I’ve been an active member of Facebook groups for business for a few years now. I even wrote a post back here about how much I love Facebook groups and how they can really serve a fabulous purpose when you’re a member, particularly for business growth and motivation. Despite my love for Facebook communities as a member, I recently decided to close down my own business group (with more than 250 members) for a few reasons.
It may sound silly or like business suicide when you’re seemingly turning your back on potential clients and an audience within your target niche, but I think there’s more to business than holding space online in one community area. Hear me out…
Why I started a Facebook Group
I recently listened to an interview one of my favourite podcasters (Erika Sheffer) had with online business woman Jessica Rodriguez. The podcast was all about Facebook groups and making the decision to close them down. At first I was so intrigued to hear why anyone would shut down their successful online community, especially if they were an engaged bunch of people, so I listened intently. To be honest, it was like this interview spoke directly to me. I’d been thinking about closing my own Facebook community group for months but had never really thought about how I’d actually do it.
When I first started my community Facebook group I was enthusiastic about developing an online space where I could meet other women, like me, living in rural and remote areas across Australia and building small businesses. I really started it as a way for me to connect with people who I lacked connection with in my day-to-day. Because I live in a unique area where our town is small and solo-professionals like me are scarce, I really wanted to meet people who may have similar struggles as me in their creative fields. The idea was that we could bounce ideas off each other and grow our businesses.
After launching the group in 2015 and sharing it with my followers online, I quickly started working out ways to post regularly to the group to encourage engagement and participation in this new online space. I was so excited to share with the group what I had learned in business already and numbers grew quite quickly.
As time went on, and as my own business grew, I started to lack the time and motivation to push the conversation within the group. One thing you need to know about community groups on Facebook is this: they take a lot of time and effort to grow organically. In my mind I had hoped engagement within the group would happen organically, but as I saw in other groups I was a member of, the moderators of the group really needed to help steer the conversations. They needed to be present regularly to help keep things moving along or to prompt the group to share their ideas and chat about the triumphs and struggles.
Investing time in your community
Because my business life continued to get busier, I no longer had the drive to keep this level of engagement alive within the group. I even ran out of time to moderate spammy posts that kept popping up which completely defeated the purpose and ethos for the group. I had a vision for the online space and unfortunately, without my continual attention and energy, it no longer served me and my business.
At no fault to the community, the space became a burden rather than an engagement and growth tool for me as an entrepreneur. Listening to Erika’s podcast made it clearer to me that I no longer needed to hold onto the group if it was no longer serving me and my business. I don’t want anyone to think the reason I shut down my group was because a lot of other entrepreneurs were closing theirs, that’s not the case at all. It just took me an hour of listening to another business person (with a much larger group audience I might add), speak about how they navigated their way through this process for me to realise it’s exactly what I also needed to do.
There are times in our business lives when we will need to evaluate what’s helping us grow and what’s holding us back. Despite my keen passion for connecting with other like-minded creative business women this community group was not rewarding me the way other avenues of my business were, and that’s okay. I’ve learned that like anything in life we need to learn to pivot at anytime and in business this is a key component to growth and success.
Being a solo-business owner means I have the ability to change my mind at anytime I feel necessary and move with new opportunities and in the process, let others go. By closing this one group down I felt in no way that I was committing business suicide, nor did I feel like it would hinder my businesses’ chances at success. Leaving something behind that was lingering over me has opened me up to have more time to serve other areas of my business more successfully. Of course my community can always still connect with me through my blog and my Facebook and Instagram pages, and there will be no love lost.
One size does not fit all
If you’ve been considering closing your own Facebook community group and fear has been holding you back, I say be afraid, but do it anyway. If that online space is no longer serving you and only causing you stress, or becoming a burden on your time, I suggest you think hard about all of the other areas of your business that could benefit from the time you are spending within your community group and work on those instead. If you’re the total opposite and find your Facebook community group is a thriving avenue for your business then I say cudos to you! I don’t expect everyone to be like me, that would just be weird! We’re all different, as are our businesses, so if you’re rocking your community group, keep doing it! I most certainly will continue to use other groups for connection and motivation and encourage you to do the same.
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