Facebook Groups are a valuable tool for many businesses, because it allows them to build a connection with customers and prospects on a platform they’re already using regularly. Coming together with a group of like-minded people allows you to build trust and stronger, more meaningful, relationships.
Why You May Want Both a Facebook Page and a Facebook Group
Though not necessary for all businesses, there are some situations where you may want to add a Facebook Group to your Facebook Page as part of your social media strategy. Facebook Group expert Bella Vasta equates your Facebook Page to your front yard, where people drive by to see what’s going on, and the Facebook Group to your backyard. Your back yard is where you spend time with people you want to connect with – and it’s by invitation only. As the host of your backyard gathering, you don’t just go inside and nap once people show up – you engage and introduce people so they talk to you and to each other.
If your business is conducive to having a group, because you’ve sold members a product and want to provide additional networking and support, or because you want people who are interested in your non-profit organization to come together to spread the word, then it makes sense to create a group and link it to your page.
Let’s take a look at some of the features announced at the most recent Facebook Community Summit, which were rolled out to attendees first.
New Feature 1: Badges
Badges are a feature admins can turn on or off. They are designed to help group members feel special. When the feature is on, unique badges appear next to the member’s name, recognizing them as an admin or moderator, new member, a founding member, celebrating membership anniversary, conversation starter, conversation booster, visual storyteller, rising star, and more. All the badges (except admin and moderator, of course) disappear within about a month after someone has earned them. New members will see this badge for the first two weeks of group membership.
The conversation starter badge is used to recognize people who frequently start meaningful discussions, which encourages group members to contribute more. This badge appears for members whose posts have received the most likes and comments for the past month.
The conversation booster badge is recognize people who frequently generate meaningful discussions, which encourages group members to contribute more. This badge appears for members who make comments that people find valuable.
The visual storyteller badge is used for members who share photos and videos that other group members find valuable.
The rising star badge is used to recognize new members within their first month of membership that contribute to the community. This appears for the members that receive the most comments and reactions on their posts and comments.
Other badges include founding member – only available in newly created groups, greeter, and link curator.
Badges are available for groups with more than 50 members. They tend to work better with smaller groups, but can work for larger groups as long as the group strategy aligns with their use.
New Feature 2: Group Units
When you create a Facebook Group, you choose a Group type. If you choose to use the Social Learning Group type, you’ll be given access to Units. In the past, admins published posts and over time, the post decayed so it was hard for members and admins to find and refer to again. Now admins can pin posts to specific units so it’s easier to find. Units allow you to categorize important information in your group.
If you want to use Units, but didn’t choose the Social Learning Group type, you can change your Group type to get access to this feature.
New Feature 3: Group Post Formatting
The ability to format your group posts with H2 headers, bulleted text, bold, and italic is designed to help you accentuate and differentiate the message you’re trying to get across in the group. It aims to pull attention in the group feed and members’ news feeds to draw more attention to your group.
New Feature 4: Group Rule Violation Notifications
Members will violate group rules, and that leaves admins in a tough spot. You can delete their posts, reach out to them directly via message, or ban them without explanation. With this new feature, you can send a message to the member that alerts the rule that was violated, and if you choose to, add a personal message to provide more clarity. You can also mute the member for one to seven days so they can see posts, but cannot comment, rather than banning them from the group without explanation.
New Feature 5: Group Activity Log Filters
In the past, the activity feed for groups was a list of events that could be scrolled, but was not searchable. Now, admins and moderators can filter the feed to show removals, memberships, and other admin activity. The feed is also searchable by member name and by date.
New Feature 6: Subscription Groups
I’ve briefly discussed subscription groups already in my post on Facebook Group monetization. Facebook Subscription Groups gives you the option to charge anywhere from $4.99 to $29.99 per month for access to special sub-groups that contain exclusive posts that are not available to members of the main group. You’re free to choose what to offer based on what you believe your members will pay for. Members pay their subscription fees through Facebook Payments, Apple Pay, or Google Pay. Opting for Google or Apple Pay manages payments through the respective app stores, which will take a cut of the fees. It’s possible Facebook will take a percentage of the fees in the future as well. This feature may not be able to available to all users yet, but will continue to roll out.
With these new features, Facebook Groups are much more user friendly for both members and admin. Not only are they easier to manage, but these features also make it easier to grow membership and engage participants.