With groups becoming a bigger part of Facebook, The Social Network has today announced a new, dedicated stream within its Blueprint education program that's focused on helping community managers make the most of their groups, and effectively managing group interactions and engagement.
As explained by Facebook:
"The Community Manager eLearning Program is a series of free courses that serve as a holistic guide to community management - from building the foundation of a community, to measuring and analyzing a community’s success. The program is designed to help you learn how to build, scale and sustain a meaningful online community more effectively and efficiently."
As you can see here, the course offers a range of specific focus elements designed to maximize group engagement, which could be particularly helpful for businesses seeking to branch out into their own community groups to extend their Facebook reach.
Of course, that also comes with a level of risk. If you build a community on Facebook, you're also then beholden to Facebook's shifts - so if you start to rely on group engagement, and Facebook shifts focus, and limits your access to that audience (unless you pay), that could be problematic. It's best not to put too much reliance on any one platform for this reason, and that's particularly relevant in Facebook's case, given past history.
But groups, as noted, have become a bigger piece of the Facebook puzzle. Facebook says that some 200 million people are now members of "very meaningful" groups - groups which, upon joining, quickly become "the most important part of our social network experience" - while the total number of people using Facebook groups each month now exceeds 1.4 billion.
Groups have also become increasingly important during the COVID-19 pandemic, with millions joining local support and information groups to stay up to date on the latest updates and happenings.
Facebook's groups education stream covers a range of key areas, including:
- Defining and establishing a community - Building an online community, community goals and community guiding principles.
- Developing community strategies and processes - Best practices for managing audiences, tapping into the platform, building a brand, launching effectively, building and supporting your team and nurturing strong partnerships, as well as developing efficient operational workflows.
- Making strategic content decisions for a community - Serving up relevant content, keeping track of trends and planning goal-driven activities.
- Engaging and moderating a community - Understanding the onboarding process for new members, community operations, member-to-member connections, engagement tactics, community standards and terms of service, as well as safely and thoughtfully handling crises and conflicts.
- Measuring and analyzing community success - Content performance, feedback collection, data reporting and sustainability.
If you're looking for a way to supplement your Facebook Page reach, groups could be a good option, and these new sessions will provide a range of helpful insights to help you better understand how groups work, and the best practices you can implement to achieve optimal success.
The new groups stream is available as part of Facebook's free Blueprint training and education platform.