Earlier this year, Facebook held its first ever summit for group admins as part of a renewed focus on groups, which then lead to the introduction of a range of new analytics tools and options to better enable admins to maintain and grow their Facebook communities.
Now, Facebook’s adding in some new group tools to further enhance group engagement, including welcome notes, member badges and specific group profiles.
Here’s what’s been announced.
1. Welcome Posts
As explained by Facebook:
“For admins, welcoming new members and making them feel supported is critical to building community. To help them introduce new members to the group, admins can now write a welcome post that will automatically tag new joiners.”
It’s a fairly simple addition, though it will likely help in guiding new members into the group and getting them more involved.
Of course, not everyone wants to be highlighted in this way, some just want to read and not necessarily participate, but each community manager will be able to make their own assessment of the option for their community.
2. Group Member Badges
Facebook’s also officially adding in group member badges, which was seen in testing back in August.
Facebook says they’re adding badges for group admins, moderators and new members, helping people more easily identify the status of these users. This will be particularly beneficial for those looking for members who can help when they have any queries or issues.
3. Member Profiles
Facebook’s also adding new member profiles which will provide insights relevant to the group.
“Now, when group members click on another person’s name they will be directed to a group-specific profile, based on publicly-available information like things they may share in common and a feed of that person’s activity in the group.”
As you can see, the group-specific profiles don’t provide all your Facebook information, but rather the information relevant to each user and group, including recent publicly posted photos and group activity.
4. New Controls
Facebook’s also adding in new, automated tools which can provide guidance on how admins can help expand their communities, with recommendations like when your group is most active (to boost engagement with new content) and how you can help improve your group discoverability (like adding location tags).
“We’ve also heard that conversations in even the most supportive groups can sometimes get heated, so we’ve created more tools for admins to manage members that might have forgotten group rules of conduct. Admins can now temporarily turn off a member’s ability to comment and post, and remove members who violate their community’s rules from multiple groups they manage in a single click.”
These add to the groups tools added back in June, expanding the capacity for group admins to manage and grow their networks.
As noted, Facebook’s been giving groups renewed focus this year, particularly after CEO Mark Zuckerberg made ‘Supportive Networks’ a key pillar of his new mission statement for Facebook, which he published back in February.
Facebook had actually flagged changes to groups early last year, noting that they were an “under-appreciated product” – and with more than a billion Facebook users actively engaging in groups, the increased emphasis makes sense.
And while the main focus of groups is on community engagement among everyday users, Facebook has also made it easier for businesses to also use their platform to broaden their communities, adding the ability for Pages to created linked groups, which enables a whole range of new potential.
These new options further add to the groups offering – if you’ve not considered the potential value of Facebook groups, either for your community or your business, it may be worth giving them another look.