Teams can use Group Insights to analyse Facebook groups
Analytics are valued by leaders of communities and brands because they can better understand user behaviour. Facebook has been offering “Group Insights” since June 2017. Insights, also known as analytics, were previously more available on actual Facebook Pages. Newly available data tools are changing the way in which communities are managed online.
I remember the struggle I had with Facebook groups in the middle of 2016. I was in a conversation with someone who felt passionate about groups instead of pages. Some communities had flourished and grown in the ‘Groups’ part of Facebook instead of ‘Pages.’ This presented a challenge because that former platform did not offer the same analytics and other tools for brand managers. I then saw people trying to control the online conversations in groups, when that could have been more easily achieved in a page. Peaceful communities of any sort are great. But I just couldn’t get on-board the Facebook Group bandwagon until now.
The super successful social media company introduced new tools for groups in the past half a year. Kang-Xing Jin, VP of Engineering at Facebook, published a press release in June 22 2017 after the very first Facebook Communities Summit in Chicago. Mark Zuckerberg revealed a new mission that would change the perception of Facebook, “Give people the power to build community and bring the world closer together.” This online resource was focused on something other than companies pushing products at consumers – because that’s not what social media is about. This new focus on community was putting the ‘social’ back in ‘social media.’
Insights (for analytics purposes) were introduced in a list of new features. Group admins became able to see “growth, engagement and membership”. Then on October 26 2017, Alex Deve published a news release about an additional feature within Insights – “personalised tips” for a more optimised approach. Analytics is one of the ways to know what messages an audience interacts with. Quantitative analytics can be combined with qualitative comments and other individual anecdotes of engagement to form a clear picture. Gone are the days of one-way communication, which was practiced by industrial companies who advertised to mass markets. Today’s communicators, be it commercial or community, need a two-way exchange of dialogue with audiences. I am grateful to Facebook for now providing that facility in groups.
Does that mean all businesses would suddenly switch to groups? I don’t think so. Both have their place. If you want members to interact with each other, use a group. If you want a branded message without getting drowned-out by a sea of other voices, use a page. I am now more likely to consider Facebook groups than before. There is a time and place for every platform.