In this article we interviewed Megan Reis, Communications Lead of Bantani Education, organization taking the role of group admin for the EntreCompEdu project.
EntreCompEdu wins the #SocialEuAward thanks to being different from the other projects. It’s not that common for us to find a project who uses Facebook Group for dissemination. What advantages do you have, for your project, from opening a Facebook group instead of a Facebook Page?
The great thing about Facebook Groups is that all members can participate and share. We have seen posts from project partners but also
but also from learners who took part in the training course. Groups also give you the chance to create a ‘safe space’. The Admin can set the privacy levels and member questions to make sure that only the right people post. We feel that having a safe space encourages discussion because members know that everyone else in the group is just as interested as they are. It is also great that members can see each other. With a Page, it’s just a number, but with a Group you can see the other members, maybe someone you have something in common with and find people to connect with.
In the group we can see different people, partners or not, sharing content. Is there someone who works as a mediator in the group? Did you have problems during these years with people posting out of topics or inappropriate content?
With EntreCompEdu in particular, Bantani takes on the role of group admin, which means regularly checking the group – at least a few times a week. It’s a good idea to check your notification settings that way you will get a notification each time someone posts, and it can quickly be checked. We have not experienced any inappropriate content in this group, however this has been a problem in other groups that Bantani is managing. There are a lot of spam accounts on Facebook, or legitimate users who unfortunately get hacked. My advice would be to set membership question and admin approval. This way only members who have been checked by an admin can join or post. If I ever see a spam post, I delete it and block the user.
Is your partnership strategy to follow an editorial plan or just leaving your network free to post content?
The EntreCompEdu project has finished so we are no longer following an editorial plan specific to the project, but we continue to post content related to other entrepreneurial learning projects such as EntreComp Europe – which as you know also uses Facebook groups! For the EntreComp Europe Facebook groups we run a mixed strategy: half the content is provided by Bantani directly to the partners and sent each quarter, and half is provided by the partners themselves. It is really easy to schedule posts in a Facebook group as the admin, this is a great way to make sure you are sharing content regulalry. Our biggest obstacle when it comes to implementing an editorial strategy is that not all our project partners have a dedicated communications team so they might not understand the power of social media, nor the details of how it works so we find the best plan is to provide the content ourselves – and allow them to adapt it. We encourage our members to post too.
Even being in a group you need to pay attention to the statistics to create reports. How do you manage the Facebook Group results in order to fill the dissemination report?
Each month we complete a tracking report which features two very basic metrics: the number of users and the number of posts. This helps to see how much the group has grown in numbers and activity. This is something even entry level users can do, it doesn’t require any tools, and you can just keep track in an Excel. The group admin can also see more detailed reports by going to the ‘Insights’ tab of the group. I suggest doing this regularly as you can only see a maximum of 12 months in the group report. Data about the location or gender of your members can also be useful to create specific content for your audience.
Why would you suggest growing a network on a Facebook Group for dissemination what are the pros and cons?
I am not an expert in the Facebook algorithm, but I understand that community or group posts are prioritised over businesses and pages, the idea being that group posts are more likely to spark discussion and interaction. The biggest benefit is definitely the ability to have all
members post, not just admin. Our community have fantastic ideas which we are so pleased that they share with us. As with any social media profile it takes time, you need to be patient before your community starts to grow. It also takes dedication, posting regular content is really important, but it should be relevant so that your members react and comment. I would say the biggest downside is that (depending on the privacy settings) your content cannot go beyond the group. When we post on our company page for example this can be shared by anyone to anyone, in the group however only members will see the content which can of course limit the audience.