June 11th, 2020

Franchise Reopening Strategies: Maintaining Your Private Facebook Group

Franchisees are opening their doors all around the country. If you’ve already taken the steps to start a private Facebook group for your members earlier this year, you may be faced with the question: How do I maintain my private Facebook community as we transition back to normal? 

With less time and resources to allocate for maintaining your online community, it’s important to remember the benefits of having an online community and identify strategies that make the most impact. 

Digital Community: The Basics 

A community manager creates a healthy environment for members to connect, facilitating, strengthening, and encouraging your member relationships. You will need to distinguish yourself from just having an audience who is just consuming content you put out to actually having community members who are bonding over shared experiences in order to reach TRIBE level.

Goals for Your Community Post Coronavirus Pandemic: 

  • Increase in Retention: As people shift from digital back to being able to come into your brick and mortar location, keep in mind there will still be nervous members who will rely on the resources you provide online.  
  • Continuity Offer: How you treat your members during this time will be remembered and appreciated. By continuing to engage your online community, you will see a reduction in churn.
  • Customer Nurture. Teach people how to use products better, excite them to buy more. 
  • Identify Gaps in your product. Use as research to find gaps in your service marketing strategies. 

There are 4 components to reaching TRIBE level. You can foster a sense of community through membership, influence, shared emotional connection, and integration and fulfillment of needs. 

#1 Membership: Members recognize each other as part of a tribe 

#2 Influence: Members feel their actions can influence the group and vice versa 

#3 Shared Emotional Connection: Members have a sense of shared history and shared participation 

#4 Integration and Fulfillment of Needs: Members feel emotional reward when they participate 

Tips to Maintain Your Online Community Post COVID-19 

Ritual Postings:  Rituals are the cornerstone of creating your TRIBE. Regardless if you’re able to provide live video resources for your members, try and think of community-specific posts that you provide on a weekly cadence. This will be the lifeblood of your community interactions, especially in the long run. Examples of ritual posting might include Wellness tips, Monday Motivation and Weekly Instructor Spotlights. Make sure to include an engaging question in any long-form style post!  

Live Workouts/Instructional Videos: Many of our clients are fitness franchisees who were able to provide live workouts for their members through their Facebook group. With the majority of your staff returning to your locations, it may be difficult to maintain the stream of videos you’ve been providing your members over the last few months. You may consider a ‘lite’ version of your weekly Live schedule with fewer classes for members who are still uneasy about returning. Another option may be dual posting between you and another local studio in order to conserve resources.

Pinned Resources: Members will want to know what safety precautions you are taking in light of COVID-19. At the top of your Facebook group, consider pinning a member Q&A with common questions and resources that address these concerns. 

Highlight Leaders: It’s important not to forget to highlight community leaders. Your staff is the most important examples of leaders. As a community manager, empower all staff to be as vocal as possible on this platform. 

Overview: DO’s and DON’Ts for Posting 

What NOT to Post

  • Discussion questions that are overly general 
  • Highly politicized topics  
  • Any self-disclosure is not related to the mutual bond you share with members
  • SILENCE. Be proactive in your communication cadence, and take leadership! Otherwise, your group may turn chaotic with members asking the same questions twice.

What TO Post 

  • Create Ritual. Don’t forget to highlight victories for your members!  
  • Share special/memorable events 
  • Pin Member Resources
  • Highlight Popular Discussion