Likes don’t pay the bills

The second beer was very cold. We toasted after a looong time without being able to do it in person.

The official excuse was to share what we are doing with our communities.

The truth is that we really wanted to meet up with friends and enjoy a few beers now that the summer heat is back.

Although we know each other for other reasons that have nothing to do with our communities, we happen to serve the same group of people.

We manage 3 facebook groups related to expats living in Mallorca.

Jean Ariel Yangüela administers the group Mallorca Expats. A private group with more than 7200 members.

Till Kraemer and myself manage the private group Mallorca Entrepreneurs Hub. It has only 450 members but is focused on the entrepreneur niche.

And I myself manage the public group Expats World in Mallorca which has more than 10900 members.

All together that’s a lot of expats.

Although there are bound to be repeats.

And that requires a lot of work.

Behind each of these groups there is a daily dedication to keep the community alive, healthy, interesting and useful for its members.

Jean, for example, did an outstanding job last year in keeping his followers informed about changes in regulations and relevant news about COVID. If it was confusing for everyone to keep up to date with what could and could not be done, for foreign residents the problem was much worse because of the difficulty of accessing clear information in a language they could follow. When Jean realised that there were a lot of questions about this in his group, he set about finding and translating the important information into English.

And even if you’re not posting content, you have to be daily reviewing applications from new members who want to join the group, reviewing claims of controversial content, expelling participants who don’t respect the rules of the group.

Why would anyone want to take on all this work and responsibility?

What is clear to all three of us is that these groups can help us gain visibility.

If you see that there is a potential audience with some needs and you think you can help them then it makes sense to offer this help so that people get to know you and that can help them think of you when they need one of your services.

But the truth is that it is a very slow and laborious way to get visibility. In fact, it is full of freeloaders who simply join groups that have already been set up and start shouting to the four winds what they are selling.

It is the never-ending daily job of cleaning the group of posts from real estate agents who publish half a dozen offers without anyone having asked them to do so.

And that’s the best way to kill a group: when it becomes an advertising space for spammers.

The other alternative, which we were reviewing, was the option of creating an extended paid service for some members.

We reviewed options for services that might be interesting to our audiences. We planned meetings to get organised.

Offering more value to these people means more dedication and that cannot be done in a disinterested way. You need to put a price on these additional services.

And here the big question arises: we have a lot of followers in our groups but… What percentage of people will be willing to pay for these additional services?


“I think quite a lot more”

“I think there are a lot of free riders who will never consider paying for something when there are free options, even if they require a lot of dedication”.

So I took Jean’s hat and put it on to transform into a Business Consultant.

There is a thesis here that we need to clarify. We cannot afford to invest a lot of time and effort in building a value proposition only to find that the numbers don’t work out.

We have to design the simplest and quickest experiment that allows us to validate our thesis.

Once we have that information we can define the strategy, organise work and evolve the service. But not before.

Because, as the modern saying goes: “Likes don’t pay the bills”.