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Facebook Releases New Insights on Groups Usage During COVID-19

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Amid the COVID-19 lockdowns, people have been turning to social media to stay connected, and online groups, in particular, have seen significant increases in engagement as users look to maintain social activity while physically unable to get together.

That’s lead to increased reliance on these digital communities and tools, which may set in place new trends and habits that will carry-on, even after the lockdowns are lifted. Which is important to understand, both for marketers and community managers, as it could dictate how to reach people, how to connect, and what people expect from online groups. 

To get a better understanding of how online communities have assisted people during the pandemic, Facebook recently conducted a new survey of 15,000 people who are members of online communities, gleaning new insight into how they’re using groups, what they’re getting from them, and how that’s changed during the pandemic.

You can read Facebook’s full “Communities Insights Survey” here, but in this post, we’ll look at some of the key points.

First off, Facebook notes that online groups have seen a significant rise in engagement in 2020:

“Three quarters (77%) of people surveyed say the most important group they are part of now operates online (44.3% primarily online, plus 32.4% both online and offline). And 70% said digital tools were very important for helping their communities thrive during the pandemic. This increased participation in online community groups is here to stay: over the next 12 months, 86% of people whose most important community group is primarily online say they’ll continue engaging with that group at the same level (48%), or even more frequently (39%).”

Facebook has been promoting the use of groups over the past few years, so it’s no surprise to see these growth stats. But it is important to note – as more people spend more time online, digital groups become a more significant social element, which has obviously been exacerbated again by the pandemic.

That, as noted, could lead to new habits, which see online groups become even more relevant in future.

Facebook also says that digital communities have become an essential support tool for many users:

“91% of respondents said they have given some form of support to others during the COVID-19 pandemic through their preferred group/community, whether it’s helping local vulnerable residents with their groceries during lockdown, sharing vital information from health authorities, or providing financial support to local business.”

In addition to this, Facebook says that 86% of respondents have received some form of support, while 49% received emotional support from groups during the pandemic.

The value of digital connection, in replacement of in-person community, cannot be overstated in this respect.

Online groups can also help foster a sense of belonging, with 98% of respondents reporting a strong sense of community and kinship within their groups.

One in four people also indicated that their most important primarily online group is built around a similar hobby or activity, while 38% of respondents look to connect with people in their local area.

Facebook groups survey

That’s another a key point – with the impacts of COVID-19 forcing the shutdown of many local newspapers and publications, people will increasingly be turning to Facebook and other digital platforms to stay up to date on local happenings. Much of that engagement will occur in Facebook groups, and these stats underline the importance of such communities, which could make them a crucial outreach option for marketers looking to connect with these audiences in future.

Worth noting, too, that Facebook recently launched new sponsored posts for groups.

But while groups are popular, effective moderation is key:

“58% of people agree that one of the top qualities that make a community successful is having effective leaders.”

If you want to run a great, engaged, active online group, it takes time and effort – you need to keep out spam, manage the discussion, and ensure that things stay on track, and within the group rules, to maximize participation. Facebook has sought to make this a little easier with the recent addition of auto-moderation tools, but the fact is that you need an active, present admin to manage any large group.

These are some interesting notes, and while many would have expected groups to see a significant boost in 2020, the specifics of that, and the implications for the future, are definitely worthy of note in your strategic planning.

There’s a range of other group insights in Facebook’s full report, which you can download here.

Socialmediatoday.com

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17 Content Options for Each Stage of the Sales Journey [Infographic]

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17 Content Options for Each Stage of the Sales Journey [Infographic]

Looking to formulate a better content strategy for 2023?

This will help – the team from Orbit Media has put together a listing of 17 content formats, and where they fit within the sales funnel which could provide some inspiration for your planning.

There are some good pointers here, with specific approaches that you can take at each stage of the journey.

Check out the full listing below – while you can read more on the Orbit Media website.

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Meta Soars by Most in Decade, Adding $100 Billion in Value

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Meta Soars by Most in Decade, Adding $100 Billion in Value

Correction: February 2, 2023 This article has been revised to reflect the following correction: An earlier version of this article misstated how much Meta expected to spend on its deal with the virtual reality start-up Within. It is $400 million, not $400 billion. Meta’s stock surged on Thursday …

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Twitter’s Cancelling Free Access to its API, Which Will Shut Down Hundreds of Apps

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Twitter’s Cancelling Free Access to its API, Which Will Shut Down Hundreds of Apps

Well, this is certainly problematic.

Twitter has announced that, as of February 9th, it’s cutting off free access to its API, which is the access point that many, many apps, bot accounts, and other tools use to function.

That means that a heap of Twitter analytics apps, management tools, schedulers, automated updates – a range of key info and insight options will soon cease to function. Which seems like the sort of thing that, if you were Twitter, you’d want to keep on your app.

But that’s not really how Twitter 2.0 is looking to operate – in a bid to rake in as much revenue as absolutely possible, in any way that it can, Twitter will now look to charge all of these apps and tools. But most, I’d hazard a guess, will simply cease to function.

The bigger business apps already pay for full API access – your Hootsuite’s and your Sprout Social’s – so they’ll likely be unaffected. But it could stop them from offering free plans, which would have a big impact on their business models.

The announcement follows Twitter’s recent API change which cut off a heap of Twitter posting tools, in order, seemingly, to stop users accessing the platform through a third-party UI. 

Now, even more Twitter tools will go extinct, a broad spread of apps and functions that contribute to the real-time ecosystem that Twitter has become. Their loss, if that’s what happens, will have big impacts on overall Twitter activity.

On the other hand, some will see this as another element in Twitter’s crackdown on bots, which Twitter chief Elon Musk has made a personal mission to eradicate. Musk has taken some drastic measures to kill off bots, some of which are having an impact, but Musk himself has also admitted that such efforts are reducing overall platform engagement

This, too, could be a killer in this respect

It’ll also open the door to Twitter competitors, as many automated update apps will switch to other platforms. This relates to things like updates on downtime from video games, weather apps, and more. There are also tools like GIF generators and auto responders – there’s a range of tools that could now look for a new home on Mastodon, or some other Twitter replicant. 

In this respect, it seems like a flawed move, which is also largely ignorant of how the developer community has facilitated Twitter’s growth. 

But Elon and Co. are going to do things their own way, whether outside commentators agree or not – and maybe this is actually a path to gaining new Twitter data customers, and boosting the company’s income. 

But I doubt it.

If there are any third-party Twitter apps that you use, it’ll be worth checking in to see if they’re impacted before next week.



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