As you might have guessed from the title I’m closing my Facebook group. As a social media coach, I support people to best manage their presence across social media. This summer I’m taking my own advice and reviewing all my channels and the first on the list is my Facebook Group; the Social Savvy Society.
It’s all too easy on social media to get caught up in content creation and making connections. You’re so busy doing these that things like evaluating your engagement rate gets pushed to the bottom of the pile.
Even if you have a nagging feeling that something isn’t working too well then it can be hard to stop. The sunk cost fallacy kicks in. You feel you’ve committed so much in time and resources that you can’t stop! You cling on to the idea that if you just keep going a little bit longer it’ll all work out for you. That’s why I’m committing to making a full assessment of my online presence in the coming months and encouraging you to do the same.
When is the right time to assess your Facebook group?
The answer is regularly but it’s a bit like asking how long a piece of string is. Don’t wait for that sinking feeling before reviewing how things are going. Remember you’re not just looking at whether to keep it going, but at what's working and what isn’t.
While I would definitely suggest scheduling in time for reviews at least every few months, other events such as a change in direction of your business should prompt you to consider your position as well.
How do I assess the performance of my Facebook group?
I’m always telling clients to think about their audience and the same applies here. I wanted my group to be a place where inspiring conversations about social media for small businesses took place. A virtual space for a community that answered each other's questions. It would be a place to share and showcase my knowledge and skills as well as providing value for the community members.
But building a community always comes with a cost attached. Facebook groups are free to set up but they require time and energy to create content and manage the community. The Facebook algorithm means that you see more of the content you engage with. So when a group member doesn’t engage they’ll see less of the content from your group. This means they’ll be less likely to engage and so the cycle continues.
Staying motivated as engagement declines is difficult. It’s also a hint that that group isn’t working out.
However, it’s not surprising that groups don’t work out as hoped. There are tens of millions of groups on Facebook. With users spending around 34 minutes a day on the platform that doesn’t give them much time to get involved with a community. And consider that half of all Facebook users belong to five or more groups!
Actions you can take with your Facebook groups
What are you trying to achieve with your Facebook group?
Take a careful look at what you wanted to achieve from the group. Consider your outcomes and ask whether your own group is still the best way forward. Even if the group is doing ok there may be other ways and better ways that you could connect with a community.
Log the resources
Over the course of a month be really honest about how much running the group actually costs you. How much time do you spend planning and posting content, reviewing engagement rates and encouraging participation? Are there other costs such as paying for images? Don’t guesstimate. You want a true picture of costs to see if you are truly getting a return on your investment.
Take time to understand Insights
Facebook offers Insights for groups with other 50 members. These can provide a useful way to see when members are most active and what content resonates most. Even if you’re planning to close your group it can be useful to look at this as a way of seeing what has worked with a view to putting this content to use elsewhere.
So what did my group insights tell me:
The group has over 125 members
Over 50% of these members have been active over the last 60 days (i.e. have viewed any of the content within their newsfeed)
Only 1 member has ever added their own content/post(s) to the group (ever!)
The most recent highest performing post was only seen by less than 18% of members and 4 interactions (i.e. comments)
Posts were regularly seen by less than 15% of members
Less than 5% of members interact (i.e. comment or react to a post)
This 5% is the same 6 members
Members do not instigated any discussions or interact with other members of the group
There’s always someone who does it better than you so consider whether you’d be better spending your time being part of someone else’s group. Keeping up with a group and actually posting and engaging can be just as time-consuming as running your own group. However, if you’re able to join a community that is already thriving it could be the perfect place to share your knowledge and make new connections.
Get some help
Reviewing your own group can be challenging. Statistics aren't everyone's cup of tea and you can’t always get the distance you need from something that you’re really invested in. Consider getting in a third party, like a social media coach, to review your group and make recommendations on meeting your business marketing goals.
My Facebook group doesn’t sit in isolation. It’s part of the wider presence my business has online. Closing my group isn’t simply an ending. It’s a new beginning. It will free up time and resources to allow me to participate more fully in other groups and become part of their community. As well as creating richer regular content to add value to my followers on my socials.