Facebook Groups are a great way interact with people that share the same interest. With a digital population of 1.28 billion active monthly users, creating and maintaining a healthy group of like minded individuals seems like it should be simple. It can be if you follow use data culled from nearly 500,000 groups.

In 2013 Facebook and Carnegie Mellon University conducted research (PDF link) on nearly half a million Facebook Groups for three months to see what makes a Facebook group thrive. During the study 57 percent of the groups died (no longer posting updates). Don’t let your group disappear, use the data from Facebook’s study to keep your group alive.

The least surprising piece of information is that a group needs a founder dedicated to it and its focus right from the start. According to the study, “in the first week, groups where founders created new content most frequently were 19 percent more likely to survive.” Plus, when the group is being created it’s important to fill out all the group information, add a logo and cover photo. The study found that a group was 36 percent more likely to survive with all these elements filled out and ready to go at launch.

Once the group is up and running, for better engagement, add images or artwork to posts. A stunning piece of art is more likely to grab a group member’s attention than a pithy piece of text. Remember you’re battling the Facebook algorithms, you need to stand out.

0730 groups 730x494 How to create a better Facebook Group that thrives, using Facebooks own research

But as a group grows, it’s important for the founder to step back and not only enlist others to post to the site, but to expand the group beyond the founder’s circle of friends. According to the research, groups that had more than one founder administrating the group and posting updates was 25 percent more likely to survive.  The other administrators could be friends, but it’s important to grow a group beyond your BFFs.

When a founder is friends with all the members of a group, it’s 25 percent less likely to survive than if the founder is friends with fewer than 70 percent of a groups members. Be sure to remind members to invite their friends and their friends and so on. This goes back to adding photos to your posts. If your members share those posts to their friends, you might lure in new members.

But seriously, it’s really important to get those other members to invite their friends. Founders that invited at least 90 percent of a group’s members was 25 percent less likely to make it than if they only invited fewer that 70 percent of a groups members.

The TL;DR of the study is this: Invite your friends, but then have them invite their friends. Make sure the group details are completely filled out and you have a cover photo a logo, and when posting content, use photos or artwork.

But most important, spread the admin love around the group. Running a group alone will not only burn you out, it’ll also cause your group to flame out. Promote trusted members to post to the group. You’ll be happier and your group will be better because of it.

➤ The Role of Founders in Building Online Groups [Facebook and Carnegie Mellon University]

See also: Did you know? Facebook has different notification icons depending on your location.