Back in the day, Poonam was a member of quite a few Facebook groups. Pleased to see how members sought help and gathered knowledge through them, she was motivated to create an online community herself.
Since majority of the FB groups were niche-specific with discussions happening in English and Hindi language only, she decided to create a group that removes the language barrier, unites all ladies of Maharashtra, and solves all their queries – be it as generic as enquiring about a traffic route or sharing something extremely personal.
In November 2017, her Facebook group – Sakhi, came into being.
Fast forward to today, it is helping over 290,000 Maharashtrian ladies from all over the world become a better version of themselves alongside empowering approx 1500 small business owners.
Poonam, along with the co-admin AMRUTA JADHAV who has been her support system since day one, has helped them become financially independent by providing them a digital platform to reach out to the masses, sell their products, and sustain their livelihood. In fact, Poonam even trains them personally in their mother tongue as to how they can go live and market their products.
Poonam has collaborated with brands like Veet, Plum, Lodha, Pediasure, to name a few for purpose-led marketing campaigns.
Apart from that, she runs a YouTube channel wherein she talks about the different work from home options for women that can help them earn an extra income during these testing times.
Sharing the best ever moments while building her FB group, she says,
“A lot of members reached out to thank me for creating this Facebook group and giving them this platform. They have been able to sustain their businesses and earn their livelihood in these tough times. It is their words that encourage me to work harder.”
As you scroll down, you’ll know about:
- The core values and health of her FB group Sakhi
- How Poonam and Amruta are empowering small business owners and providing buyers a safe shopping experience
- How Poonam is collaborating with brands for purpose-led marketing campaigns
- Things that Poonam and Amruta do to keep members engaged and grow their group
- How they tackle spam in the community and the role of their group moderators
So, let’s get started!
Humility and Empowerment are the core values of Sakhi
Graduated from Pune University, worked as a beautician for 10 years, as a home baker for 5 years, and as the Director of an NGO that aims to empower women, Poonam has always been humble and helpful.
Such are the members of her community as well who dive right in with their valuable suggestions whenever any fellow member seeks help.
When one of them enquired whether she can feed cow milk or powder milk to her 2 month old baby, so many fellow members jumped in to advise her. (The post got 581 reactions and 956 comments)
“Members share anything and everything related to beauty, lifestyle, parenting, cooking, health, and even personal life in the community,” tells Poonam.
Apart from that, Poonam collaborates with experts and organises live sessions from time to time to enhance the knowledge of members across different topics.
Sometime back, she collaborated with Buddy Healthcare Services and hosted a zoom session wherein 2 doctors addressed all concerns of members on women’s health.
These conversations have contributed to a fair group health – engagement rate of 99% and activity rate of 32.
Engagement rate of 99% means that a member is doing 0.99 actions in her FB group in a period of one month.
Activity Rate of 32 means that on an average a post gets 32 reactions and comments in her FB group in one month.
If you’d like to know more about these metrics or any other FB group insights, check out this BLOG.
How Poonam and Amruta are connecting buyers and sellers and earning through their FB group?
Initially, Poonam and Amruta allowed members to post links of their products in the comments section of relevant posts. But after some time, a few of them reached out to them and insisted on charging a payment, allowing them to promote their products better.
That’s how Amruta and Poonam came up with the whole idea of creating a cohort of verified sellers, helping them sustain, and providing a safe space to the buyers at the same time.
“I take immense pride in telling that we haven’t reported any single case of fraud up till now,” says Poonam.
Here’s how the entire process works:
a. Document Sharing
Whenever any member expresses interest in promoting their products, Poonam and Amruta collect their details, asking them for any of their government issued identity cards like Aadhar card, PAN card, or passport.
b. Payment of Fees
Sellers choose from quarterly, half yearly, and yearly packages, and make the payment accordingly. Prices are fixed depending on the business one is handling.
For instance, if a seller deals in Oriflame or Modicare products which is multi-level marketing, they have to pay INR 600 for 3 months.
On the other hand, for small business owners (the ones operating from their houses) or YouTubers etc., the charges are fixed at INR 400 for 3 months.
c. Issuance of unique seller card
Once a seller chooses the plan and makes the payment, she is given a unique identity card that comprises all these details: name, products the seller is dealing in, and a unique code.
Here’s how the seller card looks.
The unique code you see i.e. 157P3 is generated based on the date and month of registration (157 i.e. 15/07), initial of the admin who issued that card (P here stands for Poonam), and the time for which the membership is valid (3 meaning 3 months).
Sellers have to post this code each time they post in the group. Posts without the code are straightaway declined. “Besides, all business posts of non-verified sellers are also declined. We don’t allow them to post anymore,” says Poonam.
d. Posting Schedule
Sellers dealing in Oriflame or Modicare products can post twice in a day anytime between 9am to 9pm. However, other small business owners can do 4 posts in a day anytime at the same time.
No posting is allowed for any seller on Monday.
These sellers also go live in the Facebook group to showcase their products and services. For the same, each of them are assigned a time slot depending on the best times of the group, i.e. when most of the members are active.
How is Poonam collaborating with brands and providing value to members?
“Thanks to Convosight that I’ve been able to connect with brands, and most of all, turn my passion into livelihood,” smiles Poonam.
As part of Plum’s campaign, she shared her before and after pictures of using Plum skincare products and encouraged members to try them out.
- Helped members realise how effective Plum products are
- Increase the brand’s exposure and got members excited about it
- Helped Poonam earn and not to forget that the brand products worked wonders on her skin
3 things that drive maximum engagement in Sakhi
1. Live Sessions
Sellers often go live to showcase their products and services. Have a look at the engagement when one of them hosted a live session to display her products and services. (66 reactions and 222 comments)
On the heels of Women’s Day, Poonam and Amruta organised a contest wherein they encouraged women to come forward and showcase their talent (whether it be singing, dancing, cooking, baking, writing, or any other)
Here’s how supportive the members were when one of the winners was announced.
3. Member queries
Members often shoot their queries and concerns in the group. And other members respond to them. When one of them asked for name suggestions from the alphabet ‘S’ for a baby boy, see the number of responses (389 reactions and 1.9K comments).
If you’d like to know how you can keep your group members active and engage, check out this BLOG. We have talked about 21 actionable tactics that will help increase your FB group engagement.
“Group name has played a crucial role in helping my Facebook group grow” – says Poonam
Initially, Poonam’s friends and family joined her group. Then, friends of friends became a part, and that’s how the group grew.
“For the first two years – until there were 100K members, the growth was purely organic and the name is a major factor here,” tells Poonam.
She further adds,
“Sakhi means friend. A friend is someone who is by our side, no matter what, listens to you, and supports you through thick and thin. That’s exactly what our Facebook group is about. Whenever people look at the name, they are able to instantly relate to it and get a feeling of togetherness.”
Check out this BLOG to know about 16 easy ways to grow your Facebook group.
2 simple yet effective ways Poonam and Amruta tackle spam
1. Convosight’s Keyword Alerts
They have marked keywords like fake, promotion, link, subscribe, etc. under spamming and promotions report in Convosight’s keyword alerts. Whenever any member uses any of them, they are instantly notified over email and takes action on those comments easily.
An interesting fact: Quite a lot of Facebook group admins are using Convosight’s Keyword Alerts to see whenever a member calls out admin for help. Besides, they are also using it to track which brands members are talking about.
Check out this BLOG to know how you can do it too and everything else about Keyword Alerts.
2. Facebook group Moderators
Poonam and Amruta have appointed 2 moderators for their Facebook group and they leave no stone unturned to stay on top of any spam in the group.
Check out the next section where I’ve talked all about their roles and responsibilities in detail.
Here’s how the group Moderators are helping them manage the group
Their Facebook group moderators are responsible for:
- Approving and declining member posts
- Approving and declining member requests
- Engaging on member posts and participating in discussions
- Keeping the group spam-free; Chucking out members who are creating a ruckus
- Scrutinizing member profiles and removing fake profiles, if any
- Sending timely reminders to the verified sellers regarding membership renewal
Apart from these things, they also ensure that non-verified sellers don’t post their business/product links in the post comments. If they do that, the moderators obviously delete those links and mute the members. However, if they still continue with the practice, those members are blocked from the group.
“My group moderators are hard-working, and give their best. It has been six months that they have been associated with the group,” says Poonam.
When I asked her about their pay, Poonam said that it’s not fixed. She pays the moderators 10% of the total earnings of the group every month.
A few things Poonam kept in mind while selecting them are:
- They must be one of the top contributors of the group
- They must have prior experience in handling members and moderating a community
- They are available 24×7 for the community
- They are able to take actions promptly
If you are in search of a Facebook group moderator, but don’t know how to get started, check out this GUIDE where we have explained it all.
Poonam’s message for other community admins out there!
That’s some nice motivation!
We have our Facebook group, Growth and Monetisation for Facebook Group Admins, where Swadha and thousands of other community leaders are constantly motivating each other and discussing ways to grow, engage, and monetize 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.
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