Facebook is seeing positive engagement in groups, and as such, it's been working over the last couple of years to maximize group engagement, and provide admins and community leaders with more tools to help improve their performance.
And this week, Facebook's launched another initiative to further boost on-platform group activity, with a new "Community Accelerator" program which will provide support and training for community leaders to help them maximize their use of Facebook's tools to facilitate growth.
As per Facebook:
"Today, we’re announcing the Community Accelerator, a six-month program for community leaders providing training, mentorship and funding to help them grow their communities. Selected community leaders will spend three months learning from experts, coaches and a customized curriculum to create a plan to grow their community and meet their goals. They’ll spend the next three months iterating and executing on their plan with funding and continued support from their network and a dedicated team provided through the program. Up to $3 million in total will be awarded to up to 80 program participants."
The program, as noted, is part of Facebook's increased focus on groups. Back in 2017, Facebook noted that more than a billion Facebook users were engaged in groups each month, with 100 million of them actively participating in what CEO Mark Zuckerberg called "very meaningful" groups.
"These are groups that upon joining, quickly become the most important part of our social network experience and an important part of our physical support structure."
That presented an opportunity - with Facebook facing backlash over how its platform was used in the 2016 US Presidential election, focusing on groups would enable it to double-down on an aspect where engagement was growing, while also highlighting the social good that Facebook facilitates by connecting people around specific interests.
That focus has continued into 2020, with Facebook's recent Super Bowl ads also highlighting the benefits of group connectivity.
And it's efforts do appear to be paying off, at least in some respects. Last year, Facebook noted that there are now more than 400 million people engaged in "very meaningful" groups, underlining its mission to better connect people around specific causes, and underline the social good of the platform.
Whether that outweighs the concerns around data usage, political manipulation, etc., that's a little harder to ascertain. But it seems to be where Facebook is looking, either way.
The new Community Accelerator program is open to communities with leaders who are 18 years of age or older and reside in Brazil, the US, Australia, Philippines, Indonesia, Thailand, the UK, France, Germany, South Africa, Kenya, Nigeria and Egypt.
"Communities must have existed for over one year (either online or offline) and must have a minimum size of 5,000 members if primarily online."
If you're interested, you can apply to the Community Accelerator program here.