Activity Level Dropping - Interventions?

(Suzi Nelson) #1

Hi all!

Our Facebook group has been growing like crazy - we get new members participating all the time, but the level of activity has been decreasing. We had active members participating 3+ times a week or more, and but I’ve been that this number has been declining :frowning: __

One strategy I’m going to try is consistently posting every day on a set schedule to acclaimate new members faster, remind regulars how they can contribute, and encourage our lurkers to come out of the woodwork. Think “Lurkers Week” on steroids.

Other than that, I’m focusing efforts on sustaining our current conversations (and using our new email newsletter to encourage participation).

I have a feeling that it’s the Facebook algortihm itself; our members are rarely scrolling through the group page, they are waiting for FB to show them threads on their newsfeeds that they or may not be able to contribute to. Ever since we hit 9.5K, it seems like consistent participation has been an issue.

Any other thoughts on strategy?

Thoughts on limiting the community size or culling members?
(Sarah Hawk) #2

Interesting challenge.

Have you looked at your triggers, tagging, variable rewards etc? Those are the things we’d usually consider first, if stickiness is a challenge.

Facebook does notifications well, but I think people do tend to block them out. I don’t really ever go to the CMX Facebook page anymore because of notification fatigue. I do go if people specifically tag me though – so that might be your best approach.

Let’s see what @Mjbill thinks. @Charlotte_Moller_van also manages large Facebook groups, which they close at a certain number. I wonder if this might be part of the reason.

(Charlotte Moller van Gils Hansen) #3

Thanks for the tag, @HAWK! I am much experienced with Facebookgroups, although not an expert :wink:

first - do you have an analyzing tool for your groups? We use Grytics, they have a free version that you can try out.

We do close our groups and open new ones, with the same theme. We do this, do limit the number of posts on the wall that disappear + we have groups for people with concussion, which means their cognitive reading skills + screen time is limited. This is a great succes, although we struggle to connect the people in the different groups. We close at 300 members, but I am sure you can have a successful group with more members. In Grytics I can see the activity level rising with more members, and continuing to be active after we close. This is an indicator, that we do it right (we hope!) This shows number of active members over time, and it rises with new members.

Thoughts on limiting the community size or culling members?
(Charlotte Moller van Gils Hansen) #4

Another thing that is new, is that you can post live videos to your groups.

Just a thought - how about decreasing number of posts from you, maybe just 2 times a week. One can be a live video (this should get people on board) and one could be a post, that encourages the members to share their opinion or experiences. You can make a poll or ask a question. You can upload file or photo.

Photo posts are always more responsive than posts with just text. Maybe think of a weekly theme, so they know next week you are talking about XX theme, and they have a week to think about it before you post it.

Just some quick thoughts - it sound really exciting and good for you, that your group is growing!! Also - tag members whenever it makes sense, this should get them more involved :slight_smile:

(Richard Millington) #5

@Suzi_Nelson I think this is really about whether it’s a Facebook problem or a user experience problem.

I think the biggest thing here is to understand and diagnose the problem.

  1. Check the data. What data do you have that shows the level of participation per active member is declining? How valid is this data? Is there any clear point where the metrics changed?

  2. Diagnose the problem. Is it that members are visiting the group less or participating less when they do visit the group. What is the avg. no. visits per member and the ratio to participation based upon that?

  3. If people are visiting less, that’s probably a Facebook-platform problem. It might be that new initiatives (for example, lurker week) didn’t appeal to existing members. Thus they began ignoring posts and posts began showing up less. Or it might be people are still visiting as frequently but they don’t participate - which is more of a content problem on what they see on the site. Remember the natural curve of groups to first attract the die-hards and then attract people with less interest in the topic who might participate less.

  4. Ask members who participate less what’s going on. They might say ‘too busy’ so probe deeper about their participation habits. When did they used to visit, from where, how etc…ask about 20 members directly - not in the community. See if there is any plurality in answers.

Until you have precisely diagnosed the problem, it’s very hard to implement a solution.

My instinct is this is probably a platform problem. Past a certain number of members it becomes very difficult to keep a Facebook group growing and it might be time to make a jump to another platform. But, I’m very much guessing there.

(Suzi Nelson) #6

Yes, I use Grytics and I’m also testing a new analytics platform called Community Analytics (comparing info right now). Both show a steady declining in activity level :frowning: Our active members chart looks good (we’ve got plenty of active members, whoo!), but when I dig in and look at the data, our active members just arent participating as often as they used to.

So I keep track of any activity in the group (likes, comments, posts) per month and then divide it by the total active members that month to get the average participation per member. I trust Grytics’ numbers about 80% of the time. Activity level definitely started dropping at a certain point, and I can’t figure out what changed other than hitting a threshold in members.

I have no way of accruately measuring visits per member vs ratio of participation; the best I can do is lurkers vs active. So sad. I only assume that members dont visit the group page, because I ran a survey once and asked (not enough people participated in it to get good data) - and I get annecdontal comments that they never visit the group page.

If you (or anyone else!) has a creative way of gather data like this (people visiting the page, people visiting & not posting, etc) for a Facebook group, I’d love to hear it!

Good call. This is my next move (complicated by the fact that we don’t have non-members properly labeled in our CRM right now, so its going to be a manual process of finding those peeps).

Thanks everyone for weighing in - its frustrating trying to work with so little hard data! I feel like Im guessing 90% of the time.

(Sarah Hawk) #7

Do those same people visit your own site? If so, you could try a short exit or pop-up survey relating to community behaviour.

(Mark Baldwin) #8

Hi @Suzi_Nelson

Sorry, late to the party here, not ignoring the invite @HAWK I had a nasty recurrence of my back problem I had earlier this year. I’ve been out of things for a few days. I find this topic very interesting, I don’t run a Facebook group, I run Facebook pages, however I am a member of a few Facebook groups.

With groups I find that enabling notifications makes a big difference as the groups tend to not show up in my regular news feed. A regular reminder to members to enable notifications might be a good idea and if you can use analytics to find out the time of day when you are likely to get most eyeballs on your content and then regularly put out content at that time so users can get used to when to expect new content.

(Suzi Nelson) #9

Oooooh the notications thing is a fantastic idea!!

(Suzi Nelson) #10

THIS. I’m talking to our Dir. of Optimization to see what fancy quiz tools he has. I bet we can put something in the membership area without too much hassle.

(Sarah Hawk) #11

I’d be keen to hear what you end up using. I’m interested in doing something along these lines myself. I have VWO which has exit surveys in beta but I haven’t used it yet.

(Suzi Nelson) #12

Hey gang! Got an update for you on what I’ve been trying out with positive results so far…

First, what i DIDNT do:

If so, you could try a short exit or pop-up survey relating to community behaviour.

We use pushcrew on our membership site, and I have trouble getting consistent space to point to the community, because our team likes to use that space for more direct response moves, like signing up for our weekly Office Hours calls. We also just tested a new referral program (Ambassador) that took the place of popups for a bit as we tested. Pop-up surveys are not off the table, just not something I could implement immediately.

This is something I have on my list, but BRANDING the community content (more on that in a sec) takes a little time to get together as I have to rely on other team members, but this will come soon!

Now to what I’ve been busy with the last few of months…

As @richard_millington (correctly) pointed out here (, theme weeks like than one I ran are, by nature, one-off events. Activity levels go up, lurkers engage, but only a small amount tend to really “stick” and continue to be active. Combine that with our falling activity in general, and its clear that some long-term solution had to be figured out.

^ This move is in full swing. I made a sort community content calendar, and am having our graphic designers create eye-catching images and gifs that are “branded” to our community (and congruent with the overall DigitalMarketer brand). Because Facebook is Facebook, I wanted our members to come across our posts as a pattern-interrupt, and immediately recognise that it’s content from our community.

Content for now includes: weekly initiatives like One Week One Thing (every Monday, people post what they are working on so we can keep each other accountable), monthly initiatives like Engage It Forward (where members post free offers as a way to give back), and reminders like our Guidelines, the glossary, resource roundups, and may, many, many more. I also make a weekly welcome video every Monday that I pin to the top of the group.

I started all this on Jan. 1st to start the new year with a bang. Here is a chart of our # of monthly posts. You can see things really started declining in May, almost non-existent in December, and WAY UP this month (I ran these numbers yesterday). Though a lot of it can probably be contributed to people coming back after the holidays, the activity is so awesome that I’m hoping it’s a response to our new consistent community content.

I haven’t measured our comments yet (which is probably the MOST important metric) but as historically posts in the group get an average of 10 comments, I don’t see any reason for there to be an issue there.

TL:DR: Consistent, branded community content may have helped raise our declining activity.

(Shreyas) #13

I think this is a great advice, not only for posts in groups that appear on the timeline, but Facebook pages & Twitter feed. Coming to think of it, our brand identity has really diluted and with Facebook trying to squeeze out money by limiting the reach, things are really tough.[quote=“Suzi_Nelson, post:12, topic:4583”]
TL:DR: Consistent, branded community content may have helped raise our declining activity.

Glad this worked for you, Suzi! Thanks for writing about this.