How Not To Be A Dick In Facebook Groups


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.



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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.

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  1. MichelleBobrow on November 27, 2014 at 11:45 am

    I read this and nodded along with everything. Until the end. OMG I’VE BEEN DATING WRONG.

  2. CindyBall on November 27, 2014 at 12:48 pm

    I totally agree Becca. It’s always so transparent when people post with a hidden agenda. I must say, reading this post does make me hesitant to start my own group – I don’t want to deal with this kind of crappola:(
    What’s a new business to do? Yes, I realize face-to-face networking is good, but I want my platform/delivery to be 95% online. And yes, list building with guest posts and being helpful is good, but it doesn’t generate the same type of community.
    Do the more experienced online folks think that Instagram or Pinterest are better options than Facebook? Or is it just same old, same old? Love to hear your thoughts.

  3. TheBlogLoft on November 27, 2014 at 9:30 am

    Best analogy ever.

  4. TaraPragmatic on November 27, 2014 at 11:28 am

    OMG, love that highlight and Tweet feature!

  5. lilyhattingh on November 27, 2014 at 11:43 am

    Damn straight! I also feel pitching your shit in FB groups is tacky. Well, at least it hasn’t worked on me. When I see someone self promoting my first thought is UGH f***! how tacky. Groups are for support, feedback, advice and well… more support. Not self promotion bs. Thanks Becca, your article hit home.

  6. Lisa in MD on November 27, 2014 at 1:39 pm

    Oh my gosh, YES to all this!  I am an intuitive and I can ‘feel’ into words and jeez …. some of the energy behind them is very grabby and desperate. People (not just intuitives!) can feel that too! And it’s icky and will make them go in the other direction.

    Just be you – nice, helpful and fun. If people want to hang out with you, find out more about you, they’ll go looking.  I do.  🙂

  7. Naomi Arnold on November 27, 2014 at 3:14 pm

    Such a fabulous reminder. I feel like sometimes there is so much self-promotion in Facebook groups (and we are constantly being told we need to self-promorte) that even when it comes unnaturally to some (e.g., myself) you sometimes find yourself getting quickly sucked into the trap of doing it. This was just a great reminder for me to stop and pause before posting anything on a Facebook page and asking myself “What is my intention here?”

    Thanks Becca.

  8. BiziMel on November 27, 2014 at 4:13 pm

    This is such great information for a newbie to all of this. It has helped me to know that I have been doing the right things on Facebook in the groups that I am a member.

  9. TessMayPhilip on November 27, 2014 at 5:09 pm

    I think I was pretty naive when immersing myself in online biz. People would message me all the time out of no where and I thought it was because I was special until suddenly i was befriended (and now looking back GROOMED) because they somehow got me on the phone and got my credit card details using a whole lot of inspirational talk about  “you can do this!”. When I said I didn’t want to make the transaction they kept my details “just in case” ..  
    Another occasion shortly after joining UCL I got a message to join a FB group because she thought she could help me. I was flattered and in my excitement asked her opinion about something to which she replied “Not interested thanks, we don’t do MLM in this group so please don’t try to push it here”. First of all, I had no idea what was MLM was at the time and hang on a second wasn’t she just trying to do the same to me ?
    I thought is was all nice and friendly at first but now I am starting to realize its a strategy and not because I am special lol

  10. BrittanyHammond on November 27, 2014 at 8:05 pm

    I do picture quotes all the time!!!! But I am a designer! I used to not put my website on them but now I do after being advised that I should take credit for my graphics! I usually only post them if the are BIG life/business lessons that just hit me and so I want to share with other people that it could inspire!!!

  11. SheRadiantCoach on November 28, 2014 at 1:43 am

    I want to have sex with you!!! Hehehe, that was a great example Becca and it really drills in the point 😉 Keep em’ coming!

  12. ErikaJordan on November 30, 2014 at 2:55 pm

    AWESOME analogy. Marketing is like a form of FLIRTING – so this really ties in. Pushing too hard in these groups looks desperate, and NO ONE likes feeling like they are being sold to. Great post – thanks for sharing and teaching the masses!

  13. Rebecca Tracey on December 2, 2014 at 12:25 pm

    ErikaJordan Thanks so much Erika!! And SO happy that you’re a part of the community!

  14. Rebecca Tracey on December 2, 2014 at 12:25 pm

    SheRadiantCoach hehe well we have been flirting for years now anna 😉 xo

  15. Rebecca Tracey on December 2, 2014 at 12:27 pm

    BrittanyHammond Picture quotes are totally fine Brittany – in some places. For example, in my group we have a specific folder for picture quotes so that people can find them all and so they don’t clutter the main wall. If you’re a designer this would be a great thing to implement in your own online strategy!

  16. Rebecca Tracey on December 2, 2014 at 12:28 pm

    TessMayPhilip haha but you ARE special Tess! hehe But yeah – it’s easy to think that people just want to help.. until they send you a bill or hit you with a high pricetag for their “friendly help” = not helpful!

  17. Rebecca Tracey on December 2, 2014 at 12:29 pm

    BiziMel Thanks for reading! This is definitely a lot to take in for people who are new to groups.. but once you have been around for a while, you will start to notice some of these trends. Hopefully people start to smarten up and start acting more like human beings in groups. Thanks for being here!

  18. Rebecca Tracey on December 2, 2014 at 12:30 pm

    Lisa in MD it’s so true! I can only imagine as an intuitive how mush MORE you can feel the ickiness of this!

  19. Rebecca Tracey on December 2, 2014 at 12:31 pm

    CindyBall If you don;t do business stuff in your business,  you shouldn’t have a problem, and can implement a strict NO PROMO strategy. I haven’t done this, because i WANT people to share.. but in specific ways taht still support group learning and collaboration.
    Don;t let it hold you back – just be clear from the beginning what the expectations are!
    AND yes – absolutely build your platform on other social media too 🙂

  20. Rebecca Tracey on December 2, 2014 at 12:32 pm

    MichelleBobrow Yeah i mean, in dating, sometime simply asking if someone is down to f*ck is the most obvious direct way to get laid… if that’s what your intention is LOL. I guess it’s the same on business- if you want to outwardly sell to me, be honest about it!

  21. Rebecca Tracey on December 2, 2014 at 12:32 pm

    lilyhattingh Absolutely Lily. When i first started, if someone PM’d me i automatically ruled them out as someone i would ever hire! Kind of works opposite to how they hoped 🙂

  22. Rebecca Tracey on December 2, 2014 at 12:32 pm

    It’s cool isn’t it TaraPragmatic

  23. Rebecca Tracey on December 2, 2014 at 12:33 pm

    TheBlogLoft haha i couldn’t stop LOLing when actually picturing this in real life!

  24. Sheri on December 19, 2014 at 8:32 pm

    I so agree with your post. So much that I have requested to join your group. I too see all too often those posts where someone asks a question only to be flooded with “ME ME ME” responses from people acting like a bunch of kids with their hands in the air, jumping up and down saying, “Pick me! Pick me!” I often wonder why anyone would pick any of them when they didn’t even attempt to answer the question. It’s good to be involved in ‘community’ groups rather than groups full of vultures waiting for their next opportunity to pounce.

  25. Shannon on January 23, 2015 at 12:51 pm

    Thanks for the tips! I’m relatively new to networking in Facebook groups and have been guilty of a couple of these myself – this is an awesome guide to FB group etiquette no matter what the individual group rules are.