Forum owners, how do you "fight" Facebook groups?

it would be awesome if discourse also adds a feature like FB newsfeed

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About pulling: are you talking about stuff like creating topics on Discourse from Facebook content? I’m not sure how it should be done and what it would look like in real life.
Or have a sidebar that embeds the facebook group (the content is public)?

As for pushing content out of Discourse to social media, I’m also not sure where to send it. Sending a topic link from Discourse to the Facebook “concurrent” group? :thinking:

Creating new social media accounts of which I would be the owner and push content in here?

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You can quote good [public] social media posts (with full credits to the writer/creator). Even “news” sites do it pretty frequently now, by quoting twitter posts (it’s getting sometimes annoying as they seem to be more gathering opinions of twitter users, rather than actually report on things). The idea is that you may be starting a new conversation on your forum, thanks to the quote.

As for publishing to social media: Create an account for you forum there, which will be publishing quotes from your forum (the opposite from above).

You just have to be wary of the rules (especially for Facebook). Some ideas mentioned above in this forum may also be problematic because of Facebook’s rules.

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I considered a side bar with a feed but thought it would be detrimental to the look and feel of the site.

So I instead created dummy accounts

Here are two dummy accounts I created that I have been experimenting with.

In one picture they are taking tweets, the second using an RSS feed.

The only information they are taking from either is the website URL. Discourse does the rest making it a contextualised link. These bots are directed to post in specific threads.

The way I did this is very simple.

  1. Create dummy accounts in discourse
  2. Under admin panel create an API for each user
  3. Create free account with Zapier
  4. When you select apps in Zapier add RSS, twitter.
  5. In Zapier select link Twitter to Discourse
  6. Enter usernames and passwords to Twitter
  7. You will then get the option for the trigger (what starts the action) ie a tweet, number likes, retweets, key words etc. Select what’s appropriate
  8. Zapier will then ask you for the Discourse action. Enter your discourse user name (bots) and password. Also enter the API created in discourse.
  9. Zapier then asks you what you want to do. Eg Create a thread or post within a thread. Your categories and threads automatically come up within Zapier
  10. You then define action. What is posted ? I suggest just the URL.

Click on test, to see if it works. But that’s it !

If you find you are capturing too much information or non relevent information. Try altering the “trigger”. Alternatively the paid version of Zapier allows you to add extra steps of filtering or time delays etc.

I have not tried it with Facebook but believe likely works the same.

I would heed the advice about Facebook rules for pushing (that’s something I know nothing about).

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Interesting. I tried Zapier a long time ago, but I forgot that existed.

Can you explain how do you think these bots are beneficial to your community growth or stickiness? On a psychology level. Aren’t Discourse users bothered by topics full of bot posts? Do you think it can attract Facebook users in some way?

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The limits are probably thin between being beneficial to your forum and bothering your users, or even being some kind of advertisement for fb/twitter (“hey, the good content is over there, this is where you should go !”).

My feeling is that automating things is risky about these matters. One good usage is
to only manually quote and add value by writing yourself something along the quote. But that’s work (there’s no magic). That’s only my own opinion, of course.

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Forums are like a discussion platform as compared to Facebook groups which are completely unorganized. We can’t see the reputation of the user at Facebook groups, crappy search feature, repeated questions etc… The only advantage is the ease of access, a dedicated Facebook app icon on your mobile phone.

So having a dedicated discourse app of your discourse forum with notifications will add traffic to your site, in other words, its the ease of access.

I agree with member @Bill, a plugin to rate sellers/traders will be an advantage over Facebook groups. There is a thread on this already but we are still waiting for the plugin at Is there any plugin to rate sellers? - plugin - Discourse Meta

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Hi All,

I have been fighting Facebook groups in the French community in London since 3 years and here are some strategies.

  • 1 - Try to partnership with the admins of the facebook groups. Some of them will like you and your project. They will see an interest in working with you. So they will let you post or comment and you will also help them on your website.
    I prefer commenting in groups instead of posting, because in commenting i bring the answer to a question. For example Facebook group post is : "Hi guys, how to find accommodation in London " My comment will be -> "go here, to the forum where you will find the wiki post that every users can improve, tweak (Trouver un Logement à Londres - Auberges de jeunesses, résidences étudiantes, colocations et agences immobilieres - Logement - Français à Londres)

  • 2 - To do the above you need to have the answer to everything in your forum so gather the questions people are often posting in FB groups and write topics or wikis about it. Then to help you comment faster, if you have à mac, install Alfred (https://www.alfredapp.com/) for better productivity and find quickly your forum topics

  • 3 - do partnership with companies - in our case, we have agencies that post job offers, accommodations, au pairs, events etc… this is fresh content and free visibility for the companies.

  • 4 - Create facebook groups yourself, it does give us a bit of visibility our stats of the last 6 months :

  • 5 - create a directory - on FB groups people always look for a dentist, a lawyer, summer camps, here is our answer for this -> Français à Londres

With a bit of patience and consistency we have our audience stats that looks like this : Audience du site francais à Londres - Site Feedback - Français à Londres

Good luck to you all guys.

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This is what I recently did after reading this thread.

I set up some Zapier functionality for cross-posting between Facebook and Discourse.

I think this will help, but I’m not sure if search engines will consider this “duplicate content” and penalize me.

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Opening Facebook accounts and linking content is giving in, no?

Sorry, my reaction is probably less logical and more emotional. We have to cut ourselves off from those platforms or we will always be slaves to them?!

However I have the luxury of making a living writing software not running a marketing department … so who am I to judge?

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I agree, and this was a hard decision for me. My biggest competition is a FB group, second biggest is a subreddit, while all the others are small forums with outdated forum platforms and little to no activity.

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Mine is a sports forum, so a lot of content is driven by what is in the press. New transfer rumour, player failed drug test, someone injured. It is very common for normal users to post links to Twitter or articles. What I am trying to say in my round about way of saying things is my solution works well for me but may not universally good for all forums.

On mine I tried to strike balance. I use the bots in just 3 threads.

Dedicated Twitter thread
Dedicated news thread
In game commentary for my team.

The first two are basically used as a feed. It’s keeps users up-to-date with what’s happening. I limit it to about 5-10 posts a day. People are going there don’t tend to user Twitter, and links get reposted in other discussions.

The third use is match updates. It compliments the user comments with more factual events occuring.

Doing it this way it becomes additive rather than a negative

I would love to tell you the beneficial impact it has had but it’s difficult to untangle from other aspects. I have been continually adding features. From navigation buttons you see in picture above, whose online plugin, improved skins etc.

What I can say is that after 10 years of a slow decline on xenforo we are seeing a huge spike in posters returning (a couple of days ago we had over 600 posts in 1 hr by 300 active users…when total membership is just 400 users) . Next week will be my third server upgrade in a matter of months.

This is a forum that has not been open to the public but enticing old members back. Our daily engagement numbers range from 3-5 times higher than we were on xenforo.

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I really try to be pragmatic,

By instinct I would react like you, meaning that yes I want to leave Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.

It could seem that I’m dependent to those social things, but I prefer to think that I take advantage of them.
1- I never do paid campaign with them
2- I never really give them content, only links that points to the forum

The one I’m really afraid of is google, 70% of the traffic come from the google search. By the way, well done Guys for the nice work on the natural ranking.

But can we trust google? Will this last ?

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I really liked your list of actions btw. Creating superior structured content locally is the best way to go.

My concern is strategically we are feeding the lion and without coordinated mass abstention we sustain the original status quo. But ultimately I reluctantly accept reality!

Yes I’m aware I’m giving Google a pass and that’s a little biased perhaps but at least they support ‘the open web’ … at least for now.

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I have tried with the title + Link + Short description. But the reach of the posts is not much.

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Hello,

I think it’s more person-dependent. Members trust and follow the leaders. So I targeted the fb group admins to cooperate and one of the biggest former fb group admin joined us. He started advertising our forum in his group. People started coming more than before just because he suggested us…

I’m trying to turn the forum more like a social site in every way. The “forum” word: People think this is just another old school forum from 2000s. So I just called the forum: on our brand or Community. I completely remove the forum word. (It is much easier to change a word than their way of thinking.) That needed because people judge before they open the website. So there was a lots of time they just commented on fb —just another forum… etc. they actually didn’t click the link.

Interface and features

It also looks more like Facebook, unfortunately people more familiar this. First time I used category for homepage but now I just figured out the latest page is much better for communities it generate more activities from users.

I added a lot of features which makes it much better than Facebook.

Trading, auction, user ratings, trusted sellers, etc.
People like badges and avatar flairs, each group has an avatar flair which is appears next to users avatar.

Compare

I compare the forum with Facebook. People only knows Facebook so I have to highlight those things which is bad at there. What people don’t like on Facebook.

Facebook is full of bullying what we not tolerate and don’t accept on the forum this is a much more controllable place than fb. The trust level system add us the biggest ability to control these people… So people are much friendlier than on fb…

I never want to see a Facebook content on our forum! Forum is the quality contents place not the instant posts from Facebook. So I do the opposite I share quality content from the Forum to Facebook BUT I disable the comment section! That is important…. If they want to reply to the topic they have to register and reply on the Forum.

Cooperation with Members

I initiate the community into everything and I ask them before do anything. I created a category where they can send their ideas about the forum, Community and everything…

I always notify members when made any changes. Every Sunday I share them an update topic and summarize the weekly changes, development and everything. If something not clear they can ask and we can talk about it like a great big family. :slightly_smiling_face:

One other point is we can customize the Forum what Members needs! You cannot do that on Facebook.

And last but not least we are all the same in our Community!

These things makes the forum much better for quality members. I think this community is more cohesive and healthy. You have to show the way them. This is a very slow process but if one time they find your forum they never want to go back to Facebook.

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I didn’t realize Zapier had a “short description” of the post. I’m going to switch mine to this. I’m currently using the full post, this is way too much for Facebook. Have you tried Twitter? I focus more of my social media marketing on Twitter than Facebook. I’ve organically grown my follower count to over 300. I know of some Twitter bots that could help with faster follower growth, but I’m worried about risking a suspension/ban on my account.

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You may not know, but a post with no title or it is below will have higher engagement.

  • Description
  • Title

About Zapier I have up a number of scripts to try the integrated version, but it only includes articles and raw htm (When posting, FB does not recognize the format as handwriting).

So I am building via Rss here which will describe the short customization.

I will try it! sure.

Twitter tried it out from a programmer’s perspective, I just cross-post auto + summary content.

But since the account is less tracked, it doesn’t work well. Instead of buying, I think running targeted ads will generate better tracking.

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I agree that ease of access is probably a significant aspect. But…

Have you considered that design, “friendliness” (of aesthetic), and ease of use or familiarity may also be major factors? I love Discourse, I participate in at least 5 Discourse forums regularly. But I recently started testing out Circle.so and while it is definitely inferior in many respects, even I actually liked some of its aesthetic and UX choices. More here:

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How did you setup the auction and trade sites? Did you use a plugin?