Facebook Groups. Cast of thousands? Or starring none?
If you are a group owner,
you may want to consider taking an educational approach, rather than a ball-breaker, control freak approach as I have recently noticed in at least two groups that I am in and one that I’m admin/owner of, some people doing things that other people did not approve of.
One was a group member doing a video while driving and then posting it in the group.
While I absolutely do not condone this action, I did, however dislike extremely the reaction from both some of the group members AND one of the group owners. The thing that really bugged me was the group members calling for the group owners to DO something to reprimand the poster of the offending video (content was great, btw), and the group owner responded by doing just that. Publicly.
It made me want to vomit a bit in my mouth and run far away from that group as I was both astounded and horrified (yes, at the very same time, folks) that we, as ADULTS, actually still believe that we have the right to a)tell someone else to fix something that offends us and b)actually taking steps to do this as the person who is supposed to ‘fix’ someone elses ‘offensive behaviour’.
Recently I got a message from a member of one of the groups I own. (You’re welcome to join us there if you’re not already: Social Media (Facebook) for Small Biz Owners)
The message included a copy and paste of a salesy message from a fellow group member. This person was highly offended that the I, as group owner, would allow such activity and was sure it was against the rules of the group.
Interesting, as there is nothing in the ‘rules’ that prevents group members from messaging each other, in fact I encourage it!
My response went along the lines of ‘please take responsibility for your own emotions and if you find this offensive, feel free to let that person know. If they continue to post messages to you that you find offensive, then deal with it the way you would any other person who messages you and you don’t like their message.’
They’ve since left the group…
Oh, and another one…
I set up a group specifically so that people could just pop in, shove a link to their biz pages and leave. (I’ve termed this ‘seagull’ behaviour)I know that nobody actually looks at the links or even cares, and the group is next to useless in terms of being a productive, sharing, generous community that helps each other here on Facebook (I have another group for that).
I found that some people were just interested in posting spammy-type posts, which gives me the impression they feel like they are doing something, even though it’s very ineffective and likely to land them in Facebook jail (or with a Facebook slap, as I call it).
One of the group members messages me with the complaint that there are lots of ‘foreign’ people now putting their biz page links into the group. Group rules? There are none, except that people are respectful to each other.
Hmmm, how would YOU respond to this? My response was to let the grumpee know that the group is open for any biz page owner, regardless of their origin and that she was free to leave if she found it that offensive. She left the group.
Upshot here is that while we, as group owners/admins do need to monitor and moderate our groups according to the purpose of the groups, we can also take a moment to step back when we get complaints and actually look at what the complainant (AKA grumpee) is actually wanting us to do.
If they are able to help us to help people here take responsibility for their own actions and educate for a better, more engaging Facebook experience (for themselves and for other biz owners), I think that is a far better option than shoving the ‘problem’ at the group owner and saying ‘fix that person, I find them offensive’. Pop it back where it belongs.
It appears that groups are having a bit of sunshine now in Facebook land.
They are one of the last bastions of real estate that are available for adverts.
With Facebook now encouraging videos and announcing there will be adverts in certain videos, adverts being released into messenger and I’ve heard reports that adverts have been trialed in some groups too.
There are new features being rolled out all the time for group owners/admins. The one I particularly like is the ability to ask questions when people apply to join your group.
I stumbled upon this by accident a few months ago when I applied to join a group and was asked something along the lines of ‘If you want just to join our group to promote yourself you are not welcome here,’ which made me think that I didn’t want to go there now anyway.
I’d suggest that you consider your questions carefully as you have now an opportunity to gain a gold mine of information about what your tribe wants.
Group members just promoting themselves IS an issue, and I believe it can be dealt with by creating and enforcing guidelines that make the group tick as you intend it to.
The gist of the questions, in my opinion, should be focused on the person who is asking to join the group. I’ve framed mine like this:
Q1. Why do you want to join this group? (Looking to understand motivation)
Q2. What do you expect to get from this group? (Looking to understand expectations)
Q3. What’s your #1 Challenge with (whatever your group is about) right now? (Looking to gather information about pain points – this one is VERY important)
You can gather this information and get a picture about what your tribe (and potential tribe) are looking for. This will inform your solutions to their problems and pain points. The more specific you are, the better the information you will get back.
In other news about groups…
You can now add ‘Units’ to Facebook groups. The group category must be set to ‘School or Class’category. According to Mari Smith, Zuck did emphasise the importance of groups and having niche communities recently. I’m hoping the units will come my way soon, as there is a great opportunity to use this feature as an e-learning opportunity for my tribe, Facebook Code Breakers.
The opportunities to grow communities and be part of vibrant, collaborative communities are endless.
As with anything, you get from it what you contribute to it. Make sure your contribution is what you are expecting to get out of it, and you generally won’t be disappointed. By that I mean if you visit groups and just do the ‘seagull’ thing and leave, you are denying yourself an opportunity for others to connect and engage with you. If you’ve never heard that people buy from people they know, like and trust, I’m pretty sure you must be living under a rock. Facebook groups are an excellent vehicle for people to get to know you, like you, trust you and then BUY from you. It takes time and effort, and it’s well worth it.
How well do you run your Facebook Group? How well do you want to run your Group?
I’m admin of several groups, and I run each of them quite differently. For different reasons. Over time, I’ve observed some things about groups that it’s time now to share. The following can be used as a bit of a checklist to measure your own group or groups by:
Features of a poorly run group (Feral/Ugly Group):
- Usually public or closed
- Anyone can approve anyone
- Posts are posted directly to the group without being screened
- Many of those posts are spammy posts
- Looks and feels messy
- Disrespectful group members – by this I don’t mean rude (although sometimes they can be) I mean if there are ‘rules’ nobody follows them, or even reads them
- Usually only one or two absent admins
- Few group members would report a fellow group member for spamming (because they are all doing the same thing!)
- There is no or one or two lines about the purpose of the group
- May not have admin at all
- No documents, videos, photos in the files section or they are all outdated
- No events active (or may not be relevant)
- The group has either thousands (through members approving other members) or under 100 (for lack of attention). Usually the spammiest feral groups have over 1000 members in them
- There is no pinned post or if there is, it’s 6 or more months old
- Group members write on the top of their posts ‘delete if not allowed’ (or, in one case, delete if aloud – I did think it was rather noisy, so deleted it)
Features of a well run group (Tame/Attractive Group):
- Could be public, but usually closed or secret
- All group members need to be approved by admin
- All posts (except within a post comment thread) need to be approved by admin with inappropriate posts in the comments thread being monitored and deleted quickly
- The group has themes, usually daily and are intended to guide the group discussion
- The themes are set out in the group description and usually on the cover picture also
- There is more information about the group under the cover picture – if you click on it, you will be able to see it
- There is a link to further resources in a website that is in the cover picture description (or perhaps somewhere to sign up for newsletter etc)
- Posts are relevant to the current theme of the group
- Group members are welcomed and given clear instructions about how to interact and where the resources are to get the most out of groups
- There are lots of (relevant, appropriate and up to date) resources in the group files, photos and videos sections
- There may be active events running that are updated regularly
- Members are posting according to the theme and discussion is very active
- Members are asking questions that are relevant to the group and adding value
- Members are actively engaged in the group
- Polls are being run
- Admin are checking in regularly (at least daily) and welcoming people to the group, responding to questions and comments
- Group owners are regularly adding updated resources like files, videos and photos that encourage group members to return again and again
- The group is growing daily with older members welcoming new members
- The pinned post is less than a month old
- The group has its name in the URL
So there’s your snapshot of the good, the bad and the great for Facebook groups.
Treat your groups like you would a lover. Nurture the energy of the group and grow it according to your purpose. Above all, have some fun with it and (try) have compassion for those who are uneducated. This is one of the more difficult things for me, if you’ve cracked that one, feel free to let me know.
If you’ve read all the way to here, thank you for staying with me. It is a rare bird who actually does this (including me on other people’s blogs). For your interest and stickability, I’m offering you a copy of my book, ‘Breaking the Facebook Code: 10 steps to getting customers’. Enjoy.
To Your Success!