When I started my book group this summer I knew I wanted a simple way to organize our communications without the clumsiness of a bunch of email threads and reply-alls. Someone recommended Facebook Groups and it really has made it very easy to schedule meeting times, post about books and keep track of RSVPs. Yes, you have to be a little bit savvy with Facebook, but if it’s something you already use, I think it’s pretty easy to set up. Here’s some helpful tips if you’d like to get your book group started:
- Set Up The Group Someone will need to be the admin and create the group. Within Facebook, you’ll find Groups as an option in your menu and can click on “Create a Group.” Follow Facebook’s prompts and choose a name. You’ll need to add at least 1 friend but I’d suggest doing just one (use your spouse, best friend or teenager and just let them know you’re testing) so you can get a feel for how to set things up. It keeps the whole group from getting a bunch of alerts while you’re building the page.
- Make it Secret If you want to make sure that your whole Facebook feed doesn’t hear your gushing about your love of Mr. Darcy, set the privacy of the group to secret. It keeps posts to only those invited and makes it more secure, especially if you’re putting times and addresses for meetings on the page. There is also a Closed Group option which keeps the posts safe but the group is searchable and members are visible. I prefer Secret Groups for more privacy.
- Design the Page Facebook will prompt you to upload a cover photo group. I love using Canva to create pretty graphics that make it look like I’m a designer, but really it takes me 10 minutes to choose a stock photo and add one of their pre-designed text elements. Totally not a requirement. You can grab a photo off of your computer and call it a day. On the right, you’ll have the option to put in some description of the group and also add more invitees once you’ve got the page set up the way you want.
- Start Posting Just like your regular Facebook feed, you’ll be able to post things on the wall of the group and only group members will see it. You can even use features like creating a poll if you need to vote on a book or meeting time. It’s easy to post links to your book on Amazon or directions to your house and you can even use it to foster in between discussions if you just can’t wait to talk about the book between meetings. (Set some norms with the group so that there’s no spoilers!)
- Use Event Pages for Meetings If you’re an active Facebook user, then the events tab of your secret group will be super easy. It works just like other events on Facebook. You set up the time and date and can include an image if you like. When you set it up through your secret Facebook group it automatically invites all the members of the group who can RSVP right through Facebook. That makes it super easy for the host to keep track of who is coming and Facebook does a nice job of reminding attendees that they have an event coming up. It’s my favorite feature of Facebook Groups.
I started my book group by asking on Facebook for anyone who was interested so it did make it easy to know that everyone was a regular Facebook user. You may have to do a little bit of training if you’ve got some members that don’t use it much but we’ve found it to be super helpful and much easier than a million emails clogging up our inboxes. It’s even prompted some fun random posts about articles or events that are related to our book. My group is a pretty random cross-section from my life so since many of them don’t know each other, I’ve found it helps everyone to be on the same page since we’re not interacting much all together throughout the month.
Leave a comment or a question below. I’d love to hear any tips you have for organizing your book group and would be happy to answer any questions you have.