By Sarah Sewell
If you admin a group on Facebook you may have noticed Friday that Facebook removed members from your community. Shock and outrage was sparked across Facebook Friday as many group admins lost anywhere from a handful to thousands of members. Nothing was "really" lost, but the number representing group membership may have been reduced.
Facebook sent an email out to many group admins with this message:
“We're making some updates to how members are invited to your group, and we wanted to share these changes with you. To help ensure people join Facebook Groups that are relevant and meaningful to them, you'll see the following changes:
Updated Group Invitation — Now, when people are invited to a group, they can accept or decline the invite. Before, people could be added to groups by friends who thought they might be interested in them, and they’d immediately become a member. Some people may have been added to your group, but have never visited it.
Invited Section — In the next few weeks, people who've been added to your group but have never visited it. Now will appear in the Invited section of your Members list, which only admins and moderators can view. They won't be considered a member until they accept their invite. This means they will no longer be included in your group's total member count, so you may see a decrease in your group’s total member count.
Reminder Notification — Because you're an admin, in the next few weeks you'll be able to send one notification to invited people to remind them to accept or decline the invite to your group.
Thank you for being a community leader.
The Facebook Groups Team”
Many group admin seemed initially upset. To wake up having a few hundred or thousand removed from their groups overnight had many admin taking to Facebook forums to express their outrage. What they seemed to miss is that these members never did contribute anything to their communities, in fact it actually held their communities back.
This update is a GOOD thing for your community!! It essentially removes those who never wanted to be added to the group in the first place! Before this happened many groups had a very skewed view of their membership. Alternatively some Facebook communities would encourage current members to add friends and family to the groups, WITHOUT their consent which means some Facebook communities appeared much larger than they actually were...until now.
Let's discuss 3 reasons why this purge helps your community on Facebook.
Would you want to join a community that has 16,000 members but when you are inside the community you get crickets when you post? A space that offers minimal content that serves you or the community itself? Wouldn't it be better to have a group with maybe only 800 members but with consistent content and posts and shares that create engagement within the community?
It's more authentic to have a group of REAL members, people who check in throughout the week and post to share with one another. Having an authentic space gives you real members and real members equal real engagement.
Your community whatever it may have been created for is to serve a group of people. More people will want to join your community if they see your group as one that has authority on a certain subject or topic. Real people who are really interested in joining your group will interact with your posts and ask questions to give you as a group the opportunity to be seen as an authority in your industry or hobby.
Being an authority on a given topic or subject allows you to ultimately have more leverage in your personal or business development. Perhaps you want to write something, sell something or share something. You will be taken more seriously and be held at a higher esteem with some authority behind you on the given topic or subject.
Everything on Facebook has an algorithm. Your personal page has its own algorithm, your business page has its own algorithm, and your Facebook Group has (you guessed it) its very own algorithm too. This means how your community interacts with the group tells the algorithm how to behave. If you have a popular group, with lots of interaction and people who post, comment and share you better believe that your group will get favor in being shown in the news feed of your group members.
Alternatively if you have a group and the content isn't being engaged with by members.. that too is training the algorithm! It is telling it that "Hey!! This content isn't popular!! It isn't being noticed, or shared, or responded too! There is a LOT of members in this group yet the percentage of interaction with the group isn't high. This MUST mean that the group is poor, the content sucks and no body wants to see it." Now this may of course not be the truth BUT if you have a lot of inactive members that is exactly what the algorithm is thinking. So, it won't show your group in anyone's news feed and you posting content (no matter how good it is) simply won't get the visibility it deserves.
Facebook isn't the enemy here. Facebook provides an AMAZING opportunity for people, businesses, content creators and more to connect with others all over the globe. Starting to see it as a friend and not a foe will greatly enhance your ability to use it more efficiently. The bottom line is don't act like a spammer, don't add people to your communities who aren't the least bit interested and who haven't given their permission. Grow your community in an authentic way, share content your specific audience will love to see and nurture the community with your time and care. This is how your group will grow in leaps and bounds with REAL members offering REAL engagement to give your group authenticity, authority, and will give the algorithm a heads up that your group is the place to be.