May 16, 2018

The Power of Digital Communities

By Rachel Marie Helmer

“Your brand is what other people say about you when you’re not in the room.” – Jeff Bezos

In today’s world of technology-fueled communication, it’s easier to impact who is talking than what is being said. One of the key ways this can be achieved is through community. Communities exist by nature to help and support fellow community members and make recommendations, without expecting compensation.

One of the best ways to impact community is through Facebook. With billions of people on Facebook, no one “type” uses Facebook. The average Facebook user is a member of 30 Facebook groups, but they only consider two to three of those groups to be fully meaningful to them and part of their daily lives.

An important thing to remember when building a Facebook group for your brand is not to come at it from an aggressive marketing mindset. Your Facebook group is not a sales audience. The focus here needs to be on one-on-one conversations and sharing between members of the community. One of the beautiful things about communities is that when done right, there is an established trust. As a brand, being able to be a part of this type of meaningful conversation is key to finding your lifelong customers as well as committed brand ambassadors.

When building your brand’s specific community within a Facebook group, it is important to remember, people naturally build communities around a mutual and common bond. Here are a few common types to keep in mind as you build out your group.

  1. Goal-based: This focuses on change, education and support. Fitness, health and wellness brands will fit well here.
  2. Experience-based: This focuses on situations (illness, divorce, mourning; typically things happening outside of one’s control), stage of life (teens, new moms, retirement) and location (the smaller the location the more bonding that will happen).
  3. Interest-based: This includes hobbies, crafts, cooking, professions, sports and passions.

* Your community can be a hybrid of these three types as well.

As you grow and engage with your Facebook group community, remember the conversation should never be about sales. Product purchase can be a point-of-entry to the group, but that is not enough.  Your community members must share a common goal, experience or interest.

As the leader of a Facebook group community, be sure to initiate discussions. Don’t just post, “Hey, here is a new blog post!” and share the link all willy-nilly. The group is a place to expand upon content that is on the blog and dive a little deeper. It gives you a chance to engage with your brand’s fan base and get them involved in the conversation. An engaged and involved audience is one that will stick around and, as a result, have your brand at their front of mind.

Your goal is to get people thinking and conversing with one another, so always keep that in mind when you chime in to share something. Fluff posts in your group of puppies and kittens will get a spike in engagement, but unless there is a logical tie to your brand, there is no lasting value to these. Your community member is the hero or star of the show per say and your brand is the guide to help make their life experience all the more awesome. Stick to that mantra when working within group-based communities and prepare for committed customers and brand ambassadors to start coming out of the woodwork!

Now that you are equipped with the knowledge needed to run a meaningful Facebook group community, it’s time to get started! Facebook’s help center has lots of great information on how to get started with the technical side of the build out. If page management is not your bag of chips, then drop us a line here at Olive. Our Social Media Team would be happy to set up a call to discuss creating and managing an impactful digital community for your brand.