Facebook group engagement rates are dropping, here are four steps to increase them in your group.

With Facebook engagement rates at an all-time low, businesses are looking for more effective ways to build and nurture their online communities. Facebook groups present an alternative to business pages, which have fallen out of favour since the platform changed its newsfeed algorithm to decrease their visibility. Unlike business pages, groups work more like discussion forums by uniting members under a shared goal or interest. These groups may by public; open to anyone who wishes to join them. Others are by invitation only, while a few are hidden from the search results entirely. Facebook group engagement rates are rarely anything to get excited about, but there are some exceptions. After all, the platform still has billions of active users, and chances are many of your customers are among them.

Step #1. Make use of the new features

One of the most important differentiators between brand pages and Facebook groups is that the latter aren’t meant to serve as advertising platforms. But that doesn’t mean they can’t still help you increase your reach and build an engaged online community. Alongside the timeline algorithm updates of 2018, Facebook introduced various new features to groups, including educational resources, improved customer support, an updated rules and policy engine, and pre-approval of posts from specific members. Most important is the ability to pre-approve posts from your most trusted and engaged members, which can save a tonne of moderation time. Another new feature is Watch Parties, which allows administrators to share live broadcasts, such as online training sessions.

Step #2. Consider making your group invite-only

Facebook group engagement is often lacking on open groups, largely because they tend to get quickly inundated with spammers using fake, computer-generated profiles. Many brands create open groups to maximise their reach and promote their products and services to as many people as possible. Unsurprisingly, this approach doesn’t achieve much. Since groups are better suited to your most engaged customers for the purposes of things like product ideation, it’s usually better to create a closed group that members have to send an invitation request to. Another alternative is to create a secret group, but this will require you to send out any invitations, since the group will be hidden from the search results. However, this is often the best option for any internal groups meant for employees only.

lead the conversation

Step #3. Set a great example by leading the conversation

Most Facebook groups are digital ghost towns, which is often down to the fact that their owners are rarely present. If you want to build an effective online community, you need to lead by example. Aside from making it easy for members to engage with your group, you should also be checking in regularly to get involved in conversations and start your own. To do this, you can leverage the power of storytelling to give your brand a more human face while also giving people something to talk about. Other tried and tested tactics include posting polls, surveys, and quizzes, or simply asking questions outright. Questions can be closed with multiple choice answers, open-ended, or based on images. Anything that encourages two-way conversation is far more effective than your average promotional post.

Step #4. Get your timing right to achieve maximum visibility

Timing is extremely important in social media marketing, not least because content posted in busy online communities quickly gets buried before many people have a chance to see it. You need to know when your members are most likely to be online. For example, if you’re a B2B business, chances are your members will be more active on working days, particularly during lunch breaks, early mornings and early evenings. For consumer-facing brands, weekends and evenings tend to work better. Fortunately, you can schedule posts on Facebook groups by writing them in advance and then choosing a date and time to publish them. Although there are some general guidelines like the ones we’ve mentioned, timing varies enormously from one industry to the next, so you may need to experiment.

Step #5. Create your own community platform

While Facebook group engagement rates are arguably higher than those of business pages, you’re still restricted by the whims of the platform. Facebook is the one in control here and the one making the profit. Which means you have little say in how your community operates, what sort of experience it offers to its members and very limited choices about commercialising your community.  The alternative is to take your group out of the Facebook ecosystem, either on a web-platform like a forum or (particularly if you want to charge a subscription) by getting your wn community app.

Disciple Media offers an alternative to mainstream social media in the form of a highly customisable social networking platform that you own and control. Call us today to find out how it works.