Community building through Facebook is no new thing, with Facebook pages and groups for just about every topic that you can imagine. From cooking, local pages for where you live and sporting groups, Facebook communities are being used to connect and foster connections with those who share common interests. Through the powerful reach capable through Facebook, some of these groups can reach into the hundreds of thousands and Blokes Advice is arguably one of the most successful examples of this in Australia.
What is Blokes Advice?
Blokes Advice (known as B.A on Facebook), is a men’s only Facebook group which covers all topics imaginable, from sports, cars, food and memes. Created on 1st of October 2016, Blokes Advice now in March 2020 has over 735,000 members. Gaining notoriety for being a ‘blokes club’ with what could be considered sexist content at times, B.A has experienced blow-back through petitions to shut it down. Facebook did remove the group for a brief time, only to return and grow to new heights. But how did they do it? By building a true community.
How has Blokes Advice fostered community?
Blokes Advice has arguably one of the strongest, tight knit communities in the web within Australia. This community has been built through multiple ways which help to reinforce and grow both the group in size and strength. Here’s some of the core perspectives:
Blokes Advice has a consistent brand and identity which helps connects its members. The logo is synonymous with the group, which has then lead onto various kinds of merchandise and symbols being used to help identify yourself as a member. T shirts, jumpers, jackets, bumper sticks, bottle openers and more – these branded items help connect what would be strangers as members of a community.
Community spirit is strong within Blokes Advice, with constant posts put up advocating for charity fundraising, supporting members in difficult circumstances or other worthwhile causes. The focus on uplifting members and the greater community has become a potent factor which has made Blokes Advice what it has become today.
What has been traditionally a taboo subject, men’s mental health is an open and honest part of Blokes Advice – with regular check ins, R U OK posts and general posts from members asking for supporting, advice or just someone to hear their story. Taking the ‘black dog’ of men’s mental health out of the shadows and into the open has helped vulnerable men find community and a safe place wherein they can work through the challenges in their life without criticism or fear of rejection.
What are the takeaways for those looking to build a community?
Blokes Advice provides the perfect example of how to build an exceptional community. Whether you’re an individual or business looking to build an online community, the key essential things you should do are:
- Build a community based on a refined group. Whether this is an interest specific, location orientated or anything in between, the more you refine your group, the more it helps with driving a community image which helps the members feel connected with common interests
- Develop a brand for the community. From the cover photos, display pictures and even giving your group members a name, develop a brand which your members can rally under and promote. This helps increase your communities recognition and helps members find each other offline
- Focus on giving, not taking. Communities thrive when they create value and die when they’re built to extract value. Encourage activities where it helps your members – whether this is through charity, advice threads, mentorship or anything in between. If you’re a local based group this could be as simple as helping to promote local businesses in the group, or if hobby based getting more experienced members of the community to help newer members
- Have fun with it. No one’s looking for harsh moderators which go on power trips. Blokes Advice toes this line well allowing what most groups would ban which adds to its charm. The fact that a 750,000 member strong Facebook group can manage to hold itself together cohesively is a feat that most people could not achieve. There’s still important things you can do to run the back-end of your Facebook community, just don’t over do it!
Interested in checking out Blokes Advice? You can find the group here.