As the title suggests, this post is about Facebook. Particularly, how to not be a dick when using it for your business.
But more importantly than all that – the Bigger Picture – this is a post about being a human being. It’s about operating your business with the highest integrity. About honoring the space you take up as a business owner.
I run a pretty great Facebook community (click here if you’d like to join). It’s full of amazing people who are doing amazing things, who support each other, build real relationships with each other, and help each other out in the best and worst of times in business.
And over time, this group has grown. We are almost at 2500 people strong! Which is amazing. But also poses some problems trying to manage that many people, as you can imagine.
Somewhere out there, there is advice being given to business owners that if you hop into Facebook groups that are filled with your ideal clients, and make yourself useful in there, that this is a good marketing tactic.
And I get it. I really do. There are ways to make this marketing technique work.
But the majority of people out there? Are doing it wrong. Very wrong. And it’s not only impacting my Facebook community (and most communities out there that deal with businesses), but it’s impacting how people view them as business owners. Not only do I run a group – but I am a part of many other business groups too. They have helped me along the way when I have needed support in my business. So I also see the other side of this whole tacky promo thing and the impact that it has on the group. And it ain’t pretty.
What not to do on Facebook :
Want to avoid being a dick in Facebook groups (particularly in groups that directly state that there is to be no self-promotion)?
Here’s what not to do:
- Don’t use other people’s groups as your own platform for self-promotion. As a way to find clients. As a place to pitch services, unsolicited. This is just bad karma and if you’re using a group for this purpose, the group facilitator has every right to give you the boot.
What to do instead: Focus on creating YOUR platform. Ask yourself what you would be spending your time doing if Facebook didn’t exist. Then spend more time doing that.
- Don’t pose as “being helpful” by replying to people’s questions, but instead of actually answering the question, posting a link to your services, or telling the person that you work with people JUST LIKE THEM and they should definitely connect or set up a consult to talk about this!
What to do instead: Be helpful, but ACTUALLY helpful. If someone has a question – answer it. Don’t link them back to your site or tell them they can pay you to answer it. Just answer it.
- Don’t post your business page, or your latest blog post and ask “What do you think?”. You’re clearly not asking for feedback since it has already been published. People can see through this.
What to do instead: If you genuinely want feedback, ask pointed questions. Be specific with what you want to know. You’ll get much better answers because people will actually take your feedback request seriously when they can see that you genuinely want to make changes.
- Don’t straight up private message other community members, answering their questions in private and then inviting them to your own Facebook group or business page to learn more.
What to do instead: If you have a resource you think would be useful for someone, ask them in the comments if they would like you to send it over. Get their permission to PM them first.
- Don’t just find random people in groups and private message them asking them what they do as a business, and then follow up by telling them what YOU do.
What to do instead: Do some good old fashioned internet stalking and take the time to find out what they do. If you want to genuinely connect – go to their website and email them, or do your very best to contact them via email. And when you do – make it about THEM. Do not ask for anything in return.
- Don’t post tacky posts with inspirational quotes with your website on them. Or posts that are simple inspirational messages, but conveniently have a link to our website in them
What to do instead: Ask yourself, before you post or comment on ANYTHING, what your intentions are. Are you truly posting for the right reasons? While you can convince your head or pretty much anything, your gut always knows what is true. Are you really posting in an effort to promote or find clients? Or is your request genuine? Operate out of integrity and check in with yourself before you post anything. And if it feels dishonest, delete it.
I’m tired of it. I’m tired of Facebook groups (that were once helpful, great places to hang out) all turning into one big incestuous orgy of self-promotion.
And I will be very honest here – I have done this in the past too. I was new to business. I didn’t know any better. And I was often in groups that let you promote – so I did. But now I know better, and can see very clearly why this is very, very bad for business.
And I want to save you from doing something that could potentially do you more harm than good in business.
Building your business on someone else’s platform is not sustainable. Your time is better spent creating your OWN thing. Your own platform. Your own brand.
Jumping into someone else’s business like it’s your own and then thinking you can sell all your shit to their people is not a sustainable business model. I’ll ask you again: What if Facebook didn’t exist? What would you spend your time doing?
Let’s put all this into real world context, just for fun, just so I can really hammer my point home.
Imagine this: You’re out at a friend’s house. There is a group of people there. You happen to be single and you’re on the hunt – and these people? They’re attractive to you! You’d probably date any one of them. They’d all make great suitors. So anyway, they are sitting around drinking wine, having great conversation. You are relatively quiet for most of the night as you sit back and stalk your prey like an animal waiting to pounce at just the right moment. The night ends, and everyone gets up to leave, and you jump up and shout out to the room “Hey, so who wants to have sex with me? I live just down the street! Anyone?” The room looks at you like you are the biggest fucking creeper that ever existed. This is equivalent to jumping into people’s Facebook private messages and pitching yourself. No.
Or Scenario 2: You’re in the room with your friends and the attractive people. Let’s say one of these attractive people asks something like “Do you know where the best pizza in town is?” and you reply “I do! Also, did you know that I’m single? Would you like my number? Here it is!” As you grab their phone and enter your number into their contacts. And they reply “Oh, um. Cool. So anyway, what’s the name of the pizza place?” And you’re all like “Call me and I’ll tell you!” This is pretty much the equivalent to commenting on people’s Facebook questions with a link to your website. #desperate
And now you’re going to say “Yeah Becca, but these people – they need what I have!” Sure, they might need it, but the ways in which you are giving it to them make you look like a desperate drunk girl at the end of the night at the bar. NO ONE is taking that shit home.
So in conclusion, be a human. Have integrity. Please don’t ever do these things, in real life or online.
For those who are already part of the Uncaged community – THANK YOU for being there. And for those who aren’t yet – hop in here (it’s free). It has been a trip trying to navigate how to manage such a large group, and it is definitely a learning experience for me in my business. And I’ve learned that you can’t please everyone, and you need to make some hard decisions about what is best for the majority. Thank you for being there through all the small hiccups as we work together to try to create a group where you can TRULY come to be seen, heard, and supported.