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Overview of Facebook

Managing a Facebook Group

Managing a Facebook Group

Facebook offers several ways to establish a presence on its network: Individuals can set up personal Profiles, companies and organizations can set up Pages, and anyone with a Facebook account can start a Facebook Group. A group on Facebook looks similar to Pages or Profiles with some key differences.

About – All presences on Facebook include an About section for background details.

Discussion – On Groups, the Discussion area is similar to Posts on a Page or profile where the post is a lead-in to a discussion in comments.

Topics – Turn this feature on to show the three most popular topics of discussion in your Group, either ones that you pin to the top or ones that are most discussed by Group members.

Members – Only Facebook Groups have a Member section listing those who have joined. Pages have “Followers” and personal Profiles have “Friends.”

Events – Both Groups and Pages list related events.

Media – Photos, videos, and albums are archived in this section of the Group.

Files – Upload PDF files, Microsoft Office documents, and other downloadable files for Group members.

Other sections within Groups include:

Overview – A dashboard view of your Group member interactions and activity.

Insights – A more in-depth look at your Group engagement.

Admin Tools – Like Pages, Groups give moderators and administrators extra tools to manage the community including handling membership questions, reviewing pending posts when the group is more carefully moderated, scheduling posts, reviewing the group activity log, adding group rules, and reviewing member complaints for quality control.

Group Settings – These features help you manage discussions, permissions, and roles. You can add even more features to your Group such as choosing post formats, including member badges, and even adding multiple features at once such as Live Videos, Rooms, and Events.

Companies typically set up a Group to enhance a public-facing Facebook Page because they want to interact more with customers and prospects. Pages tend to focus on posting content for others to consume. Groups are geared more toward conversations amongst group members and company reps. If you are looking for a forum where you can host in-depth discussions based on relevant topics, Groups may be a good choice.

Managing a Group

Like any online community, Groups require a lot more attention and management than Pages to keep the conversations going and stay on topic. Pages should be monitored, but a Group requires more resources and interactions to manage it.

If you are the administrator of a Facebook Page, your identity can be “hidden” from public view. If you are the organizer of a Group, your identity will be visible within the Group. You can assign Admins and Group Experts for a Group and their names will be visible as well.

You have control over who can join and who can post to your Group. While a Facebook Page is more often for public viewing as a promotional presence, a Group can be made Closed where members must be invited or approved and even Secret which will hide the Group entirely from a keyword search on Facebook. Even if your Group is Open, you can still remove individuals who do not adhere to the rules of your Group.

Facebook Groups consist of a feed or timeline similar to personal accounts and Pages. One helpful feature in Groups is the ability to upload different types of documents to the Files section for others to download, a feature not available on Facebook Pages.

Do You Need a Facebook Group?

Before you create a Facebook Group, ask yourself the following:

What are you hoping to achieve with an online community? Some appropriate ways to leverage an online community are to get informal feedback from consumers, like an online focus group. Online communities can be useful for brainstorming new ideas or for organizing a shared activity or event. Groups can help you provide customer service or to foster connections between you and your customers.

How much time do you have to devote to your community? Online communities take time to start, cultivate, grow, and leverage. On the time-commitment scale, online community building is on the longer side of time demands. A good online community manager spends several hours throughout their day checking on the community.

Who on your team has online community management skills? You may be a strong communicator, you may write a great press release, and you may even have your own personal Facebook profile and feel comfortable posting status updates. However, none of these skills automatically mean you’d be good at online community management. A strong community manager brings people together under a shared message or mission and encourages meaningful dialogue.

What are the rules of your community? Like any online forum, set ground rules for appropriate behavior and for the consequences of inappropriate behavior in your Group. Put these rules in writing (you can add them as a “Card” and post them as Featured Content for higher visibility to your Group members.

Some common concepts for building an online community include:

Seeding or posting conversation starters that are compelling and inviting to others to chime in.

Weeding to keep conversations on track or to weed out negative behavior that might create a hostile environment and kill the community.

Cultivating conversations by participating in discussions once members begin interacting.

Be clear from the start as to the purpose of your Facebook Group and your expectations of your community members to avoid conflicts in the long run.

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