7 Mistakes People Make When Using Facebook Groups to Network (and How to Avoid Them)
As an introvert myself, I thought that Facebook groups would be a total waste of time. I barely pay attention to my newsfeed – what good would a group be?
Then I joined one because the group admin was a true mentor to me – I figured I was doing him a favour!
Little did I know he was once more doing me the favour, as it turned into…
- Somewhere I learnt things I couldn’t find anywhere else
- Somewhere I received support like nowhere else (online or offline!)
- Somewhere I made authentic connections with some incredible folk
- Somewhere I found people I could collaborate with and help
All of these benefits… without leaving the house!?
I had found my new go-to networking tool.
Get Your FREE Facebook Group Planner
However, after playing the Facebook group field quite a bit, I started to realise there was a certain… etiquette to using them for networking.
Just like you wouldn’t show up at a real life networking event and get mashed on the free wine and start pitching everyone in the room, there are definitely some common mistakes that could be easily avoided when using Facebook groups.
7 Mistakes People Make When Using Facebook Groups to Network
1. They join inactive/rarely active groups
Solution: I know what you’re thinking: how the heck can you tell if a Facebook group is active before you join it if it’s PRIVATE?
Well, you can’t. But what I recommend is joining anyway, and once you’re in give it a go for a week.
If the activity is low (less than a 3–4 people posting a day) then bow out. Unless those posts are freaking incredible, you’re likely not going to get too much from the group.
2. They join too many groups
I’ve been guilty of this one. Now that every blogger and their dog are starting Facebook groups, it’s easy to go ahead and join groups willy-nilly.
The problem is that you don’t get to fully engage with a group if you’ve got too many on the go.
I strongly believe everyone has their own unique tolerance for number of groups, and I don’t think there’s any harm in being a member of many, but you might want to make an effort to ‘favourite’ a manageable number.
For what it’s worth, I would say I’m a very loyal member to 3–4 groups, I pop up occasionally in around 5–6 more and I’m just keeping up the numbers in the rest for moral support.
Here are my tips for finding what works for you:
- Like in the last solution, it’s worth giving your full attention to a group for one week, to see how it suits you. If you find yourself making meaningful connections and enjoying the vibe, stick around.
- Add some to your ‘favourites’ list so you get notifications in your feed.
- If you’re getting overwhelmed, do a monthly ‘cleanse’ and consider saying goodbye/demoting a group or two you aren’t feeling any longer.
3. They start posting straight away
Posting in the groups is of course encouraged – you should be an active contributor to make the most of a Facebook group.
BUT: self-promotion (even if it’s a blog post with no opt-in or salesy message) is going to fall on deaf ears if you haven’t laid down the groundwork FIRST.
So, how to lay down this groundwork?
Stalk and Support.
1. Spend your first week (there’s a pattern forming here, no?) scrolling through comments and paying close attention to the kind of topics being posted.
Some groups will share a lot of funny pictures, or motivational quotes, or ask for feedback and advice on something. When in Rome…
2. Then do your very best to help others by either offering advice on their post, liking (or some other form of ‘reaction’) their post – just be useful and/or entertaining.
3. After you’ve ‘initiated’ yourself, feel free to start being more forward and contribute by starting your own posts.
I don’t believe there is any limit on posting in Facebook groups, just do what feels appropriate for that group.
Keeping track of what is expected (themes, promotion days etc) is important though, as most groups will limit this to specific days of the week.
4. They don’t introduce themselves
Remember I just said not to post in your first week? Well, I lied.
THERE IS ONE CAVEAT!
There is ONE thing I recommend posting in your first week: your introduction.
Just keep it brief and bright. Things like:
- What you do
- Why you joined the group
- What you feel you can contribute
- What’s your favourite ice cream flavour…
It’s not time to sell or promote, but it is time to leave a positive first impression.
Many groups will have threads that explain how they want you to introduce yourself (check the group description or pinned post) but some forget – but don’t be shy! They’ll appreciate your enthusiasm.
5. They break the rules
On the subject of those group descriptions… don’t ignore them!
That’s often where admins will fit in their ‘group rules’ (some more obnoxious than others) but usually it just gives you an outline of some obvious points like:
- Be nice
- Don’t be salesy
Nope – it’s not brain surgery, but it’s worth checking that group description anyway.
6. They private/direct message people in the group
I’ve seen people get particularly hot-headed about this one, and whilst I don’t feel it’s any of my business as a group admin about what my members do, I do think there’s a certain ‘etiquette’ around PM/DM-ing people.
The problem that arises is that some people will find a potential customer or client within a group, and privately message them to try and sell something.
Not cool. Why? It puts the message receiver in a bit of an uncomfortable position (like when a friend invites themselves around for tea and you’re in you PJs… Just me?) and also undermines the group admin.
Be considerate. If you want to contact someone about a ‘business matter’ that doesn’t apply to the whole group, may be check with the group admin first to see what they think.
7. They forget their business card
Business cards? Aren’t they something we left in the 90s along with the Spice Girls and Beanie Babies?
I’m talking about your virtual business card. As in…
If you have a Facebook business page (and I’m assuming you do if you’re serious about using Facebook groups to network) I do recommend getting it linked up in your profile.
When someone views your profile in the group, they can instantly see what you do without having to stalk you.
Notice my ‘position’ is a call to action?
I detest calling myself a ‘founder’ or ‘CEO’ and will avoid it at all costs, so throwing this little quirky tip in from Caitlin Batcher felt right.
When you go to edit your ‘About’ section, you can write any call to action you like in place of the ‘Position’ suggested. Neat eh?
Next, edit your ‘Position’ to suit you! (You don’t need to choose a conventional position here.)
This is going to serve as your business card, so put your personality in: do what feels true to you.
If CTA’s aren’t your thing, then put your actual position. But just having a link to your work is vital when using Facebook groups to network.
It can be overwhelming when you’re new to Facebook groups and still working out what happens on what day and who needs what when… So I made a Facebook group planner!
Get Your FREE Facebook Group Planner
It’s an editable PDF for us digital dwellers, but of course you could always print it out too. Oh and it’s free 😉
I made it for myself initially, after losing track of my favourite group post days. They aren’t all promo days either – like Dre’s Badass Solopreneur ‘Fill in the blank’ day.
Do you use Facebook groups to network?
Do you have any pet peeves when in Facebook groups?
Let me know your thoughts in the comments below, or hit me up on Twitter @catrosedsign!