Why Your Community Needs A Strategy

When you’re thinking of starting a Facebook group, or any type of community, I’m guessing that the last thing on your mind is the strategy behind it. You probably want to increase your reach, connect with other creative online business owners, and it’s what all the “gurus” are saying you need to do next.

But when you create a community without a strategy, you’re signing yourself up for more work than you anticipated and little to no return on your time and energy investments. That’s because you don’t know what you’re working towards when you go in without a strategy.

Taking the time to create a strategy, and know what to track and pay attention to, for your community means you’ll be able to see what’s working and why, what your next steps are, and helps you measure growth on a granular level.

Let’s say that you want to create a Facebook group for your business (something like Heather Crabtree’s Savvy Business Owners group or Caitlin Bacher’s For Love + Money group). If we were going to sit down and create a strategy for your group, to make sure it works for you and your goals, here are a few things I would tell you:

You need a clear goal

Before you do anything, you need to know what your goal is -- what are you hoping to achieve by creating this Facebook group?

It could be to increase your list size, to sell more of your one-on-one services, or to gather insight into your ideal audience. Whatever your goal is, make sure it is a S.M.A.R.T. goal (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-Bound). 

Let’s say your goal is to increase your list size. If I was going to make that a S.M.A.R.T. goal, I would say that my goal was to grow my list by 1,000 subscribers in the next 3 months through my Facebook group. That gives me a specific number, a timeframe to measure my progress by, it’s relevant to my business, it’s attainable, and it will inform everything else we do for the Facebook group.

You need specific action steps

Now that we have our S.M.A.R.T. goal, we can break that down into specific action steps. 

In order to track email subscribers from the Facebook group, you can create a content upgrade for one of your blog posts and create an extra form or landing page (using something like ConvertKit or LeadPages) so that you can share that page with your Facebook group members only. This lets you track the conversion rate of just that page, instead of trying to parse through all the subscribers for a single form (if you didn’t break out Facebook group members vs everyone else in your email service provider). 

Now, if I was going to break out this process even further into bite-sized action steps, it would look something like this:

  • Write, edit + schedule blog post for next week
  • Create content upgrade for blog post
  • Create ConvertKit form + upload content upgrade
  • Add ConvertKit form to blog post
  • Duplicate ConvertKit form
  • Connect to LeadPages landing page
  • Schedule landing page to Facebook group
  • Gather subscriber numbers day after post goes live
  • Gather subscriber numbers one week after post goes live
  • Gather subscriber numbers one month after post goes live

This makes the process a lot more manageable. If you’re using a project management software like Asana or Trello, you can add these steps into a template task so you never have to think about adding them or remembering if you created the landing page to track subscribers from your Facebook group.

The idea is to break down everything that you’ll do to support your goal into bite-sized action steps, get them into something like Asana, and assign a due date to them. That way you know that everything you’re doing is getting you closer to your S.M.A.R.T. goal, and suddenly everything you need to do goes from feeling overwhelming to focusing on the next action step. And before you know it, you’ll have completed everything you need to do!

You need to know how to gather metrics 

So you’ve figured out your goal for your community, and what action steps you need to take. Now you need to know what to measure and how to track it, so you can see what is and isn’t working. 

For a Facebook group, things you could track are engagement on daily prompts/posts, conversions on your landing pages, new members joining per day/week/month, etc. There are not universal right and wrong things to track -- you need to figure out what is relevant to your business, your goals, and what makes sense for you.

Using our example of growing our email subscribers, I would recommend gathering the following metrics:

  • How many new members join each week
  • Interactions on any posts you make (views, likes, comments, click-throughs, etc)
  • Landing page conversions
  • Interactions on any FB Live videos you do (views, likes, comments, click-throughs, etc)

There are many more things you could track, but I would start with those four so that you feel like you’re gathering a manageable amount of data. Seeing how people are interacting with the content you post will tell you what is and isn’t resonating, landing page conversions will tell you what people are opting in for and what they’re passing by, and new members will tell you how your group is growing and it will let you create a master conversion number over time -- how many subscribers are joining your email list per month vs the number of people joining your group each month.

In this post we used a Facebook group as an example, and honestly barely scratched the surface of how to create a strategy for the community. But my hope is that you are able to see just how valuable taking an hour or so to plan this stuff out before jumping in to create your community will greatly benefit you.

I’d love to hear from you! Have you created a strategy for a community before? What are you going to use from this post to help you? Let me know in the comments below!