Groups are quickly becoming synonymous with communities. There are currently over 10 million Facebook Groups with over 1.4 billion members — and they have done so much to connect people around shared interests and start valuable conversations.
However, Groups on Social media sites (or subReddits) are significantly limited compared to full-fledged brand communities. The difference between groups on social network platforms and groups on brand communities is that brand communities have tailored the experience for their audience and secured the data instead of using it for advertising and targeting purposes. In addition, groups in social media are dependent on a group of volunteers to maintain a vibrant and healthy space - which is the main reason why many of these groups have short lifespans. Finally, social network groups are not built to generate and store knowledge for future users to find - therefore much of the value generated is lost very quickly.
Brand communities should think about creating groups around popular social group topics that matter to them or to suit certain business purposes. They can be organized geographically, by language, by product, by their role, or just around shared interests that don’t relate to the products and services you offer (cat lovers, anyone?)
Our new Group Hubs feature in Khoros Communities is unique in branded online communities because it enables your community administrators or users to create, organize, and manage their own groups — cutting out the need for an employee administrator and reducing the overhead required to enable these highly engaging community conversations. Here is a short video to illustrate.
Group Hubs can include any discussion type
Any type of conversation you want to have in your community you can have within a Group Hub. Whether that’s asking your users to contribute to a new product idea, creating a collaboration space between internal and external stakeholders, or focusing a discussion about a local topic like photography. With Group Hubs, scale collaboration across your community by empowering users to say what they want to say, how they want to say it, without worrying as much about your community architecture.
Group Hubs types and Use Cases
That’s all pretty high level — so let’s look at a few use cases and early customer examples:
1. Hidden group hub — Closed Betas
Hidden groups are only visible to members. Khoros actually did this for our own upcoming product releases. We created a hidden group for our Early Access users of Group Hubs. This enabled us to get feedback from the most motivated customers and also gather information about use cases and documentation needs we hadn’t thought of. It has also enabled me to write this blog!
2. Closed Group — VIP Members
Closed groups are visible publicly but have exclusive membership controlled by the admin. Therefore a superfan or superuser group is ideally a closed group. You could also run a moderator subgroup, a Group Hub for Group Hub admins, or for employees using this format.
3. Open Group — San Francisco Cat Lovers
An open Group Hub enables use cases where it’s more important to show affinity via membership, rather than hiding or restricting content. Common examples of open Group Hub types are affinity groups based on certain topics (such as PC gaming enthusiasts) or regions.
Group Hubs are now generally available
As of this week, Group Hubs are out of early access and are generally available. For existing users, that means that analytics, APIs, and migration tools from groups to Group Hubs are now available. For new users, Group Hubs are a significant addition to a community. They are a new interaction type, and brands need to think through how they will architect them, who gets what administrative permissions (now that customers can manage these groups independently), and how they will look. Our recommendation is to contact your Customer Success manager to get started. Here are some other resources to help get started:
Group Hubs Overview Template (Attached) helps to create a plan and align a team to support a new group hub.
Get started with these articles from our Documentation (Customers Only):