Facebook Groups vs Community Forums

Discussion in 'Social Networking' started by PhoenixOrion, Sep 6, 2015.

  1. PhoenixOrion

    PhoenixOrion Dr. Fruitloop

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    My neighborhood forum has taken a huge hit in membership and activity after an admin created a fb group to drive more traffic to us. Well, as y'all can imagine, it has had the opposite effect. So now we're back and forth on whether to "officially" drop the group but leave it open, or eradicate it altogether following the upcoming migration to XenForo from vB4.

    I know we can use fb to help promote the site. We have a page already but with the group activity (over 1k group members), it has fallen by the wayside. Only a couple people seem to still be interested in the page. And like I said, the forum doesn't get nearly the traffic it used to before the fb group creation.

    Now, I realize that fb is more convenient and all that. I am on there too, but I am trying to convince the other admin that fb itself is already a big enough competitor that we don't need to be using it to screw ourselves even more with a group. The page, if used correctly, has the potential to bring people back.

    So for my question. Does anyone have any helpful articles on this? Has anyone here had to deal with this? What did you decide and did it help your forum? I need some help and with all of my other responsibilities there, can't devote a lot of time trying to convince anyone that the group has been completely counter-productive.

    Thanks in advance.

    ~PO
     
  2. JadeBlade

    JadeBlade Adherent

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    I have not dealt too much with this issue.

    I would say that you should remove the group completely as to drive members to your site though, but again my opinion.

    Some reading.

    http://www.ninjapost.com/blog/pros-and-cons-of-facebook-groups-vs-a-hosted-forum-service/
    http://edtechreview.in/e-learning/848-are-facebook-groups-better-than-discussion-forums
    http://www.warriorforum.com/social-media/1089088-facebook-group-vs-self-hosted-forum.html
    http://www.warriorforum.com/main-in...3-advantages-forum-versus-facebook-group.html
    http://www.vbulletin.com/forum/foru...tin-vs-social-media-platforms-namely-facebook


    Personally, I keep my real identity separate from forum identity. I like the idea of crafting usernames and even "brands" per site.

    What do you think, objectively OP?
     
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  3. DirtRider

    DirtRider bah humbug

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    My opinion is that social media has done nothing to promote any of my forums as you have experienced your pages out number what your forum does and none of those users will come near the forum. It seems that we dealing with two different types of people the social media lot not being interested in forums at all.

    I eventually dropped all my social media sites and put that effort directly into my forums
     
  4. gog1970

    gog1970 Enthusiast

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    I would of started a page over a group,only allowing admin to post articles of interest to the Facebook page,using it to direct traffic to your forum.
    With Facebook groups its easy for your members to just click like,rather than adding to the discussion on the actually forum.

    I also use Facebook,but i don't like the way things have become one word/sentence replies now,or just clicking like
     
  5. chrisjohn93

    chrisjohn93 Aspirant

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    In my opinion Google Plus community is better then facebook Group, Because its very easy to find Google Plus community with the help of third party website like circle count, But finding a Facebook Group is little hard because there is no third party website which provides such information.
     
  6. Ulysses

    Ulysses Neophyte

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    Facebook is such a convenience thing, gotta give it to Zuckerberg, he has nailed it. Everything in one place and its all integrated, share this, like that, Mini feed of what your friends are liking, and on and on and on.
     
  7. Jayfore

    Jayfore Aspirant

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    Why not just create a page instead of a group? Then you post content from your forum on the page, people click it, and they are brought to your forum. This is the approach that I use with my motorcycle group. I don't know that it really ends up bringing too many people to the forum but I know it's not hurting participation in the forum. For my city, we have a FB group that a resident created a few years back -- there would be no chance that all these people would spend any time on a forum -- they are already on FB to interact with their friends so there is no competing with it.
     
  8. Digital Doctor

    Digital Doctor Tazmanian

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    What is the purpose of your forum ?
     
  9. echoes1977

    echoes1977 Aspirant

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    I would never create a Facebook Group for my forum. It seems to me like a duplication, because forums are for discussion and FB groups are also for discussion (regardless of how it looks like). I do have, however, a Facebook page to drive traffic to the forum but that's another story.

    A neighbour forum started months ago a FB group discussion and is heavily promoting it, so my guess is they will sunset the forum in the near future.
     
  10. Lozza94

    Lozza94 Aspirant

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    If I was you, I would eradicate the Fb group altogether. It seems like the sensible option.
     
  11. Drastic

    Drastic Habitué

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    Facebook is easier to use. Forums kinda suck, especially on mobile, and that's probably where you're losing people.

    You'll have to find a way to get both of them to promote each other or a valid mobile solution for forums, which is to code your own app or use a third party one.

    Do not delete the FB group, because someone else will make the same thing and invite people to it. Plus FB can be a source of new visitors.
     
  12. Arne

    Arne Aspirant

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    DrasticDrastic what is your take about a chat/ messenger which lives on your forum and has a mobile counterpart? Yes, it does not represent the content of the forum, but it keeps your community somewhat on your site (since the two are connected) and it might fit a more appropriate mobile friendly use case people are looking for.
     
  13. Drastic

    Drastic Habitué

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    Hard to tell. I don't have anyone who live chats on my sites. They all use the comment section. Even when I had the live chat active, it was rare that anyone was online at the same time. Anything put in the live chat, to me, equals lost content that Google may not ever see. I'd rather have all interactions in threads, comments, anything that has a page to attract Google spiders. Does the chat get recorded and can it be viewed later? If so, that might be cool.

    It's one of those "if it works for you, keep doing it" kinda things but it may not work for everyone. I guess it depends on your community...
     
  14. Arne

    Arne Aspirant

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    Well, depending on the chat you can definitely use the content and create threads from it. But these threads are shorter and you have to keep in mind: It was a conversation. Not lengthy posts like this one :p

    On the other hand, most of the content of the chat is not necessarily something which would have ended in a forum thread anyway.
    My thinking is also more in the direction: The user found what he was looking for on your site plus he had a good time. Thus for the next question, he will come back to your site. Plus Google noticed too that the user was engaged on your site and did not come back for the next hit on the google result page. Also a good thing.

    On most forums, it is somewhat hidden and no one on the front page does see that there is action in the chat.
    One example with numbers: A forum in the music space. They had an IRC chat integrated on their site. About 20 members were active over the course of one day (mostly in the evening) they had about 250 messages each day. Then they changed to a more prominent chat on the front page with notifications for each message, but you can only write if you have an account of their hostsite. They doubled their account registrations and have about 400 people in the chat every day and about 4500 messages.
    My take: People chat! But not if it is somewhat hidden and somewhat cumbersome/ not fun to use.

    Totally!

    We always have a hard time to get noticed and onto websites. But it is also very (!) rare that a website took us down. It never happened on websites with a decent amount of traffic. I know for a fact that the community on the sites loves to chat with each other.

    We will see where this journey takes us. I really do appreciate your feedback DrasticDrastic that is why I am here in the forum, to learn from you guys what your opinion is on the matter!
    Arne
     
  15. Yappi

    Yappi Participant

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    I have to totally disagree with you about this one. The opening post said that it has taken traffic away. If the goal is to increase traffic to the forum, getting rid of a competitor is the best course of action. Doesn't matter that he/she is their own competitor.

    Others have made reasonable posts in this thread. If you want to use Facebook to draw traffic to your site, you need to keep that content on your site and only post snippets and links to your site.
     
  16. Drastic

    Drastic Habitué

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    If you're running a premium network that's members only, then a Facebook group can be the "free version" that consistently promotes your site, leads to signups on your real version, and is a revolving spot to gain new members that you'd not ever normally have access to, such as boosting things to "friends of friends."

    This works mostly for paid only forums. If it's a free forum, then no one's gonna give a crap about the forum if the same thing exists on Facebook. At that point, screw the Facebook group and start using a Facebook page instead. Let people see a preview and click to get the full content.

    Facebook groups are good entry points for paid forums, but probably not much else.

    I wouldn't delete the group. Use it to lead people to the new page. Might even be able to combine it. Not sure if FB allows that or not. I combined two pages, but unsure if you can merge a group to a page.
     
  17. VerniceArielle

    VerniceArielle Guest

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    Facebook groups is one of the best ways to catch audiences whether you mean personal or business. While one can also promote or get leads from a forum although it depends on the topic a community group has. Sometimes, there are limited topics.
     
  18. Lozza94

    Lozza94 Aspirant

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    Yea not that you mention it, I agree with this, keep the FB group however have some more incentives for people to participate in the forum.
     
  19. Drastic

    Drastic Habitué

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    only if your forum is 100% paid membership will that be useful. you'd have to offer a good service for that. or just be really awesome.
     
  20. Mpow3ll

    Mpow3ll Aspirant

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    If your main income stream is from the forum. It may be a worthwhile idea to have a facebook page. That way you can keep any activity within the forum and then use the facebook page as a marketing tool. Driving the facebook traffic into the forum.

    If you're going to use social media use it as a funnel into the forum.
     
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