Picture this with me for a moment. You have a burning desire and vision to create a space where fellow women who lack the answers and support they need to succeed can finally receive it.
You did your research and realized forming a group would be the perfect way for you to be of service to these often overlooked individuals.
But there are gazillions (yes, gazillions!) of professional groups both online and offline. We live in an era where information overload, and too many choices, that often lead to analysis paralysis, keeps threatening our ability to connect.
So, if after all your efforts to start that group you’re so passionate about, it seems to be crumbling under the weight of disengaged and unmotivated members, take heart and read on. We’ve got good news and centering ideas.
First things first: you need to recognize that the end is only the beginning.
There are over 600 million groups on Facebook, alone. So clearly the potential is there to connect with like-minded women globally. But the one thing many of us take for granted is the understanding that building an engaged group — much like raising a child — is about consistency and long-term dedication.
If you’re a mother, you can easily relate. You know that the work didn’t actually end after the nine months were up. Having the baby wasn’t the end point. It was simply the end of one phase and the beginning of an entirely new, more challenging phase. Start thinking along these lines if you want to grow a thriving and engaged professional group.
Making the bold decision to roll up your sleeves, increase your coffee intake and give the creation of this group your best shot was only Phase One of your journey. Now that you’ve proven to yourself that your message, vision, and dream of serving others is in high demand, it’s time to step up your game. How?
Think unconventionally. Innovation is a word that will radically transform the current state of your group.
Hence, the second most important insight to have right now if you want to stand out and keep your professional group engaged is, increasing creativity and innovation is a necessity. This will help both with your group and your personal life. Our fast-changing world requires a new paradigm, so the more you can be open to new approaches, the better.
3 Practical ways to keep your professional group engaged:
Every group is different so feel free to tweak and customize this. And always request feedback from your members because that’ll be the way to hone in on your special blueprint for a thriving group.
#1 If Content is King, Crown Yourself Queen.
Consistently sharing high-quality content with your group is paramount, but not just any content. Let it be content that is generated by your group.
You can start with a weekly group survey for fresh ideas to focus on. Create an idea bank and a strong content strategy based on the ideas you collect each week. Most group owners tend to focus too much on their own ideas and what they think ought to be discussed in a group. Rather than sticking rigidly to your pre-conceived strategy or ideas, let your group become the source of your conversation and work each week.
Make it fun. Get creative by either using member questions or stories to create social media and blog content to share. Tag them, give credit to the participant and just make them feel special and important whenever they participate in that weekly survey.
#2 Increase Relevancy in Your Communication.
Whether online or offline learn to cut through the noise when it comes to connecting with your group.
The average individual is bombarded with anything between 300-3,000 (depending on where you get your statistics) marketing messages each day, not to mention all the business, family and personal messages they get now as a result of smart phones, social media and email. If the members of your group don’t place what you have to say at a higher level, meaning you’re not as relevant as you ought to be, then keeping them active and engaged will feel burdensome.
Wouldn’t it be great to know that your members want to hear from you, that they are instantly willing to drop whatever they’ve got going on just to hear what you have to say? That can only happen if you’re super relevant. The best place to start is to understand your group members extremely well and make sure your communication with them is deeply relevant to why they joined the group.
We’ll dive deeper into this in an upcoming post so stay tuned for that one if you’re having trouble gaining clarity on how to be super relevant.
#3 Get More Personal Within the Group
To customize as much as possible your interaction with each member.
There are very few groups that do this well. Many group leaders are too generic, and hardly ever acknowledge their members individually. Aside from that initial generic introduction at the beginning, few group owners take the time to personally reach out with a personal message, call or conversation to each individual in the group.
Yes, it is work. No one is arguing with that. The bigger the group the more work. But isn’t serving others and knowing you’re touching souls the reason you started this in the first place?
The few who take time to periodically connect directly with each member are the ones who create thriving, highly engaged professional groups.
Consider creating a podcast or blog interview series and invite your members to each be the subject of an interview. Showcase their achievements, challenges, talents and experiences by sharing the interviews on social media.
So many women are already feeling like society doesn’t recognize or care very much about them. If you can create that space for them where they truly feel loved, respected, and appreciated, being engaged in your group will flow effortlessly in more abundance than you can imagine.
Now we’d love to hear your thoughts. What tips could you add to this list to help all of us boost group engagement?
Main image: Jopwell