In a year when churches, workplaces, restaurants, and other gathering spots were forced to close, virtual communities became more important than ever. We flocked to our group chats, Zoom calls, and social media accounts to stay in touch and up-to-date about the world around us. And if you’re a content creator, these digital hangouts became a non-negotiable part of your marketing and community-building strategy. Facebook decided to dig into the effectiveness of its own group features and the findings are both fascinating and unsurprising.
In a blog post, the platform revealed the results of a study conducted by The Governance Lab at New York University’s Tandon School of Engineering. The report on “The Power of Virtual Community” sought to examine “the role some online groupsplay in creating opportunities for people to build new kinds of meaningful communities they often could not form in real space.”
Among the people interviewed for the study were 50 Facebook community leaders and 15,000 individuals as part of a YouGov survey. There was also research done internally by Facebook and dozens of other global experts.
The first of many noteworthy takeaways is that “in 11 of the 15 nations surveyed, the largest proportion of people said the most important group in their lives is primarily online.” Chances are most of these online groups exist within Facebook since more than 1.8 billion people (!) use Facebook groups per month. A significant number of these groups are also considered a “labor of love” by those who run them.
“Further, results from the YouGov survey and the interviews with group leaders indicated that the three most essential traits for a leader to have were welcoming differences of opinions, being visible and communicating well, and acting ethically at all times,” it reads.
At first, it may seem discouraging because who can stand out in a crowd this huge? However, if you’re operating from a place of purpose instead of numbers, starting a Facebook group for your brand is a no-brainer. If you interested in learning more insights, download the full report.
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