A few weeks ago, a startling announcement from a well-known guru in the Internet Marketing space shocked her 50k+ community. She’s archiving her group as of December and moving off Facebook.
But it’s not just her. It’s others too. Big names, small names – archiving their groups and building apps or using other platforms to house their communities. And to some extent, I understand why. More control, the ability to make it paid, not to mention the resources it requires to keep up a free group of any size, never mind a large one!
However…Mark Zuckerberg himself has set his sights on Facebook Groups and it’s clear, this is NOT the time to jump ship on your group! It also means if you’re getting ready to open one, you want to do it right – right outta the gate!
I’m going to spend the MOST time on this topic because it’s a bee in my bonnet. So many groups have an almost MILITANT no promo policy. And while I understand why, I think it’s faulty. I want to quote something I wrote nearly a year ago that’s still relevant!
When we join a group that has specific rules, we are obliged to abide by them because the owner is maintaining the costs associated with the group. Okay, duh. Another no brainer.
But there seems to be a line between “my group, my rules” mentality and what appears to be a micro-managing/dictatorship of the behavior of others on a public and free social network that irritates the hell out of me.
I was just in a discussion where a “promo” was not ONLY considered a link – BOTH as a post or as a link in the comments, BUT ALSO, if you asked someone to private message you or connect with you outside the group, if you left your email address, etc.
How can leaders dictate something like this?
I mean they can, of course, but it feels so…communist.
With a rule like that, then I have only ONE choice when I meet someone in a group that I want to connect with further. I can PM or friend them without their permission (which ironically, is another way to get banned).
So what gives?
Why the obsessive micro-managing of even certain phrases and ways of interacting? The No-Promos rule is easy, and we all can smell it a mile away. Harassment, excessive negativity…sure. Those perfectly posed shots with thinly veiled “this is what I do, aren’t I amazing?” posts. But asking someone to connect outside the group?!
The reason people join groups in the first place is to network.
So “said owner” can be all high and mighty on her horse about it’s her group, her rules, but does she not realize she WOULDN’T EVEN have a group of 6000 + if it was just a promo-fest of her stuff? That the environment of growth and networking is what attracts people to the community that then she can turn around and market to?
Part of the reason the audience is there is because of the freedom and opportunity it promotes!!
This kind of oversight is in my opinion, insulting.
Dictating what someone can say in a comment like, “PM me if you’d like to chat further” only furthers sneaky behavior, makes people feel like they can’t do anything, but just sit in a group like a duck, waiting to be sold to.
So here’s the flip side…
When you create a place for promotion and networking, two of the key components of any REAL LIFE NETWORK OR BUSINESS AFTER HOURS, working the FB newsfeed is a no brainer. The promo threads are highly relevant and usually very busy, and Facebook loves this!
In Living the Laptop Life, we have:
- Straight up Promo Mondays – business owners are allowed to feature their goods and services
- Work for Me Wednesdays- this is a place to find people to hire or work with
- $50 Friday Deals – this is a place to offer discounted or front-end offers to pick up some new clients
Because 11k are in the group and they know these are the days of promo, it’s easier to keep the other content promo-free. Give people a chance to do what they want to do, and it’ll be a LOT less hard to police.
This is a “well duh” moment, but engaging content – as in content that gets NOT just a lot of comments, but a LOT of comments in a short amount of time – are going to help your group’s organic reach. So how do you get a lot of comments in a short amount of time?
- Make it about your community
- Make it stupid easy to respond
- Don’t try any sort of comment ladder tactic that makes people feel like a monkey if they respond
- Know your group and watch what “natural” conversation happens anyway
If you’re having trouble getting engagement – either because it’s a new group, or an old group that sort of dulled and lost its edge, you will need to be more strategic. Start by warning people of what you’ll be doing – in some other way – so with Messenger, Facebook Page, Email List, etc. Plan a FB Live or something that is planned at a specific time, and give people a head’s up. And then, when you go live, send out a broadcast or email reminder again so people can hop on live. Grab the timestamp of the live so they can click and engage!
Don’t forget, when you comment on a post – if you happen to be friends with lots of people in your group, it’s more likely YOUR COMMENT on someone else’s post will show in your friend’s newsfeed. So make friends with some of your group members, and show up, everyday. Organically. If you’re not willing to do this, you won’t see the engagement you like unless you create charismatic group leaders that can be ambassadors on your behalf.
With the new Facebook Group insights, you can reward active members with giveaways, prizes, and other fun shout-outs. Utilize the new engagement analytics to help honor those that keep your community thriving and to encourage more engagement. Here are a few ideas:
- The ability to have a pinned promo thread of their business
- Free stuff! (courses, training, etc.)
- Free swag! (t-shirts, mugs, etc.)
So tell me in the comments below, give a shout out to a group you love who’s doing it right!