Today, Facebook has hosted its annual Communities Summit, and it’s entirely online like all events in 2020. So, you can watch it and know all the events and keynote speeches below:
Facebook has announced -as with past Communities Summit events- some new features for groups and given some new insights for the group’s engagement, usage, and so on.
Here are the points that have been announced:
People are looking for new ways to stay connecting as COVID-19 made it harder to physically connected. Facebook groups saw a massive jump in usage, over 1.8 billion users are using Facebook Groups monthly.
Last October, Facebook stated that there are 1.4 billion people using groups monthly. So, another 4 million active users were added within the past year.
As stated, a lot of these people decided to join groups as they wanted to stay connecting during the global lockdown and quarantine. Also, keep in mind that many groups were removed recently for many different reasons, a lot of them were related to the QAnon conspiracy theory.
According to the CEO of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg:
“Whether you’re organizing your groups around volunteering or a passion for singalongs, strong online communities like the Facebook groups help bring people closer together, and as individuals, the groups that you’ve all built change people’s lives […] and on a collective scale, that positive impact is just massive.”
Zuckerberg aligns his statement with Facebook’s renewed push to highlight the advantages that Facebook gives its users, as a lot of reports were claiming that it causes division and angst over time. One of Facebook’s managers stated recently that Facebook is focusing on increasing the engagement that has happened at a serious cost, with amplifying disagreements just to keep people online.
Indeed, there are different views on that. However, Facebook can argue that especially Groups have given massive benefit to a huge number of people. Particularly in the lockdown.
Also, Facebook has noted that there are more than 70 million people are Facebook group admins now.
First off, in terms of new features, Facebook has announced a set of new admin tools for groups that will give many ways for admins to be in control of their groups, and manage discussions and engagements as well.
The major addition is the Admin Assist, this new process will make group admins able to create auto rules for moderation, which will save them a lot of time getting through common issues in posts.
“For example, you can limit promotional content in your group by automatically declining posts that have certain keywords, or that include a link, or are from people who haven’t been members of the group for a specific amount of time. In short, Admin Assist enables you to set controls on what content is published and who can post in your Group.”
The new Admin Assist, as you can see here, can cover a set of actions, that will make admins save their time and effort. Also, it will enable them to focus better on building community and increasing engagement in the group.
They will not solve all issues, yet particularly the spam tool, can be very useful as everyone who runs a group is aware of.
Admin Assist will be released to Facebook group admins in the next few months, and will firstly be available on desktop.
Additionally, defined by hashtags, Facebook is adding new pinnable topics in groups.
“Now, admins and members will be able to add a topic to any of their posts by simply using a hashtag before a keyword or phrase, and in turn, admins can then pin topics to the top of their groups for people to easily see.”
Facebook is focusing on hashtags more than ever, as a content organizing option. This week Facebook warned group admins to the new ‘hashtag challenge’ option for groups, as a new way to maximize engagement.
New! Facebook is rolling out hashtag challenge feature to Groups
— Matt Navarra (@MattNavarra) September 25, 2020
Moreover, Facebook is also starting a new course ‘Community Management Certification’ which will help admins increase their skills. Also, it’s adding new insights and activities to assist in providing more content on how to increase group engagement.
Group Promotions via Brand Collabs Manager
Facebook has announced last month that it added a new partnership post established in the group’s experience direct, giving a way for admins to gain profit from their efforts on their groups. and for brands to reach engagements from the audience according to the discussion on the groups.
Currently, Facebook is taking another step towards adding group promotions in the Brand Collabs Manager tool.
Presently, as you can see, when brands are seeking potential partnership chances for their promotions in the brand manager, public groups will also appear to them, giving a new chance for connection for the sponsored posts.
Clicking on a group listing will give you more insights into previous brand partners, demographics, engagement, and so on.
As a start, only public groups will be displayed in Brand Collabs Manager. However, Facebook stated that it’s working on the sponsored content option for closed groups too.
Chats, Conversation Starters and Interviews
Also, Facebook is adding new options to increase engagements in groups. Such as conversation starter prompts, Q and A tools, and the new real-time chats.
According to Facebook:
“[Chats] will allow for smaller, and real-time discussion among group members. So if you’re in a photographic group, for example, and you have a specific question around what the best spot to photograph flowers is in your home town, you can simply start a chat with a few of the members of the group to have a real-time conversation.”
So, it is just a messaging group in the settings, yet it may provide another ways to create closer connections between your audience.
Expanded Discovery of Public Groups
Furthermore, Facebook is planning to increase discovery in public groups, as a way to maximize group joins
As explained by Facebook:
“You might see Related Discussions in News Feed when someone posts a link, or re-shares a post on Facebook. This will let you dive deeper and see what other groups are saying about the same content. When you visit the Groups tab, you can see posts from Public groups related to your interests, as well as popular posts across Public groups, recommended to you.”
Basically, Facebook is seeking to display more public group activity to maximize group engagement.
Also, Facebook stated that people might see conversations from Public groups outside of the Facebook application soon.
As there are more than 1.8 billion active users are in groups, and more than 50% of users on Facebook are in 5 groups each, it’s logical that Facebook wants to use this huge engagement, and attract more users by highlighting relevant conversations, and this will help group admins increase their reach as well.
New Group Types
The final point, Facebook stated that it also explores new options for groups that will be in line with the user’s behavior that is evolving around the engagement and presentation.
“We know many of you have started creating more groups that are hyper-focused around one specific topic and, typically, share content in one specific format. In the coming months, we’ll introduce a new group type to help promote creativity and connections in these groups by having everyone in the group to post with only photos, videos, or text.”
That is more related to the visual, vertical figure of Stories, which will provide completely new chances for increasing group engagement. Also, it feels like Reddit a little bit, especially with the examples given in every field.