These Facebook Group tips will help you network without going down the drama rabbit hole. Why would you want to participate in groups? They’re an interesting ecosystem within the social media behemoth. For example, many successful Facebook Groups provide small, safe spaces for likeminded individuals to connect. And many groups have the added benefit of being secret or private, so your group activities aren’t revealed to your friends or followers.
Facebook Group Tips
Networking is a critical aspect of success in the freelance writing world. Because many writers are also introverts, the idea of networking can seem either overwhelming or needless. But those who have joined healthy writing groups, they understand the power of networking and collaborating with likeminded people. In this, you discover your tribe and realize you’re not so alone afterall.
See also: Networking Tips for Introverted Writers
While in-person groups can be amazing, the isolated nature of the writing life doesn’t always support regular attendance. That’s where online networking come in. With more than a billion active users, Facebook is an easy place to find community and networking opportunities. But if you’ve joined groups before, you may understand their potential volitility. These Facebook Groups tips are intended to help freelance writers make the most out of networking while avoiding the drama.
Groups versus Pages
Before we get into the Facebook Group tips let’s do a quick overview of the difference between groups and pages. If you have a business people assume you have a Facebook Page. This is a convenience for the general public and can function, in its simplest form, as a business card directing prospects to your website or informing them of how to contact you. Page owners can leverage their pages and use them like a community but this takes a lot of effort and dedication, which is why groups may be a better option for interacting with your followers and fans. Having a Facebook Page is also required if you want to run Facebook ads, which is something to consider if you’re ready to invest in online prospecting. But we’ll get to that another time.
A Facebook Group is less linear than a page and the group members can have the ability to create content and carry on discussions without the administrator’s approval. Author Kirsten Oliphant describes groups as “a web, where connections don’t have to move in a linear way from the creator at the center.” Groups can be about anything (a person, a topic, a website, whatever) and, for many, are an important connection hub for a writer’s networking efforts.
Facebook Groups tips for survival
While a Facebook Page’s success is tied to the number of likes and reach, a Facebook Group can be considered successful even if it’s small. A group’s engagement and activity is what matters. For some freelancers, creating and moderating a Facebook group make sense but for many others, joining groups is enough.
We’re focusing on how to behave in other people’s groups today since that’s where the majority of freelance writers exist. So here we go.
When joining other people’s groups, here are a few things to keep in mind
- Remember, this isn’t your group so don’t act like it is (if you don’t like it, create your own)
- Pay attention to the group’s rules and abide by them. If the group rules say don’t share anything from them group then really don’t share anything. If the rules say don’t promote yourself then really don’t drop links and brag your bylines. Respect the group rules
- Be kind, genuine and helpful—listen before you speak, if you have a negative emotional reaction to a topic or post don’t respond right away (avoid becoming an Internet troll!)
- Make connections, yes. But don’t immediately try and sell something (that’s not how this works). Make sure you’re in these groups for the right reasons or this won’t be a positive experience for you
- Watch for ways you can contribute to the group, don’t just take. Maybe you can’t participate in every discussion but if there is a question or topic you know something about, add a tip or two
While these general Facebook Group tips will keep you in good standing my biggest tip is this. Try and add value to the group rather than dissension. There are so many times I see a beautiful group get sidelined by a disagreement where the moderator doesn’t step in soon enough and the discussion gets out of hand. When groups go down this route it stops being safe and people become afraid to voice their opinion, lest they get trolled or jumped on.
If you see this happening in one of your groups there are a few things you can do.
- Avoid the drama. Consider muting the thread or group for a few days until the storm blows over
- There is a chance the group moderator hasn’t seen the drama unfolding so if you think this is the case tag the person in the thread to draw their attention to it
- Maybe the group is heading down this new, more volitile direction. If it stops feeling like a safe space to you or you feel like it’s just attracting distracting, unhealthy drama then consider leaving the group
- As much as you can, avoid joining in the debate. In my experience, good doesn’t seem to come from emotional social media back-and-forths
For those looking for community, Facebook Groups can be an excellent option.
When searching for new groups to join, ask your friends and colleagues what groups they recommend first. If you do a general search, keep in mind private groups will more often be safer than public groups. This is because anyone can join a public group but you have to be approved to join a private group. Look for groups that mirror your interests, or are moderated by people you admire. And if you do join a group and it’s not a good fit, don’t feel bad leaving. Streamline your group experience and only stay in the groups you know you’ll be active in.
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