In an article published to Medium, 19 year old Andrew Watts reviewed the most popular social media channels from his own perspective as a current college student. He readily cites his classmates and references their use of each platform as well – it’s not just Andrew’s personal opinion here.
In it, Andrew gets right to the point with Facebook: Groups are where it’s at. And he’s right. As Andrew says, “Facebook is often used by us mainly for its group functionality.I know plenty of classmates who only go on Facebook to check the groups they are part of and then quickly log off.” Groups have existed inside Facebook since 2010, but in the last 2-3 years, Facebook Groups have become increasingly popular. There are even Third Party Applications that allow users to collect their Groups into one feed. And, in response to the popularity of Groups, Facebook launched a Groups App in November of 2014.
(You probably already know about our own little group: Simplified Systems. It’s free to join and I’d love for you to say hi over there.)
As a big fan of Facebook Groups, I’m a member of, well, more than a few. And I’ve seen it all. Groups that are for friends and family to share baby pictures safely, groups for courses I’ve taken, groups for people with common interests, groups for networking and blog sharing. If you want it, there’s a group for it.
After spending a good amount of time in Facebook Groups (and talking to lots of other group members of all types), I’ve collected the common complaints and praises of this unique way to connect. So from me (and a couple hundred of our closest friends) to you, here they are:
Facebook Group Don’ts:
1) Schedule posts unless you are the admin or moderator.
You know I am all about saving time and using the available online tools to help your business hum. But this isn’t the place to do it. Those third-party posting apps give themselves away with a little “posted by ________” under your name…. and no one is buying that you are posting that live and engaging in the responses.
These kinds of posts are being dubbed “drive-by postings” and nothing good ever comes from a drive-by.
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If you are the admin or moderator of a group, please feel free to post those Morning Motivations or Daily Theme posts via a post scheduler (Buffer, Social Oomph, and Edgar let you do this for groups). But a word of warning, admins: don’t schedule out ALL of your posts. Have some real time live engagement and keep the scheduled stuff for the big headlines.
(Editor’s Note/Update: this feature is no longer available – you MUST be an admin of a group to schedule a post there. That said, social platforms are always changing so I’m keeping this one up in case that feature ever re-surfaces. Just don’t do it, k?)
2) Post branded inspiration images.
Unless you’ve been invited to do so (in a promo thread or if that’s the purpose of the group), don’t post the image you created for your blog (or Pinterest or Instagram or whatever) inside of a group. It’s a super sneaky way to promote yourself and it’s a turn off. We see that URL on the bottom of the image! Don’t pretend you’re just trying to motivate us all.
IF it’s truly meant as motivation or inspiration, take a moment to crop the URL off of the image and share it that way. Give without expecting anything in return. If people want to know about your business, they’ll ask. Keep it all “above the waist” as my Aunt Barbara would say.
3) Reply to posts with a “I have some ideas. PM me for more info!” kinda answer.
This response is seen in more business-focused groups than I care to mention. It’s self-serving, disrespectful, and did I mention self-serving?? They posted their request or question publicly, answer it publicly. You don’t have to go and give away your secret-sauce either. Your genius work is amazing and I bet you can provide a thoughtful answer with just a few sentences. In fact, when I see people respond in a meaningful way (and even offer tangible action items for the person who asked for the help), those business owners often see that post convert into interest in their biz and/or sales from it.
When you give people a glimpse into the way you work, they are 98.6%* more interested in working with you.
*Actual percentage unavailable. This guesstimate is most likely incredibly accurate.
4) Share posts directly from your business page.
Have an article you wrote that would apply to a particular group you’re in? Created a product recently and you want to share it with this perfect-for-you audience you found? Don’t be lazy. Instead of heading over to the post on your biz page and hitting Share, create a customized post just for that group.
By customizing your message for that group, you instantly gain credibility and people take interest. Does the group call themselves something? (Eg: Everyone in my friend Suzi’s group Marvelous Brand Builders is referred to as “Marvels” or “Builders”. It’s unifying and fun and provides connection. So smart.) It also keeps you from looking like a drive-by post (see #1).
5) Cross-post the exact same thing to multiple groups all at once.