Facebook groups are all the rage right now. Every coach around either has one, or is starting one. Heck, there is even a woman that has made a business out of teaching people how to use Facebook groups to build a business. Which seems kind of cyclical, once you stop and think about it.
I got on the wagon, too. I joined dozens of groups in my zest to build an online coaching business. I thought that there were thousands of other women in the groups that needed ME and couldn’t wait to start talking about my own products and services in each group. And then I got my hand slapped….hard.
You see, there are written rules to each group, and most of them do not allow any of the group members to sell their own products or services in them. Not even a link to your website is allowed. You are encouraged to be “engaging” with one another. Ask questions, give feedback. No selling. I didn’t know. It was like my first cocktail party as an adult. I drank too much, made out with a weird guy, and spent most of my time talking about myself. I was a fantastic guest.
Here’s the deal: a Facebook group is kind of like a cocktail party you throw at a very public place. As the host, you let anyone and everyone in, cause you’re going for quantity, not quality here. You make everyone leave their business cards and elevator pitches at the door. THEY ARE NOT ALLOWED. Then, you let people mingle and talk about things…but you censor the conversations. Sometimes you must, because apparently, many business owners are complete boneheads and all they do is talk about themselves. As the hostess, it’s your job to keep people in line..to make them follow your rules.
Except that I’ve noticed something about groups: most of the time, the cocktail party host is absent.
And then….when the host does appear…ironically all they talk about is themselves. They sell to group members like crazy. It’s like they come into their own party, throw a bunch of brochures around the place, exclaim how excited they are that everyone is there!!!!! and then take off again. To make matters worse, they sometimes allow their “friends” to sell inside the group but you don’t really understand what the connection is.
Meanwhile, the members of the group that are following directions and being engaging and helping one another out, are ignored.
Here are a few tips not to act like a dick in Facebook Groups:
As the host:
– don’t just be a rule keeper. If your group members only see you when you are either selling them on your latest program or when you are reposting “The Rules” of your group…you’re probably being a jerk.
– engage with the people that actually add value to other members of the group. Pay attention, reach out…say thanks for giving someone great advice.
– we know that you’re using your group to sell stuff. Sure, but maybe follow your own rules, too. If selling is allowed by everyone on a certain day, then post your sales offers then, too.
As a group member:
– follow the rules. It’s not your group.
– leave a group if the host is being a dick. But it might do some good to tell them why you are leaving. But it probably won’t and you have to decide how much time you really want to give to someone that is a jerk.
– be willing to be vulnerable, and support others that are, as well.
– find a way to talk about what you do as if you were at that awesome public cocktail party noted above. How would you introduce yourself? Would you really insert yourself into every conversation with “Oh, I can help you! You need me!” Probably not (and I sure hope not or you’re not coming to my cocktail party anytime soon). Instead, you’d ask more questions, get some more details. Follow up with a private message.
– stop talking about yourself all the time. Those quotes you leave on the wall with your website link on them, everyone knows what that’s really all about.
– help others by giving referrals. Someone is looking for a graphic designer and you talked to one the other day? Pass their name on!
– start your own group and make up your own rules. Maybe you hate cocktail parties…but love a good book club. Or maybe you’d rather build a group around a very specific passion or expertise that you have. And until Facebook starts to try to make money off of groups, you’ll probably get more traction with a group than with your Facebook page.
The last tip is my favorite. Start your own group and rewrite the rules. That’s what I’m doing. I’ve got two groups that I’ve started. One is called Female Entrepreneurs UnleaSHEd!. It’s a place for women entrepreneurs to showcase their talents and expertise. I want people to tell us their story and to show us their awesome work. It’s not about ME. It’s about you. To join that one, click HERE.
And the other group is very specific. It’s a book club for Female Entrepreneurs. We just got started and are reading our first book…so check that out HERE!
And lastly, if you are looking for a blog post that talks about how to actually use Facebook groups to build your business, you can find that HERE.