Facebook hosted its yearly event of Communities Summit, which was held online this year and revealed a range of new features that the company has introduced for Groups, and provided insights related to other important aspects of Groups such as usage and engagement.
Regarding usage of Groups, Facebook has observed a noticeable rise in their usage during the coronavirus pandemic. More than 1.8 billion are estimated to have been spending time on Groups each month. Compared to the statistics of last year, a total number of 4 billion additional users are using Groups this year. Moreover, more than 70 billion users have been organizing and managing Groups as admins globally.
Facebook’s original purpose behind Groups was to help bring people closer together, and that is certainly what the feature has been doing as more and more people have started to stay connected via Groups while staying at home.
Facebook has launched a bunch of new tools for Group Admins to help them have better control over Groups and manage them more easily.
One of the main tools is called Admin Assist, which has been designed to allow admins to set up automated rules for post moderation, so they can filter problematic posts more easily. This includes automatically declining posts containing certain keywords or links, or posts that have been made by inactive members of the Group. Basically, it allows admins control over what content is published on the Group and who posts it. Admins can save more time and effort with this feature.
The feature will be available over the coming months according to Facebook, and could be used on desktop only, initially.
The other interesting feature is that of Group Topics. This includes topics that can be ‘'pinned’' within groups along with hashtags. To add a topic, members or admins can simply use a hashtag before a keyword or phrase and admins can then pin topics at the top of the Group, where they can be easily seen. It looks like that with this tool, Facebook is trying to use hashtags as a way of sorting content. Earlier this week, it had also launched a hashtag challenge for Group admins to increase engagement within Groups.
Furthermore, a new Community Management Certification course is also being offered by Facebook, which is aimed at helping admins improve their management skills and would also provide post insights and group activity analytics, so admins can get more context on how to build group engagement.
Facebook’s existing tool of Brand Collabs Manager is also getting a new feature of Group Promotions. The Brand Collabs Manager was designed as a partnership tool by the company to help admins generate revenue from their efforts and allow brands to reach highly engaged audiences based on Group discussion. Now by adding the option of Group Promotions to this tool, brands are being provided new connection opportunities for sponsored content.
Facebook is also introducing a bunch of new ways to engage within Groups, that include real-time chats, conversation and starter prompts, and Q and A tools for interview sessions.
The main addition is that of chats, that will allow for ‘'smaller and real-time discussion among Group members’', as explained by Facebook. It is no different than simple messaging, but can be a means of facilitating closer connection among the audience.
In addition to that, Facebook is also providing a way to boost discovery of public Groups to increase Group participation. When users visit the Groups tab, they will be able to see posts from public Groups related to their interests, along with popular posts across those Groups.
Lastly, Facebook has also come up with new Group Types. This means that there will be new Group options aligned with the evolving behavior of users related to presentation and engagement. According to Facebook, Group Types are aimed at promoting creativity and connection within Groups.
All in all, the new Group tools are likely to benefit admins, members, and brands individually, while promoting and maximizing community engagement across Facebook.