3 weeks ago today, I launched my first Facebook Group. “Support with WordPress” is already 70 members strong and I’m really chuffed with the community of lovely people that has already started to form there.
Why do this?
I’ve been using WordPress for over 10 years, most of my income since I set up my company 7 years ago has come from using WordPress, whether I have been making WordPress websites for clients, selling WordPress Themes and now the new venture: creating online courses for WordPress.
Whilst I’ve always actively tried to help people with WordPress issues, via this blog, theme support, advising clients and colleagues, helping random people on Twitter and Facebook Groups and more recently my WordPress Wednesdays Facebook Lives, the idea of starting up my own Facebook Group never even occurred to me.
So why did I?
Because I couldn’t find anything that felt “right”. I wanted to see if we could do things a bit differently and hopefully better. We did a fair amount of research and found lots and lots of resources which are great but they don’t provide personal support. We also found a few forums, which you had to pay for to ask questions. There are the WordPress Codex and Forums but this is where the developers live who have a greater understanding of all things WordPress. The average WordPress newbie, entrepreneur or small business owner is often lost in a sea of technical jargon.
Then there are the Facebook groups.
I joined a lot of Facebook groups with the intention of becoming part of the community, helping where I could and sharing my knowledge as well as learning some stuff along the way.
Unfortunately, none I found seemed to:
a) Cater for the true beginner
b) Allow basic or obvious questions about WordPress
c) Be structured in terms of regular content and engagement
All the Questions
Running a theme business for over 5 years gave me a lot of insight into what customers and people wanted and needed from WordPress. Yes there are lots of “stupid” questions and yes you have to repeat the same answers over and over again. But I’m fine with that, its expected.
When beginners and newbies step into a lot of Facebook Groups with their initial questions on WordPress they often either get ignored or told to “Google it”. This isn’t particularly helpful for the beginner who doesn’t know what to search for in Google because they can’t understand what they need themselves. The idea is that our “Support with WordPress” Facebook Group is a friendly, welcoming place to ask questions. We won’t tell you to “Google it” and we will provide as much help as we can. We will look after you.
Seasoned WordPressers who are looking for advice on a plugin issue, theme problems or recommendations, in other groups are often answered in technical terms or just told to “install that plugin cause it works”. We want to make sure that people understand an issue, why it occurred, how to avoid it next time and give them some recommendations to try out.
Structure & Community
Most of the Facebook Groups I’m in answer questions all day long – which is fantastic, but that is all they do.
We wanted to add a little more structure than that, help educate, share and gain a better understanding of what people need.
In order to help people with WordPress we have been sharing our tips, taking polls and sharing useful resources we think will benefit the community. Regular polls have been, and continue to be, a great engagement mechanism. People like to know we care and we like to see what levels people are at so we are able to provide resources and information for those levels.
We want to build a strong community of people that look after each other and stop the “Google it” mentality that seems to be prevalent in many Facebook Groups.
At the moment it is a closed group so we can monitor it and keep out any potential spammers and we’re getting a steady stream of people joining daily.
What’s happened so far?
Well we started with 22 people who were some friends we know who use WordPress and some business acquaintances who also use it. We’ve been adding 1 to 4 people a day since we started, 4 people is the maximum join requests we’ve received in a day so far.
We’re promoting the group organically via our Chris and Jude mailing list and some email sequences we have attached to some free downloads we have on the Chris and Jude website too.
Aside from that the group has been growing by word of mouth.
We have a steady stream of people posting for WordPress help and we have made some great connections and helped quite a few people out already. It’s a good feeling to know you’ve brightened someone’s day by sharing a little bit of knowledge.
We’ve also learned a few things too by helping people out on some random and bizarre issues.
We’re happy with how things have kicked off. To be honest, we didn’t think we’d have more than 30 members in 4 weeks let alone 70 in 3.
We’re committed to continue growing the community and keeping it a safe and friendly place where people with any level of WordPress knowledge can feel relaxed about posting any kind of question they have about WordPress.
If this group sounds like a little bit of you or you know someone who would benefit from it, please…