Ask yourself: What's your group about? What's your mission? What are your goals? What kind of people do you want in the group?
Janet, Group Admin
As your community experiences growth, it can be challenging to maintain a sense of community culture among members. Sometimes with an influx of new people joining your group, the culture can start to change – and that’s ok!
With strong values, the right members and advocates, the core culture of your group will keep your community on track.
5 ways to maintain your group’s culture
Establishing the core values of your community can set the tone of your community’s culture from day one. When thinking about the values of your community, you can ask yourself why you started the community, how you want your members to feel and represent your group to the world.
Think about your personal values too! Your community’s guiding principles can emerge from these values and continue to shape the group’s actions, unite your members, nurture growth and drive engagement. What words describe your community’s value? Friendship, connection, fun, information, support? What represents you?
Once you have those values, revisit them everyday. Look at them during your commute. You could even have them as the background of your phone! These values will help shape your group leadership style and that of your team.
Writing a strong mission statement is vital to your community. This is an extension of the core values you’ve chosen that states the overall purpose of the group. For more on writing a great mission statement check out this article on Branding your Community.
Take every opportunity to share and repeat your mission. Introduce new members to your culture by featuring your mission statement at the very beginning in member questions and welcome posts. Reiterate it in event descriptions. Only approve posts in your group that align with your mission so that you can keep your culture focused on meaningful interactions that support your mission. This will help keep members coming back to the group and attending events. Even if your vision for your group evolves over time, your mission will be the foundation.
Having the right people in your group is the biggest factor in creating a strong community culture. For more on how to screen members and enforce rules read more here.
Having clear rules in your group and setting expectations for behavior on and offline is a must if you want to create an environment where members feel safe to share and express themselves.
Use your rules to empower members to correct each others’ behavior and to remove bad actors quickly. A great way to keep your community safe and healthy is to focus on recognizing and rewarding good behavior and celebrating the majority of the community who respect the rules. You can also work with your members to create those rules and culture!
Stories are the invisible threads that connect every member of the community. Create opportunities for members to share their stories. This strengthens and spreads the culture of the community. Start with your own story. What’s your personal story? Why did you start this community? Being vulnerable and honest about your own challenges and passions is a great way to spark passion in others!
Think about asking your members WHY they’re a part of the community and why they identify with it. You can even ask members this question when they join your group and use the answers to create highly shareable branded posts which represent your group’s values and mission. Ask your members to share openly and it will breed a positive culture of connection.
Culture is maintained over the long term by building trust and open communication among your group. Give your members opportunities to give you feedback and participate in group decisions. You can create feedback polls publicly in the group and/or private member surveys to check in on the health of your group. You can ask members what they’d like to see more of, what they think could be improved and even how they want to get further involved!
Your group’s culture will thrive when you empower members to help one another, to co-create the community experience and to feel like they truly belong. Involve your members in building this culture. They are there for a reason – you and your team chose them! Empower members to build the group with you. This is the best way to create a sense of belonging and connection.
Having strong group rules that reflect your values helps members to understand the expectations and culture of the group.
Tools for maintaining your group culture
Post approvals will allow you and your moderation team to screen incoming posts. This is a great way to proactively manage the content shared in your group.
How to set up post approvals:
- Go to your group and open Admin Tools
- Under “Discussion” click “approve all member posts”
- Turn this “on” for admins to approve all posts
How to set up individual member approval:
- Go to your group and open admin tools
- Under “Members” click on the name of the member
- Click “Preapprove Posts” and “Give Approval”
Having strong group rules helps members understand the expectations and culture of the group.
How to set up rules:
- Go to your group and open Admin Tools
- Click on the “rules” button
- Now you can add up to 10 rules
Polls give you the opportunity to gather feedback publicly in your group.
To set up a Poll:
- Go to your group and open the composer tool
- Click on the “Poll” option and type your question, for example “What should we do for our next event?”
- Add options, and using the “settings” button choose if you’d like to allow members to select multiple options, or add their own.
Not everyone thinks of themselves as a “leader” of a group but with strong values and vision you shape what your group members experience.