I recently decided to give Facebook groups another chance, signing up for several, regularly interacting and taking part in discussions and conversations. But I’m already itching to opt out of several, and there’s a very specific reason.
When the post population takes a turn toward the elevator pitch, rather than the sharing of relevant information and true Q&A, it’s time for me to bid the group adieu.
Silent Until They Smell The Sell
Like zombies in the relentless pursuit of brains, there are always members of online groups that seldom share or engage in discussion until they smell an opportunity to promote their product or service.
They come crawling out of obscurity every time anyone asks a question that might allow them to pony up their product or service. They’re solely social in the attempt to make a buck. Do a little research and you’ll soon see that these group members never take part in any discussion that doesn’t create an opportunity for them to get hired.
The Helpful Hustle!
If you’ve spent any time in a Facebook group, you know that there will be the occasional plea for help. An important aspect of these groups is the development of a community. A place where real relationships can build and evolve.
How do you keep the helpful response from turning into a sales tactic?
- Offer the solution. If it’s simple and you can knock out a helpful response in a matter of minutes, then do so. There’s no need to wax rhapsodic about how wonderful you are. Just answer the damn question.
- Consider linking out to a resource you didn’t create. You’re not the expert on everything. There are solutions all across the Interwebs that will help without you looking like a self-promotional putz. I too often see social sellers linking to irrelevant and unhelpful resources in a bid to be hired. That’s not the good kind of hustle party peeps.
- Take it private. I’ve often helped a hapless group member with an issue he/she couldn’t handle on his/her own. But I didn’t flaunt my Florence Nightingale moment for all to see, by hijacking the thread with a handful of my own handy and helpful resources. Instead I moved the conversation to email or PM to allow me to better assist. And, NO, there was no intent on my part to issue an invoice.
The Passive Player: Freebie Frolicking
Many a well managed Facebook group offers up opportunities for self-promotion and social selling. It’s generally frowned upon, though, to simply post your new offer. Yet, it happens EVERY flipping day.
Even more diabolical and devious are those group member that try to circumvent the system by offering up their latest freebie. Be it a worksheet, eBook or cutesy printable, it’s still self promotion and it’s still you trying to sell when you’re supposed to be sharing.
Self-promotion is sinister. It’s so easy to get caught up in the moment and decide that you’re being helpful and giving. Here’s a couple truly helpful tips to ensure you aren’t bitten by the bad bug to bolster your business:
- If you require someone to sign-up for your mailing list in order to get your freebie, it’s not the selfless share you’re imagining it to be.
- Keep the kudos posts to the days and times deemed fitting by the owner of the group.
- When in doubt, don’t share without first asking the permission of the group owner or moderator. If you fear you’re crossing the line between smart sharing and self-promotional social selling, you probably are.
Better Group Management & Policing Is The Ticket
My branding and visual marketing buddy Dre Beltrami rules her group with an iron fist. Any brain sucking social media zombie posts are shot down swiftly and succinctly.
She doesn’t allow promotional posts to be shared willy-nilly, at the whim of the participant. She’s created a single day for self-promotional posts and she makes sure each member sticks to the schedule.
Groups can take on a life of their own, straying from the path of their original intent, if they aren’t well managed. Group owners, managers and moderators need to put a beatdown to any biz intent on bolstering brand and sales with shares that seek dollars rather than knowledge.
When Did Every Post Become An RFP?
I get it, I really do. We’re all in business to make money, no matter how much we try to play it down as the pursuit of our passion.
But for the love of all things good and right about branding and social business, stop seeing every post and share as an opportunity to sell your services.
When you constantly pitch you become a plague to the group, as it’s obvious you’re engaging in the Facebook group only in order to smell out opportunities to sell, rather than seeking the opportunity to become part of a sharing and caring community.