Born and brought up in Osmanabad, Abhilasha and Anuja, have been a part of various Facebook groups.
Back in the day, they faced one common issue there, i.e. not being able to buy anything, no matter how much they liked a product.
Simply because those were city-specific Facebook groups (either for females of Pune or Mumbai and others such) and the sellers delivered only in that specific city.
That’s when it struck them – the idea to bring all women of Maharashtra under one roof and to eliminate the barrier of city-specific market access for small sellers. Alongside, helping solopreneurs of Osmanabad break free from the traditional methods of doing business.
Hence, they created their Facebook group, MLA (Maharashtrian Ladies Association) on August 07, 2018.😊
Today, this group not only connects over 71,000 women of Maharashtra but has also helped over 3500 small business owners sell their products all over the state.
“As proud Maharashtrians, our goal is to empower women through knowledge sharing and entrepreneurship and reach new heights, covering all possible geographical altitudes of Maharashtra state,” says Abhilasha.
This sister duo has been felicitated with these awards for their hard work and dedication:
- Best achiever award by VNWC
- 51 Most Influential Women Award by Bhrujbhoomi Foundation
- Most Influential Award by Rahi Award
- Social work and women empowerment award by Pehchan Stree Shakti ki
- Best leadership award by BiSAma.
They have also managed to collaborate with brands like SK’s Fortune Cakes, CueMath, Mom&Co, Parampara, Doorbell, Rotary Club, Aagam Jewels, Eco-Serve, Color Affairs, to name a few.
And they are earning pretty well through their community. A part of that money is spent in social work for helping the needy.
Apart from MLA, Abhilasha (who works as a Radiotherapy Technologist in Inlaks and Budhrani Hospital, Pune) and Anuja (who works as a lecturer in Tathawade, Pune) manage 3 other communities:
- MBA, i.e. Maharashtra Baker’s Association where home bakers can showcase their skills and creativity
- MR, i.e. Maharashtra Ranragini which is a platform for small business owners (an extension of MLA)
- Just Organic which aims to promote healthy lifestyle by sharing information on organic food sources, its use and benefits, and organic farm and farm produce
As you read ahead, you’ll know:
- About how MLA supports solopreneurs and provides value to members
- About how the Maharashtrian sisters were able to grow MLA massively
- About the simple yet effective ways Abhilasha and Anuja keep their members engaged
- About how they stay on top of SPAM
But first, I’ll tell you about the core values of MLA.
Helping And Supporting each other are the essence of MLA
With MLA’s motto being ‘Information is power’, Abhilasha and Anuja strive to share information on all possible topics (including business, health, food, safety) with the members.
Sometime back, the sisters organised a webinar on the importance of maintaining accounts for business.
Besides, whether members want to vent their feelings or are looking for some specific product, they just need to post their concern with the hashtag MLA help.
No sooner they do that, the other members jump right in to help them.
In the post below, a member posted her requirement for 1000 masks. And so many sellers responded with images of the same.
“Under MLA help, non-registered sellers have been able to showcase and sell their products. While registered sellers can post at any time in the group,” tells Abhilasha.
Moreover, as part of their MLA Bestie Program (where they discuss mental health), the sisters had appointed four Psychologists who created awareness about mental health in their group every Wednesday.
A lot of members approached them personally either for themselves or for their family. And it helped them a lot, especially at the time of lockdown when discussing mental health was the need of the hour.
Apart from that, the sisters organise various online and offline competitions in which members actively participate.
They also like to be a part of festival celebrations that happen in the community. “We are taking good care of Maharashtra’s culture,” says Abhilasha.
Members like to share how they are celebrating the festival at their homes.
In the post below, a member shared glimpses of 9 different days of Navratri puja at her place.
Simultaneously, Abhilasha and Anuja felicitated 9 different women for their contribution to the society (that went unrecognised) amid the Covid crisis.
These and more such initiatives make up for an amazingly high engagement rate, i.e. 615% and activity rate of 95 of MLA.
Engagement Rate of 615% means that the average actions (posts + comments + reactions) done by per member per month in her Facebook group is 6.15.
Activity Rate of 95 tells that on an average, 95 people are commenting and reacting per month on her Facebook group posts.
P.S. If you wish to know more about any of these metrics or would like to know about all the metrics you should track, check out our blog, Track these 6 Metrics to improve your Facebook group engagement.
On the other hand, if you want to understand about the increase/decrease given below each metric, check out our blog, How did your Facebook group perform with respect to last month? Explained.
How do the Maharastrian sisters support solopreneurs, provide value to members, and earn from their community?
Women interested in selling their products have to fill a google form wherein they need to share all details and verify themselves by providing identity proofs.
Once Abhilasha and Anuja shortlist the applications, the sellers need to pay a certain subscription fee post which they can start posting about their products in the group.
“Verification helps ensure that all sellers are genuine and shall not cheat the sellers in any way,” says Abhilasha.
In fact, they even conduct regular sessions/workshops for helping sellers pitch their products in the best way possible.
On the other hand, the sisters have also collaborated with numerous brands, as I mentioned earlier.
In a recent collaboration with Mom&Co, they organised a baby bump contest. Since pregnancy photoshoot has gained widespread popularity today, women had to share pictures of the same.
Here’s one shared by a member. It got 876 reactions and 107 comments!
They announced and distributed Mom&Co gift hampers to 10 winners.😊
So, with the help of their community, Abhilasha and Anuja are:
- Helping small business owners sell their products all across Maharashtra and earn in these difficult times
- Helping them hone their marketing and presentation skills
- Providing a platform to Maharashtrian women to connect with each other and enjoy (with exciting contests)
- Helping brands expand their reach
Lastly, they are earning through this community. And that money is used in social activities like distributing food supplies and clothing to the needy.
Unique and Informative concepts helped MLA grow
“Our group has had a beautiful growth graph throughout. It grew from nothing to 17K in just 4 months,” tells Abhilasha.
Some of the things that have helped them grow are:
1. Cake baking competition
“It was Pune’s first cake baking competition for female bakers and was covered by Zee 24tas, a reputed news channel,” says Abhilasha.
2. Ramp walk for creating awareness about the ill-effects of plastic and encouraging its ban
3. Aqua Zumba (an offline activity) to beat the stress, and enjoy to the fullest
5 interesting ways Abhilasha and Anuja drive upto 100% engagement in their Facebook group
1. Theme Days
They have allocated different themes to different days of the week. So, posts related to only that particular theme are allowed on that day.
With respect to that, promotional posts make up for most of the engagement.
No sooner a member posts their requirements, hundreds of sellers jump in to share details of their products.
Have a look at the post below. A member told she is looking for sarees and the response she got is mind-blowing. (39 reactions and 1.3K comments)
2. Fun posts
Since Tuesday’s theme is entertainment, the admins or even the members post some fun posts. And the engagement they receive on them is awesome!
3. Welcome new members
Abhilasha makes it a point to welcome all the new members of her group every single day. She tags them all in a welcome post. This way members feel valued from the first day itself.
The sister duo organised an ‘Antakshari’ contest and the members thoroughly enjoyed it.
They streamed it on the Facebook page of MLA and shared the same in their group.
Have a look at the comments below.
5. Contest Winner Announcement
Not just contest posts but also the posts on announcement of winners also attract members’ attention.
In the post below, Anuja announced the winners of ‘eco-friendly ganesha making contest’ and the members congratulated them whole-heartedly.
The sisters’ foolproof way to stay on top of SPAM
Is none other than Convosight’s ‘Urgent Alerts’ feature.
They have marked the words that are spam for their group and whenever any member uses them, they are instantly notified. And are able to take action from the dashboard itself.
Besides, they have a team of moderators who are vigilant and leave no stone unturned to keep their group spam-free.
If any member posts spam content (whether it’s a post or comment), they delete it right away, give them a warning over messenger, and mute them for 14 or 28 days.
Their moderators have made managing Facebook group a cakewalk
The Maharashtrian sisters have a team of 6 moderators who have a fixed set of responsibilities that they carry out extremely well.
While 4 of the moderators are responsible for approving posts and responding to member requests, the other 2 help Abhilasha and Anuja in conducting online activities and social work.
“We owe it to the moderators for taking good care of our groups and standing with us always,” says the sister duo.
All 8 of them are connected via a WhatsApp group where they share all important updates and discuss things that require immediate attention.
Abhilasha and Anuja pay each of their moderators on a monthly basis.
“It’s a token of appreciation for the time and efforts they invest in maintaining our groups,” tell the sisters.
If you’d like to appoint moderators for your Facebook group too but don’t know how to get started, check out our blog on Choosing the best Facebook group moderators: An A to Z guide
Abhilasha And Anuja’s Message for every community admin reading this…
That’s some nice motivation!
That said, we have our Facebook group, Growth and Monetisation for Facebook Group Admins where Abhilasha, Anuja, and hundreds of other power admins are constantly motivating each other and discussing ways to grow, engage, and monetise their communities. If you wish to gain some valuable insights, feel free to be a part.😊
Besides, if you would also like to get your story featured on our platform, please fill this FORM and we will get back to you. 😊
Creating value in the lives of others with my content, little by little.
Working at Convosight, a SaaS tool for growing, engaging, and monetising Facebook groups, I’m currently passionate about providing the most useful information, to community admins, by community admins.
Out of office, you can either find me lettering or reading! 😇