June 11, 2024

As associations look for better ways to engage with their members, we are hearing questions about Facebook groups. Facebook groups are online communities within Facebook, which are separate from your personal or organizational Facebook page. You can start a group based on your members’ common interests, goals, demographics, affiliations, specialties, and so on. These groups allow your members to connect and share information, discuss more detailed topics, and engage within their community. However, for all of the benefits they bring, Facebook groups definitely have their challenges.

One of the best uses of Facebook groups is segmenting your membership. For example: if you are serving the nursing industry, a group for you might be retired nurses, or nurses in specialty care, or nurses looking to further their careers. This is where you can target your messaging and foster a sense of community and teamwork. If your group is private, you'll be able to share more personal information than you normally would on your Facebook page. With this level of privacy, Groups foster an environment where more support and encouragement can be provided to your membership; members can seek advice and guidance from one another. This is particularly helpful for sensitive subjects like career advancements or work-related issues. 

One of the challenges with a Facebook group is that your members need a Facebook account to be included. This may exclude members who aren’t on social media. Also, you need to have admins on the page; one or two people that own the responsibility of checking member conversations, accepting new members, and setting up the overall rules of the group. Facebook does offer a great group of management tools like Admin Assist, but if your group is active and requires a more personal touch, you will need to have someone monitoring that group on a daily basis.  

So how do you avoid the bad and only keep the good? Start by defining your group's purpose and rules. You want to set the expectations of your members so they know why they're joining and what they're getting out of this group. It’s also really important to set up rules for your group and can start with the obvious items: be kind to others, no hate speech, no sharing private information outside the group, etc. Having rules established from the beginning will make it easier to remove a member if needed and keep the conversation productive. Set up a couple of membership questions; these will get answered by new members when they request to join your group. This will help your admins identify that those requests are real people (not spam bots) and that they belong in the group. You may want to set up admin approval on all posts. This is time-consuming, but a safer bet than having chaos break out in your group. 

You will also want to make sure you promote the start of your group through other forms of communication. This will allow those not on social media the opportunity to open an account so they can join the Group. You should have instructions on how to do this, in addition to providing the exact name of your Group (oftentimes groups are similarly named).

Remember that Facebook groups can be a wonderful source of community for your members, but they do require dedication to manage them well. Be thoughtful in starting one and be sure to define support roles within your volunteer group. Above all else, have fun and engage with your members!

If you need a little extra help, partner with AH to improve your community engagement strategies! To learn more, download our Digital Marketing Toolkit or contact us at