Creating a brand community on social can have significant benefits, including improved customer support, facilitating advocacy and even generating direct revenue. But in the place where most brands would see the most benefit from a community group, it has, thus far, been difficult to manage.
I'm referring here to Facebook Groups - Facebook Groups which has over a billion monthly active users, Facebook Groups built on the biggest social network in the world by a significant margin, Facebook Groups which have seen a range of new features and updates added in the last 12 months, including application questions and discussion topics.
And now, Facebook Groups may be getting a new, brand-specific update.
Take a look at this screenshot posted on Twitter by Michael Brandvold.
(h/t Matt Navarra)
To underline the exact wording:
"Facebook Groups let people connect with your Page and each other. Now you can interact with Groups as your Page, and your Page can be an admin of these groups"
This is a significant step - up till now Pages have not been able to post in groups, the only way to join a group was by using a personal profile. You'll also, according to this, be able to directly link to Groups from your Page, adding another direct-connection feature for businesses.
This would provide a whole new consideration for brands on Facebook, and a new way to connect with your audience. It's not clear, at this stage, how widespread this test is and if/when it might be rolled out more widely, but it could change the way groups are used - which may prove very beneficial for business.
The update's part of Facebook's wider push on Groups. Facebook noted in January last year that Groups is an 'under-appreciated' product, and that they could do a better job at ensuring people understand Groups. Since then, as noted, Facebook has added a range of new Groups features, with this new trial being the latest.
So how could you use the new Groups options? There are already a heap of examples of brand support Groups - being able to post as a Page within such groups would enhance this capacity on Facebook, ensuring community members know that this is an offical brand response. There are also product-related communities, industry-relevant discussions, hobbies and interest-based communities, all of which your brand could be involved with and offer assistance, as you see fit.
The risk is that this becomes a spam-fest - that businesses use their Page presence to jump into every loosely related group and push their latest and greatest deals, but Group admins will always be able to kick them out, same as they would with spammers using personal profiles. It may also be a sign that Facebook is getting more confident with their spam-detecting AI - maybe, they have systems in place to detect overly promotional messaging and filter them out, or at least, refer them onto the relevant Group admin for approval.
We'll keep you updated if we get further confirmation on this new feature.