Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Facebook groups provide a sense of community to bring like-minded people together

If you find yourself looking for something to do while practicing social distancing, Facebook groups are a way to communicate and convene digitally in a semi-private setting without posting your discussions to the world on your Facebook home page for all your friends, or even the public, to see.

Facebook groups have been used for years by more than 400 million people to bring them together to promote community around a topic, location, business advice, health concern, or any number of subjects. With the coronavirus spread threatening a situation of potential lockdown in the coming weeks, similar to what is happening in Italy, you can find a community more easily today with Facebook’s latest search feature based on your unique interests and suggestions they make for you.

What kinds of groups are on Facebook?

According to Facebook, each user can join up to 6,000 groups. Most people will join only a few of them that cater to their needs. You can find anything from sports-betting groups, music fans, and car enthusiasts to political views, business advice, and disease support communities.

Facebook groups categories.
Image source: Facebook screenshot.

Groups dedicated to making money online

With a plethora of groups giving business advice, you can learn just about anything you need to know. Social Media Traffic School is a Facebook group that is essentially a free classroom that teaches you how to get qualified leads into your business with Facebook ads for coaches, consultants, marketing personnel, independent professionals, and bloggers.

Social Media Traffic School group image.
Image source: Facebook screenshot.

Groups that help you get and stay healthy

With the coronavirus scare, people are taking matters into their own hands to get and stay healthy by boosting their immune systems with exercise and natural supplements. Healthy in the Hollow is a Facebook group dedicated to motivating and educating members on what to eat, what benefits can come from fruits and vegetables, and exercises to take up. They also promote immune-boosting and allergy-fighting supplements, such as elderberry syrup and bee pollen.

Michelle Harbin, the owner of Harbin Hollow, says this coronavirus pandemic has exploded her sales of elderberry syrup and bee pollen. The elderberry supply is dwindling so much that the cost of her sources has increased a whopping 50%. She is still trying to keep her retail prices lower, even though the demand has risen over the limited supply.

Groups that teach how to use software

Many of the software packages we use today follow the SaaS model (software as a service). It has become more and more common to pay for a monthly or yearly subscription that is operated in the cloud. A great way for software companies to support their users is to offer a Facebook group community where people can answer each other’s questions. Usually, answers are given much faster than waiting for a support line or chat feature on the company’s website.

One such company that does a great job of creating a supportive Facebook community is Kajabi, all-in-one software that helps people create online service-based businesses. They have employees monitoring their group to ensure that the advice being shared between users is accurate.

Groups that educate you on urban farming

In case you ever wanted to raise your own backyard chickens or grow organic vegetables, the Facebook group, I <3 Backyard Chickens, can help you get started. Maat van Uitert, the administrator of this group, says, “We run a group to teach people how to raise chickens and ducks for eggs, which has proven pretty important given the COVID-19 pandemic. None of us have to worry about a food supply if we’re quarantined. A lot of us are gardeners, and we’re discussing how to raise more of our own food this year.”

Her blog on raising chickens and organic gardening has over 400,000 visitors per month looking for advice, so creating a Facebook group to foster discussion made sense.

Groups that support our military

As seen in People Magazine, Geriann Westbrook uses her Facebook group, Military Mama Network, to help military families come together to support each other and their loved ones that are deployed. They host fundraisers for their non-profit organization and prepare boxes to send to military bases around the world. The main group has become so large that smaller focus groups have been formed to segment into common topics or locations of their members. All the groups are managed by Geriann and her team.

How are groups managed?

Bella Vasta, an expert on building communities, teaches business owners how to build and manage Facebook groups to connect with their customers and followers. We caught up at Social Media Marketing World’s annual conference in San Diego to talk about how far groups have come over the years. Not only is she seeing smaller businesses utilize groups to get to know their clients on a more personal level, but she’s also seeing larger companies like Peloton support their customers by putting them together to motivate each other to exercise.

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