We’re naturally busy as digital marketers/advertisers. You may already be posting on multiple social networks on a regular basis, in addition to a slew of paid and organic search activity. So, what’s the big deal about Facebook Groups? What is the point of paying attention? In practice, they’ve become a requirement for brands on Facebook since the site’s algorithm was tweaked at the start of 2018 to promote more posts from family and friends and less commercial content. This change reduced the reach of businesses’ organic posts, forcing them to choose between spending more money on Facebook ads and creating a vibrant Group to continue reaching their audience on the platform. Brands that opted for the Facebook Groups approach have seen tremendous success. Groups generate far more engagement than fan pages and, when managed properly, can foster an active community centered on your products or services. Users appear to enjoy them as well. If you’re anything like a lot of folks, you’ll regularly interact with a half-dozen or so Groups that you’ve joined, whether they’re professional, hyper-local, service-based, or related to your hobbies and interests. An online community has the potential to increase sales, foster trust, increase loyalty, and lower service costs. However, profit is not at the heart of a community; community is all about relationships and interaction. No matter how good your features and functionality are, if you don’t build your community with the customer in mind, you’ll end up with a virtual ghost town.

1. Brand evangelists who are active in their support of the brand. 

Superusers are encouraged, honored, and celebrated in successful online communities. When you empower your most enthusiastic community members, they will grow into brand advocates, contributing the majority of content while also actively assisting other customers. Advocates of a brand are also more likely to recommend it to others. This not only raises brand awareness, but it also has a direct impact on revenue because people trust other people’s reviews more than a brand’s advertisements. According to recent studies, 70% of online adults in the United States trust brand or product recommendations from friends and family, while 46% trust consumer-written online reviews.

2. Content created by users that is relevant.

Smart brands recognize the importance of fostering an environment that encourages users to create relevant and authentic content. User-generated content (UGC) increases community member engagement, which strengthens community bonds and perceived value. Communities with relevant UGC frequently have a large number of members and are constantly growing. UGC is more likely to be trusted and shared because it is written by real people for real people, thereby assisting the community’s growth.

3. Resilience on mobile devices.

Over half of all internet users worldwide use mobile devices or tablets to access the internet. Websites were previously designed with only desktop functionality and user experience in mind. However, as the number of mobile users grows, it is becoming increasingly important to design websites that are responsive to all design types. This also applies to online communities. Your online community must be mobile-responsive in order for all users to have a rewarding experience. The most successful online communities provide a consistent user experience for all members.

4. Crowdsourcing Ideas from the general public.

Successful online communities use their platform to crowdsource ideas from their most invested customers. Brands can use these collaborative ideas to improve their product or gauge interest in new projects. If you want to collect product innovation ideas and feedback from your best customers, enable features in your community that allow customers to submit ideas, vote on them, and leave comments.

5. Monitoring user behavior.

The most influential online communities make use of data to their advantage. You can easily keep an eye on your potential or existing customers’ interests, any shift in their sentiment, or topics they are searching for with analytics tools, allowing you to create relevant content or adapt to changing customer attitudes. You can also analyze which users are more likely to participate in discussions and answer questions using tracking features, and thank them with personalized responses from your customer service team. 

6. A strong reputation system.

Bringing people to your community is only one piece of the puzzle. To ensure the success of your community, you must find a way to motivate users and empower them to get to know and trust one another. This can be accomplished through the use of a strong reputation system. A reputation system is a structure that acknowledges users for their contributions in order to foster trust. A reputation system recognizes users for their participation 24 hours a day, seven days a week. You decide (often with input from your members) which activities are most important in the community, and you incorporate those activities into the rules that govern rank assignment. Recognizing high-quality contributors or superusers encourages them to participate more and assists users in identifying quality content.

7. Integration.

When online communities are fully integrated with existing systems, they provide the most value to businesses. This will enable your brand to provide better customer service to community members while also collecting important data. Integrate your online community with existing support processes to ensure a consistent experience across all support channels. Connect your CRM system as well, so that unanswered questions are automatically escalated to direct support channels.

8. Customization.

Personalization. Inspire and cultivate your community by providing members with a curated feed of relevant content, motivating them to contribute more. Personalization features in communities allow community members to be treated as individuals more effectively. Personalization is important for community members; 80 percent of consumers are more likely to do business with a company that provides personalized experiences. Personalization can boost marketing efficiency by up to 30% and sales by up to 8%.

9. Engaging content.

Visually appealing communities attract more visitors. Allow your customers to upload photos and videos to their galleries and posts. Members of your community use images and videos to interact with other members and your brand, answer questions, and leave reviews. The traffic generated by image and video content helps to grow the community and it’s size.

10. Performance evaluation.

It is critical to be able to assess community health and take action to keep it at its peak. Concentrate on metrics that are important to you by including features that measure the following six health factors: traffic, content, members, liveliness, interaction, and responsiveness.

11. A searchable archive.

Successful communities have a plethora of content and are constantly adding to it. As a result, content becomes buried or difficult to find. This does not, however, imply that the content is not valuable. Online communities should include a searchable repository to ensure that even old content lives up to its full potential. A knowledge base or repository makes it simple for your customers to find tips, answers, and advice shared in your community.

What should the Group’s ground rules be? 

Mission– The new face of networking (and community) looks a lot more like collaboration… and that’s exactly what we’re aiming for. Social platforms are essentially mass networking landing spots. Messages can be broadcast far more effectively and efficiently via these mediums than at an in-person event. (Although those are important too.) Digital-based environments increase the Group’s to expand their networks and form powerful collaborations.

The objectives of @LocalTucson– Engaging with and promoting our incredible local region. Neighbors supporting neighbors.
Target– All Things Local. Community.

Incorporate-A clear explanation of what constitutes “spam” or disrespectful behavior toward other members, as well as the steps taken to police it. A list of resources available to Group members, such as videos or guides, as well as information on where to find them. A list of all current administrators, as well as information about their level of authority.

Notes: The new face of networking looks a lot more like collaboration, and that’s exactly what we’re aiming for. Non-traditional, interactive environments are disrupting traditional networking methods, giving entrepreneurs access to not only vital information, but also the resources, partnerships, and investor exposure they require to achieve their business objectives. Beyond the physical brand of networking events that continue to exist, it is critical to recognize that networking is now synonymous with interaction.The rise of social media has completely changed what it means to network in 2022, and the online world has ripped down geographical barriers in connecting people to their desired audiences. Whether it’s customers, investors, clients, or partners, social media interaction is drastically disrupted the landscape of professional networking. Social platforms are essentially mass networking landing spots. Messages can be broadcast far more effectively and efficiently via these mediums than at an in-person event. Digital-based environments increase the Group’s to expand their networks and form powerful collaborations and alliances.

• Provide valuable content and targeted offers to your members.
• Interact with your group members and ask them questions.
• In order to grow the Group, ask your most devoted fans for assistance.
• Establish clear rules so that your members know what to expect.
• Send links to the Group to Facebook users you believe might be interested.
• Make a strong theme for the content you publish.

• Constantly spam members with discount codes.
• Post dozens of times per day (you risk causing members to tune out… and evenually to turn off Group notifications)
• Overstretch yourself by attempting to handle all administration yourself.
• Allow regular rule-breakers to spoil the Group for everyone else.
• Add people to a Group they have no knowledge of (or encourage others to do so).
• Deviate from the topic and become engrossed in irrelevant trends.A culture of neighbors supporting neighbors!!! Can you imagine if everyone gives as much (or more!) than they take? #supportlocal #community #strongertogether

-Live The Dream Media Collaborative

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