For anyone who’s new to Sassy Suite, you might look at everything we’ve done here and think to yourself “Wow. All that in less than three years??” We look like an overnight success because we worked for years to become one. It started with a simple thought: “What if…?” And then we worked tirelessly to plan, build, strategize, and eventually get you over here to read how we did it. Now we manage more than 120,000 people across fifteen highly active, private groups on Facebook. Learning how to build a Facebook group can have a tremendous effect on your business – and here’s how to do it in five easy steps.
Step One: Create an exclusive group.
The keyword here is exclusive. By definition, this means not everyone can get in. It’s up to you to decide the criteria you’re going to use to decide who gets in and who doesn’t. Customers only? Hosts only? People who have expressed interest? Can they be in similar groups to yours, or do you require them to be exclusive to you? The criteria can be as loose or as strict as you like, but it does need to be there.
So, why exclusivity? Don’t you want everyone to join your group?
In a nutshell: No you don’t. You want the people who are interested not only in your product but also in you. The people who are most likely to interact with your posts. But most of all, you only want the people who want to be in your group. This exclusivity creates a community: everyone is there for the same reason — they all have at least one thing in common.
Facebook has two options for this: Closed or Secret.
- Closed Groups can be shared and can appear in search results when people are searching on Facebook for a community to join. Anyone with a link can request to join, but only members can see the posts inside. This is what we recommend.
- Secret Groups are not searchable and cannot be seen by anyone other than members. Members have to be added by existing members.
Step Two: Set up your guidelines.
What kind of community are you trying to provide to your members? What behaviors will enhance that community? Before you start inviting people into your group, establish your rules. Write them on a pinned post, maybe make an introductory video, or state your rules in your cover graphic. Make sure you clearly describe the type of topics people are free to discuss as well as what topics are off-limits. Are people allowed to post sales in your group? Only on certain days? Not at all? What about venting or negativity? You decide what kind of culture you want to create, and can then enforce this with your rules.
Step Three: Decide on how you’re going to moderate your group.
This might seem like a no-brainer, but there is actually a lot that goes into managing a group no matter what size it is. You can’t simply build a Facebook group and then leave it to run itself. And as much as you might want to have your group to just sort of hang out in and chit-chat while you make some sales, rule enforcement is crucial if you want your community to thrive. The rules and guidelines that you established in step two are important for providing your community with a safe, comfortable place where they can hang out — but they only work if you monitor the group.
This is also where you’re going to want to spend some time reviewing your guidelines and deciding how you want to handle rule-breakers (because, let’s face it, you’re going to get a few of those). Decide ahead of time what will warrant a post or comment to be deleted, and what will warrant a member getting kicked out of the group so you won’t have to make those types of decisions on the fly.
Step Four: Create and upload your cover photo.
This is the step when you really get to let your creativity take over. Putting together a personal brand is one of our favorite things to do. And your group can really help extend your brand to your ideal client — starting with the cover photo, as it’s one of the first things new members will see.
Creating a cover photo is easier than you might think. Just head over to PicMonkey (or any other graphics editing software you may like) and create a new graphic. Facebook’s recommended size for a group cover graphic is 1640px wide by 856px high.
As for what to include on your graphic, well, the sky’s the limit!! Post photos of you, photos of your product…photos of you using your product. You can include a reminder to check your pinned post, a description of the group, a calendar of events, or even a basic introduction to yourself. And of course, you’ll want to include your logo.
When you’re ready, click on “Upload Photo” and then select the photo you just created.
Step Five: Start inviting people.
Notice the choice of words: invite. If you’ve chosen to build a Facebook group that is closed, you can send the link to people, post it to your page or your timeline, and even post it at the bottom of your blog posts — anywhere you think interested people might see it. If your group is secret, you will need to add them instead of sharing the link, but make sure you have their permission first. Not only will these sorts of invitations help keep your members connected to you, but it will also help to ensure a higher level of engagement overall.
Don’t forget to engage!
This is the step you’ve been waiting for!! With your group built and your people requesting access, it’s time to put together a content strategy that keeps your people interacting and social within the group. Of course, you’ll want to continue posting a good mix of the 3Ps. You can also find content ideas and graphics over in the Socialite Suite.
Community doesn’t end with Facebook groups. Whether you’re interacting with your followers on Instagram or sending notes out to your email subscribers, the community you’re building will require the same, overall steps and the same overall strategy. Decide on who you’re going to invite, establish your guidelines, decide on how you’re going to enforce those guidelines, and then start engaging with your community.
If you’re wondering what to do once you’ve built this awesome community, head on over to Suite SassyPants. We’re going into depth about community management, including discussions on using analytics and how to revive a dead group!! You don’t want to miss out.