Facebook testing new sidebar, channels for groups

Facebook is testing a new sidebar that helps users find groups quicker and easier. The sidebar lists your groups and their latest activity like posts or chats. You can also pin your favorite groups so you can access them quicker, and even create your own.

The case for groups. Facebook groups aren’t new. Groups are used to get users with similar interests, and hobbies together, in a place where they can collaborate, communicate, sell, or meet in person. This reorganization doesn’t change the functionality of groups or how they work, but reorganizes them within the Facebook platform and offers a few new features.

How groups are organized. In the new sidebar, you’ll be able to easily see a menu that takes you to links for events, shops, chats, or other channels within the group. 

Within their groups, admins can create individual channels to allow smaller, more casual interactions. This is meant to drive deeper discussions and organize the group around sub-topics of interests and demographics. 

New group features

Community chat. Message and collaborate with other group members in private, smaller channels based on a sub-topic or interest.

Community audio. This allows admins and members to hold audio conversations in real-time.

Community feed. Just like with a normal Facebook feed, the community feeds allow you to browse activity within your selected channel. 

Launch date TBD. There isn’t any information on when these new features will be launched to the public fully. But you can read the announcement here.

Why we care. Businesses with a large Facebook presence can take advantage of these new features and create groups around their product or service. There’s no guarantee they’ll result in any measurable success, but creating a community around their brand may be a way to keep people engaged.  

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