Social media networks have become vital channels for Americans’ daily interactions. People are using a variety of social media platforms because they offer valuable information, they let you keep in touch with family and friends, gather information and share what is important to you. « Facebook now has over 2 billion active monthly users. 1 billion of those users participate in Facebook Groups »*. Groups are built around common interests or goals, like cooking, fishing or running, but there are plenty of business-focused groups too.
Connections among customers and people that share a common interest or goal, are more important than ever. The 2017 Edelman Trust Barometer shows that people are far more likely to trust someone like themselves (60 percent) for company information than they are the company CEO (37 percent).
Melissa Spar Pipitone, is a health and fitness coach, mum of 2 daughters and she lives in Brooklyn – Bococa neighborhood (Boerum Hill – Cobble Hill – Carroll Gardens area). In 2011, she decided to launch the free Bococa moms Facebook group in order to share information, with a real desire to connect with people from Bococa neighborhoods. The FB Group is now a place to meet new local friends, sell/buy items, share local events, restaurants, exchange good tips, etc.
Bococa Moms Group is now an engaged, trusted and responsive community with a membership of 4,450 members. A fast growing, loyal, large and supportive community, encouraging in a meaningful way but still feels intimate and valuable, that some would say is the key to online success.
1- Hello Melissa, where do you come from, and how long have you lived in Brooklyn?
I grew up in Long Island and moved to this part of Brooklyn in 2010. My husband grew up here and most of his family is still in the neighborhood.
2- When and why did you decide to start the Bococa moms FB Group ?
I started the group when my first daughter was a baby, 7 years ago. I knew of similar groups for other areas of the city and knew our area would benefit. A place where moms could share resources, swap/buy/sell etc was the idea.
3- Before you started the group, did you had a fairly clear idea of whom you wanted to attract ? Yes, the group is specifically for moms in our area.
4- Growing and keeping a community on Facebook is not easy, what is the secret sauce that goes into creating a « must join » Facebook group like yours ? and the secret ingredient that help it to flourish?
The group was created out of a need I knew myself (as a new Mom) and others would benefit from. The need for a place to share resources and ask advice between moms is not going away anytime soon, therefore it will continue to grow naturally.
5- As your group evolved, did your role changed? administrator, discussion leader, facilitator, connector ?
I added some other parents that wanted to play a role as administrators as the group got larger. I don’t play a day to day role in our group nor do I think it needs anyone to. I use the group today as I did when I first started, asking other moms for advice and sharing my own.
6- Is it time commitment growing a community on Facebook, until it gains momentum ?
This group wasn’t designed to get more people. It was designed as a resource so it’s open to those that it can help. I didn’t put any time or effort into making it a bigger group.
7- Do you earn money out of it ? or could you earn money from it ?
I don’t. I’m sure I could by accepting ads from businesses but I don’t.
8- What advice would you give to someone starting a Facebook Group ? how to develop and build a community, where the members feel welcome and willing to contribute?
Just do it! No need to over think it!
9- And one last question: Can you briefly tell us more about your business « I Get Fit with Melissa Pipitone »? How hard or fulfilling is it to run your own business in the very competitive environment of NYC ?
I’m a health and fitness coach, I started this business about 5 years ago. It was a perfect fit for me as a stay at home with a passion for wellness and sharing it. I help women all over the US, Canada and the UK get healthy/fit and also create their own businesses. It’s been an incredible ride that I am grateful for everyday!
*An Eye-Opening Guide on How to Grow a Facebook Group