Community: How to get Active Members in Private Facebook Groups with Janis Thomas (episode 160)

by April Buencamino-dy

Janis Thomas is the eCommerce and Marketing Director at Look Fabulous Forever, the award-winning makeup brand for older women. She discusses the importance of setting clear business goals and customer benefits, how to guide group discussions, and using competitions for engagement.

Janis Thomas Look Fabulous Forever Community

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About Janis

Janis says you need emotional connection to build genuine loyalty from your customers, and community is a way of creating an emotional connection with your audience.

And while she has been a long-time advocate for community, Janis’ first real experience of running a community from a brand perspective was when she joined Look Fabulous Forever.

Establishing a Community

Janis shares that Look Fabulous Forever’s decision to create a private Facebook group was driven by the COVID-19 pandemic, aiming to address customer isolation and provide emotional support.

Their founder, Tricia Cusden, wanted to be there for their customers during that difficult time and make sure that if they needed interaction and engagement, they had a place to go where they could get it. This was the primary reason why the community was set up.

Evolution and Engagement in the Community

Diving into the development of the Look Fabulous Forever community over time, Janis says that there have been changes since the time they first launched the Facebook group.

While it remains a private Facebook group, in-person meetups and personal connections have formed organically and are encouraged by Tricia and the rest of the Look Fabulous Forever team.

Sustaining Community Interaction and Figurehead Influence

There are ongoing strategies to maintain interaction within the community. They run content-driven competitions and post updates from Tricia as the figurehead in the community. Active members also contribute to the engagement. 

From a resource perspective, Janis says running the group isn’t very time-consuming. And as long as it continues to be relevant to their customers, they will continue to run the group and sustain its engagement.

Tracking the Impact of Community Marketing

Since June 2020, they’ve done quarterly surveys, and the community is part of this.

Interesting numbers have come up, most notably that 80% of those in the group have recommended the brand to somebody else. For Janis, this piece around advocacy is solidly growing the business.

Insider Tips

If we’ve inspired someone to take their first step with community – what do they need to know to give themselves the best chance of success?

It’s important to go back to your “why”. Ask yourself why you’re doing it and why your customer will do it.

If you have clear answers to both questions, you can go ahead and begin building your community.

Once you’ve started of course you’ve got to ‘keep optimising’! So what’s your favourite way to improve community performance?

You must keep managing it and stay involved. It’s crucial to continuously offer engaging activities for community involvement.

Janis shares that periodically, without being overly promotional, they ensure that the community consistently remains connected to the brand. This means working at it on a regular basis.

If someone listening wants to learn more about community is there one cheap/free resource you’d recommend?

Janis recommends putting on your human hat instead of your marketing hat and thinking about the communities you’re a part of.

Consider how the communities that you are a part of make you feel and how you might be able to do the same for your own community.

Crystal ball time – what’s coming up in the next 6-12 months that we should be getting ready for in community?

Janis says it can be discouraging if your customers have to download yet another app on their phone just to be a part of your community, no matter how intriguing it may seem.

So, the focus should be on understanding where your customers are currently and how you can make the most of that existing platform, rather than solely relying on new, fancy, and flashy technologies.

Interview Links

Janis on Social media:

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