Facebook Group Discussions: The Donation Dilemma

A.K.A. Vaguebooking via Facebook Group!

[clickToTweet tweet=”How much do you pony up when a #Facebook group member starts brain picking?” quote=”How much should you offer up when a fellow Facebook group member basically asks you to provide your services for free?”]

I valiantly refrained from responding, with verbal gun barrels blazing, to this recent post in a Facebook group to which I belong:

“Looking to update and specialize my __________ website. I am looking for any recommendations. Please and thank you!”

This plea for “recommendations” was almost immediately met with this response from a fellow group member:

“I don’t understand.”

But I understood immediately. How did I want to respond? I wanted to say:

“She’s looking for a site audit and report, with a list of recommendations as to how to make her site function better in order to increase her business. And she wants this audit for free, even though it’s a service many of us provide for a fee.”

I promise, I refrained from posting that very true, but not even remotely nice, response. Scout’s honor.

That lack of exchange, however, was the straw that broke this camel’s back. I’d been thinking it was time to add to my Facebook group series for quite some time, and this was just the prompt needed to get my fingers locked and loaded above my keyboard.

Seek Help Without Sucking …

Do you really want to be known as the Facebook group member who sucks out all of the joy of the group experience? Do you want to be the ever needy, brain-sucking barnacle that most of wish we could scrape off the bottom of the group’s boat?

I’m guessing that’s NOT who you want to be, so here are a few tips on seeking aid without sucking.

  1. Specific Questions See Better Answers: Vague, far-reaching and open-ended questions rarely receive the best answers. Settle down before you post and get specific. What exactly is it that’s causing you trouble? Stating that you need a new logo and asking for any ideas is simply ridiculous. You’re immediately going to get bid attempts from grasping graphic designers and you’re also going to get varied and vastly invaluable answers.[clickToTweet tweet=”Do you often ask vague open-ended questions in a Facebook group? Bad idea!” quote=”Do you often ask vague open-ended questions in a Facebook group? Here’s why you shouldn’t!”]
  2. Facebook Groups Are NOT Fiverr: Far too often Facebook groups are used for freebie crowdsourcing for new logos, new website designs, copy and content critiques, and more. Why isn’t this okay? Because the logo designers, web designers and copywriters in the group are pros who provide these services for a fee. Asking a quick question about kerning, font pairing or a plug-in issue is fine, but when you start asking for a full site audit and think group members should provide it to you for free, you’re wading in dangerous waters:* You’re likely going to get answers from those with the least skill and expertise. Why? Because they’re in the group for the same reason as you, bucks. You’re trying to save them, and they’re trying to earn them.* You’re going to piss off the pros who are tired of being crowd-sourced for freebie expertise. We didn’t join the group to work on spec projects or build our portfolio.

    * In the end you’ll probably end up creating shoddy work that doesn’t reflect your brand or business. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen group members rally around a REALLY bad logo design, telling the “designer” how wonderful and awesome it is, despite the poor type choice, clashing color scheme and lack of coherent brand message.

  3. Whining Won’t Win You Real Connections: Now, now … chillax for a second. Sometimes you just gotta vent. I get that. I’ve even done it. I’m talking about the every day woe-is-me wonk who just can’t understand why their Instagram following isn’t rising at a meteoric pace. Then the next day they broke their website looking for the perfect freebie plug-in to make them rich quick. One day later they’re crying about their lack of ideal clients. I could go on, but I don’t think I need to. This shizz gets old and smelly, FAST!

What these kinds of Facebook group members are failing to understand is pretty simple, really.

[clickToTweet tweet=”You didn’t join that #Facebook group hoping to give it all away for free?” quote=”Most of us don’t enter an online group environment intent upon giving away our business best practices for free.”]

So, the next time you consider requesting that professional photographers list all of their specific camera and lens settings for you, think twice. Consider putting in a little time and effort, and maybe invest in yourself and your business with some training.

Don’t be a Facebook group freeloader!

Facebook Group Discussions: The Donation Dilemma

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4 replies
  1. Jon C. Coward
    Jon C. Coward says:

    My company worked hard to develop a way to filter out these time wasters. It’s been great not worrying about these freebie hunters and actually created more time, higher revenue and better results for our actual clients.

    • Mallie Hart
      Mallie Hart says:

      In a Facebook group, Jon? Or are you talking about your Facebook page. Most Facebook groups are peer/industry driven, rather than focused on a company’s clients. Not that they can’t be, of course – certain groups are created around a specific product or service. For the most part, Facebook groups are more like Art’s Business After Hours events, a connection building “event” where there may be legitimate leads, but it’s more meeting, greeting and discussion, especially at first.

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      • Jon C Coward
        Jon C Coward says:

        Pretty much everywhere. Facebook groups (I’m in a few – specific an broad), networking in the 3D world or even when prospecting the same rule protects us from these freebie seekers. I encourage others to find a way to filter and not spend time with these time wasters. Shut them down!

        • Mallie Hart
          Mallie Hart says:

          Indeed. As the owner of a Facebook group, I know that proper and consistent community management play a huge role. If the group owner doesn’t step up and shut this kind of behavior down quickly, the group quickly devolves, I regularly cull groups from my routine when they fall prey to this mentality.

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