This is a mini challenge for the Biannual Blogathon Bash. Anyone is welcome to read and use this information but blogathon participants may be eligible for prizes. It’s not too late to join!
If you’ve been thinking of starting a Facebook group for bloggers or you already have one but feel you need some direction in taking the lead, this post is for you. You may already have a Facebook page for your blog and that is great. Facebook pages are a great way to connect with fans and share your latest thoughts and blog posts. If you have a very dedicated fan base, you might even want to have a Facebook group for fans so they are better able to see what’s new with the blog and discuss the posts there. There are lots of Facebook features you may or may not already be using but today I want to talk about using groups for fellow bloggers.
Types of Groups
There are all kinds of groups on Facebook for bloggers and they don’t all serve the same purpose. Some are connected to a specific event or a group that runs events like the Blogathon FB group. It’s for those who participate in the events to stay up to date on event news and connect with other participants. There are groups which are for connecting certain types of bloggers such as Canadian bloggers or Fashion bloggers or book bloggers. There are groups for connecting those different types of bloggers together and talking about blogging in general such as Bloggers Building Bridges. There are groups that are designed for helping other bloggers to promote their blog posts as well.
There Are So Many
There are a LOT of groups on Facebook for bloggers but that doesn’t necessarily mean there isn’t room for more. Many are very inactive or the group leaders may decide they don’t want to run it anymore or perhaps the members aren’t happy there. Bloggers who use Facebook groups are always looking for new groups.
How to Create and Run a Facebook Group for Bloggers
Step One: Make a Plan
What is your focus for the group? Who is the group for and what will they get out of it? Where do you see the group in 6 months? 1 year? Brainstorm some ideas of how your group will be different or unique or well loved. You will also need to decide if you will be keeping membership limited (only a certain number of members or only personally invited members) or if anyone can join. Can anyone post to the group or only admin? Will posts go live immediately or do they have to be approved by admin first? Will you admin the group yourself or do you have a co-admin in mind?
Step Two: Pick a Name and Create the Group
Come up with a great name for your group so that it’s clear what the group is about (if possible.) Search Facebook to see if the name is already taken. Go to Facebook Groups and click Create to start a new Facebook group. To make a group, you must add at least one other person. It’s best not to add people without their knowledge so you might want to ask a friend or family member for permission to add them to the group so it will let you create it. They can always leave the group afterwards. Do NOT invite anyone else right now. Only the obligatory one person.
Step Three: Set Up the Group
Look over the options for your group and make sure they are set the way you want them. You can make the group Open, Closed or Secret. You can also set if you want posts to be approved before they go live and if new members have to be approved or not. In the settings is a spot to set up the group email. By doing that, you can change your group’s URL from a random string of numbers to the name of your group. So set that up.
Facebook groups come in three types: Public, Closed and Secret.
Public – Anyone can join, find the group in search, see all the posts even without being a member and posts from it show up in the newsfeed.
Closed – Anyone can request to join but they must be approved by admin. Anyone can find the group in search and see who is a member but only members can see posts or see it in their newsfeed.
Secret – You must be invited or added by a current member and the group does not show up in search. Only members can see it in the newsfeed or see who else is a member
This distinction is often confused. A few times I’ve seen mention on Facebook that a friend of mine has recently joined a group about a topic I’m not sure they wanted everyone to know they were interested in. A closed group doesn’t mean private. You can read more about the different levels in Facebook help. NOTE: If you have less than 250 members, you can change the privacy settings of you group at any time in any way. After 250 members, you can only make the group MORE restrictive.
Create your own or find a graphic you can use legally for the cover image. Use picmonkey.com to create a simple one with the group name and perhaps a tagline or description on it. Edit the about section to explain what the group is about. If the group is tied into a website, include the url in the first paragraph of the about section so it will show up without anyone having to click more.
Decide on some basic rules or guidelines for your group and create a doc/file in the group with them to direct new members to. Include things such as what members are and are not allowed to post (newest posts, giveaway, affiliate links, questions, opportunities etc), who to contact if they have an issue (who is the admin and how do you want to be contacted) what the reason for the group is and what will happen if rules are not followed (tagged in the rules file, privately messaged, banned.) Some groups will only need 1-3 basic rules such as respect or posting certain types of things while others might need a long list of rules.
Add some discussions so that when members join, they will see the group is trying to be active and will have a discussion to jump into.
Step Four: Keeping it Going
Now you are ready to invite other people BUT please keep these common courtesies in mind:
- It’s not a good idea to add people to a group without their permission. Instead, message them a link to the group and a description of it and let them decide if they want to join. The add people to group option doesn’t send them an invite, it automatically adds them. If you know their email, you can use the invite by email option.
- Do not post about your group in other people’s groups asking people to join you. At the least it’s tacky and rude and at the most you could get yourself banned from that group. This would be like standing in Walmart’s parking lot handing out flyers for Target. Messaging everyone on the other groups members list is also wrong.
- Do not spam every blogger email you can find or private messaging every blogger you see to invite them.
- DO reach out to specific blogger friends to tell them about your group.
- DO post about your group on social media or your website (unless it’s for a specific audience.)
Your group will grow slowly at first but if you run a good group, members will tell other people about it and it will show up under suggested groups and you will gain members.
Start new discussions daily for the first little while. It will be quiet at first as you will have small numbers but keep coming up with interesting things to discuss and soon people will join in. People like to talk about themselves, especially if it’s something they are passionate about. Ask them to introduce themselves and where they blog or answer a question about how they do things. Invite them to share a recent post. If your group is going to have sharing threads, make the rules clear and make sure you follow through with what you promise (e.g. if you say a new thread will go up daily, put it up daily.)
Keep your group drama free. I feel every group should have the rule about respect and a drama free zone. Keep a close eye on what is going on in your group and delete posts that are not respectful or are spammy or are just there to create drama. If you don’t catch these and get rid of them quickly, people will leave your group in a hurry. It’s up to you if you message a warning first or kick the member right out but however you plan to handle it, it should be laid out in the rules.
Do step one – make a plan for a possible Facebook group. Share some details of it in the comments if you want, in the Facebook group or if you want private feedback, you can email me.