How Condé Nast Built Communities Using Facebook Groups Across Eight Publications

By April 20, 2018No Comments

By Simone Oliver, News Partnerships

After Condé Nast Traveler (CNT) published a March 2017 editorial package called Women Who Travel, the publication realized they had an untapped community of readers eager to engage more deeply with this subject. In response, they launched Women Who Travel, a Facebook Group run by CNT for female travel lovers to have conversations in a safe environment. In just a few months, membership ballooned. It’s currently above 56k members — 73% of whom are active in the group on a monthly basis.* “We wanted to explore a new social channel that might be able to bring something different, and develop niche communities,” says Molly McGlew, social media strategist at Condé Nast. “People actively choose to come here for this conversation. It’s so much more supportive and you can actually have dialogue.”

As this test group took off, McGlew and the wider Condé Nast social strategy team helped scale Facebook Groups across eight of Condé Nast’s brands including The New Yorker, Vanity Fair, Allure, BRIDES, Golf Digest, SELF and Teen Vogue. Each group is built around a niche passion related to the publication that runs it, and serves as a space for people to connect with each other and learn from the expertise of these publications. Groups from Vanity Fair’s Reel Women to The New Yorker Movie Club have become areas where editors, reporters, celebrity guests, and group members can have meaningful dialogue around a topic they’re passionate about. Not only has this helped inform editorial strategies for several publications, but it’s helped build a greater loyalty between group members and Condé Nast publications.

We’ll look at three different groups that Condé Nast runs, find out what their mission is, what kind of content they’re putting into the group or generating from it, and identify some key learnings for other publishers.


Women Who Travel by Condé Nast Traveler

The Women Who Travel group has become a key place for Condé Nast Traveler editors to source ideas for stories, build out editorial packages, and gain insight into what readers are interested in. The high level of engagement in the group (there were 4K posts alone in March 2018) led to the Women Who Travel podcast, hosted by two CNT editors. Each week they post a question into the Facebook Group to get members’ feedback on, and then discuss that question in the podcast. A Women Who Travel editorial package featured on their website was created partially from polls and questions posed in the group, and a recent article about the ethics and safety of traveling to Myanmar was born out of a robust discussion taking place among group members.

In the group itself, moderators have established an important two-way dialogue with readers. The group’s moderators recorded a welcome video for new members, helping to foster the supportive and authentic tone for the group. They also asked group members themselves to share in a video why they love the group and what they get out of it. Responses describing the support and courage they received from conversations in the group were pulled together and shared for the whole group to see.

Launched: June 2017
Number of Members: 51K

Group’s Mission: “To be a safe space for self-identifying women to talk all things travel. Through this, I hope they’ll see how much they have in common with other women, and ultimately become more open-minded, educated, and respectful travelers who grow through the experience.” — Megan Spurrell, Community Editor, Condé Nast Traveler

Favorite Group Member Moment: “I love when we’ve seen the group positively affect the members’ lives. There have been so many women who’ve joined the group because they’ve never had the opportunity to travel—but want to—for various reasons: money, location, lack of time off from work. Seeing these women then be inspired to take the plunge and travel after talking to members of the group is really inspiring. There was one girl who had never traveled before and didn’t even have a passport. After she messaged a member of the group for advice, she ended up applying for a passport, getting one, and then taking her first trip abroad—to Mexico. This is the kind of encouraging effect we want to be having on our members’ lives.” -Rachel Coleman, Director of Social Media, Condé Nast Traveler

Publisher Takeaways:

    • Groups can be a great source for story ideas and to get a sense of what your readers care about.
    • Using content derived from groups is a great a way for readers to see themselves and be reflected in your publications.

Reel Women by Vanity Fair

Reel Women is a space for all women in the film industry to come together to discuss the trials and tribulations of making it in a challenging industry. They look to each other for guidance and support, as well as to people who have succeeded so they can learn from their path. Vanity Fair brought in Lena Waite, a writer, actress and producer who was featured in their March 2018 cover story, for a Q+A with the group. Waithe went into the group and answered member questions about how she first broke into the industry, her creative process, and what advice she’d pass on to others. She offered candid and useful feedback with a level of specificity only relevant to people in the industry. It was the kind of information that wouldn’t have been found in other interviews with Waithe that are aimed at a broader set of readers. Vanity Fair publicized this Q+A on their Page, helping to spread word of the group.

Launched: October 2017

Number of Members: 2K

Group’s Mission: “To create a space by women, for women, centering our discussions and experiences with and of films and movies – discussions and experiences that have for too long been ignored or dismissed by the greater film industry at large.” — Rhian Sasseen, Social Media Manager, Vanity Fair

Favorite Group Member Moment: “When one of the producers of the 2018 adaptation of A Wrinkle In Time posted in the group about her journey creating this movie. As a longtime fan of Madeleine L’Engle, it was exciting to see multiple generations of women commenting on the post, each with our own specific memories of the book and each of us looking forward to the movie.” — Rhian Sasseen, Social Media Manager, Vanity Fair

Publisher Takeaways:

  • Publishers are in a great position to use their expertise and contacts to connect readers to top industry leaders within Facebook Groups. This helps gives a closed group a feeling of exclusive membership.
  • Identifying niche and underserved communities within your broader editorial scope serves as a great foundation for a Facebook Group.


The New Yorker Movie Club

The New Yorker Movie Club is a chance for people to engage directly with other cinephiles about films they love. It’s an incredibly active group with 63% of their 23k members, engaging within the group last month.* There are a ton of movie groups on Facebook, but The New Yorker’s group distinguishes itself by having the active and eager presence of Richard Brody, a New Yorker movie critic who has been with the publication since 1999. In the group, Brody will share his extended thoughts about his love for The Wolf of Wall Street, answer a reader’s question about his favorite Douglas Sirk films, remind members to set their DVRs for a Sidney Pottier film airing on TCM that night, and provide his weekly movie recommendations. The group creates a space for readers to engage, and often disagree directly with, one of the country’s most distinguished critics.

Launched: July 2017

Number of Members: 23k

Group’s Mission: “Our group is a place for people who love films to gather with like-minded people—it’s like an online book club for films. We share weekly movie recommendations and have discussions about films. Some of the conversations are led by one of our film critics, Richard Brody, but we also invite members to jump in and start discussions around the world of movies.” — Saira Khan, Director of Social Media, The New Yorker

Favorite Group Member Moment: “People often post in our group about films they watched years ago, that have stayed with them, but they’re unable to recall who is in it or what it’s called. The members of our group are so diligent that they’re often able to figure out which film it is. I find posts like these delightful. Our members are cinephiles who enjoy discussing films with other cinephiles, including Richard Brody. They are respectful to one another and view the group as a cherished space”.— Saira Khan, Director of Social Media, The New Yorker

Lessons from The New Yorker Movie Club

  • When you find the right mix of topic and brand, active engagement can be extremely high.
  • Giving access to reporters and editors who have expertise in a field gives a feeling of exclusivity to the group, and helps set your group apart from ones focused on similar topics.


Learn More about Facebook Groups

If you have a Facebook Page and want to link or create a new group to engage your community — please find more detail here.

Want to know more about our latest tools to help grow and manage your group? We recently announced new tools such as creating group rules, welcome posts, badges, member profiles, new management controls, and expanded group insights.


*Stats provided by Condé Nast

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