The irony is not lost on me that this afternoon I am due to run a FREE masterclass on the pros and cons of creating a FREE group on Facebook, and Facebook are fucking around with my page and not letting people see it.

I guess I only have myself to blame because a few days ago I wondered if Facebook would actually allow me to boost the event to my followers…the answer NO? As it infringed their IP rights apparently.

So let’s go back…..way back.

I am an early adopter, I got myself a Facebook like most people did in the early 2000s…I’d had a MySpace account before that, and was an avid forum user while at University.

I liked Facebook though it allowed me to keep in touch with all manner of people from my many lives…I also liked that this global phenomenon had been the brainchild of a single person…genius.

I started blogging in 2010 and would occasionally post links on my personal page, but Twitter was where my blog following actually grew…and I wouldn’t go on to have a Facebook business page for The Fat Girls Guide to Running until around 2013…I resisted, resisted, resisted…as I already spent far too much time online (if only I knew ha ha)

But then as I turned my blog into a business after being made redundant from my job on the London 2012 Olympics, I succumbed created a fan page and not long after that worked out there was money to be made by creating my own little communities on this platform.

Now let’s get something straight.

I have been creating communities for more than 15 years prior to this point, and had never needed a digital platform to make them work. I set up my first community back in 1986 when I turned my brothers attic room into a library for the local kids (I was 8)…I would go on to work in all manner of communities in my early career as a drama practitioner…in fact before I’d even left university I formed a community dance company called Urban 8.

I bring people together.

It’s what I do.

I’m good at it, because

A. I like people

B. I am a born problem solver

So where I see problems, challenges, issues, room for improvement, I like nothing more than bring the people affected by this together to find solutions and feel less alone in their struggle.

I ran my first online programme using Facebook as the platform around 6 years ago…the programme was called Bish, Bash, Bosh and it was £10 a pop…I made £300 in October, November and DEcember…and by January that programme had developed into the first online running club for plus size women in the world.

Combined with an online portal for resources, and regular guest experts and live coaching calls with me, this programme was has been the lifeblood of my plus size fitness business for more than 5 years and it’s still going strong.

More than 1500 women have been part of that club, and more than 10,000 women have taken part in my other online programmes, including pop up challenges like my upcoming Countdown to Christmas Challenge…and more detailed support programmes like my current Spring Marathon Training programme which is supporting 53 women to run 26.2 miles next year.

I like hosting communities on Facebook because it’s where my women are.

I do not create and host facebook communities though, I create and host communities that just so happen to be hosted on this platform….there is a difference in my view.

So when my business clients start a conversation with,

  • Should I start a FREE facebook group
  • Or should my online coaching programme really need to be on Facebook
  • How much should I spend on Facebook ads

I tell them you are starting from the wrong bloody place.

I am not an expert on Facebook. I am an expert on building communities, online and off. I am an expert on getting people in said communities to engage. I am an expert in creating social movements around a social problem, often headed up by a leader who not only has passion for the topic, but experience to help with a transformational journey for the people in that community.

One thing I know for sure is I am acutely aware that building a business that relies solely on Facebook, or any other platform come to think of it is risky and irresponsible.

For example…25,000 women opted to like my fitness business fan page…and I used to be able to drive a lot of engagement, conversations, impact and yes income through that page.

But over the years that engagement is more difficult to get without throwing money at Facebook adverts, and as my fitness business is based on a high volume, low price point model…that just doesn’t make financial sense…so I do not generally speaking use sponsored posts to drive sales.

See this is the thing about growing an authentic, sustainable and profitable tribe around you and your business…you need to be sure that even if facebook closed down tomorrow your people would follow you somewhere else…maybe not all of them, but enough to ensure you and the great work of your business survive.

Can you hand on your heart say that?

This is about

  • Building your email list
  • Building your personal brand, both online and off
  • Building your product and service offering to include offline stuff
  • Building your network of ambassadors and advocates

In other words,

  • Building a legacy

Facebook has been an incredible tool to help me connect with women around the world, I will be forever grateful for it as a platform. It helped me to grow my business at a time when I was most vulnerable, and it has helped me to grow a tribe of advocates, friends and fans globally….and long may that continue.

Just be smart people.

These free tools are incredible resources for you to grow your business, but they are not your business, don’t rely on them completely, and don’t forget that behind your metrics are a bunch of human beings.

Try not to get caught up in”how does the algorythm work” “What is the best time to post” and all that stuff…instead go back to basics and think about the old skool communities you were part of growing up…what made you join and be part of them.

Be human.

Connect.

Do stuff together.

Be kind.

I anyone is around at 12.30pm and fancies hearing some more about this stuff, join me on my FREE masterclass about FREE Facebook groups…which until very recently I did not have, and is 100% not a requirement for building a successful profitable business.

Here is the link (although some folks are saying it’s not working)

My name is Julie Creffield and I am a serial entrepreneur and master tribe builder. If you are looking for serious growth in your business in 2020 both in terms of income and impact get in touch.

For the past year I have been piloting a 3 month incubator called Tribe Builder which has been helping entrepreneurs to embed community engagement strategies within their businesses….and the results have been incredible.

In January 2020 I will be taking all of the learning from these 3 pilot rounds, and the programme will be extending to a 6-month programme for up to 150 entrepreneurs.

This will be a community lof entrepreneurs like no other.

If you would like to find out more about how you can join this community at a founder member rate then get in touch before the end of next week. The prices will be going up 3 times over the next 3 months, so don’t delay, let’s chat.

Right…now let’s see what traction this blog post gets over on Facebook ha ha

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