The Allure of Off-Topic Discussions

You see it on many corporate facebook pages today.

The social media manager discovered lighthearted, off-topic, discussions boosted engagement metrics. Now most Facebook pages are almost entirely disconnected from any real strategy in the pursuit of engagement.

This happens in communities too. You discover off-topic discussions boost activity and pursue more of it – regardless of strategy.

But once most discussions are off-topic, it becomes almost impossible to attract newcomers. Newcomers are attracted to valuable expertise shared by topical discussions.

So you end up with a shrinking group of familiar regulars (and a steady churn to zero).

Off-topic discussions are a strategic tool to build a stronger sense of community among members. This sense of community should facilitate more shared expertise. If it doesn’t, why do it?

Or to put it simpler; if you can’t engage people in the topic, off-topic discussions won’t save you.

p.s. Final week to sign up for our Strategic Community Management course.

Comments

  1. Sarah Hawk says:

    I think this comes down to educating managers so that engagement metrics aren’t used as primary KPIs. I think a lot of CMs have learned this behaviour because their performance was literally measured by number of posts per month.

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