In a recent project, we had trouble agreeing on whether to launch a community on a forum or as a Facebook group.
The demographics and research sat right on the borderline of benefits between the two.
Instead of guessing, we took the more obvious approach. We did both for the first two months and treated it as a test.
We invited the same members to join both platforms, started the same discussions, and waited to see what would happen.
The Facebook group quickly came to life and the forum spluttered and struggled.
The community won’t stay on Facebook forever. But to generate the initial momentum and then decide where to go long-term (if we need to move) is worthwhile.
Two interesting points here.
The first was the level of resistance we came up against running this test. A couple of people felt telling members they could join two groups to discuss a topic would cause overwhelming confusion. As best as we can tell it didn’t. People simply picked the platform that suited them.
Second, sometimes you have to accept that what members want and what you want can be very different things. Sometimes you need to change your vision to suit your members.