Is Your Community Supporting You?

September 4, 2021

How many of you are in groups or host a group page on social media? Do you know whether you are in a group? Are you taking advantage of the groups you are in? What are you contributing if anything? Let’s begin the conversation. Ready? Let’s Go!

How many invitations do you get a week, asking you to join someone’s group? I have seriously lost count. I remember when I started on social media. First, I had to learn what to do and how to navigate the application or web site. Surfing the “web,” I had no idea what people were talking about. Fast forward to present day. Now, I am savvy when it comes to the web, networking online, joining groups and utilizing social media.

I had to perform a serious “purge” one day on my social media pages and the groups I was following. When I looked up, I realized that I was in almost “30 groups.” Why? There is no way that I could devote time to 30 groups. Seriously, with my schedule I was lucky to give time to 2 let alone 30. I had to go through these groups and figure out what value they added to my business and life?

I think for me it was the benefit of saying, “Yes I belong to these groups,” but what difference did it make if I wasn’t participating? The whole concept of being in a group is to get value from it while contributing and supporting that group. If people would engage in groups more often, networking events wouldn’t be necessary. You can build, make, and find connections from the comfort of your home in your pajamas.

I remember when I started my Philadelphia Women’s Network Connection group on Facebook. It took us a while to grow our community, but we got there. The 1  1⁄2 years we grew to more than 1,000 women. Then, I purged about half of my followers. Why? There was no engagement with those I removed. Most of them probably didn’t even remember they joined. Why have 1,000 people in your group and most of them are doing nothing?

Think about it. You constantly engage and post vital information including sharing business building information, sharing programs, how to find grants and encourage networking among your followers. Mostly it is the same 40-50 people engaging if you’re lucky or none at all. Now granted we know Facebook changes its algorithm from time to time. Right? I don’t believe that’s the reason. Are people just not interested in the content they are getting? Are they bored with their group or are they like me when I was part of 30 groups and not able to engage with them all?

So, after purging my group down to about half I started growing it again. This time I was more strategic in my planning. Not everyone could join and there were screening questions to answer. If you did not take the time to answer, I didn’t approve your request. Simple, right? Not really. One of the questions asked was to provide an email address for connection purposes only. My organization does not send unwanted emails or spam if you don’t request it.

Many people skipped over the question about providing an email contact. This didn’t make sense to me. If I close my group tomorrow how would we stay connected? Trust me I don’t have the luxury to track down more than 1,200 people from our group page.

When It Became Real For Me

I see some groups with more than 10,000 people. How do they keep their followers engaged? Do the people in these groups support you? Have you seen them at your events, webinars, or trainings? Are they participating in your programs? Are they networking with each other? This is when it became real for me.

I had to stop, step back and see who was supporting PWNC. Imagine if someone gave you the opportunity to network with more than 1,200 people from the comforts of home while using your computer. Would you do it? Why not?

I struggle with the idea of doing a “purge” again or closing the Facebook Group page. PWNC has a business page that has a broader range than the group page. What would be so wrong with just using our business page as a source of information? We do have an email list that has grown tremendously. Don’t get me wrong we do get some support from the Facebook Group but considering how many are in the group we would love to see more engagement.

People don’t realize, except for those that have these social groups, the commitment that it takes every day. To inspire and motivate a massive group can be very draining and very time-consuming. I work on building momentum and engagement, encourage networking and market to get people out to an event. It takes time, planning and execution which is a whole lot of work.

So back to my original question, is your group supporting you? Are you supporting them? Is it a 50/50 type of relationship or are you investing more than you are getting out? These are hard questions that you must ask yourself. You may have a difference of opinion and ask, if you have a community of 10,000 why shut the group down or purge some from the group?

My answer is always the same. A lot of the people either don’t know they are in the group, not interested or not engaging with you or others in the group. So why should they stay? What value are they adding? That is why I took myself out of so many groups, I wasn’t adding any value. I didn’t contribute and I definitely didn’t use any of the resources they were offering. So why stay? I felt better in doing this. Why would I take the spot of someone who could bring value and be a phenomenal presence in the group? So, what I am saying is if you have any groups that you are heading up or a part of, take a good look inside. What value are people or you bringing to the group, are they supporting you or you them?

Support One Another

Here is what I find interesting. Everyone is willing to post about their business events, trainings and course offerings but will not attend an event hosted by a group they are part of. Does this make sense? Small business owners need the support of each other to survive. We are supposed to support one another. That is the overall goal, right? So why isn’t this happening. Currently, I have people in my Facebook Group, who have been followers since I created it over three years ago. They have yet to come to an event, webinar or training.

What I’ve Learned

I had to learn to let it go and not focus so much on things that don’t matter. I had to start focusing on those that did support PWNC because they are the ones who do matter – the business people we assist, uplift, and inspire each day. I am referring to those that need extra inspiration to carry out their day. This way I narrow down the go-getters, those that need support and those that support me. So, I circle back to the question. Do I purge the group again or shut it down completely and start anew? I think this time, I will go into the group, see who is worth staying connected with, and start with a new prospective. Whatever you decide to do with your community groups, promise yourself one thing. No matter how many people you have, if at least half or most of the group is not supporting you, then it is time to think about doing something differently. Good luck in your decision.

Have a great day on purpose!

Felicia Shanken

Hello, my name is Felicia Shanken CEO & Founder of the Philadelphia Women’s Network Connection, LLC and PWNC Foundation Inc 501(c)(3). ​My mission is to create a friendly supportive community where business owners enjoy sharpening their entrepreneurial edge while nurturing valuable relationships that enrich career satisfaction.

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