people with a common interest to get together and discuss that interest, much like any other internet forum. The interest in question can be anything that doesn’t break Facebook’s rules and guidelines, and anyone can set up a group.
The reason Facebook groups are so popular is, ultimately, down to the popularity of Facebook. With billions of people already on the platform and familiar with how it works, it is often far easier to set up a new Facebook group and get new members interested in joining than it is to build a community on places like Reddit, even as popular as Reddit is.
Group admins have the ability to set the rules of their Facebook group, removing members if they don’t follow them. They can also have the group be public, private, visible to all but only members are allowed to participate, invite-only, and more.
All standard Facebook rules apply within groups, so doing or saying anything that breaks Facebook’s terms of service can still get you in trouble, even if the admins of a group allow it.
Are Facebook Groups Worth It?
The natural question you should be having at this stage is; are “Facebook groups worth the effort?” The answer very much depends on what you are trying to achieve, but we’re going to hazard a guess that, yes, they are worth it if you are reading this page.
Firstly, if you are just looking for a community to talk about something you are interested in, Facebook groups will certainly be able to give you that. That being said, there is a strong chance that a group already exists, and you might want to consider joining one rather than making one. We’ll get into whether you should start a group a little later on.
If you are looking to Facebook groups as a tool for promotion, it is certainly worth it, but you will have to put the time and effort in to make things work. Like most things in life and online promotion, there’s no quick fix to reaching your goals.
Things to Consider Before Starting a Facebook Group
It’s all well and good concluding that a Facebook group can get you what you’re looking for, but that doesn’t automatically mean you should make one. Running a successful Facebook group is not without effort, and even if you’re willing and able to put in the effort, there’s still no guarantee of success.
Before we look at how to grow your Facebook group, let’s take a moment to ponder whether you should be starting or running a group at all. And, remember, this is independent of whether a Facebook group could be good for you in terms of goals. A Facebook group might be an amazing tool for promotion, but if you don’t have the time and willingness needed to make it work, it won’t help you.
Do I Have a Good Subject Matter for a Facebook Group?
This is especially important if you are planning to use your Facebook group as a promotional tool. If you just want to create a community to talk about something you’re interested in, it doesn’t matter what that interest is, because your only goal is to find people to talk to about it. If you are promoting something, however, your subject matter needs to be relevant but still interesting enough to foster genuine discussion.
For example, if you are promoting a YouTube channel about technology, such as new gadgets, that subject may be too broad to create a successful Facebook group around. Remember, the beauty of these groups is the ability to find people with the same specific interests as you, not general interests. But, if you zero in too far and create your group around, say, a specific type of technology, like mobile phones, you run the risk of people in the group not being interested in your general technology YouTube channel.
Do I Have the Time to Run a Facebook Group?
Running a successful Facebook group, whether for personal or promotional reasons, takes time. This is especially true in the early days of the group, where you will need to get out and about to garner interest and draw attention to the group. As things progress, the group will need less and less of your time to keep ticking over, but you will need to be actively working to get to that stage.
And, if promotion is your goal, this applies even more to you. If you just want to talk, you can always get the group started and then dip in and out as you please. If you want to promote things, you’ll need to keep your hand in constantly, or the members of the group will stop seeing you as someone of interest.
What Rules Should My Facebook Group Have?
There are two types of rules to consider; Facebook enforceable rules, and arbitrary rules. Facebook enforceable rules are things that Facebook provides a mechanism for, such as having the group be private and invite-only. Arbitrary rules can be literally anything you want, but you have to enforce them yourself, such as by kicking people from the group.
The best rules will vary from group to group. The only advice we can really give here is to be as unrestrictive as you can within the scope of your group. For example, it wouldn’t be wise to allow misogynist language in a group for survivors of domestic abuse. On the other hand, it would be unwise to ban adult language in a group about alternative comedy.
How to Grow Facebook Group
So, you’ve decided you want to start a group and you have the time and willingness to do so. How do you make it grow?
Have Compelling Reason to Join
The first thing you need to do is make sure your potential members have a compelling reason to join your group. The most effective way of achieving this is by offering something they can’t find elsewhere.
Of course, if you have a topic that there is no other group for, that would be the ideal situation… but it’s an unlikely one. There are a lot of groups on Facebook. If you haven’t got a unique subject matter, have a good look at the competition, and see if there is anything you can offer that they can’t. This could be more relaxed (or stricter) rules, or even just your expertise if the subject matter is something you are particularly knowledgeable about.
Leverage Your Existing Audience (if you have one)
If you already have an audience—perhaps you run a YouTube channel or blog—be sure to promote your Facebook group to them. This may seem counter-intuitive if the main reason for creating the group is to promote the thing your audience knows you for, but having a larger number of members gives your group more legitimacy in the eyes of newcomers.
We’re not suggesting paying for fake members, of course. That rarely works. Bought users will not engage, and a large group with no activity often looks less appealing than a small group with no activity.
Branch Out to New Audiences
Obviously, you will want to stay within the subject matter, but when letting people know about your group, don’t limit yourself to things like your own audience from other places. Reach out to other communities and try to find new people.
Always be sure to be respectful when you do this, however. Just barging into a subreddit or a YouTuber’s comment section and spamming about your group is unlikely to win anyone over.
Encourage Members to Promote the Group
Once you have members, encourage them to let others know about the group. Don’t just tell them to go get more members, of course, they’re not your employees. Just politely mention it from time to time, and be sure to emphasise the fact that everyone benefits from more members, as there will be more discussion.
Whether you want to talk about your favourite series of novels or promote your YouTube channel about miniature castle building, Facebook groups are a powerful tool to achieve your goals. And, what’s more, it’s free! All it takes is a little time and effort on your part to build an active community.