Why Facebook is the ultimate way to engage participants

Hugh Carling

Hugh Carling


Co-founder of Liveminds. I love to bring like-minded people together. Whether that's growing businesses, running online communities, staging events or captaining my village cricket team, nothing makes me happier than seeing people with a shared passion, coming together and making the most of it.

When researchers first come to talk to us about online qual, they often say that they find it hard to get their group engaged in the same way they can with face-to-face research. We like to think we’ve created a really easy experience for participants new to the Liveminds platform. But the simple fact remains – they have to adjust to using it. More complex community platforms amplify this problem – more alien features, more things to learn, more confusion and frustration.

Since we launched our new Facebook app, which we designed as the most natural and convenient way to keep people engaged, we’ve realised that it’s also the best way to get people engaged in the first place.

Get participants engaged quickly

It turns out that getting people together in the comfortable and familiar environment of a Facebook group before taking them into a qualitative research platform is an exceptional way to warm up your participants.

In much the same way that online pre-tasks break down barriers before a face-to-face group meet and help you get more value from that time, so does starting a dialogue with your participants in Facebook before inviting them to your online research project. The instantly familiar comments tool, used by the hundreds of millions of people that log into Facebook every day, is the perfect way to get your research participants happily interacting with one another.

Furthermore, Behavioural Recruitment™ powered by Facebook is an excellent way to find the very best participants for your project. All it takes is a couple of posts and comments in Facebook and you’ll know who the most interesting, articulate, and relevant people are to invite through to your project. There’s also the added benefit that they’ll already have got to know each other. You won’t even need to incentivise them for this part, so you’ll save money sorting the wheat from the chaff upfront. In brief, it’s the perfect foundation on which to start a successful ad-hoc project.

Keep participants engaged

Another problem we’ve heard countless times, is that existing ‘insight community’ platforms quickly lose participants’ interest. It’s not surprising – coming up with ideas compelling enough to interrupt people’s day and persuade them to leave their favourite social networks, to log in to a dislocated, alien platform to talk about your research, is a serious challenge.

When you use Facebook to run your community, they will see your posts in the News Feed that they already check on average 14 times and day, and if it’s interesting, simply comment there and then. If you are going to keep participants actively engaged over time, it has to be interesting, but it also has to be convenient. Facebook’s best-of-breed social tools encourage users to engage on a level that simply can’t be matched by the competition. Not only is that great for participants, but using it also makes the management of research communities much less demanding on your time and with it, much more cost effective for your clients.

Once you’ve got participants together in your group it’s up to you how you use it. A post or two a week can be plenty to keep a large group of people engaged. Of course, if you want to use it more intensely then you can. Facebook groups are the perfect place to:

  • Have open conversations
  • Share and discuss media
  • Co-create ideas
  • Run polls
  • Get instant feedback

Then, whenever you need to take participants into a more controlled environment for in-depth qual, post a Liveminds link and they can log straight in. Or if you want to run some quant, simply create a survey with your favourite tool and post the link to your group.

Length of communities

You can keep participants engaged in the Facebook group for as short or as long a time as you need. It can be used as the ‘home’ for the life-cycle of your project, as you switch from recruitment, to mobile diaries, to face-to-face groups, to web forums, to analysis etc. giving your participants a convenient place to talk more amongst themselves, raise issues with you, or respond immediately to your questions. All of which leads to smoother running projects and further insights for your client.

Alternatively, you can use it as the home of your long-term community, in a way that’s lighter touch for you, more convenient for them and infinitely better equipped to keep people engaged.

Behavioural Recruitment™ and engagement enables you to set up and manage communities with a minimum of effort, by giving you easy access to ground-breaking targeting tools and the opportunity to run groups within the familiar environment of the world’s largest social network. If you are planning your next global brief, or simply want to understand more about what is possible, please get in touch.

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