Episode 103: New Mission & Features: What Facebook’s Group Updates Mean for Digital Marketers

Facebook group updates

Where does community fit in your business? Community is so important that Facebook recently changed their mission statement to include community and rolled out 5 Facebook group updates.

Join the experts and special guest Suzi Nelson, DigitalMarketer’s Community Manager, to learn what the Facebook group updates mean for digital marketers and how you can use these new features to build and grow your business and make data-driven decisions.


  • Community’s biggest advantage for businesses and how it positively impacts the bottom line.
  • What the 5 Facebook group updates do and how to use their metrics to create and maintain a thriving community.
  • How one new update will help you create consistent content (« this is one of the key strategies of community building).


What Facebook’s New Group Features Means For Community Managers
[CASE STUDY] How DigitalMarketer Activated 44% of Previously Silent Community Members in 5 Days
Tony Robbins: 6 Basic Needs That Make Us Tick
Episode 103 Transcript (swipe the PDF version here):

Keith Krance: Hello, and welcome to Episode Number 103 of Perpetual Traffic. Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook, they’ve all been trending in the news recently and it’s because quietly over the past maybe one to two years. It’s been longer than most people realize when they make big changes. There’s actually a lot happening in the background as our awesome guest expert’s going to touch on today. I think one of the big reasons they’ve been trending is they’re making some big changes with Facebook groups. Which a lot of you, I think, are really tapping into all sorts of ways with your business. Whether it’s building a community around your customers, building a free Facebook group, we’re going to get into that today, we’re going to get into some of the strategies where we think groups are the most effective.
  Should you be using free groups, should you be using paid groups, and more importantly, all these new additions to communities and groups. Facebook has literally changed their core business mission statement. What it used to be was this, to give people the power to share and make the world more open and connected. They changed it to this, to give people the power to build community and bring the world closer together.
Molly Pittman: First off, obviously a timely topic and we’re definitely going to talk about the updates that Facebook’s making to community but most importantly, where does community fit into your business? When we first started talking about community at DigitalMarketer, it was something that a lot of people passed off because they thought oh, that’s a bonus for people that buy products but as you’re starting to see, online communities are becoming a part of almost every business. I think we as humans really desire to feel connected and as we become more disconnected in day to day life as everyone’s using technology, now technology is becoming the place where we do create these communities. Really excited to have Suzi Nelson on today. Suzi’s our community manager at DigitalMarketer, an overall really fun and awesome human. Suzi’s one of the best community experts out there in the world. She does an awesome job of taking care of all of the people inside of our DigitalMarketer Engage Facebook group, DM Engage is a bonus for our DigitalMarketer Lab product and people are buying so that they have access to the content but they stay because of the awesome community that Suzi’s facilitating on Facebook. Suzi, thank you so much for coming on.


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Suzi Nelson: Yeah, I’m happy to be here.
Molly Pittman: It’s time to talk community. Obviously, the latest news from the Community Summit this week from Facebook, all the features and cool things that they’re adding to Facebook groups, that’s really what sparked this conversation. We will get to that later in the episode. I really, really want to start with what Keith was talking about. Facebook is changing their mission to really revolve around community. It is that important. Is running ads on Facebook important? Absolutely but what do you do after someone clicks on the ad? How do you continue to make them feel like they’re a part of something bigger? I think what’s interesting is the different way that people use groups in their businesses. There are different types of groups on Facebook. You can have private groups, you can have open groups. Suzi, can you walk us through where do these communities fit into someone’s business and if someone’s sitting there thinking okay, a community sounds cool but I don’t know if it’s worth the resources. Not only where does it fit into someone’s business but what really are the benefits?
Suzi Nelson: People can use Facebook groups in a lot of different ways. The advantages for businesses using these groups is that it’s a free platform, everybody already knows how to use it, it’s not like you’re trying to train people how to use it.
Molly Pittman: Right.
Suzi Nelson: You don’t have to fight with creating a new habit, visiting a new website, people are already on Facebook, you don’t have to train them to visit your forum or visit your onsite community.
Molly Pittman: I know that’s big too because at times Facebook hasn’t been the best platform for communities, right? It hasn’t given us the best insights, it hasn’t given us the best tools, but the benefit is that everyone is logging onto Facebook every day, so we’re able to give up, in the past some of those features that we wanted for people to actually use the community.
Keith Krance: I’d like to go back to the very beginning. I remember, you told me about the conversation you had with Ryan, that you guys wanted to do a Facebook group instead of an online forum, where you wouldn’t actually own the group. It’s kind of risky. I remember you tell me about how that Facebook group was the biggest game changer ever because people joined DM engage for the tools, but then they stayed for the community.
Molly Pittman: We did try an offline community, and it was great in terms of the structure and the different features we were able to add, but no one was ever in the forum, right?
Keith Krance: Yeah, and I remember you saying that the biggest reason why DM engage grew so fast, the number one reason why was because you guys went to a Facebook group. Even though it was risky at the time.
Suzi Nelson: Facebook just makes it so easy, but the disadvantage is you do have to fight with all the other content that’s on Facebook. So it does take some creative strategy to cut through all of the noise and really create a tribe, rather than just another Facebook group, just another post that competes with pictures of peoples’ dogs and babies.
Keith Krance: Some people are still skeptical about being among the cluttered crowd. You have a Facebook group, and you don’t want to compete with all that. Just think about the offline world, heard this over and over and over again, and it’s so true, think about why all the automotive dealerships are together. You go and there’s about ten of them, usually in some cities. All the different stores, why they built malls to begin with. The reason why stores want to be together is because there’s a lot more people there.
  This is why a Facebook group is much more powerful than an external forum.
Molly Pittman: Suzi, what are the benefits for a business? Not just Facebook as a platform, but aside from a place where people can go and talk, what do you see the business advantages being?
Suzi Nelson: The biggest advantage is that you’re taking transactional relationships with your customers and making them emotional relationships. Whatever type of community you have, whether that’s before the sale or after the sale, no matter where they are in that Customer Journey, you’re making emotional relationships and people bond over that, and it’s something that they cannot get anywhere else, if that makes sense. So, it’s something really special and really unique, and really adds value to whatever you’re selling or whatever you’re offering. It adds brand value, because people are forming those member relationships.
  Member to member relationships is the difference between a community and an audience. If you have a Facebook group and it’s mainly you talking to your members and your members talking back to you, that’s an audience, and that’s okay, but if you’re looking to form a true tribe and a true community, those member to member relationships are absolutely key.
Molly Pittman: It’s a place where people can come to bond around a common interest. This isn’t just for marketing. Whatever you’re selling is topical. You’re selling something that is of interest to someone, and if it’s of interest to someone, it’s probably of interest to many people, or you wouldn’t be selling that product or service, right? So, giving them a community where they can bond with those like-minded individuals is huge, and this can also benefit your business from a number standpoint.
  So, DigitalMarketer Lab is a continuity program that we have, it’s $38.60 a month, and DigitalMarketer engaged our community absolutely helps stick rate for our continuity program. It’s definitely affecting the bottom line and it’s not just at DigitalMarketer, at our sister company Survivor Life and makeup tutorials, they’ve created communities around those common interests.
  But it’s not just about continuity programs. There are other stages of the Customer Journey where you could use a community. Suzi, what are your thoughts on using community at the beginning of a Customer Journey?
Suzi Nelson: Well there’s groups that serve the top of the Customer Journey, so that’s whenever they’re your prospects, they’re just becoming aware of you, maybe they’re looking to engage with your brand a little bit before they take the plunge and get on your mailing list and subscribe and things like that. Definitely before they convert. So, there are businesses that use Facebook groups to meet people at this awareness stage. Screw the nine to five comes to mine, they have a free Facebook group that anybody can join, they get people on board with their company mission.
  These are people who are not necessarily customers, anybody can join it, and they use it to bond people together around this idea of entrepreneurship. They only post tippy, tippy top of funnel content. It’s things like instructional videos, a blog post every now and then, other than community building content, like asking people questions and starting discussions, the only quote unquote promotional content they put on there is extremely top of funnel stuff.
Molly Pittman: Yeah.
Suzi Nelson: So, it’s not like they’re trying to get everyone to convert, they’re not trying to get them to promote their brand, per se, they’re just trying to make them aware, engaging with the brand, getting to know them, getting familiar, so whenever they’re ready to make that move, it makes more sense to convert at that stage.
  I think it’s a super, super powerful strategy if you’re looking to connect with people at that part of the funnel. I don’t think that any one community can move people all the way through the Customer Journey, from prospect to promoter. You have to strategically place it in places, and usually that’s before the sale and after the sale communities. Then you have kind of a third tier that’s communities that are just for advocating for your brand.
  There’s people who will do that for you, and you can create a community around that. We do that with our certified partner Facebook group, a place for them to connect and talk about best practices and things like that, so you can definitely meet people at different parts of the Customer Journey and really optimize it.
Molly Pittman: I really like what you said, Suzi, you said no one community can move someone throughout the entire Customer Journey, and it’s the same thing we teach with traffic campaigns. When someone says, “Okay, I wanna set up this Facebook campaign,” you ask what their goals are and their goals are to generate awareness, to cull traffic, to generate leads, sales, and to generate a bunch of money. The way that humans function in relationships is the same way they function online and to expect one Facebook ad to take someone throughout the entire Customer Journey, it’s almost impossible. It’s definitely impossible at scale.
  So, okay, maybe it happens a few times, but it’s not possible at scale because it’s not the way our brains work, and I love that you said that because communities work in the same way. So, if you’re willing to put the work in there, it can almost function as a blog, a way for you to get to know these prospects and hopefully turn them into customers. Then you have groups like DigitalMarketer engage, so they’ve purchased a lower dollar product, and we’re just trying to give them value, and give them that sense of community.
  At the end of the Customer Journey, we have a certified partner group, and we really see our certified partners as approved affiliates.
  Okay, Suzi Sue, I think we’ve laid the framework for community, do you want to go into these big updates that Facebook announced, and get your feedback and recommendations. I think people are very excited about that.
Suzi Nelson: So, there are five updates, five big updates for groups. The first one is group insights, which is huge. You guys are probably familiar with page insights? Now, Facebook is applying those to groups as well, so we can get some really, really valuable information into what’s actually happening inside our groups, which is great.
  So, it reports on three main areas in groups, new members, so growth metrics, engagement details, and details about your actual members. Things like top contributors are in there.
Molly Pittman: I know previously you’ve used a tool called Grytics, to report on these types of metrics. Do you have any recommendations for what to do with them? I know that you’ve pulled our most engaged members before, and announced them in the group. What do you do with these metrics?
Suzi Nelson: We do highlight our community leaders from time to time, because it’s important to give intrinsic value for participating in communities. That means that people feel good when they participate. So, we do things like highlight leaders, highlight popular posts. We did a case study last year with a theme week all about engaging lurkers, which is people who don’t participate in your group at all.
  It’s a whole internet phenomenon, it happens in every single community on the face of the planet, so if you have a lot of lurkers, you’re normal. We use that information to just gauge the health of the community. If we have a lot of members and not many members participating, we know that there’s a problem we need to address, so we keep a close eye on that. We did use a tool like Grytics for a really long time. We just switched over, actually, recently to a different platform called Community Analytics.
  It just gives you more information about the health and the pulse of your community.
Molly Pittman: Those are important metrics when you’re starting to look at okay, I have a community now to help with churn, or to create awareness. Then it’s time to start looking at metrics like engagement, right? So, I have these people in the group, how many people are actually participating? Has this turned into a customer service nightmare? Am I actually posting things of value? Am I facilitating conversations? These are really important metrics to really gauge the health of your group.
Suzi Nelson: The only bad thing so far about Facebook’s new group insights is that they display vanity metrics for growth. So, we’re talking about things like the total number of members and the total number of new members. That is always going to get bigger in pretty much any Facebook group. It’s kind of a vanity metric, it feels good, it looks good on paper, but unless those people are actually participating, it doesn’t really mean anything.
Keith Krance: Tony Robbins talks about this a lot, and we’ll link out to one of his Ted Talks about six basic needs that make us tick. When you understand this, you end up becoming a better leader, you end up becoming a better leader with your team, with your employees. You build a much stronger community, and a lot of it’s happening on the subconscious level. People don’t know it’s happening, but one is the need for certainty comfort, another is uncertainty variety, those aren’t really related to this, but number three is significance, we all need to feel important, special, unique, or needed. Number four is love and connection. Five is growth, six is contribution.
  So really, if you go back and you look at three needs, love and connection, growth really, as well as contribution. Really the last four are all related, if you really think about those things, and you’re implementing things like calling out people that are extra active in your group, or doing cool things for those that you know are lurkers because you know they’re getting value, they’re just quieter, they’re sitting on the sidelines, but they’re actually consuming, and getting them to communicate and showing them that you appreciate them.
  It all comes down to appreciation. People feel appreciated, they get motivated. So, Facebook realizes this and this can be an absolute game changer for your business growth.
Molly Pittman: Suzi, did you have anything else on the numbers?
Suzi Nelson: For engagement, they now report things like the number of posts, the number of comments, the number of reactions, so pretty much any action that your community member can take inside of a group, it now reports on and measures, which is great cause now you can see when your members are most active, when they are participating, when they are most active on the group, what time of day even, so whenever you’re making important announcements or important community building content, you can actually schedule those posts now at times and days where your community is most active in your groups.
Molly Pittman: I’m sure there are more metrics to come to that dashboard.
Suzi Nelson: Absolutely. I think that’s the just the tip of the iceberg.
Molly Pittman: Alright, what’s announcement number two?
Suzi Nelson: Announcement number two is membership request filtering. So, any community manager who runs a Facebook group, especially if it’s an open group where anybody can join, you know how painful it is to spend hours of your day approving or disapproving membership requests into your group. It is the worst process, especially for us, it’s a lot of copying and pasting.
  Facebook prior to this filtering had recently also added questions whenever people requested to join a group, a little pop up could come up, and you could ask your members questions to use that to filter if your members should be in that group or not.
  So, this new membership request filtering feature is that you can now sort your members by demographic, so things like gender, location, and you can do batch accepts or batch declines.
Molly Pittman: Wow. That’s huge!
Suzi Nelson: So, that is amazing, especially for those open groups who just have to sort through a million membership requests at a time, this is going to be a huge time saver, so it’s a really, really exciting feature.
Molly Pittman: Yeah, celebrations everywhere.
Suzi Nelson: So, the third feature is removed member cleanup, so this means whenever someone joins your group and they’re not the best community member. Maybe they’re a spammer, maybe they’re a troll. Generally toxic to your community, and they’ve commented on everything and there’s a million different droplets of poison around you-
Molly Pittman: They’ve left little turdlets around, like a mouse.
Suzi Nelson: The common practice whenever that person is removed is you have to go through and try to hunt down every comment and every post that they’ve made and try to remove it from the group, so it doesn’t just sit there and fester. So, the removed member cleanup means that whenever you remove someone from your community, you now have the option to remove all of their content at the same time from the group.
  This is important because human beings are imitators, we learn by imitating. It’s just how our brains are wired, and so when people see behavior that’s not welcome in your community, they tend to imitate it, and then it just becomes this spiraling out of control thing really easily.
Keith Krance: I can’t believe you brought that up, it’s just so, so true, it’s how we grow up.
Suzi Nelson: The good news is that good behavior works the same way.
Keith Krance: Yes.
Suzi Nelson: So, it’s a really important community management tool, this member cleanup that you can remove their posts, their comments, maybe even other people they’ve added to the group in one step, so it’s a pretty amazing feature as well.
Molly Pittman: Then you don’t have to go back and search the person’s name and delete everything they’ve said. That’s just powerful.
Suzi Nelson: Right, and since our Facebook group, DM engage has grown so much, especially we grew the most in 2015, after Traffic & Conversion Summit, where we gave everyone a dollar to join DM Lab, our activity level and our member level just spiked. Whenever you have that many people features like the three I just mentioned, the insights and the filtering and the cleanup, this just makes my life as a community manager easier.
  It was at the point where I was saying to Kevin my supervisor that Facebook groups is not a community management tool, and I was so frustrated because they wouldn’t give us the power to do our jobs correctly. I’m so excited that they’re taking a step in that direction now.
Molly Pittman: Obviously, it’s going to make lives easier, but it also allows for more data driven decisions inside of the Facebook platform, so you’re not having to look to third party tools to get all of the numbers that you need to either prove the case that we should have a community or to say that we have a problem. It’s just making everything a lot easier.
Suzi Nelson: It’s all on the platform, which is amazing.
Molly Pittman: So, what’s number four?
Suzi Nelson: Number four is scheduled post. So now group admins and moderators can create and schedule posts on a specific day and a specific time, which has never happened before inside of Facebook groups. It’s a feature that we’ve long waited for, and we can celebrate that it’s finally here.
Molly Pittman: Yeah. Everything was manual, right?
Suzi Nelson: Everything was manual. You know, one of the key strategies for building community is to create consistent content. For example, we do a post called one week, one thing every Monday, inside of DM engage, so it’s our accountability post. People tell us what their big goal is for the week, and then we just help kind of check in, keep them accountable, give them resources if we can. People learn to expect that every Monday, and they call me out if I forget to post it.
Molly Pittman: They’re like waiting.
Suzi Nelson: It’s just one of those rituals that our community has come to expect, and it’s just a way for them to connect with each other as well. We have regulars that post on there every week, and they cheer each other on. So, it’s a good community building tool to create that ritualistic content. Another example is every Friday we do a celebrate the win post, where our community can brag on themselves a little bit and tell each other what cool things they accomplished or learned that week.
  The ability to schedule these frees up time to actually think about more community strategy, and creating more posts like this, so I’m super, super stoked that scheduling posts is now an option.
Molly Pittman: It’s going to allow for more engagement, because you can look at the time, where people are most engaged with the group, and then start to of course post at those time. So, it’s going to allow you to do so much more than just in the window of time where you’re actually online.
  So, what’s number five?
Suzi Nelson: Number five is probably my favorite. It is group to group linking. A few weeks back you might have gotten a notification that you could link your business page to your community and post as your business. That was kind of the precursor to this group to group linking. So, what that means is that you can recommend similar or related groups to your members, and it will pin it to the top of your community. Probably above your pinned post, if you have one. So, it’ll be just recommendations up at the top.
  The reason why I’m excited about this is it’s all about a concept called social density. So, let’s say that your community is five people in real life, you have five people, and you put them inside of a stadium, that stadium’s going to feel super, super empty. If you put them inside of a storage closet it’s going to feel really, really crowded. That’s social density. It relates to the number of conversations that happen in a set space.
  So, for big groups that are really, really active, there’s a really, really high social density, there’s so many different conversations going on that people don’t know how to contribute, new members have a problem plugging in, active members have a problem deciding where they can best comment.
  If there’s not enough activity happening, it feels like a ghost town and nobody wants to participate in that, and if it’s too high nobody can keep up with everything that’s happening. So, I think the group to group linking could be a solution to groups that have really high social density, the groups that have so much activity and so much conversation, and so many posts that people just are overwhelmed with the amount of content. This could be a way to break it off into sub groups or sub topics and kind of keep it all in one place.
  I think that that would be a really cool experiment for those larger groups to look into.
Keith Krance: Some of the big free groups that have maybe 30, 40, 50,000 people, is that what you’re talking about like maybe they have some sub groups within that group?
Suzi Nelson: So, typically whenever high social density happens on a different community platform type like a forum, they break it off into sub topics or sub groups. I’m thinking about Reddit. Reddit has all of the sub-Reddits up at the top and its specific spaces for specific conversations to happen, so everything’s just not happening on one page, if that makes sense.
  So, this could be a way, if you have a lot of different types of conversation happening, to address that social density issue and say okay, in this section, we’re only going to talk about this topic, but all of our community members can still interact with each other.
Keith Krance: This is interesting because the one thing I was thinking that they didn’t add, which I think is coming down the road, is really being able to categorize and have a much better search capability for content that’s segmented like that, but this has actually a way to do that. I think you have to be careful going too narrow.
Suzi Nelson: You’d have to be really careful and make sure that if you’re going to break off a topic that there’s enough social density around that topic, enough conversations happening so that it doesn’t feel like a ghost town.
Molly Pittman: I think what’s key with something like this too is to not predetermine, right? So, a lot of people that would create a new group today might go ahead and create these sub groups. This would be way after the fact when you realize wow, there’s this one huge topic inside of my large topic that’s really being discussed, or there’s this group of people that I think should really have their own group. In my opinion, it’s definitely something that comes after you’ve already seen it happening in the bigger group.
Keith Krance: Like my example, I wouldn’t do that at all. I wouldn’t have separate groups for targeting, etc. Ideally, it would be cool to be able to tag different posts.
Suzi Nelson: Well, I think the feature in smaller groups, groups that are under 250 members, I’ve seen a couple that let you categorize posts, you can create tags and tag the posts inside the platform. It kind of organizes them up at the top, like here’s all of the conversations happening around this specific topic. But I have not seen that anywhere in large groups, and that’s been around for quite a while, so I don’t know if they’re going to roll that out to everybody, but I hope they do because it would be amazing.
Molly Pittman: Those are all the updates.
Keith Krance: All right, good stuff. Awesome stuff, this is so good, like my mind’s blown, and hopefully your mind is blown too. You guys can once again always head to the Show Notes at digitalmarketer.com/podcast. This is Episode 103 – for the links and the references and resources that we talked about.
  The best way to really learn even more is go join DigitalMarketer Lab and really see how Suzi is managing this community and see the changes that she’s going to be making. So, Molly what’s the URL for that?
Molly Pittman: DigitalMarketer.com/lab-trial
Keith Krance: And Suzi, maybe just a quick recap and anything else you want to add, and we’ll wrap her up.
Suzi Nelson: Sure! So, Facebook’s new group features are group insights, a message request filtering, removed member cleanup, scheduled posts, and group to group linking. So, I’m really stoked about all of these options, and it’s going to make community managers everywhere better at managing their communities and building that business value.
Keith Krance: Awesome.
Molly Pittman: Amazing. Thank you so much, Suzi, for the knowledge here and everything that you do for DM, and I see more community episodes on the podcast in the future.
Suzi Nelson: Yeah, anytime.
Keith Krance: Yeah. Good stuff, all right, talk to you all soon.
Molly Pittman: See ya!
Keith Krance: Bye.

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