Facebook announces updates for Facebook groups

News for the Facebook groups: In addition to chats and hashtags, the social media platform is also introducing new tools for working with brands.

At the annual Community Summit, Facebook announced that there would be some updates for the Facebook groups. Due to the corona pandemic, the event took place exclusively online and included keynote speeches from founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Head of Facebook App Fidji Simo and selected administrators of popular Facebook groups.

Over 1.8 billion users are active in groups every month

The updates for the Facebook groups are no accident. Because the use of these has increased drastically during the exit restrictions due to the corona crisis. More than 1.8 billion Facebook users are active in a group at least once a month. That is four billion more users than in the previous year. Over 70 million users are already acting as group admins. Despite the many benefits Facebook groups offer, it’s no surprise that they are also being used for negative purposes. For example, the conspiracy theorists at QAnon came together through Facebook. The social media giant has already taken action against such groups in recent months and removed them from the platform. Pile of sugar emphasized during the Community Summit:

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.

Updates promise support for the administrators of a Facebook group

The first innovations that the social media group introduced for the Facebook groups were a series of administration tools. These should help the group owners and leaders to manage the engagement and to control discussions in the groups. In the future, admins should be able to set automated rules for post moderation with the new Admin Assist. In the description of the new tool it says:

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.

Facebook announced that Admin Assist will be rolled out over the coming months and will only be available for desktop for the time being.

The Admin Assist is intended to simplify processes and limit spam (click on the picture to get a larger view), © Facebook

Facebook groups: Manage topics and promotions easily in the future

In addition, Facebook announced that in the future the topic of a post can easily be specified using a hashtag. Fidji Simo explained:

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.

This new feature fits in with Facebook’s general efforts to establish hashtags more on the platform. But not only topics should be managed more easily in the groups in the future. Both admins and advertisers should also have more control over content that was created in collaboration with a brand. That’s why Facebook added Group Promitions to the Brand Collab Manager Tool. This means that companies can now also see suitable groups and insights for their ads on the platform.

Fidji Simo presents the new options for Facebook groups in the Brands Collab Manager, screenshot, © Facebook

Updates: Facebook groups now get chats

Facebook also presented some new features at the online event that users can use to better communicate with each other within the group. Among other things, a new real-time chat and Q&A tools for interviews. Facebook explains:

[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.

Basically, the new chat function is simply an additional chat within a group. But it could also be a way for admins to increase engagement in their group.

Facebook Groups Summit
The new chat function within a Facebook group, © Facebook

New group types for more engagement

New group types were the last of the updates announced for the Facebook groups. Because the social media group has not only analyzed user behavior in recent months, but also the topics of the individual groups and the associated engagement. Facebook explains:

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.

A question that arises after this statement: will there soon also be stories in the Facebook groups? Because this content format is very popular on all Facebook platforms and could also ensure more engagement in the groups.

For group admins, the new features mean more control over what is going on in their groups. Brands, in turn, can benefit from the new updates, as the new tools facilitate community management and thus increase engagement. How the updates affect the use of the groups remains to be seen. Facebook is rolling out the new features in Germany within the next few months.

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