A Facebook group is now a staple for youth-oriented organizations and chapters, but building membership isn’t like Field of Dreams: just because you built it doesn’t mean that they will come. You need a strategy in order to build membership in your Facebook group, so here are some tips to help you reach your goals.

I am going to use the Young Democrats of Wyoming as an example for this post because they just started a Facebook group and have set a membership goal.

Once you have created the group you are asked to invite your friends to become members. This is the first and easiest step. In your invitation message you should ask them to invite their own friends and share the group on their profile. This will build your initial membership, though it will only be people that are somehow connected to you, and are therefore limited in the amount of people you can reach.

My method for group building then involves researching your Facebook demographic. In this case it is young people that lean Democrat in the state of Wyoming. The way you do this is by searching for groups about your state. So I do a Facebook group search for Wyoming and go through the results. Look for the groups that have a topic, interest, etc. that corresponds with yours. There is a group called I may be from Wyoming, but I’m NOT a Conservative. There are two steps you can take here. One is to join the group and post your own group somewhere. The better way is to see who the administrator is and send them a Facebook message explaining who you are, what your group is (with link) and ask them if they would send a message out to their group about yours. This promotes your group to people that would likely be interested but are not yet connected to you. Groups you should look for are those for Democratic candidates in your area, those protesting Republicans (like the one in the example), allied organization groups, and groups in support of issues that your organization supports.

You should also promote your Facebook group with your other forms of online communication. Have a link to your group on your organization’s webpage, put it in your email signature, have someone blog about it, etc. People are not going to join a group if they don’t know it exists.

Once your membership has built up from these techniques, it is a good idea to periodically message your group members asking them to invite their friends (and stating a new membership goal). Since many new members will have come from outside your personal network, your reach will greatly expand.

So that is my strategy for building membership in a Facebook group. Leave a comment with your thoughts or strategies that have worked for you.