Facebook hosted the much-awaited Communities Summit Keynote 2021 on November 04 where they announced a ton of incredibly amazing new tools and features for Facebook groups.
Alongside, they revealed the winners of Facebook Community Awards (introduced for the first time ever) across seven different categories and showcased the phenomenal work that’s being done on the platform by community builders.
As you scroll down, you’ll learn about:
- 4 new features that’ll strengthen your community’s culture
- 1 new feature introduced to encourage member participation
- 2 new features that’ll help foster deeper connections
- 2 new features that’ll enable you to manage your community better
- A suite of tools introduced to help admins sustain
Before you dive into them, here’s sharing some important statistics around Facebook groups that tell how big a deal they are.
- More than 1.8 billion people use Facebook groups every month
- There are more than 70 million admins and moderators running Facebook groups that are active every month
In the words of Mark Zuckerberg, “Facebook groups are a place where people can be themselves and share what matters the most to them. They’re a space where people feel a sense of purpose and belonging, explore interests, develop skills, grow as individuals, make new connections, and meet new friends.”
He further added: “As you (community creators) bring people together on Facebook, we want to enable you to accomplish more together too.”
That said, let’s now look at the new tools/features to expect in Facebook groups in the coming months.
These new set of tools/features will not only support existing Facebook group admins but also help those who’ve created a new community.
💪🏻Strengthen your community’s culture
1. Customize groups with fonts, colors and more
Every community on Facebook is unique and has its own culture. However, the current options that best reflect who you are and what you do are limited.
So, Facebook has now come up with different fonts, colors, post backgrounds, emojis among other things to help admins customize their groups.
Images source: Facebook
2. Feature Sets to help you get started
If you’re looking for guidance, you can use Feature Sets – a new tool in Admin home that will offer pre-set post formats (like Q&A, real-time connections, etc.), badges and admin tools to help you get started so that you can create the best possible experience for your members.
3. Suggest different post formats to members
As an admin, you’d soon be able to suggest different post formats to your members based on how your community likes to interact. This will appear in the new posting button that stays with members as they browse the group.
4. Create a customized welcome message for new members
You’d be soon able to create a customized greeting message for new members and share group rules that they would automatically receive.
This would help new joiners feel welcomed, develop a sense of belonging and become aware of the group norms right off the bat.
😍Encourage Member Participation
1. Award members for their comments
Facebook has come up with awards (like insightful, uplifting or fun) that you as admins can give your members based on how valuable their comments are. These would undoubtedly encourage engagement, make the content more visible, and help demonstrate the group’s culture and content at its best.
P.S. Facebook has started to roll this out in groups and both community admins and members are loving it!
👥Foster deeper connections
1. Create sub-groups within groups
To make things more organized in groups and help members easily find content that they relate with, Facebook is testing out a new feature called sub-groups. These will be dedicated spaces within groups around a centered theme or occasion that admins can manage from one place.
With sub-groups in sight, members won’t have to spend time browsing through information that they don’t want to engage with.
These sub-groups can also be a paid feature and help admins sustain. (More on this below)
2. Community Chats
To help people connect in real-time, community chats will indeed come handy. Members will be able to create recurring events when they want to get together more regularly, whether virtual or in-person.
Community chats will be available in both Facebook and Messenger.
Interestingly, admins can also use them to manage their communities better. They can create a chat for the admin and mod team so that they can better coordinate group decisions in real-time. Current admins and moderators see and participate in this chat and new admins and moderators are automatically added to the chat.
🙌🏻Manage your community better
1. The new announcements format
You can now see announcements in a swipeable cards format in your FB groups. These appear at the top of the group and are the first thing members (or anyone else) see when they visit your community.
They are redesigned to ensure that members don’t miss out on important information shared by admins and are up to date with everything that’s happening in the community.
Admins can add posts, photos, popular topics, group rules to announcements and can change the order in which announcements show up.
2. Easy Moderation via Admin Assist
Ever since Facebook introduced Admin Assist for groups, most of us have been thoroughly enjoying it. It’s a boon as it helps keep groups safe and conversations relevant by automating day-to-day group moderation tasks, making admins’ lives easier.
Facebook is now updating Admin Assist further to give personalized suggestions of actions to automate and provide more information about why admin assist declines content.
Now with the availability of Facebook Lite, Admin Assist is available across all platforms.
If you’d like to understand more about Admin Assist, check out this detailed blog👇🏻
💰 Sustain your community
Since there are a lot of Facebook groups out there that support a cause and admins cover the costs involved from their own pockets, Facebook has announced a suite of tools to encourage members to come forward and support the admins.
Admins can choose from these tools and tailor according to what works for their community.
a. Community Fundraiser: Admins can raise money for any group projects to offset the cost of running the groups or to encourage members to show appreciation for the work admins and moderators do.
b. Shops: Admins can showcase and sell the products they have created specifically for their group members.
c. Paid sub-groups: Admins can charge a small subscription fee from members in exchange for an exclusive access to more focused experiences like receiving coaching or participating in deeper conversations.
“These features will help admins sustain their communities while offering meaningful experiences to their members. We hope that these options will help admins invest more back into their communities”, says Maria Smith, VP of Communities at Facebook App.
A new consumer experience – Groups + Pages
In a completely new and impressive attempt, Facebook is working towards building an ecosystem that will connect Facebook groups and pages.
“We know that some communities use a whole other system of tools to connect with people. In addition to groups, they often have pages as well. Managing multiple spaces means admins are spending less time doing the work that directly supports the cause of their community. Members may be unclear on where to go for what. To make this simpler, we’ll be coming up with a new consumer experience that brings the best of pages and groups into one place”, said Maria Smith, VP of Communities at Facebook App.
She further added, “For admins of Facebook Groups, the new experience will allow them to use an official voice when interacting with their community. For admins of Facebook Pages, the new experience will help them build community in a single space for members to participate and engage. Admins of Pages will also be able to take advantage of the moderation tools that Groups have today. This new experience is in early testing over the next year, before it becomes more broadly available.”
FB will be testing this over the next year and are excited to see how this will unlock new potential for people on the platform.
Now that you’re aware of all the latest updates and features, moving on to…
Facebook Community Award Winners
In order to acknowledge and celebrate the dedication and efforts of community builders out there who are bringing people together, Facebook launched the Community Awards.
Here’s a list of the winners from each of the seven categories who will receive $50,000 and support from Facebook to help their communities grow and make an even greater impact.
1. Angela, Admin of Subtle Asian Traits, from the Identity Groups Category
2. Taylor, Admin of Foodies of El Paso TX, from the Local Groups Category
3. Catherine, Admin of The Kindness Pandemic, from the Uplifting Groups Category
4. Gian, Admin of Repurpose + Upcycle = Inspiration from the Social Impact groups category
5. Schelo, Admin of Black Women Invest from the Career groups category
6. Stone Mountain 64, Admin of Stone Mountain’s Squad from the passion groups category
7. Holly, Admin of Rate My Cat, from the play groups category
Heartiest congratulations to all the winners! 😇
That’s all with all the latest updates and features announced in Facebook Communities Summit Keynote 2021.🙌🏻
Tell us which feature out of these you’re eagerly waiting for in the comments below. Or feel free to reach out to us in our Facebook group where thousands of community admins are discussing this and so much more about community building. 🙂
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