People are turning to social media to connect amid the global pandemic. Online communities engagement has skyrocketed, as users maintain social activity while physically apart.
The spike has led to more dependence on online communities and tools. New trends and habits will stay even after lifting the lockdowns if this goes on.
To have a good grasp on how online communities have helped people during the pandemic, Facebook conducted a new survey.
About 15,000 members of online communities participated. They provided new insight into how they use groups, what they get from them, and how it changed amid the pandemic.
Here are some key points of Facebook’s full “Communities Insights Survey.”
A rise in engagement
“Three quarters (77%) of people surveyed say the most important group they are part of now operates online (44.3% primarily online, plus 32.4% both online and offline). And 70% said digital tools were very important for helping their communities thrive during the pandemic. This increased participation in online community groups is here to stay: over the next 12 months, 86% of people whose most important community group is primarily online say they’ll continue engaging with that group at the same level (48%), or even more frequently (39%),” says Facebook.
Facebook has promoted the use of groups in recent years. As people spend more time online, online groups become a more significant social element. And it has been aggravated by the pandemic.
A helping hand
Facebook says online communities are vital support tools for many users.
“91% of respondents said they have given some form of support to others during the COVID-19 pandemic through their preferred group/community, whether it’s helping local vulnerable residents with their groceries during lockdown, sharing vital information from health authorities, or providing financial support to local business,” explains Facebook.
Facebook says that 86% of respondents have received support. About 49% specifically received emotional support from groups during the pandemic.
A sense of belonging
Online groups foster a sense of belonging. About 98% of respondents reported a strong sense of kinship and community in their groups.
About 25% of respondents said that their main online group have a common hobby or activity with the other members. Another 38% of respondents connect with people in their locality.
The effects of the coronavirus have shuttered many local newspapers and publications. People have turned to Facebook and other online platforms to stay updated on local news and events.
Most of these happenings will occur in Facebook groups. It shows how important online communities are as an option for marketers to connect with their audiences.
While groups are popular, effective moderation is crucial.
“58% of people agree that one of the top qualities that make a community successful is having effective leaders,” says Facebook.
Other group insights are in Facebook’s full report here.