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Managing successful online communities

Matt
 

Why owning your own community is better than using a Facebook Group

Are you a member of a busy Facebook Group? Do you find it overwhelming trying to sort through all the posts to find something posted the day before? Are you now missing new posts and only seeing them a few days later?

Facebook Groups are tempting to use as they are free to set up but is this the best decision for the future of your business?

At the beginning with just a handful of members, things may fun fine. But fast forward to where your group becomes busy with thousands of members posting and reading.

Your group becomes overwhelming. You find it hard to locate posts made on previous days and search is of no use. It is getting harder to keep on top of troublesome and spamming members.

Worse still, Facebook's changing algorithms mean that your members are not seeing every post you make. You do as Facebook asks and link your page to your group to find that you must now boost posts to reach your members.

This is getting to be a very common scenario.

Even more worrying are rumours that Facebook is bringing advertising to groups. Will this allow your competitors to target your hard won membership?

Will Facebook roll out the "Discover" tab across all continents? This alone has destroyed organic reach for many brands.

What would you do if Facebook blocked your account for a week? Would your sales suffer?

There is a way to take back control of your membership and secure your business' future. Building your business on your own land is a powerful way of retaining complete control over your community regardless of what happens to Facebook longer term.

Created in 2002,  Invision Community has always adapted to the changing habits of the internet. Our latest product is clean, modern, mobile ready and equipped to integrate with social media. It can power your conversations, website and shopping cart. It features single click Facebook sign in and tools to promote scheduled content to your Facebook page.

We recently wrote why you shouldn't settle for a Facebook Group when building a community.

The benefits of an owned Invision Community are:

  • You own your own data. Your data is not mined for Facebook's benefit.
  • Make it yours by branding it your way
  • You're no longer boxed in by the Facebook format
  • Seamless integration to your shopping cart for more monetization opportunities
  • Set up permission levels to better control what your members can see

Lets dig in a look at some of the tools you can leverage to make the migration easier.

Mobile Ready
Invision Community works great on your mobile. It resizes the page perfectly to match whichever device you are using. You don't need to install special apps or mess with themes. It just works out of the box.

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Facebook Sign In
The first thing you'll want to do is turn on Facebook Sign In. This adds the familiar Facebook button right on the sign in page and register form. Clicking this logs them into your new community with their Facebook account. It even imports their profile photo so they are familiar with other members.

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Make use of embeds
A great way to keep incorporating content from your Facebook Group or Page is to use embeds. Post a link to your content on Facebook and it transforms into a rich media snippet.

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Social Promotions
Share your community content with your Facebook Page. Click the "Promote" button on any content item and you can customize the text and images shared. The promotion system offers a full scheduling system much like Buffer or Hootsuite. This is all built in at no extra cost.

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Find Your Content
Unlike a Facebook Group, your Invision Community makes it easy to find older content. A powerful feature is activity streams. These are customizable "feeds" much like the Facebook News Feed but completely editable to you and your members needs. You can even make this the first page your members see for easy content discovery.

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Use Clubs
Clubs allow sub-communities to run inside your main community. Let's look at a real world example.
A FitPro has several different fitness products for sale. Each product is a Facebook Group. She posts daily workouts and answers member's questions.
Using many groups can be very time consuming to manage.
Clubs puts these sub-communities right on the page making it easy to drop in and update.
These Clubs can be private and members invited to join allowing full privacy. This is like a closed Facebook group.

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We're only scratching the surface of what Invision Community can offer you. You can take back control of your membership and be free from the fear that Facebook will change something that will impact your sales.

We're experts in this field with 16 years of experience. We've helped grow thousands of communities from the very biggest brands to the smallest of niches.

We'd love to talk to you about your needs.

Edited by Matt


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This topic has been coming up lately on virtually every forum. Facebook overtakes forums.

Facebook has its own terms and conditions. Many times they embarrass a member publicly by deleting their posts. In my city senior police officers have been put through this humiliation. 

In Facebook there is nothing like hierarchy. Once you comment on a six month old post the newer ones get buried deep down. if you want to own and hold your head high without the Fear of humiliation then forums are the way to go. 

Why are forums slowing down. Firstly its the cost of forum licence and hosting. Facebook is free. Secondly there is lot of trolling in forums. Facebook is very tough on this. The user can completely block a members if he is bothering him. If there are too many spam complaints the account is altogether closed down. 

In the long run the solution is to integrate forums and social media together as seamlessly as possible. Facebook Twitter Instagram and similar platforms need to be integrated into forums. Without this forums will slow down. 

To mention here Invision Power is not just a forum . It blog, Ecomm, Gallery and of-course with the right CMS coding a complete solution for an organisation. 

If they are able to deal with trollers IP is going nowhere for a longtime to come. 

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Hello ! :)

I do prefer using IPS solutions rather than using Facebook... To me, Facebook is crap. I just use it to share videos and news with friends. I think some people also use it to create a kind of online community because it's easy to get and to set up. 

ISP Community has got tools and options which are really great and which Facebook doesn't have.

As for me, there are a few things which are a problem for me now

- clubs and their content are invisible (but I think this has been addressed in 4.3 ?).

- search's results are difficult to read because of the way they are being displayed https://invisioncommunity.com/forums/topic/443466-searchs-main-problem-is-results-are-difficult-to-read/

 

- IPS community doesn't look attractive and is not easy to use on an iPhone (I don't know on other phones).

This is just my opinion. :)

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i setup a facebook group - while back and now i get FB auto bot dialing for dollars at midnight or just after falling asleep, to promote that article that was submitted 9 hours ago.

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1 hour ago, SecondSight said:

 

- IPS community doesn't look attractive and is not easy to use on an iPhone (I don't know on other phones).

This is just my opinion. :)

After all the great improvement done during 4.2 and 4.3 I think the "mobile front" is the main weakness of this software today

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4 hours ago, SecondSight said:

IPS community doesn't look attractive

It is a clean design no doubt, but somehow it looks dated, needs refinement. In-house themes is what it needs. Do check what a difference a theme makes in www.shopify.com The third party themes dont impress me at all. Not much done with the layout

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5 hours ago, SecondSight said:

- IPS community doesn't look attractive and is not easy to use on an iPhone (I don't know on other phones).

What problems do you have? I use our site on my phone very frequently, and I don't have any problems.

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For existing Invision clients, I think this is also a great opportunity to think about recruiting and converting Facebook groups to your community.  This enables you to become a "community of communities" on your IPS platform, with multiple sub-groups, clans, or tribes.  You can set them up with their own Club or integrate into your main community:

  • Provide a haven.  There are people deleting and leaving Facebook every day, especially in light of the Cambridge Analytica scandal.  Why not provide a new space for those groups who are looking for a shared vision and mission without the constant privacy issues of Facebook?  
  • Get revolutionary growth by adding a major block of new members.  It's hard to attract members on a one-by-one basis and the regular organic growth may be slow.  When you attract and entice a group owner, you bring his entire group over in one migration.  
  • Build out your niche.  Add all the knowledge and topics of your sub-communities to strengthen your existing knowledge.  The new clubs can either broaden the relevancy of your niche, or deepen your community's authority.  
  • Become an Admiral, not a Captain.  A captain steers one boat.  An admiral steers a fleet of boats.  It's a whole new level of challenges and rewards when you administer a community of communities where you lead multiple captains.  It gives you power in numbers to do more, with more members, more activity, more enthusiasm and creativity.    

I think there's never been a better time to go fishing in Facebook's muddy waters, and to start poaching Facebook groups who are looking for a new home.  

Edited by Joel R

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9 hours ago, Matt said:

The automatic moderation feature that was added to Invision Community 4.3 will help.

A great feature as usual. The option of Block IP Address, Block User next to Report Reply would be most welcome

Edited by Farook

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Yeah, current Cambridge Analytica and Facebook SNAFU will hopefully make some people think and leave that toxic pit :). Also a wonderful opportunity to try and hopefully convert users to join and be active, and as @Joel R stated give an alternative where people can feel safer privacy-wise.

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On 3/24/2018 at 12:21 AM, SecondSight said:

To me, Facebook is crap. I just use it to share videos and news with friends.

Agreed.  The only reason I have a FB account is because I need the visibility for my business.  It's a ghetto if you ask me.

 

On 3/24/2018 at 2:09 AM, Farook said:

Our education and parents teach us if you have nothing good to say don't say anything 

And if this were put into practice the Internet would be about 90% quieter than it is now. ?

On 3/24/2018 at 12:21 AM, SecondSight said:

- IPS community doesn't look attractive and is not easy to use on an iPhone (I don't know on other phones).

On 3/24/2018 at 4:42 AM, Farook said:

It is a clean design no doubt, but somehow it looks dated, needs refinement. In-house themes is what it needs.

To be fair, I think a default theme should be fairly generic - enough to run your website with the fundamentals without bloating bandwidth with features the client base may not want or need.  That said, this reboot of the default IPS theme is great - @Volpedid an amazing job of contemporising it and I pray he keeps up the great work.

 

Edited by liquidfractal

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With my ip I use it purely for a hobby bird keeping forum with many of our members also being members on Facebook groups.
The only in favour comments I get about using Facebook is "its easier to post videos".
My members are constantly just using the file upload feature so whoever wants to view the video first has to download it.
I quite often mention the benefits of first uploading the videos to such as Youtube then posting the link but very few seem to like the idea or maybe they just find it too much of an obstacle as they have to spend time uploading it first.
I have also mentioned that posting the video in the gallery works like Facebook, however not many use the gallery and prefer to post photos etc. within posts.
The problem we have is limited server resources being a free forum so having the option of videos opening like Facebook after a simple upload means our costs will rocket. 

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With 4.3, videos that a particular browser can play will embed and display automatically just like in Gallery (note that different browsers support different formats, so not every video format can play in every browser).

 

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