I love Facebook groups.
The best, most engaged ones are consistent and drop countless value bombs…Every. Single. Day.
And I am not alone.
A lot of other people have caught on to just how brilliant groups are. They can be of enormous personal benefit, not just as a member but also if you happen to be fortunate enough to successfully run one. It really is a win-win situation.
Trouble is, some people simply don't appear to know how to use them to their maximum effect and thus benefit from the goldmine of information and endless opportunities they frequently provide.
Ignoring obvious ‘no no's’ such as spamming the group with sunglasses adverts and links to your latest ‘get rich quick’ business venture, here is a list of what not to do in a group and what you should do instead.
1. Answer a question with a pitch
Please for the love of all things good in the world, don't do this.
If someone asks a question or seeks guidance on a particular issue, and you think you can assist in some way, then do so.
I witnessed a question in a group recently where someone was asking for advice and options re a new business venture, a brilliant opportunity for group members to provide some real value.
Unfortunately a lot of people used it as an opportunity to simply post links about their businesses and services.
Dropping a link to your services in this way is a big NO NO unless asked to do so.
Provide value FIRST. Show off your expertise and knowledge. If that person likes what you say and wants to get to know more about what you do or hire you they will. Stop chasing. It's unattractive, looks desperate and is quite frankly unprofessional.
Trust me, it will pay off in the end.
2. Argue the toss
Okay, so this can be difficult.
We all do business differently and have diverse views, outlooks and experiences.
If someone asks a question, share your experience in a helpful way, but if someone else provides another perspective you don't agree with…please don't get into a scrap about it even if behind the scenes you are fuming.
Firstly it is not helpful for the OP and secondly, aggressive undignified responses usually just end up making you look like a hot headed jerk.
The fact of the matter is, you simply don't know who is lurking in groups and watching your every move…it could be a potential employer or client. Seeing you throw your toys out of the pram isn’t really going to show you in the best light.
Agree to disagree. There is an old saying that you shouldn’t throw stones at every dog that barks.
Instead be dignified, make sure your response is considered and professional and not passive aggressive or sarcastic. You never know, you may also learn something from the other person's perspective that you had not considered before.
3. Ignore the rules
Some groups are more strict on certain rules than others.
Where there are rules, stick to them. If you are unsure about posting something, then message the group admin.
For example, most groups will have particular days where you can post links to your own blogs and services as opposed to merrily blasting everyone with your latest blog post every 2 minutes.
Keep to the rules and guidelines of the group.
If you are uncertain of anything just ask the admin‘s opinion first.
Stick around a while and get a feel for a group, see what type of posts are already being posted etc.
It might be that this group is not the right fit for you, or it might be that you have found a wonderful golden opportunity, so don't spoil your chances early on with a silly schoolboy error!
4. Talk about yourself ALL the time
The whole point of most groups is to engage, provide value, learn stuff, network and of course help others where applicable. Sure, most represent a great forum to open up, share experiences and success stories, but not constantly.
Groups are not just there to grandstand and massage your big ego.Think before you post, do you really need to broadcast this message? Click To Tweet
What's the objective and what is it bringing to the table?
Share your experiences, wins and fails but in a way that it is helpful to the group.
Provide value for others.
For example, if you are posting about a recent experience, what did you learn, what did it teach you, is there anything that other members might benefit or positively take away from your experience?
5. Private message people without their consent
Unless you have a person's consent to pm them, don't.
Also, be aware that for some questions it's better that the answer is shared with the whole group.
It looks a bit suspicious when all people ever see are you posting is ‘I will pm you' under every post.
What's so secret that you cannot share it with the whole group?
Ask if you can private message the person beforehand. But first consider answering the query publicly so everyone can benefit from your expertise.
6. Not using the search function
There is nothing more annoying for an admin of a group than answering the same question day in day out from members (especially new joiners) who have not first used the search function or looked through the files/resources section of the group.
Make use of the search function and the resources already available in the group.
Your question may already have been answered, what's more, there might be quite a long thread of other useful information. Likewise, the files section of a group usually has useful resources you can refer to where you may find the answer to your specific question and much more.
Of course, this does not mean you cannot ask similar questions. Just check beforehand first is all.
Some of the above may seem obvious, but you would be surprised how many times etiquette and manners are breached, potentially ruffling the feathers of group members while doing your reputation no good at all.
Groups can be an amazing resource and can become like a nice welcoming family when used optimally, so make the most of them and avoid silly thoughtless mistakes.