Kailey Robles of Vegan Pregnancy and Parenting gives us her top tips for facilitating a Facebook group.
Facebook groups are a great way to connect with people who share your interests. Having the correct admins on board however, will decide if it’s popular, or just a lot of infighting and spam.
It's important for the group to be inviting and interactive; so those hoops some groups make people jump through to join, i.e. email the admin and state why they should be allowed to join; just don’t work for growth, and creates a clique where this is an exclusive club. Admins are supposed to blend into the background, just to help steer conversation back to being productive, as opposed to destructive. Infighting is a big issue in groups, tempers get flared, and the larger your group will grow, the bigger the issue will become, unless you’ve followed these tips from the start.
Start with some simple ground rules.
This information is available to potential members before they even press the “Join Group” button and will allow them to know what kind of group they are potentially joining. For example: “We encourage questions and information related to the group’s topic. We do not encourage discriminatory comments.” The rules should be general and not too restrictive but help guide the discussions and posts. When you first start with your group, keep it to three or four basic rules. It can always be tweaked after a while.
This is really important for growth! Groups with thousands of members must be inclusive, there is no way you can a find large with the same outlook on everything. The group should be a specific niche, so many people can relate to the group. So give it a name that relates to what you want to talk about. Parenting, clothes and so forth. Give it a name that reflects that.
Delete trolls immediately.
How do you know if someone is a troll? One way you can tell is if they comment things like “Being vegan is unhealthy and dumb” on a vegan group page. Another way you can tell is if when you go to their profile they have 3 friends and no other information about themselves. These people tend to make antagonizing comments so you don’t have to look too hard for them.
Be active in your own group.
You don’t want to be an almighty admin who only appears when something needs to be deleted. Be active in discussions, post informative articles, and share your favorite topics. Your participation is important when the group goes silent and needs someone to start a conversation, or if someone posted and is not getting any responses. An admin is just a part of the group with the ability to moderate and should remain active. Don’t always write ‘admin’ at the end of your comments. This is a meeting place, not where someone dictates to everyone else.
Delete the junk.
No one likes spam. The best groups allow for discussions and communication, not random ads for disingenuous “members”. Deleting these posts and the people who post them will promote the authenticity of the group so members don’t feel uncomfortable participating on the page. We allow a business and blogs thread, where everyone can post their links. It allows the promotion of their social platform in once space, instead of clogging up everyone's feed.
The most important part of any Facebook group are the members. Having a community that cares about the group is invaluable and has allowed Vegan Pregnancy and Parenting to flourish. The members initiate and participate in discussions, and are there for one another to give advice and information. Following these tips has helped the group grow and be an enjoyable experience for all the members.
Kailey Robles, is an admin for Vegan Pregnancy and Parenting where they have over fourteen thousand active members. She spends the day laughing at funny baby pictures, and not taking life as a Facebook admin too seriously. Find the VPP community on Instagram @veganpregnancyandparenting or join the Facebook group Vegan Pregnancy and Parenting here.
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