How to Create a Highly Engaged Community with Facebook Rooms
Over the past few weeks, Facebook Messenger has rolled out Rooms to users in Australia and Canada (lucky me!). Because I had early access, I decided to take it for a spin with the Social Proof Collective as an experiment. We wanted to see what it would be like to host a live weekly chat, providing an open forum for discussion on a separate topic each week. Read on to find out what happened.
But before we jump into the experiment, while everyone seemed to be excited about Facebook Rooms. there was also a lot of confusion. What is it? How do I use it? Wasn’t it a feature before?? Let’s clear some of this up.
What is a Facebook Room?
Facebook Rooms allow a user to create a dedicated space that others can join by a URL. The easiest way to think about a Room is like a retro ’90’s chat room where anyone can join and just hang out together – but it all takes place inside Facebook Messenger. It was once a stand-alone app from Facebook, however, the app failed to take off and instead it has returned as part of Facebook Messenger.
How to Create a Room
At the time of this post, only users based in Australia and Canada can create rooms, but hopefully that will soon change.
To Create a Room:
1. Open the Facebook Messenger App and tap Groups
2. Scroll down to Discover Rooms and tap Create under Create a Room
3. Give your room a name and a description. You can also set a photo, color or emoji for your chat
4. Under Discoverability, choose if you want your room to be discoverable
5. Once you’re finished, tap Create in the top right corner of your screen
How to Join a Room
Each room has a link that you can share with anyone on Messenger. To join a room, simply click on the link provided by the Room. If the Room owner needs to approve new members, you will need to wait to join. If you are a Room owner and you would like to share your Room URL, click on the name of your Room at the top of the chat and scroll down to the Share Link option to copy it.
Promoting your Facebook Room
Because you can share the link to your Room, you can promote it virtually anywhere! Here are some ideas to get people interested:
- Send in an email for a live Q&A with you
- Facebook post or ad copy as an added perk to an offer
- Add it to your email signature to remind people where they can find you
How to Use Facebook Rooms for Your Community or Business
There any SO many places to have conversations online, but the honest truth is, most people come back to Facebook multiple times per day. This is a big reason why I decided to test out Facebook Rooms. The biggest takeaway I got from this experiment was that many people like to be heard and Facebook Rooms filled that void for many.
We saw that many people were asking questions in between our regularly scheduled chats in the Room rather than asking them in our Facebook group. We asked ourselves, “Why?” And our answer: many people like the attention of others in smaller groups or spaces, much like a small get-together rather than a massive shindig. We believe that the Room provided a much-needed sense of inclusion but also support for those who needed it most.
There are definitely some advantages for Facebook rooms, including true 1-on-1 interaction (possibly with potential customers), the feeling of true conversation, and building a great community. Here are some other pros:
- Ease-of-use with a one-click join!
- Faster response times
- Ability to see who saw your post
- Fun times with easy video and GIF uploads (the Social Proof Collective converses in GIFs)
We specifically used the Room for a weekly chat that lasted for one hour. This meant that there was an extreme amount of engagement all at one time. With 75+ people in the Room (they allow up to 250 people!), it started to get a little out of hand. Here are the cons we experienced:
- The platform was too delayed and too slow to host a live chat
- Participants could not often type as the chat would lag
- The chat would automatically scroll and participants could not keep up
- There are no tagging options to directly speak to another person (like a Twitter chat)
We also offered chat questions in the form of video, but posting video would slow the chat down even more.
After our second chat, we surveyed attendees. 83% percent of people said they would do it again, if the platform worked as it should. That being said, even after we decided to end the weekly chat, the Room remained active on a daily basis until we finally shut it down completely.
Other Uses for Facebook Rooms
Really, there are endless uses for Facebook Rooms, but here are just a few:
- Support for course attendees
- Mastermind or mentorship accountability check-ins
- Interest groups to discuss daily or weekly topics (e.g. a book club)
- Live events for real-time conversation
- Challenges to keep people on track
Have another idea for a Facebook Room? Let me know in the comments!