Bloggers have been bemoaning the decline in number of blog comments for a few years now. In a similar vein, almost no clients we work with have started or maintained forums, which used to be a commonly requested feature to help build community.
Instead, they’ve worked hard on generating traffic and comments via their Facebook pages but found diminishing returns on these as there’s increased competition for attention and Facebook continually tweaks and reduces the visibility of page content in the news feed.
What I’ve been noticing more and more recently is a move to creating a (private) Facebook group to facilitate community discussions. I like being in various Facebook groups and it’s fast becoming one of the three main things I use on Facebook along with Messenger and browsing photos.
Facebook group messages currently enjoy very good visibility in someone’s news feed. There’s often a nice sense of community especially when groups are set to private and you have to be invited in (and can be kicked off from). Everyone’s messages are easy to see (unlike on pages) and there’s usually good conversations going on. Facebook groups are missing many features which forum software does reasonably well (e.g. detailed search, sub-forums, easy overviews) but it’s familiar and it’s still where a whole lot of people hang out. Groups feel cozier and collaborative. Pages feel impersonal and like one-way marketing.
In the past, I’ve seen and been a part of Facebook groups around families, geographical communities, advocacy groups and other shared areas of interest. More lately I’ve seen groups for ecourses, ebooks and blogs.
Have you started one for your blog?
For a summary of the differences between pages and groups, see Facebook’s information.
See more blog trends in 2015:
Get actionable tips to grow your website
Thoughtful weekly insights (no hype!) on improving your website