If your business already runs a Facebook Group with the group type of ‘School or Class’ and you have looked at your group in the last 24-36 hours, you may well be wondering what on earth Facebook ‘units’ are all about! I expect you will also have spent a bit of time trying to figure out what you need to do.
Let me explain.
It would seem that over the last couple of days, Facebook has quietly released a new group feature which may well be a game changer for businesses in the ‘E-Learning’ marketplace. The feature lets you create ‘units’ within a group (a better word could be courses, modules or lessons), which you can link post content to, creating ‘activities’ within each unit.
It’s early days, but on the surface the potential could be huge if you are looking for a platform to deliver ‘membership style’ content. I write this with a warning though; creating a business which solely functions through Facebook could be a dangerous strategy – what would happen to your business if Facebook unexpectedly shut down your page / group / profile…?
So How Do Facebook Units Work?
To get started, your Facebook group has to be classified as ‘School or Class’ otherwise the unit option will not display. (You can edit this by clicking on the ‘…’ which appears below your cover image, followed by ‘edit group settings’ and then ‘change’ next to the Group Type – sometimes you need to allow some time for the change to take effect and trigger the Unit section to display).
It’s important to note that once you make this change, the ‘Unit’ tab automatically displays FIRST to your members when they visit your group, unless they click on a post which they see in their own newsfeed to get to your group. This may be confusing for them, so I suggest you post a message first to warn them!
With the correct group type in place, you will be presented with an option to ‘Create Units To Organize Your Posts’. The type of business you run will dictate the best unit ‘name’ to allocate.
Here are a few quick ideas:
- Welcome / New Here? / Start Here
- Module x, y etc
- Specific Product / Services
- Live Call Archive
You can also enter a unit description to go with the name – I suggest you do this as it will appear at the top of the section when a member views the individual unit. (It will not however display for you, as the admin of the group.) Finally, you can choose to make the unit ‘optional’ (check box bottom left).
The number of units appears at the top of the units tab and will show Members how many they have completed. Note: units marked optional will not show in the total units figure displayed here.
Once you have created some units, you can start adding content to them. To add a post to a unit you have to first create it, or, you can add past posts from the discussion tab newsfeed. Simply click the top right corner downward arrow, select the unit you want to add it to (or create a new unit for it) and you will be asked to enter a post title.
If for any reason you want to add the post to 2 different units you can – just repeat the process.
From the testing I have done so far using a group my husband & I run, I have made the following observations:
- You need to educate your group members so that they know they can still view the main discussion newsfeed by clicking the tab which is found top left of their screen (this is also where the general group ‘search’ feature has moved to!)
- The Facebook Units feature / the Unit tab does not currently display on all mobile / tablet devices (this applies for both Admins and Members). On the odd occasion when they do (usually by following a notification link), your group member can get stuck in the units section, even though they get a tab to click to go to ‘discussion’ – I am hoping this is just a bug which Facebook will fix soon.
- You can re-organise units (click the downward arrow at the corner of the unit for move up / move down / to the top etc options), but I cannot find a way to re-organise posts within the unit – they appear in the order you add them, last at the top.
- I have not found a way to delete a post from a unit once you have added it OR change the name should you make a spelling mistake. You can delete a complete unit, but if you have several items in it, it will be time consuming to delete and recreate etc.
- Unit posts will still appear in the normal group discussion newsfeed. When you view them in here, there is nothing at the moment to indicate that the post is part of a unit.
- Deleting a unit will NOT delete any of the posts you have added to it.
- Whilst members get a ‘you have completed x units progress bar’, I have not found anywhere from an admin viewpoint where you can monitor this on a member by member basis.
Here is an example of the how the Unit tab view looks (from an admin view) once you have created a few units.
The member view is slightly different as each unit will have a green progress bar and green ticks to show which activities have been completed.
Overall, among the people I know who have already discovered Facebook units there is a buzz of excitement. I can see the feature being used by businesses both in and outside of the e-learning arena, as aside from being a teaching platform, it also offers a better way to organize group content.
What do you think? Are you likely to try Facebook units out? Do you think it can improve the effectiveness of your Facebook Group? Let me know your thoughts. It is going to be interesting to see how this feature develops over the coming months…Are Facebook Units within groups a game changer feature for businesses in the E-Learning arena? Click To Tweet