Hello gorgeous entrepreneur, it’ Tash Corbin here, and welcome to another episode of the Heart-centred Business Podcast.
This is episode 165, and today we are going to talk about how I got my beautiful community (the Heart-centred soul-driven entrepreneurs Facebook group) to 30,000 members. I’m going to share all the juicy secrets with you (they’re not really secrets) so let’s get started!
So the first thing I want to clear up is that I have never spent money on Facebook ads to promote my Facebook group. There’s never been a time where I’ve boosted my group or paid extra for it to get into suggested groups, or used direct ads. All of the strategies that I’m going to be sharing with you are all completely organic, and I think the way that I have created and nurtured this community has a lot to do with its phenomenal growth.
For those of you who aren’t familiar with my group, you can find it at tashcorbin.com/group. It is a community for women entrepreneurs and we have recently hit 30,000 members, which is so amazing and it makes my heart sing to see how connected and beautiful that community is.
Now, we are so in love with each other that we even have a conference every year now, and the second Heart Centred Business Conference is happening in March 2019, you can find out about that in the show notes. We’re getting together in Brisbane, Australia for a 2-day conference, with hopefully around 150-200 people.
So as you can see, this community is so different compared to other communities I see online. It’s hyper-engaged, people post almost every day. We have over 30,000 members and on average 1,000 members post something at least once per week in the community. When people post things, other people comment, it’s not a spam-fest or locked down so that you can’t talk about your business. It has this beautiful balance between being somewhere you can promote your services/talk about your business, and you can get support or have a conversation and not feel like you’re constantly being bombarded with sales pitches. It is such a beautiful community, brilliant BFF relationships have come out of there, masterminds have formed out of there, joint ventures have formed out of there, people have even launched their business into just that community and had incredibly $30,000 launches. It has just been such an amazing community, and I talk so much about how amazing it is, and I get all lit up and ramble a bit, but it’s just because it’s so beautiful!
I want to share with you the 3 key things that I believe have been responsible for this community having the environment that it does and particularly focused on reach. There are other things about the group that make it amazing, for example, there’s a model of shared leadership, it’s not just about me, but I think these are the 3 reasons why it has grown so rapidly. It started in August 2014 and we’ve hit 30,000 members in just over 4 years.
First and foremost, I did not start this group for it to be The Tash Corbin Show. It’s not about me or my business. I started the community because back in 2014, I was in a couple of other Facebook communities for entrepreneurs/people in business and I saw that when groups got to about 1,000 members, they would go 1 of 2 ways.
Either the admins would just give up and trying to stop people spamming it and it would just become this giant marketplace, the only posts in there would be people promoting themselves and all the conversation disappeared.
Or the admins would be so afraid of that that they would lock it down and you couldn’t talk about your business, you couldn’t share anything that you were doing. You couldn’t promote anything into the group, not even free stuff, or sometimes you might be able to promote once a month. The reason for being there – to share/promote/learn/practicing your messaging – was gone. This made the conversations stilted because everyone was pretending not to promote their business, but also trying to sneakily promote all the time. It just came about the admin promoting their business, and that’s what a Facebook page is for, right? You don’t join a Facebook group to learn from the person running the group. If I wanted to keep track of your blogs, freebies, and offers, I would follow your Facebook page.
Even my clients were saying that the groups just aren’t the same as they used to be. There was no group where we could have free conversations, and get that the peer support from each other, so I decided to start my own.
And so, the Heart-centred soul-driven entrepreneurs group was born.
At that point in time, I did not have it as part of my business model, I wasn’t creating the group to have somewhere I could promote 7-days a week, that’s what my page is for. I created the group as a peer support network, I wanted to be able to support my clients and peers, to be able to ask questions about Mailchimp etc. Canva had just come out and we were all sharing what we could do on Canva.
It was made for having these very specific conversations. We wanted a place where women could come and talk about business, practice our messaging, promote our webinars etcetera.
I think the shared leadership model meant that it was a very engaged community from the start. We actually got the first 400 members in a few weeks, it didn’t take long for the word to spread about how good the group was.
So that was part 1. The next thing that I thought helped build the group is that it has a great structure.
From the very beginning, we had theme days using hashtags which gave a prompt to start a conversation. Because we’re business people, the natural thing that we want to talk about is our business, be it our offer/promo or our messaging. In groups without a hashtag people wouldn’t post on the days that weren’t themed, because they didn’t know what to post, and if they did post is just a thinly veiled promo.
“Oh, I’m setting new goals! Can’t wait to see 200 women on my webinar about losing weight the easy way~.”
You just want us to know that you have a webinar about losing weight the easy way, don’t you?
Because of this, I started playing with hashtags and different themed days, and selfie-Saturday (which has been there from the start) is a very interesting day. For a lot of women, they had never taken a selfie before and the group gave them a safe space to get over there fear of it. It also actually helped us recognize each other and get to know each other. I even learned their dog’s names, their kid’s names, and where they were from just from this day! We got to know each other on a personal level just because a hashtag started the conversation.
I feel like when you leave it up to people to decide what to talk about in a group for entrepreneurs, we’ll just talk about our business. We used to have a self-care Sunday where people would talk about what they were doing outside of their business, it was so good to start stimulating these conversations.
For me, the structure created a balance between promo/business and us supporting each other, getting to know each other, and having fun. It created kind of an office atmosphere that you don’t get when you’re working on your own as a solo entrepreneur.
For the third reason behind the groups, fast growth is that we had this approach of lovingly welcoming people into the group. I knew that a lot of people would join the group and behave the way they did in other groups, which was either spammy promo or thinly veiled promo. I knew that this would be a problem because it was being taught by so many big marketers. Jump into a group, create a yes ladder, get 100s of comments, spam their inbox with an opt-in link and grow your group. There were network marketing organizations teaching strategies that involved jumping into groups and spamming them via private messages or posts.
You’d always have a relationship coach come in on question day and ask “What’s the worst thing about being single?” Then they would get all these women commenting about how the felt, and private message them with an offer. It was so spammy and obvious.
For me, I wanted to make sure that the community felt safe. People needed to feel like they weren’t being constantly bombarded by marketing and to make this possible we needed some very clear guidelines. This also meant that I couldn’t monitor and administrate that on my own, so I needed to create a sense that we were all protecting this community. In the first 2 years or so of the community being formed, I would do a video, post, or Facebook live every month talking about how wonderful it was that everyone was taking shared responsibility for keeping this space the space we wanted it to be.
The guidelines mean that we have this beautiful safe space, but you can promote your business within the guidelines, and they’re very generous.
I don’t have a “promo thread” for each week with like 40,000 comments and no one actually reading it. I created this give-and-take mentality. Yes, I’ve made it very easy for you to promote things into this community (both free and paid), and we encourage and support you to practice your messaging, but in order to have that we need to make sure that the group is consistently full of other conversations as well. We need to make sure that we’re all lovingly educating each other about the guidelines and how to behave in the group.
Another thing I had discovered after about year is that the people who have been in the group since the beginning think they’re special and start to do sneaky promos, and even turning it into a hashtag!
Or they would see other people breaking the rules and be quite aggressive towards them: “You’re such a spammer! #spammy” was something I would see on posts. This needed to be shut down as well because I didn’t want people coming into the community and feeling like they were getting in trouble all the time. I wanted them to feel loved and welcome. I had to be consistent with starting a conversation to remind people how to welcome people into the community.
Even now I’ll make a post every couple of months to remind people. If new people join our group and aren’t following the guidelines, the way to approach them is through love and education. The guidelines are nice and clear, we have some cool theme days which are explained well, and we need to be lovingly educating people on how to get the most out of the group.
I find that these 3 things all add up to make the community hyper-engaged:
1. The fact that it isn’t the Tash Corbin Show, everyone gets value out of the group.
2. The structure creating the balance between promo and conversation.
3. The loving guidelines and education that group members provide.
It’s not just everyone posting, people comment on people’s posts. Even now people will get shocked when they promote something in the group and get 150 comments within an hour.
They’ll be like “I can’t believe how supportive this group is!”
Because they’re used to posting in other groups and getting crickets because those groups aren’t engaged in the same way. All of those pieces add up to make this amazing engagement, and this tells the Facebook algorithm that it’s a really great group.
What Facebook wants is for people to stay on Facebook. People tell me time and time again about how they get sucked into conversations in the group and it will sometimes take over their day, but Facebook wants that. Facebook wants people to be engaging with each other and enjoying their time, and that’s what this group creates for women entrepreneurs.
This means that the Heart-centred group is suggested groups for people way more often than other Facebook communities, particularly for women in business. We actually get about 100 membership requests every single day now.
As I said before, none of this is through promotions or ads. I do talk about my Facebook community in my blogs and podcasts, but I can’t keep up the growth of my business with the growth of the group. My Facebook page has about 5,000 people following it versus the 30,000 in the group.
I use this as part of my business strategy by promoting freebies into the group, so that the right people in the group find my business page because 80% or more of the group aren’t my ideal client. I’m not just filling the group with my ideal clients, I’m filling it with women entrepreneurs who want to have a conversation about business. Some of them are my ideal client, some of them are not, and that’s totally okay. I didn’t create the group to be this direct line to return on investment.
This organic growth has been beautiful to watch. From the start, I did very little promoting of my group into other groups. I think it’s a bit rude, to be honest, it’s like going to someone else’s party and saying “Hey I’ve got a party too, want to come to mine?”
So I don’t go and promote my group into other groups. I promote it via my Facebook page, but most of the growth has been organic, and I think it comes down to those 3 key factors creating amazing engagement within the group.
I thought I’d give you a couple of little bonus tips as well because there are some things when it comes to creating a Facebook group which are sort of unspoken conversations, but they’re part of how I do business. I think they might be partially responsible for creating that amazing community feel.
Number 1, I follow my own rules. If you say there’s only 1 day a week where you can promote, only promote on that day. Don’t be one of those admins who promote 3 times a weeks and makes the group all about themselves. It’s very rare that I’ll promote my business outside of my theme days. I’ll sometimes to a little Facebook live if there’s a webinar happening, or I will do an extra promo here or there, but I’m not in the group constantly promoting myself. I’m in the group all the time to answer peoples questions or comment on their posts to give them feedback.
I’m a female entrepreneur, it’s a support network for me as much as any other member of the group.
So remember, follow your own rules. If you’re breaking them constantly, it might be creating a bit of disconnect between you and the members. Maybe it’s time to take a step back and look at this as a long-term strategy.
The other thing I wanted to share is that there are some really cool things that you can do to boost engagement. Things like playing games and interviewing people. I used to do a ladyposse spotlight where I would do a 5-minute interview so that people could get to know each other in the community.
I would promote other peoples businesses to get them more engagement. We did things like having a #28kparty when we hit 28,000 members and gave everyone an extra day to promote at the weekend, but it had to be $28, $280 or $2800.
We’ve done swapsy parties where you can give/take something from someone else. All of those things create engagement, excitement, and energy within the group. This means that they will all improve the algorithm for the community as well.
Hopefully, this has been helpful for you if you’re interested in creating/growing a community. If you haven’t joined the Heart-centred soul-driven entrepreneurs community yet, I would really encourage you to do so.
It is ladies only, but we do subscribe to the open interpretation of “womyn” so anyone who identifies as female is welcome to join in. It’s tashcorbin.com/group and when you join you’re encouraged to #intro and do a little intro, let us know about your business.
We love getting to know people, bonus points if you share your face because people recognize faces, zebras recognize stripes. Get your face into the group as much as possible, and see just how committed, supportive, and engaged this community is. It really is absolutely beautiful.
I’ve often said even if my business got outlawed tomorrow, I’d still run my group. Even if I won $400,000,000 I’d still run my group, because it really does light up my day and it’s a part of my business model now.
If you have any other insights and “aha’s” from this episode, make sure that you use #podcastaha, when talking about it in the Heart-Centred Soul Driven Entrepreneurs group, and I always love seeing any questions or aha that come up from each episode.
Until next time, I cannot WAIT to see you SHINE.
Hi, I’m Tash. And I am so excited that you’re here. As you may have noticed I’m a total business and marketing strategy geek and I absolutely love helping women to create online businesses and courses that are perfectly aligned with THEIR zone of genius, AND that have a super-specific and strong value proposition for their ideal clients. Connect with on social media (links below) and come join the #ladyposse on Facebook.