Membership Forums: Facebook Group versus Website Forum

Being a member of a variety of Facebook groups and website forums relevant to your membership website is a business-savvy move because it allows you to connect with a myriad of people interested in topics related to what you want to sell. You’ll find opportunities to make contact with others, understand their needs, and spread the word about your business.

However, because you can find yourself being spread too thin, it’s important to consider how Facebook groups and website forums differ and which would be better for you to join. It’s important to weigh the good and bad of each, especially if you are contemplating hosting a Facebook group or starting a website forum. Here’s a list of those pros and cons to help you get started in deciding:

The Pros of Facebook Groups

Billions of people are already using Facebook. 

People are constantly on Facebook; they even have the Facebook app on their phones. This means that if they are actively involved in the group you are, they’ll receive regular notifications. Consider this statistic: the monthly user spends about a half hour on Facebook every day, the daily user about forty minutes. That gives you an opportunity to be heard and to connect with other members of the group. 

A Facebook group is very convenient. 

If you already use Facebook, being part of a group or even forming your own group is incredibly easy. Joining a group is as simple as searching for the group you are interested in via the search engine and asking permission to join. 

Even starting a group requires little effort from the get-go (to learn more about what will be required as time goes on, check out this article). It’s as simple as filling in some blanks and creating a searchable title. 

Increasing membership numbers is easy. 

Since there are billions of people already on Facebook, it’s pretty easy to grow a group, which enables you to connect with more people. Additionally, you can quickly invite friends and family to be involved. 

Also, if you are creating your own group, you don’t have to do the marketing yourself. People will utilize Facebook’s search engine to find your group. Others can easily invite their friends to join the group too. There’s not too much hassle beyond coming up with a searchable group name. Be aware, though, that groups are limited to a membership of 5,000, whereas forums aren’t. 

The Cons of Facebook Groups

Facebook groups aren’t well organized. 

Facebook algorithms display posts based on who’s posted most recently or who’s had the most interaction. Things aren’t well sorted at all. Within a Facebook group, you can use the search engine to look for posts with specific keywords, but it isn’t always easy to find exactly what you’re looking for. Facebook groups are better for general conversations, so if you’re looking to get specific, a forum might be the better choice.

You can’t make money off the group alone.

You might be able to use a Facebook group to spread the word about your product, but unless the group is specifically designed for buying and selling, there are limits. 

Additionally, if you are forming your own group, you can’t buy ads or charge people to be part of the group the way you can on a website forum.

The Pros of Website Forums

Creating a forum will bring more traffic to your website.

Should you decide to create a forum on your membership site, the odds that your site will be searched via Google are increased. People come to your site to be involved in the forum, which means your site is going to be seen more often. Facebook may elicit interest, but if people come to a forum on your site, it guarantees they will see your site. And getting more people to come to your site is always a good way to sell your product.

Forums are more organized. 

Because forums are incredibly organized, you can get exactly what you want out of a forum, which enables forums to be beneficial in a way Facebook groups can’t be. Whereas you may be part of a Facebook group to get feedback or join a conversation or because a friend invited you, you can use a forum to find out what’s already out there regarding what you want to know. Forums can be organized around various topics and questions, which is great. Creating your own forum enables you to reach people who’ve come because they really care about the topic and are interested in broadening their horizons. 

Forums can be monetized.

If your forum does well, you can make money off the forum alone by selling ad space or by making sections of the forum more exclusive for a fee. This allows the work you put into creating and running a forum to go beyond being a way to advertise to being a way to make a profit. 

The Cons of Website Forums

There may be less involvement. 

People generally don’t spend as much time on a website forum as they do on Facebook. This means there may not be as many opportunities to connect with specific individuals. 

It’s also tricky to find people to join if you are trying to start your own forum. If your website is already popular, it may be easier to get your members involved. If not, it will require some marketing and effort to reach people and build awareness of your forum. 

Forums can be more complicated to create.

Creating your own website forum can be complicated, especially if your website is exclusively dedicated to the forum. 

It doesn’t have to be, though. If you don’t want to create a forum on your own, you can use various tools to add a forum to your site. Of course, that often costs money (though there are free options out there)! 

Forums can be considered outdated.

Some think forums are a thing of the past. If you want to appeal to a younger audience, a forum may not be the way to go. Of course, Facebook isn’t really hip for young’uns either!  Many people still utilize forums, though, so it really depends on who you are trying to attract. Be sure you know your audience and how they use their internet time.

Deciding on whether or not to create or utilize Facebook groups or forums depends on what your goals are—and how much time you have. If you have time, do both! Being a part of forums and groups allows you to discover more about your audience and get them interested in what you have to offer. It’s a great way to market yourself.

Remember:

  • Facebook is already popular. It’s easy to connect with others. It’s simple.
  • You can’t make money off a Facebook group, and it won’t be well organized.
  • Forums are well organized and lead people directly to your site. 
  • You can monetize your forum.
  • It may be hard to find an audience with a website forum, and it’s not as easy to create as a Facebook group.

Regardless of whether you choose a Facebook group or forum, be sincere and helpful, make friends, and have fun doing it. 

Do you already have a Facebook group or forum? Which do you prefer and why? Please let us know in the comments below.

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About Michelle Carpenter

Amy Michelle Carpenter co-owns a 3D printing business called STEM Garage. She is a national blogger, a YA editor, and a professional marketer. She also teaches children in China at 4AM in the morning because she thinks its fun.

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