When you first create your Facebook group but nobody has joined yet, what should you be doing? Does the Facebook algorithm need you to create content in your group so people will start to find your community? Should you focus on content creation or growth?
My student asked me this question a few weeks ago on our coaching call. She has a brand new group and wanted to post content to her group before anyone joined. She was worried about the Facebook algorithm if her group just sat there empty until more people joined. So let’s tackle this question once and for all inside this post!
When your group is brand new, there’s only going to be you in the group. Maybe you’ll have a friend or two join you to help get things rolling, but every group starts the same way: with one member. I understand the pressure to create content. After all, you’ve started your Facebook group, shouldn’t you create content now? Doesn’t the Facebook algorithm need your group to be active?
Short answer: no.
There is no point putting any energy into creating content for your Facebook group if there’s nobody there to see it. All your focus needs to go on getting new people in your community. So instead of spending time inside your own group, you need to network in other groups and share your group when you’re allowed to.
Even if you’ve only got 10 people in your Facebook group, that’s enough to start seeing engagement and build relationships. So when you’re just starting your group, prioritize growth over content.
Here’s the thing. The Facebook algorithm doesn’t care about your group content if nobody is there to interact with it. That’s not how the algorithm works. Now, quick disclaimer. I don’t work for Facebook, so I don’t have any insider knowledge of the Facebook algorithm. What I’m sharing is purely based on my own experiences using the platform and helping my students use the platform. (And Mark Zuckerberg’s interview on Joe Rogan’s podcast.)
Your content needs to be responded to in some way for it to have a place in the Facebook algorithm. Facebook only sees content as valuable when it’s interacted with in some way. So yes, having 30 posts in your Facebook group is better than only having 2, only if there is someone there to see those posts and respond.
On top of the Facebook algorithm needing interaction to value your content, it also needs interaction to value your Facebook group. Let’s walk through a quick example to show you what I mean.
Let’s say you have a Facebook group for meal-prepping moms. Janie is a member of your group. She enjoys being there and reads a lot of your posts. She likes some and occasionally comments. The Facebook algorithm is now assessing who Janie is to see if there are other people like her that would enjoy your group. Facebook now sees that Janie is:
Facebook sees this demographic information from Janie’s profile, and can now use that information to find other users similar to her that may be interested in your group. Facebook can also see the groups Janie is part of, the pages she likes, the content she interacts with, and it builds a picture of who Janie is based on her activity.
The Facebook algorithm uses all of this information to find Sally. Sally is similar to Janie, she’s a Christian around the same age. She also follows a few pages on nutrition, like Janie does. Facebook thinks your group will be a good match so recommends it to Sally.
All of this only happens when users interact with content. The Facebook algorithm uses the demographic information of users as well as the content they interact with to prioritize and recommend content to other people who are similar to them. This is why engagement pods don’t work and why I am completely against them. Engagement pods get the wrong people looking at your stuff so Facebook doesn’t know who to recommend your content to.
The best way to work with the Facebook Algorithm is to get more people in your group. Then you can start creating content and Facebook will learn who is interested in your content. Only then will it start to recommend your group to other users.
There is no point cooking a 10-course meal for 50 people to find out that only 5 people want to come over for dinner. Invite people over first and then prepare your food. Spread the word about your Facebook group first and then you can worry about creating content.
You can learn step-by-step how to take your Facebook group from 0-100 members and beyond in my course, Facebook Group Foundations. The strategies I teach you work with the Facebook algorithm to optimize your group for growth and engagement. I’d love to see you inside!
P.S. Listen to the full podcast episode for all the extra tips!
This checklist will guide you step-by-step to create and grow your Facebook group!
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Facebook Group Strategy for Christian Entrepreneurs