Facebook groups are a brilliant source of information, community and traffic. They differ in purpose and each have different rules, but essentially they can all be used for the same things: to meet new bloggers, ask questions to the community and to promote your posts.
As with many things in the blogging world – it took me a long time to discover the power of blogging focused Facebook groups. I joined one, run by a close blog friend when it had just a few hundred members last year and a very small targeted sharing group, but didn’t actively participate in either. My Facebook traffic was low at the time – I’d had a post go viral with 100,000 views in my first year of blogging, but since that point I averaged between 5-20 views a day, depending on whether I published to my blog Facebook page.
It was only when I joined an enormous group that I began to see the effectiveness of what a group can do, so I was encouraged to join a few more. Eventually, I set up my own, which is rapidly going from strength to strength, and it works – at my current rate I’m set to double the amount of Facebook referrals compared to last year.
Here’s how I use Facebook groups to promote my posts.
1. If I join a new group, I read the rules first. Usually they are pinned at the top of the group page and give specifics as to when and where posts can be shared. If they aren’t there – contact the admin and ask where to find them. I learnt the hard way when I first joined a large group as I started a Pinterest thread and was given a warning by the admin as this was prohibited.
2. I now have a timetable as to when the sharing days are in each group that I link in to my blogging checklist. On each day, I will share a link to a relevant post.
3. I participate in sharing threads – where you can leave a link and then others can see your post, read and share it. If I share a link in a thread (and I only ever share one), I share at least two or three others from bloggers who are also joining in the same thread.
4. I never post a link directly to the wall of the group unless it is specifically allowed. I’m only in one group that allows this. If anyone repeatedly does this in my own group I remove and block them.
5. I answer questions that others ask – I’ve connected with several brilliant bloggers doing this and now we talk separately outside of the group. I also don’t reply to questions with offers of advertising, management and courses. I did advertise my Twitter course once and sent PM’s to everyone who was interested, but I felt icky doing it and haven’t done it since.
6. I never engage in the follow/unfollow tactics during social media link-ups – I follow somebody because I want to, not to get a follow back.
7. I keep the number of groups I am in to a minimum. I’ve seen bloggers who are in hundreds of groups and that immediately makes me think that they’re spammers who aren’t interested in engaging with others as nobody could possibly keep up with that amount of threads. If anyone asks to join my group and they are in more than 200, I don’t usually allow their request. If you’re thinking of joining Facebook groups, do it one at a time to see how much you can handle.
8. If I have a question I will ask it, but don’t include links to my blog or social media when I do.
9. If anyone is requesting Pinterest and Twitter management services, I will PM (private message) them instead of bombarding them on the thread. I’ve seen it happen in large groups where some will post up an epic amount of information and links to their sites, and I find this to be a bit over-enthusiastic and off-putting.
Things to watch out for in Facebook groups:
There are some incredibly pushy people who will use all sorts of tactics to try and sell you something or promote themselves. Asking a question about which font, logo or design they should use, with a selection to choose from and including their blog or business name at the bottom of it is fairly commonplace. There’s the ‘yay, I just hit **** followers posts, complete with a screenshot of an Instagram page, making sure that the name is included in it to try and get others to follow (again, I did this once but felt icky about it so haven’t since). There are those who will ask questions like ‘If you were to buy a course on Instagram/Twitter/Pinterest, what would you be looking for?’ only to then reply to every answer with either a link to the course that they have created or an ‘I can do that for you, I’m sending you a PM’ type answer. And then, there’s always that one who will announce every little thing that they are doing, sometimes three or four times a day in a desperate attempt to get people to follow. IGNORE, IGNORE, IGNORE. If you want to do that, then use the ‘Wins of the Week’ threads that are available in many groups. If there isn’t one, send a message to the admin requesting one.
Facebook groups are about sharing. If you want others to engage, then you should set the example. Be generous and genuine in your responses.
Be polite, particularly to ‘newbies,’ (although I hate that term). I’ve seen people openly belittle others for asking a basic question and it’s just plain rude. We all have to learn as we are going along.
If you use a scheduler to send out your posts to Facebook groups, make sure that you have got it set up properly. Normally this is the primary excuse I am given when somebody link-drops in my own group and it’s frustrating.
Don’t expect to be given warnings if you aren’t playing by the rules. It takes a lot of time and effort to run even a small Facebook group and feigning ignorance of link dropping or being all butthurt if you are removed is usually your fault, not the admins.
Want to join an authentic, amazing group of eager and lovely bloggers? Your can find my ‘Big Up Your Blog’ Facebook group by clicking on the image here:
You can also find me on Twitter and Tumblr @suzie81blog, and don’t forget to follow my Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/suzie81speaks, my Pinterest page http://www.pinterest.com/suzie81speaks and my Instagram page http://www.instagram.com/suzie81speaks