Facebook may have started out as a simple browser-based social network way back in 2004, but today there’s much more to the social media giant. Apart from having a highly-diversified primary product, the company also owns and operates Instagram and WhatsApp. It’s safe to say that the company is the undisputed leader of social media and instant messaging, and it’s hard to find someone that doesn’t use at least one of Facebook’s huge range of services.
Facebook’s focus has always been on building up the product to better serve its community, and indeed something that helps communities of like-minded individuals grow is Facebook Groups. It’s easy to create a group on Facebook, and you can use this for all kinds of things from buying and selling, to having a community to speak to about common topics. We spoke to Adit Vaidya, Global Product Manager for Facebook Groups, who had a few insights to share with us. You can check out the interview below.
Facebook is taking Groups seriously, and is looking to build engagement in its groups tremendously. Adit Vaidya, a Silicon Valley veteran, told us, “I’ve been at Facebook for three years now, and have been in and around Silicon Valley for a total of nine years now. The reason Facebook Groups interested me is because I found it to be a great way to connect around my interests and hobbies.” He believes that groups are a way for people to belong, whether they’re going through a significant life event such as having a child, dealing with any type of health condition, or setting goals, such as fitness goals.
Groups are something that Facebook is looking to build going forward as well. As Mark Zuckerberg outlined in his letter earlier this year to the Facebook community, the next focus is to build social infrastructure for communities. “We want to help people find and connect with the most meaningful group to them. For example, mothers can connect with other mothers in their community, teachers can connect with other teachers to share tips and advice. There are also groups around hobbies, interests and causes,” Adit says.
You can also use groups for helping get people with similar interests in touch, or to help a particular purpose. The possibilities for using groups are vast. Adit continues, “The guiding principle we have at Facebook when we build products is that we first look at how people are using Facebook. We look at the experience they have, and how we can make it better. A year or two ago, we launched the ability to list items for sale, for others to then look at. We saw that people were already doing that, but they were doing it organically. We built an experience that lets you list an item, mark interest in another item, message someone who is selling something you may want to buy. You can fine-tune your group for whatever purpose you may want to use it for.”
Facebook Groups also has its own app, which you can install on your smartphone. “No matter how you use Facebook, whether it’s on your smartphone or computer, we want users to have the best experience. The app helps you find groups that suit you, or to be able to properly administer and run a group that you’ve created,” Adit outlines.
There are plenty of groups doing good work, and Adit spoke of some interesting groups, including Mumbai Moms, Teachers for Teachers, Clothes Box Foundation and more. All of these groups help users connect with other users who they’ve probably never met before, and as a result, there’s a lot that you can do with Facebook Groups.