biz ladies: how to effectively manage a facebook community


Today’s Biz Ladies comes from Lior Levin, a marketing consultant for an international company that specializes in targeted cancer therapies and e-commerce stores and an advisor for the political science department at Tel Aviv University. Lior also spends her time writing blog posts and sharing knowledge, especially in the field of online marketing. Today she is doing just that with a post on how to effectively manage your Facebook community within your business. She offers some insightful tips on posting strategies and how to leverage Facebook as a useful marketing tool. Thanks, Lior, for your helpful advice! — Stephanie

Read more of the post after the jump . . .

When you first start out with your Facebook page, you’ll probably be flying solo. Then again, you probably don’t have that many members or even fans, so this isn’t a whole pile of work straight away. But as your Facebook presence grows, you’ll find yourself devoting a lot of time to managing your new Facebook community, so you’re going to need a whole new set of management skills for both yourself and your community moderators to handle all this.

Here are some tips to make managing your Facebook community a bit easier for everyone — especially you.

Provide Value

If you’re a non-profit community, this may not be as relevant, but you can still add value in your own way. For a business with a Facebook community, never just use it as a marketing portal. Remember that people do not like a sales pitch without being offered something of value first. How you add this value is entirely up to you, but make it part of what you do each and every day.

Remain Calm

Beware of trolls beneath bridges and also the trolls who lurk on every type of social networking platform. There will always be somebody on Facebook desperately trying to draw you into an argument, so avoid these at all costs. Even if a troll is knocking your community, entering into arguments with these people only provides them with more ammunition. Moderation is what comes into play here, as does maintaining the moral high ground.

Interact

When people make (non-troll) comments, reply to them and thank them for their input. These people are adding content to your community, so saying “Thanks” is the very least you can do. Very few community owners actually do this, and one of your main goals should be to encourage conversation and discussion about your products, service, business, charity or whatever your community is about. “Conversation is good” should be your new mantra. Write it down. Print it out. Remember it.

Use Force Sparingly

You have almost absolute power when it comes to moderating the activity on your Facebook community, but don’t get carried away with it. You are going to see spam wall posts from time to time, and when this happens, politely inform the poster that this type of activity isn’t welcome. If they continue, then you have the option of reporting them as spam, but only do so after issuing a firm but friendly warning.

Market Gently

Your community offers you a great way to market your business, but do so in moderation. If you have a great offer to share with users, then by all means share it. Just don’t do it every single day because people will get tired of you spamming your own community and will move their focus, their interest and their interaction elsewhere.

Delegate

As mentioned earlier, your community is probably going to grow far more quickly than you imagined. When it does, realize that you cannot be all things to all members and start delegating responsibilities to other trusted members of your community. With great power comes great responsibility, and make sure that your new moderators understand this.

Having a Facebook community can be a huge amount of fun and a great learning experience for everyone involved. Just remember that anything you say is out there for the entire group to see and that although people can be forgiving, they can only forgive you once or maybe twice. After that, your community can turn sour quickly, and all your hard work will have been in vain. Use our community tips to prevent that from happening.

Chitra

Thanks for this post, so rare to find such useful tips regarding Facebook usage. What I love about this medium is that the product feedback is not mediated by us at all; this is also a bit scary but it keep us focused to ensure that our clients have a good experience shopping with us. Regarding “gentle marketing” I am constantly paranoid that I sound like a screaming vendor for our brand. How do I know I’m not over-doing it?

Tania

Wonderful post! I’ve been to many social media classes and the mantra is “promote others ten times more than you promote yourself”. I think it keeps followers coming back for more when you post info and links to helpful info in your interest area. To constantly see “check out our”…constantly on twitter or FB is a turnoff. The only exception for me is a few boutiques in town who post pics of their new arrivals. That’s fine, in fact I look forward to it, value added as far as I’m concerned as they’ll hold items for you if you request in the comments. I have an example of “what not to do”…a FB friend of mine created a page for her business (as you should do) and then had her personal page. She put way too much promotional material up from her page, everytime I turned around my newsfeed was filled with her marketing for her and her clients. So, I eventually unliked her business page. I started to hear from mutual friends they removed her or unliked her at some point. Then she started a new business and did the same thing but this time everything came from her personal account. No personal updates ever, just the promotional stuff, a lot of it and it was a business I have absolutely no interest in. So I hide her now from my newsfeed (& I’m not the only one). On my own FB page (although I’m the first to admit, I’m no expert), I try to spread my updates out. It’s tempting to punch it all out first thing in the morning but I don’t want my followers to feel like I’ve taken over their newsfeed.

Scott

hi, the manage facebook community feedblitz link is dead.any alternate link please?

jen @ circle and sprout

Great points! I especially agree with the “market gently” advice. Event people who are interested in our jewelry don’t want to be bombarded everyday with new listings! Thank you for the reminder.

Tatiana

Wow. I was just having this issue myself! I just started a page for my new business and I’m so confused about whether I should link it to my personal FB account or start a completely new one! What’s the protocol on this sort of thing? I want to spread the word without bombarding people but it seems a little excessive to have 2 accounts… Thanks for all your great Biz Ladies posts! Very helpful & inspiring!!

Bridget from Refined Vintage

Very sage advice, Now how do you get them to find your Facebook page? I do not constantly post new items, and I do share other interesting tidbits. But I have a hard time getting visitors engaged. This could be in part that most of my fans are from the selling community that I am involved with. I need to find other fans! lol!

Juice

Tatiana, go to any existing facebook page and then click on the “create a page” at the upper right hand corner

Patty

Thank you! Just put a sticky note on my computer “Conversation is GOOD!” Good advice.

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