Member and content selection is at the center of engaged communities. Example from a successful Facebook group.

Almost 6 years ago, I created a simple Facebook group, now called French Startupers Network, to be able to share with my fellow entrepreneurs. What started as a simple Facebook group with 200 of my friends is gathering almost 6000 people, and is often considered as the backchannel of the French Tech ecosystem, with the best engagement and the best conversation quality. (That’s what members say)

Later on, I also created another group, called Paris Startup Ecosystem, that was solely dedicated to the Parisian community.

Beyond the different regional scope, there were and still are two big differences between these two groups:

  • Member Selection. French Startupers Network is strictly limited to either startup founders or startup employees. And they need to be speaking french. But no consultant, no agency, no investor, no journalist etc. For Paris Startup Ecosystem, I let anyone join.
  • Content Selection. On French Startupers Network, there are some key rules that defined what posts are allowed: no self promotion, no job offers (most startups are looking for new hires so it would flood the group), only one «launch announcement» allowed, there’s a dedicated single post for office searches, no call for votes or PH upvotes etc. On Paris Startup Ecosystem, everything is accepted, if somehow related to startups.

And when we look at the engagement statistics, it’s pretty clear which strategy was the right one…

For the last 28 days for French Startupers Network. (As of today, 5825 members)

And those of Paris Startup Ecosystem, same period. (As of today 17348 members)

I believe these statistics speak for themselves. This show why I believe member curation/selection as well as having clear rules on what sort of post/content is allowed are the key ingredients of a successful group.

And what is not visible from these statistics is the qualitative engagement, on top of the quantitative one. Comments are clearly bringing way more value on French Startupers Network than Paris Startup Ecosystem.

2017 was a wonderful year for Facebook Groups. Facebook finally decided to be serious about Groups, and brought very interesting features. For some of them we were beta testers and they helped a lot: more admin and group insights, the possibility to ask questions to users requesting to join a group, better admin and moderator roles etc. Can’t wait to see more coming.

On a side note. It’s such a missed opportunity for Linkedin. They had groups since the beginning, but they’ve never been serious about them, and let them become a waste of time and value for members, with no engagement. The number reason to join groups is for network expansion, and not for constructive conversations between members. Most of professional communities I’m involved in are on Facebook, not on Linkedin.

If you have a Facebook or Linkedin group, I would love to hear your thoughts!

And if you’re French and startup employee or founder, join French Startupers Network!