Facebook is giving Pages administrators the ability to create their own groups, potentially providing brands and media companies new ways to boost engagement with niche groups.
The social network today announced that it’s expanding globally what it’s been testing in some markets for months. According to Facebook product manager Linda Xiong, the feature will let brands create their own pages without having to rely on admins to set up groups from their own personal accounts. That could be welcome news to social media managers who want to have more privacy and separation from work and also give organizations the chance to create “official” groups that unwanted or unofficial third parties and fan clubs can’t set up.
According to Xiong, the update is an “external reinforcement or expansion of our mission to bring the world closer together.”
“You can imagine having a support group for a product with a lot of technical back and forth,” Xiong told Adweek. “So, instead of having a support hotline that only is manned by the company, you can actually introduce a peer-to-peer support, or you can have another group that’s more about inspirational sharing stories that are also relevant for people who are thinking about buying your product or services.”
In a Facebook post today, chief product officer Chris Cox explained how groups for Pages could also be relevant for publishers. He gave the example of the Washington Post, where two staffers started a group called PostThis to let reporters talk directly to the Post’s fans about how stories come together. He explained it as “a digital version of letters to the editor, but with ongoing real-time discussions.”
The update lets the company move forward with its mission to focus more heavily on groups, which CEO Mark Zuckerberg has said in the past is part of his vision for building a more tightly knit online community.
In April, at Facebook’s inaugural Communities Summit in Chicago, the company rolled out new tools for Groups, including a way to help administrators and moderators manage their members while also analyzing real-time stats about engagement.
Zuckerberg also touted the feature today in his own Facebook post, explaining how Groups might be used to help offer support for users dealing with more serious topics such as addictions. He said AddictionUnscripted.com has had a page where users can join the Affected by Addiction Support Group to converse with more than 45,000 users sharing stories.
“In today’s world, we all get support from a few sources: our family and friends, our communities and our social safety net,” he wrote. “In our civic discussion, we most often focus on our social safety net, but I’ve found that our communities are often just as important for taking care of us, and we need to focus just as much time on building them.”