Community groups and Facebook. Are we doing it right?

Ever wonder if your posts on Facebook are reaching your people?

Sometimes, when I post on behalf of Landcare Tasmania’s facebook page I wonder why so few people “like” or even “see” our stuff. During the last couple months I’ve been trying to get to the bottom of this and would like to share what I’ve found with you. Through trial and error, and spending two hours with  social media expert Jen Murnaghan I learned about the way Facebook has changed and in particular the difference between Facebook pages and Facebook groups.

In light of this, I think some of our community groups could be communicating better if they started a Facebook group in addition to or maybe instead of a Facebook page.

The Difference
Facebook pages were originally set up for celebrities, businesses and brands that have “fans”. These pages are open to the public by default and allow “fans” to interact with content on the page. Users “like” the page and then receive “updates”.
Unfortunately, over the years facebook has changed what we see from these pages. Facebook doesn’t show you everything. Rather, it moderates what you see using a very complex algorithm which predicts what you would like to see based on many factors (too many to mention in this post, interested in the full details click here for another story).

What this means is that although your supporters or volunteers have liked your page only about 6% of your total “followers” will actually see a post you’ve published.

The rest will not even be shown the post.

Facebook_groups.jpg

For us at Landcare Tasmania that means that out of our 1,303 followers the post will only be shown to 78 of them. Of those, maybe 1-5 will interact with the post which will make our next post only be shown to the minimum number again….and so it goes around and around.

Here’s a real world example of the difference between the two. On the left is the example of a city street with billboards, posters, signs and people coming and going who aren’t necessarily your target audience. To reach more people you need to, 1) get more posters up (frequency of posts), 2) be more loud and engaging (content), and 3) pay for the space to post them (boosted posts or sponsored ads).

On the right, is the Community Noticeboard which is in your community where interested people know they can go have a look at what’s going on. The organiser decides who can put things in the community notice board because it’s not open to everyone. On Facebook, potential members ask to join the group, the administrator approves and they're in. The administrator can set up rules and has the power to report people or remove them.

To summarise

Facebook groups were designed for communities to communicate around a particular subject. As a group member you receive a notification that there’s a new post, so you know to go and visit the group to see what’s going on (picture on the right), as opposed to relying on the facebook feed to bring you the information (picture on the left).

I personally use facebook groups for my sports team. All team members are in a facebook group, the coach posts date/time/location information for games and we respond if we can make it or not. The best part is I can actually log into facebook and just look at what’s going on in my groups without the distraction of my facebook feed. I can comment and let my teammates know I am coming, or if I forgot my boots and need to borrow some. It’s efficient, and the best part is that I can stay updated without having to look through my facebook feed.

I think facebook has the power to connect us in a way that is useful and efficient. But I also think it can distract us from what is most important to us, at Landcare Tasmania we want community care groups to be well equipped to organise themselves. 

For a post on how to start a facebook group click here  Note -  this is a really good website but they want you to sign up for their stuff. Just close the pop up boxes as they come up.

Here are two successful Facebook groups

Tasmanian Field Naturalists of Tasmania Public Group

Tasmanian Flora

Need some extra help? All members and volunteers can contact support@landcaretas.org.au and ask for Erika