For many people, hosting a group on Facebook seems like the most convenient way to start a community. There are pros and cons to that strategy. You can read about the hidden dangers of using a Facebook group as your community, here.
Even if you start your community on Facebook, eventually your community will outgrow the bounds that Facebook offers.
At that point, you’ll have lots of content potentially trapped inside a platform you don’t own. And suddenly, moving that content will feel like pushing boulders up Mt. Everest.
But what if you’re somewhere in between? Many community builders have existing Facebook groups that they’re just not ready to migrate quite yet.
So, how can you start your group on Facebook with an eye towards easily transitioning to your own community hub later, without the overwhelm?
Preparing for an Easy Transition as Your Community Grows
Here’s the most important thing to keep in mind: When it comes to using a Facebook Group to host your community, you need to protect your content, no matter where you are on your community-building journey.
Knowing that your vision is to grow a thriving online community, here are 3 ways to protect the content in your Facebook group:
1 – Protect your articles and written content
Facebook could disappear at any moment and once that’s gone, your content will be gone with it. So if you’re sharing a long-form article, you need to host it on a site that isn’t Facebook.
The best way to do this is to write your post and publish it directly on your blog and share the link with your Facebook community after.
2 – Protect your video content
If you’re sharing a video with your community, be sure to host it on YouTube. If you’d like to host it directly on Facebook, keep a copy of the .mp4 on your desktop or hard drive.
Similarly, if you choose to do a Facebook LIVE video, you can download the live video as an .mp4 file right after your stream. Or better yet, stream a Zoom session live and record it directly on Zoom so you’d have a file.
3 – Protect your members
One feature that Facebook Groups have is the ability to ask new members 3 questions prior to the acceptance in your community. It’s best practice to ask prospects for their email with an enticing lead magnet as one of those questions. Why? Because you do not own your Facebook community.
If Facebook were to shut down tomorrow, your entire community and all its members would disappear with it. Having your existing members on your email list will make it possible for you to communicate with them should Facebook disappear.
I’m not going to deny it – it’s easy to start a Facebook Group as your community. But easy isn’t always the best solution.
So, if you’d like to host your community in a Facebook Group, implement these 3 tips to protect your content and your members from the start. When the time comes for you to move your community to your own, more secure platform, your content will be ready to move along with you.