If it weren’t for Facebook groups, I really don’t think I’d be using Facebook anymore, at least on a daily basis. They’re kind of that glue that’s keeping me attached to a social network that’s never done much for my blog—I want to give it up altogether, but the groups I’m in are worth too much to drop it completely. I feel like there are a lot of misconceptions out there about blogging related Facebook groups though, because while they carry a ton of benefits, spending time actively promoting your blog through them is pretty pointless.
For reference, I’m a part of three Facebook groups:
While all of these groups revolve around blogging in some way, they’re all run very differently and have totally different members! One thing that a lot of blogging groups have in common are daily or weekly promotion threads. You know, the ones where you can leave a link to your post or social media profile and everyone who adds their link is supposed to go back and view 5 other links?
But here’s the deal: they don’t.
There are a few wonderful and honest people out there that will go back and look at other links, but the majority just drop and go.
I used to spend half an hour every morning going through groups and adding in my posts, finding other links I thought were interesting, not really having time to read through them because I needed to get somewhere, and eventually forgetting to comment on them. Meanwhile, I noticed almost no engagement on my blog being referred from Facebook—the majority of my visitors were still coming through organic search, Pinterest, or Bloglovin’.
The “leave your social link” threads are pretty much in the same boat. If you’re lucky enough to get some clicks on your link, there’s no guarantee that your new followers are interested in the content you offer, especially if the group you’re in is diverse and filled with bloggers of varying niches.
The problem is, you’re going to end up with a lot of followers that don’t care about what you’re posting.
This is when you need to decide how important numbers are to you. If you’re just trying to appear like you have a large audience so companies will work with you, that’s one thing. But if you’re trying to grow your numbers in an effort to grow your blog, you’ve got the wrong strategy going. You could have 5,000 followers, but only 100 of them actually read your content and enjoy it. Or, you could have 500 followers that all love and share your content on a daily basis!
Coming up with a strategy for growing your blog is worth an entire post, so I won’t delve anymore into that, but the point is, drop-and-go threads are not worth your time, which is why a few weeks ago I stopped adding to these threads altogether. I completely shifted my focus within these groups, and ended up with two great reasons to stay active in them.
1) Facebook groups are the perfect place to get answers to your blogging problems.
I always hated asking questions in Facebook groups. I felt like my question wasn’t important enough, or that I might be breaking some sort of rule. The thing is, these Facebook groups wouldn’t go anywhere if their members didn’t ask questions! So if you have one, just ask it. That’s what these groups are for! But there are definitely some guidelines you should follow if you want to avoid getting removed from the group or looking spammy:
You shouldn’t ever have to write “please remove if this isn’t allowed!” in your post
Not only does this create some tension around your post and make it seem spammy (because whoever’s reading it is assuming you broke a rule), but if you’re having to add that line, you probably need to brush up on the rules yourself. Most Facebook groups have rules pinned at the top or in their description, so before you ask a question, just check to see if you followed all of them instead of making the admin check for you.
Don’t ask a question that’s based entirely around getting people to view your blog
Asking “what do you think about this post?” or “do you like the way my sidebar looks?” can get you kicked out of a lot of groups, and even if you are legitimately asking for someone’s opinion, it can still look like you’re just wanting some extra page views.
Instead of linking to your blog, try taking a screenshot of the section in question. I love that Melyssa from Blog + Biz BFFs actually made it a rule that blog links aren’t allowed, because the group’s feed is so much cleaner and anyone who had bad intentions with these kinds of posts disappeared, allowing people with legitimate ones to get the responses they needed.
As for the “what’s your opinion on my post?” questions, you probably shouldn’t ask them. That’s essentially telling someone to go comment on your blog, so you might as well have just said “go comment on my post!” instead, which obviously wouldn’t be allowed!
Search the group for an answer to your question before posting it
If you’re a member of a large Facebook group, at least 10 questions are getting added every day. That means there’s a good chance someone has asked your question in the past, so try using the search function in the group before posting a question yourself!
Avoid promoting your own content
I’ve seen bloggers stretch this rule in so many ways. No matter how hard you try to make it sound like your product/e-course/post is extra special and everyone in the group will benefit from it and you just want to help your fellow bloggers out, you’re still promoting your own content, which can come off as spammy. A lot of groups have rules specifically against this kind of post, and you can get removed immediately for them. Others do allow self-promotion, but in very small amounts, so try to limit these kinds of posts!
Try to fit your question into as few words as possible
If you’re looking for lots of responses, make it as easy as possible for someone to answer your question. Don’t tell a whole story and end up going in a loop that leaves the reader wondering what your actual question was! If any clarification is needed, you can add it in the comments, but a couple of paragraphs or less is usually enough.
Of course, if all these questions are constantly being posted, there needs to be someone to answer them! That leads me to my next point, which is what I’ve started to focus the majority of my time on:
2) If you want to grow your blog, establish yourself as an expert.
Well, more like a fairly knowledgable person in blogging related things that has opinions which could possibly be helpful to other bloggers.
If you scroll through any blogging Facebook group you’re a member of, the majority of the posts are probably questions. Some might be technical, others pretty broad (cough cough how do I grow my blog), and many that are just general “what are y’all’s opinions on this?”. I used to skip over all of these posts with the mindset that if it wasn’t my problem, I don’t need to read it, because I don’t need to know the answer to a problem I don’t have, and I probably don’t have an answer for them in the first place.
Once I started going through them though, I realized there were several questions that I could offer a great response to, and oftentimes I could just refer to a blog post I’d written! Because these groups are so diverse, there’s a huge variety of questions being added every day, so there’s bound to be one that you can answer using your specific skills (like branding/coding/graphic design) or experiences (hosting issues, changing your blog design, switching to a new platform).
Basically, figure out what you’re good at and start showing people you’re good at it.
How does this end up benefitting you or your blog? Once you’ve been answering questions for a while, other members will start recognizing your name when it pops up in comment threads, and the goal is to have your name attached to great advice. When people start realizing how helpful your answers are on Facebook, they’ll be more inclined to assume you have great content on your blog too! Which, by the way, is sort of a prerequisite to all of this because the plan here is to guide people to your great content!