Facebook has announced some new additions for groups, including recognized community experts, new ways to attract members based on their expertise, and auto-invites for engaged followers of associated Pages.
The main new addition is a new 'Group Expert' designation, which provides another way to highlight top contributors in your groups.
As explained by Facebook:
"There are more than 70 million admins and moderators running active Facebook groups around the world. Many of these groups are home to subject matter experts who love to share their knowledge - from fitness trainers to highly skilled crafters. Now, it’s easier than ever to help experts stand out in groups and offer ways for them to engage with their communities."
As you can see in the above example, the new process will enable Facebook group admins to now assign members as group experts, with a new descriptor that will then highlight their comments and posts. Admins will then be able to host Q & A sessions with these experts, and invite experts into group discussions for additional perspective and nuance.
Facebook has been experimenting with similar group member badges for some time, as a means to help build community, with recognitions like 'Visual Storyteller', 'Rising Star' and other markers to help entice people to keep commenting and engaging.
Group admins will be able to assign as many Experts as they like, which will ideally help to both improve engagement, by giving these members more recognition, while also providing some additional moderation assistance from these key voices within the community.
Facebook's been testing the option over the past few weeks, with more groups now set to see the tool within their settings.
In addition to this, for some groups, Facebook's also giving admins the capacity to search outside their communities for experts in specific topics. They can then reach out to these users in order to bring them into their discussions as recognized experts.
That will provide another way to facilitate more authoritative, informative discussions within your community. The option will be limited to gaming and fitness groups at this stage.
And finally, Facebook's also rolling out a new 'automatic invites' option, which will enable Page managers who also run a group to invite their most engaged Page followers to join their related groups as well.
As you can see here, the process will enable those that manage Facebook Pages as well as groups to send out invites to 'top fans and recently active' Page followers, asking them to join the group to expand their interaction and engagement.
That could be a good way to build your Facebook community - which could be particularly helpful for brands, as many of their Page followers may not necessarily be aware that they also run a branded group.
Now, you'll have an easy, automated way to re-engage your more active Page fans, and maximize your connection through Facebook's tools.
Facebook groups have continued to see strong usage, with 1.8 billion Facebook users now active in groups every month. Facebook also says that more than 200 million people are now members of it identifies as "very meaningful" groups - which, upon joining, quickly become "the most important part of our social network experience".
That reliance increased even more over the past year, with people seeking alternative means to stay socially connected amid the pandemic, and with Facebook adding more tools like group video rooms, and now Clubhouse-like audio rooms as well, into its groups offering, that provides even more ways to build your online community, via a means what has already proven to be highly popular.
These new options add to that capacity, while also providing more ways to add a level of self-sustainability to groups, by potentially reducing the moderation workload for admins.