Are you looking for new ways to increase engagement in your Facebook group? Want to provide more value to your group members?
In this article, you'll discover how to use three new Facebook Groups features to engage your members and promote meaningful conversations.
Why Facebook Groups?
Slowly and quietly, over the past couple of years, Facebook Groups has become the best place for meaningful, organic engagement with social media users.
There are more than 10 million groups on the big blue social network and most users are members of at least five different groups. Not only that, but more than 600 million people belong to a Facebook group that's “meaningful in their lives.”
Users love Facebook groups because they're private spaces where all of the members have interests in common. The feed is full of content that's relevant and interesting to them—without any ads.
There are buy-and-sell, neighborhood, advice, fitness, education, and faith groups—and pretty much any other category you can think of. Groups are where people live their lives on Facebook.
For social media managers, the benefits of groups include:
- A more targeted audience
- Increased reach within that audience
- The ability to share exclusive content
- Ownership of a brand-linked community
With the right organic strategy, these benefits can be good for users, too. They can take advantage of your business' unique expertise and support. That's why the new features for Facebook Groups all focus on sharing your knowledge with group members.
Facebook announced these features in July 2021. Unusually for the social network, they've rolled out all of the features to all users, instead of starting with a limited pilot. It's just another sign of how Facebook sees groups as essential to its future.
Here's a rundown of these new features and how to make the most of them in your Facebook group.
#1: Host Live Q&A Sessions in Your Facebook Group
This new feature is actually four in one. There are four different ways you can host interactive Q&A sessions within a Facebook group. And the good news is that most of these options work for all Facebook groups, whether they're created by a personal profile or from a business page. (There's one key exception, which I'll get to in a minute.)
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Q&A Session With Question Posts
The first Q&A option is very simple and any member of any group can do it. Whenever someone writes a post with a question on the group's Discussion tab, Facebook will automatically spot the post. The poster will be asked if they want to format their post as a question.
If the user keeps the new formatting, the post will be highlighted in the group discussion. The post is labeled as “[User] asked a question,” and the “comment” option is replaced with “answer.”
Q&A Sessions With Audio Rooms
Members can also start Q&A sessions by hosting an audio room in the group.
To start an audio room in a Facebook group, choose the post type, name the room, select a start time, and publish the post.
However, you're still in control. You can adjust the group settings so that only admins and moderators can create rooms, limit the use of video and chat, and mute troublesome members.
Q&A Sessions With Video Live Streams
In addition to audio rooms, you also have the option to host video live streams in your Facebook group. Unlike rooms, these are limited to group admins and moderators. And they offer some very useful features.
Like all of the other types of Q&A session, you start a video live stream from the main Discussion tab in a group. Click the red camcorder icon to get set up.
Facebook will immediately take you to Live Producer, a dashboard where you can choose all kinds of options before you start streaming.
The most important part of this screen for our purposes is the Feature Checklist. This is where Facebook suggests several options for your live stream, including asking viewers a question, creating a poll, or allowing people to message you with their own questions.
Just click any feature in the list to get started. Alternatively, you can create questions by going to the Questions tab at the top of the page.
In this view, you can create as many questions as you like.
Similarly, there's a tab for Polls. Once you start the live stream, the poll will be available for viewers to answer.
You can choose to schedule live broadcasts like this in advance, which is a real advantage for busy group admins.
Q&A Sessions With Image Cards
The fourth option for hosting live Q&As is the newest and most exciting. The new Q&A feature for groups is basically in text format but Facebook automatically generates image cards as you go along.
For example, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg dropped in to host a Q&A in a pet appreciation group.
As questions were asked and answered, more images were generated as part of the same post. Users just had to swipe to view them.
At the same time, all of the questions and answers also appeared in the usual comment section of the post, for anyone who couldn't view the images.
To set up your own Q&A, first check that you have Host a Q&A enabled in your Facebook group settings.
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Then go back to the group's Discussion tab. You'll find Host a Q&A listed in the extended options for making a post.
On the next screen, you'll start setting up the session. You can write a question or announcement to kick things off and choose a color scheme for the Q&A graphics.
When you're reading, click Next. You'll have the chance to write a standard post introducing the Q&A or providing more details about when exactly you'll be around to answer questions.
At this point, you also have the option to schedule the post via the calendar button next to the main Post button. So you could get everything set up in advance for a Q&A session in a week's time, and the post would go live automatically.
As people comment on the post with their questions, more graphics will automatically be added to the post.
Note that there's a three-dot menu in the top right-hand corner of the post. This opens a menu to manage notifications, control the flow of comments, and formally end the Q&A.
There's also a three-dot menu on the graphics in the post. This opens a menu to edit or delete questions and answers.
This serves as a great record of discussions and expertise in your group. The only downside is that there's currently no way to download the graphics from a Q&A so you can't reuse the content on other platforms. Maybe this feature will come with time.
#2: Label Expert Members of Your Facebook Group
The next new feature from Facebook is designed to improve the quality of group conversations and hopefully take some of the pressure off admins and moderators.
You can now label group members as experts. Just like a moderator or admin label, this will show up whenever they make a post or comment. Their contribution to the group will be highlighted.
Group experts also have access to extra features that standard group members don't have. They can host Q&As using the text-and-graphics feature shown above and even send automatic group invites to other people.
However, there's one caveat: When I tested this feature, it only worked in Facebook groups that I had created from my personal profile. When I tried to label experts in a group that was created and linked to a business page, I couldn't access the option. (Facebook has stated that this feature is being rolled out to everybody, so hopefully it should become fully available soon.)
To assign a group expert to your group, start by going to your list of members. There will be a three-dot menu beside each person's name. Open the menu and choose Add as Group Expert.
Facebook will give you a quick reminder of what the Expert label means and explain that the user must consent to become an expert.
The user will then receive a notification about the label…
… and be asked to confirm their consent. From then on, the label will appear on all of their activity in the group.
Everyone you label an expert will be listed in a special section of the Members tab, where you can view the list, add more experts, and remove anyone who doesn't live up to the label.
#3: Invite Relevant Experts to Your Facebook Group
Finally, there's one more feature designed to highlight experts in your Facebook groups. But it's a little mysterious.
Facebook has announced that it's testing a way for group admins to search for experts and invite them to join a group. So far, they're only trying this out for fitness and gaming.
It works like this: Facebook will automatically identify some users as experts in a particular niche such as fitness. These users will be asked to choose specific topics of expertise from a list. Then group owners will be able to search for experts on those topics and personally invite them to join a group.
However, it's not clear exactly how the feature works for group admins. When I created a gaming-themed group, I couldn't find a way to access this new feature yet, and Facebook's help pages don't have any information so far.
My best guess is that this feature will be accessible through the Invite button on the home page of your group, or possibly through the Members tab.
Based on the screenshots provided by Facebook, it should eventually be available for all types of group—including groups linked to pages. Stay tuned!
Groups are the future of organic engagement on Facebook. And the social network knows it. That's why Facebook has released so many new admin tools for groups lately.
These new features for group experts are designed to raise the quality of discussion and delegate some of the effort of maintaining a group. However, don't forget that you're still ultimately responsible for the content of your Facebook groups.
Even if you label someone as an expert, you'll need to stay in touch and make sure they're sharing valuable posts and comments. Features like Admin Assist and Group Quality can help you monitor content and filter out any inaccurate or misleading content.
Overall, the new group features have the potential to make Facebook Group communities even stronger—with more discussion, more expertise, and more autonomy.
Get More Advice on Facebook Groups
- Use a Facebook group to nurture customer relationships.
- Run a pop-up Facebook group for business.
- Find and interpret the valuable metrics in Facebook Group Insights.
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