How to Set Up a Facebook Group For Beginners
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This article will explain everything you need to know to start a Facebook group properly. The first thing you should know is there are different types of admins. Some will let anyone into the group just to get as many members as possible without thinking about whether they could be a scammer or not, and some show a passion towards their group and only allow people to join if they answer the Membership Questions. This way there is less likelihood that scammers and spammers will join the group.
When you first create a group, you should find or create a good-looking cover photo. Imagine you just searched for the group and you're about to join it. What type of cover photo would make you want to join? What would interest you? You could design a photo in Photoshop, Photopea or Pixlr, or you could find some pre-created ones online.
Next, you should set up Membership Questions in the group settings. This way whenever someone requests to join your group, they will be given a set of questions chosen by the admins and moderators of the group. When answered, this will ensure that the person requesting to join is not a robot and has a valid reason for joining the group. For example, if it's an Apple group, you may want to add a question asking which Apple products they own and why they would like to join the group. You can have up to 3 questions. Here you can also ask members to agree to the Group Rules. This way you can be more confident that they aren't going to violate the rules, although there is a chance they still could.
Another option that you should set up is Group Rules. Facebook have a handy collection of 4 preset rules which I recommend you add immediately. These will help prevent spam and bullying. You can also change the order of the rules so that members can understand the priority of the rules. You could also add the rules to a pinned announcement post to make them more prominent.
Make sure to set a welcoming and informative Group Description. This will show at the top of the "About" section of the group. It can be found by tapping the group name on mobile, or by clicking the "About" tab on the desktop website. If you don't have a pinned announcement at the top of your group, you could pin the description post. A post will automatically be created when you update the description. A good group description will attract more people to your group and give them an explanation to as what your group is about and what topics you discuss. You can change the description in your group settings.
One of the most important settings to change is "Group Privacy". I always have my groups set to private instead of public. This ensures that only members can see the content inside the group. If the group is public, anyone can see and react to posts and comments. Public groups also allow anyone to comment without joining, and anyone requesting to join will be automatically approved - although this can be changed afterwards. This is due to the "New Public Groups Experience". If a member comments on a post in a public group, the post will also show up in their friend's feed. This could either make more people join your group, or it can just be an annoyance to other Facebook users. I recommend setting your group privacy to private rather than public.
Who Can Approve Member Requests
Next, you will need to change some of the group settings to filter out as much spam as possible. There is one setting that is enabled by default called "Who can approve member requests". It will be set to "Anyone in the group" by default. This will allow any member of the group to approve member requests from their friends. If you have this option set to "Anyone in the group", there will be no admin or moderator input on these requests. This could result in your group becoming spammy.
Another great feature is Tags. Adding tags to your group can help your group show up near the top of the search results. For example, if you add a "Technology" tag, Facebook users are more likely to see your group in search results when searching for technology-related topics. Facebook is improving this feature gradually to make it more effective. There are a lot of preset tags to choose from. This option can be found in your group settings.
You should also be aware of the "Announcements" feature. This comes in handy if there is something that you urgently want your members to see. Announcements will appear at the top of the group and up to 30 can be added. You can choose which one is pinned too. I recommend that you pin the rules to the top of the group. Members are more likely to see them and abide by them once read.
There is also a feature called Moderation Alerts. This allows you to set up Keyword Alerts or Engagement Alerts.
Keyword Alerts will allow you to set up alerts if a certain word or phrase is mentioned in the group. You’ll then have the option to remove the content from the group. Keyword Alerts will help you keep your group clean and spam-free. A couple you should add is "t.me" and “?ref=share”. "t.me" is a short link for Telegram Messenger which scammers often use to try and steal money from group members. “?ref=share” is usually at the end of links to another Facebook group. By adding this, you’ll be alerted if someone tries to promote their group in your group. This will be helpful if you have “No Promotions or Spam” in the Group Rules.
Engagement Alerts will send you a notification if a post gets a certain amount of reactions or comments, or if a comment gets a certain amount of reactions or replies. This will help you identify conversations that are becoming heated and violent, so you can take action accordingly.
Add More Admins and Moderators
To keep the group spam-free while you're not active on Facebook (for example, throughout the night), you should add some more moderators or admins, preferably from a different time zone. They can help you keep the group monitored and clean if you're not able to at certain times. This also prevents members from being able to claim admin if you ever lose access to your Facebook account.
Link your Facebook Page
If you have a page that you would like to link to your group, you can do so in Group Settings. Posting as your page in the group looks a lot more professional and also disguises who is posting. For example, if your group is camping-related, you could link a camping page to the group and post as the page instead of your profile. You can also add your page to the Group Affiliation.
Recommendation: Turn off your Admin or Moderator Badge
By being an admin or moderator of a group, you will have a corresponding badge next to your name throughout the group in posts and comments. Having this turned on will often scare members away from you as they worry about the possibility of being removed from the group if they said something they shouldn't. Disabling your admin or moderator badge will allow members to speak to you without worrying. In my opinion, there is no real reason to have your badge enabled other than to show off that you own the group.
Something admins do quite often is set up pre-approved groups. This allows you to select certain groups which if members are already a member of, will be approved into your other group(s). This will lower the number of member requests you see. You can view the auto-approved members in the Activity Log.
The Activity Log will allow you to see all actions taken by admins and moderators, such as member approvals or requests declined, as well as changes to settings or members that have been auto-approved.
There are some other miscellaneous features that are mostly unneeded. These include Rooms and Jobs. In some instances, they may be needed, but most of the time they're just a nuisance and cause more stress than expected. You should probably turn them off unless you think they could be useful to you and your group.
Personally, I believe it's not all about how many members the group has, and that it's more about the quality of the content inside the group. I hope this helps you in setting up your Facebook group. Thanks for reading!