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I manage a community that provide our participants with information about how to settle in a new country mainly offline. Outside there are a lot of Facebook groups that are intended to the same purpose even though they are not really efficient. We are wondering if it will be useful to build our brand new website-based Q&A forum and compete to bring in the participants from the Facebook groups to our QA forum. In order to do that, we are evaluating the Pros and Cons. What are the insights that one could think of when building an alternative to an existing, low quality group of discussion?

Thanks

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I think you have two different questions here:

  1. Can you do better on or off Facebook?
  2. Should you set up a competing group?

I have more opinion about the first. I would set up the group on another website you have more control over and trust better than Facebook. Some people will refuse to make Facebook accounts, so this makes sense to me. But Facebook is a very big deal, it's an entry port for the Internet for many people, many don't even know that there is a difference between Facebook and the Internet. So you should also have a Facebook page, that just directs people to your real page via a link.

With respect to the second, if you can't join and help them, then go ahead and try to beat them. Set up your service and see if the users find you more useful. Assuming you have the time and can afford to fail. But you need these to be true whether or not there is another competing group.

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    Thanks Joanna! I think this is a good strategy to position our community online. – pedrez Aug 9 '16 at 10:53
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I think that it depends on what you are looking to accomplish within the platforms. The company that I work for uses both but for different reasons.

Our Support Forums are used for creating customer self-service articles and answering questions regarding usage of our platforms and services. Our platform works fine for what we are doing there, but we are not trying to push brand growth or driving people into a sales funnel from that property.

Facebook is being used as a social marketing channel. We didn't get much traction with using it in other means but it does well in brand/sales activities.

I have seen some groups use groups for Q&A and discussions, but I (personally) do not feel that the Facebook UI is designed for easily finding and engaging the channel for that purpose in the long-term. Even though it is archived, Facebook just feels more ephemeral with the way that it's feeds work.

  • Thanks Stuman! I think you gave a good insight since I was not seeing both approaches as channels of communication but mutual exclusive assets. Thanks again. – pedrez Aug 9 '16 at 10:55

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