Facebook groups are a useful tool to build your business, either as a group owner or a group member. Much of the advice recently about finding your perfect readers or customers is to use Facebook groups. The only problem? This has created a culture of people behaving badly in groups. From shameless self-promotion to poaching group members, people seem to have forgotten their manners. I think it’s high time we talk about best practices for Facebook groups.
Listen to Episode 71 – Best Practices for Facebook Groups or…How NOT to Be Smarmy in Facebook Groups
[Want to join my Facebook Community? You really should. We can be non-smarmy together. ]
I’m quite the Facebook group junkie. I’m not going to tell you how many groups I’m in or how many I moderate or own. IT’S TOO MANY. That’s the bottom line. (I’ve even thought of creating a FB group for people with too many Facebook groups.) There is a reason that these groups are so popular and it’s because they are a GREAT way to connect with people on a platform most people are already on anyway.
But there is a dark side to these groups as well. Many of the groups for bloggers, writers, or entrepreneurs are full of people who just want to use the group to promote themselves. After all, we keep hearing that Facebook groups are a great place to grow your audience and find clients. Right?
Yes. However, you really need to know HOW to do this. Because if you handle this incorrectly, you will alienate those potential clients and tick off other group owners. If you are in Facebook groups, you will know that this happens OFTEN. If you moderate or own Facebook groups, you know just HOW often, because you are the one who deletes so many posts. (Can I get an Amen?)
So let’s break this down into how you can actually engage in these groups, bring value, and connect with potential new readers or clients without being GROSS.
How NOT To Be Smarmy in Facebook Groups as a Member
The easiest, overarching thing to remember in a Facebook group is that it’s not YOUR group.
- Follow the rules (listed usually in a pinned thread or in the description in the side)
- Listen before you speak when you join a group- see the culture
- When in doubt about posting, ask the group owner.
- DON’T JUST DROP LINKS TO YOUR POSTS/SALES PAGES/OPT-INS. (unless that is allowed in the group)
- DON’T POST YOUR AFFILIATE LINKS TO PRODUCTS. (unless that is allowed in the group)
- DON’T POST YOUR PRODUCTS IF THEY DIRECTLY COMPETE WITH THE GROUP OWNER’S PRODUCTS.
- DON’T COPY AND PASTE THE SAME MESSAGE TO MULTIPLE GROUPS AT THE SAME TIME. IT’S GROSS.
If you want to bring value to the group, you can engage in conversations and respond if people ask questions. When it comes to posting content in the group, make sure what you are posting is not a thinly guised, smarmy promotion, but something that’s actually helpful.
Remember that you didn’t build the group. This is someone else’s work. If you feel bitter that you can’t share or build your own platform from the group because of the rules, you may be there for the wrong reasons. Build your OWN group.
How NOT To be Smarmy in Facebook Groups as an Owner
Many people join the larger groups because they are unhappy with their own group and want to access more people. Don’t devalue your group, NO MATTER the size! REMEMBER that at one time, that giant group was small. It grew because that group owner valued the people in it.
- Don’t add people without permission.
- Promote discussion.
- Allow people to share links, even if that’s within threads, not on the wall.
- Be a good moderator.
- Be present.
- Don’t just schedule all the posts for the group.
- Value members with exclusive content.
- Use Facebook Live.
- Disclose Affiliate Links.
If you have made any of these mistakes either as a member or an owner, it’s TOTALLY OKAY. We all have. And sometimes it’s hard to navigate the waters of groups and dynamics. Every group may not be for YOU. The most important thing to remember is to be intentional with your choices. This affects how you behave IN a group and how you RUN your group.
I hope that you are left with some great ideas of how to more authentically engage with these best practices for Facebook groups! Disagree? Have some other pet peeves? Rant away in the comments!
Want to learn more about Facebook groups? Here are some great links from people I love.
3 Ways to Activate Your Facebook Group and One Way to Monetize – Biz Women Rock
Your Email List Is NOT Your Community – Biz Women Rock
3 Mistakes to Avoid with Your Facebook Group – Caitlin Bacher
Leveraging Facebook Groups – my interview with Katie Krimitsos of Biz Women Rock