Online communities on social media platforms like Facebook are a great way to leverage one’s online presence and/or business goal. As they get filled with members of the same interests, plus the fact that each member’s journey is unique, online communities become an avenue to help and get help. As they say, “One’s experience can be another person’s survival guide.”
Whether it’s sharing information or first-hand experiences, online communities are also a great source and platform to create collaborations, partnerships, or even start business or work relationships. And if there’s one important ingredient that contributes to the success of an online community, it is “social listening.”
More and more people get really great “social listening” because how members “behave” in the online community is a great basis to formulate strategies and action plans to increase the value and engagement of the community. And no one does this better than an online community growth manager.
In the Philippines, there are quite a number of Facebook groups of different sizes but those that only become talked about are those that give real benefit, as members share their own experiences from the community to others they know who they want to witness the same.
One young lady who was able to grow a community from zero to almost twenty gees in a relatively short amount of time is Eunice Punzalan, a 26 year-old talented Filipina who is constantly engaged in the online community she manages, Filipino Freelancers with Australian Clients.
Who is Eunice? What does she love to do and what makes her get up every morning?
Hello, I am Eunice, 26 years old, a curly haired Filipina from a small town in the Philippines called San Mateo, Rizal. I love my morning and evening tea. My alarm clock makes me get up every morning. Kidding! Seriously, having a sense of purpose in life makes me get up every morning. I have been working from home since 2017 as a social media marketer. After a year, I started to grow an online community of aspiring remote workers from zero to more than nineteen thousand active members.
What was your journey like in growing FFAC? When did it start and how was the experience?
It was like planting a seed in an uncultivated soil; I was uncertain if I have what it takes to grow a community. But I did it anyway. I played it by ear through posting consistently and testing various types of content. Filipino Freelancers with Australian Clients was created in December 2017. It was sleeping for a year with nothing. The founder, Rica Jankulovski had a vision of creating a support group for Filipino Remote Workers that directly caters to Australian clients and that’s how FFAC started.
The whole experience was fun. I never thought that I’ll be able to grow from zero to a growing nineteen thousand members. Surely, it demands time and effort but it was all worth it, because I know that what I am doing can impact the lives of my fellow Filipinos.
Tell us about a difficult challenge you had to face when managing or growing a community, and what top 3 takeaways can you share to those who are just starting out?
Moderating the community is the toughest challenge, because it requires effort in dealing with people owning different opinions and worldview. I’ve encountered rude comments and inappropriate posts. Perhaps my tip when moderating is to set guidelines and rules then follow them accordingly but have a room for exceptions especially in cases like that of emergency. For those who are starting out, remember that people will not join your community if it’s empty. It needs to attract people who share the same interest. So, in posting content, I made sure to follow 3 Es.
Educational content. The goal is to educate the aspiring remote workers about the whole freelancing landscape. I wrote content both in Filipino and English. I made sure that it’s all relatable – some were personal experiences, too.
Entertaining content. The community has to be human centered, and part of our Filipino culture is to be fun! I added memes, jokes and shared videos from other pages that are quite aligned with FFAC. One time, I remember posting a photo of a messy haired woman with the caption: “The more I work from home, the more I look homeless.” Such an image is funny and very relatable to a lot of people.
Enlightening content. Asking questions and sharing answers is an integral part of a community. Exchange of insights and comments help enlighten its members. Moreover, it creates an atmosphere of a safe place to raise questions and share their sentiments- that people inside the FFAC community can understand and empathize with whatever situation they’re currently in.
What was the best advice that you received in terms of marketing and growing a community?
Keep it real. Keep it active. A community attracts people who share the same interest. That being said, it would be a challenge to grow something that you don’t like. I love working remotely and the whole landscape of home-based professionals. Our unfiltered and authentic stories make the community beautiful and attractive. It needs to be active too. That’s where the marketing efforts come in. I made sure that I’m utilizing all the FREE tools that Facebook and other platforms have to offer.
March is International Women’s Month. Any plans lined up for the month?
I will be sharing some insights in view of this month’s celebration on my blog.
When it’s all over, how would you like to be remembered?
I want to be remembered as the curly haired Filipina who served her purpose and calling to be a salt and light to the world.