Local Map
“How we built up a popular hyperlocal Facebook group” is a question we often get asked when people talk about our Urmston Facebook Group

This blog isn’t just a lesson for Urmston or indeed Greater Manchester – it’s a lesson for anyone looking to grow their own hyperlocal Facebook group

So why Urmston?

Members of my family were from Urmston and I’d spend huge amounts of my college life in Urmston with friends

I had connections with the town

Back in 2013 we were running an Urmston Networking Group at local venue The Grill On 27 and wanted to extend the reach of the networking meeting and keep in touch between monthly meetings

We’ve always been a firm believer that Networking is about more than just the meetings themselves

So the Urmston Facebook Group was formed and we now have 3000+ members talking about what goes on in the town

Here’s how we did it

1. Clear Purpose
Our purpose was clear of what we were and what we weren’t from the outset

We weren’t a buy and sell group

We weren’t a ranty political group

We were small businesses keen on supporting other small businesses in the area – a linked up Trafford is a good place

We wanted a place where businesses could talk, seek advice and help each

We wanted people to ask for local recommendations

But we also wanted as many residents as possible to join in and chat about the positives of what is going on locally

TIP: Keep your purpose clear and know what your group is and what your group isn’t

2. Start With A Happy Place
Positivity was at the heart of what we wanted from the group

We’d seen how Twitter could descend into trolling and negativity and we didn’t want something started with the best of intentions being ruined by the minority

Facebook Group tools now allow you to welcome new members and to ask a positive question from the start so that it sets the tone

TIP: Don’t be afraid to remove people from a group who threaten to imbalance the positive nature of a group

3. Limit Business Adverts
Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg recently announced they wanted the Facebook news feed “should encourage meaningful interactions between people”

When we started the group that is what we wanted – but often with small businesses they don’t know online etiquette and are keen to spray adverts and go

To avoid our group turning in to nothing more than spam we have one very strict rule

“No more than 1 business advert per month”

We pinned a post to the top of the group and pre-qualified members joining the group with 3 questions

“Are you from Urmston? What would you like to see in the Urmston Facebook Group? Do you promise not to spam the group?”

On top of that we added an extra layer of security with admin approved posts for those that felt they could bypass the anti-spam rules

TIP: Manage the community – don’t allow spam to ruin a group

 

4. Ask Questions & Post Interesting Articles
Asking questions gets answers

The 1st Part of community management of a facebook is asking the right questions to start a discussion

The 2nd part of community management is curating the right article and local information so that people get value from a group

If you can excel on both of those the rest falls in to place

TIP: Make a list of the things your audience are interested in and focus on questions on those subjects

 

5. Community is The Collective
Everything is better when you invite your friends

This group is about the power of the collective

If members invite their friends – it becomes a bigger community

If members tag their friends in posts – it’s become a community that engages

If members post their own questions, articles and interests – it becomes a real community

TIP: Don’t be afraid to ask the community to help you grow the group

 

AND THIS IS WHAT PEOPLE SAY ABOUT THE GROUP…

When we asked “can you post one word below which you think sums up the group?”

This is what people answered

Informative
Helpful
Entertaining
Supportive

That is what you need to tick all the boxes – tick all those 4 and you’re winning

If you live or work in Urmston – join the group here https://www.facebook.com/groups/493651750742675/


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Alex

Alex McCann is owner of Altrincham HQ – a social media management and training company based in Altrincham, Cheshire that has worked with 100s of local business developing their social media strategy. Alex has 265+ LinkedIn testimonials and is ranked number 1 for Social Media Marketing in the UK via independent customer reviews on Freeindex.

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