Microsoft has started rolling out a new Communities feature in Microsoft Teams for Consumers and Teams Essentials. This release enables users and small businesses to connect, share ideas as well as collaborate with groups and teams.
Up until now, Microsoft Teams for Consumers allowed users to send chat messages, start video calls and share files/images with their friends and families. The new Communities feature lets users post announcements for all group members, organize community events, and share documents. Users can also filter content to easily access images, videos, links, and events.
“Whether your group is a recreational sports team, event planning committee, parent-teacher association, or even a small business, this new experience gives groups of all kinds a digital space to stay connected before, during, and after gatherings. Communities is currently rolling out in the free version of Microsoft Teams,” said Manik Gupta, CVP for Microsoft Teams Product.
With Communities, users can now organize in-person, virtual, and hybrid events in Microsoft Teams. For example, organizers can add new events to their community calendar, send invitations to attendees, and track attendance.
Microsoft Teams will also get a new SignUpGenius integration in 2023. It’s a popular signup tool that helps to organize group events with built-in payment processing, email and SMS reminders, and other features. This release will let users hire volunteers, coordinate events, and manage the signup process.
Microsoft highlights that Communities should be a welcome addition for small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs). The Communities feature is already supported on Facebook, WhatsApp, Discord, Twitter, and other social media platforms. It eliminates the need to switch between apps to engage with customers. The feature is available in Microsoft Teams Essentials when an employee logs in with a Microsoft account and Microsoft 365 Family and Personal.
“With communities in Teams, your small business can move seamlessly from customer calls to team events and everything in between. You can create a virtual community group with diehard customers to announce a new sale, or just as easily create a Carpool Community for coworkers who want to share a ride to the office,” Gupta added.
Microsoft says that the new Communities feature is currently available for Android and iOS users in Microsoft Teams for Consumers. The company plans to bring this capability to desktop users, though there is no ETA yet. We invite you to check out this support page to learn more about creating communities in Microsoft Teams.