Recently, I launched a Facebook group as a place where professional women can be comfortable talking about their careers, finding mentorship and networking with one another. I saw a need for that, and I set forth to fill it. In just a few short weeks, membership has grown to over 200 women. Some of them are my friends, who I've manually added to the group, and some of them were added by my friends, and then their friends, and so on.
The bottom line is that it's growing beyond my expectations.
Being the social-media-obsessed person that I am, I looked in to this phenomenon a bit closer, and I noticed that other connections were creating wildly successful Facebook groups, as well.
Once the bane of my existence ("ugh, why does she keep adding me to groups?!"), it appeared as though Facebook groups are having a moment. When organic reach for pages is diminishing, and news feeds are cluttered with fake news and other nonsense, Facebook Groups seem to have finally found their place in the social stratosphere.
Here are the top reasons why I believe Facebook Groups will have their best year yet in 2017:
1. They help people find others with like-minded interests, better than most other social media networks or features. Yes, you can search for people by interest or location on Twitter, but with the issues plaguing that platform, it's not the best (or safest) place to network these days.
2. They help people de-clutter their social media feeds. Over the past 10-12 years, people have simply collected too many friends, brands, photos, articles, and JUNK in their profiles and news feeds. Groups provide a way to clear out mess, and start somewhere new and fresh.
3. They provide an alternative to social media's emotional intensity in 2017. I dare someone to argue with me about this one. But rather than giving up Facebook entirely, Groups allow people to continue to use the platform, but in a way that's much more engaging and ... FUN.
4. They're better for networking than LinkedIn. Hear me out: LinkedIn is also having a moment this year. But between the LinkedIn Appropriateness Police and a brand new redesign that's still rather difficult for many to navigate, many people still don't feel comfortable actually doing their networking there (yet).
5. Admins can see how effective their content is in real time. How many people saw that post? How many people engaged with it? There are no complex analytics to decipher. You can see your content's effectiveness then and there. You know who looked at it, and you can easily pivot your content strategy based on those numbers.
I will admit that some Facebook Groups features do have their drawbacks. They can also get rather spammy if you're not careful. But in this world of irrelevant, obnoxious, and otherwise super-negative content flying at us via our news feeds, give Facebook Groups a chance to prove themselves to you in 2017. You just might be surprised.