Joining LinkedIn and Facebook groups is a fantastic way to meet new people who share common interests as well as potentially gain new followers and exposure to your brand. However, as with any social group, there’s a right way and a wrong way to present yourself. It’s called etiquette. Use the tips below to become a valued member of the group.
- Introduce yourself – Once you’ve been approved to join a group, come on in and say hi. This is a fantastic opportunity to share a little bit about yourself (not too much), why you’re excited about the group, and what you hope to learn or achieve as a member. Keep your introduction brief, professional, and approachable.
- Be prepared to interact – It’s not unusual for others to welcome new members or ask questions. Thus, if you introduce yourself, stick around so that you can interact with others who welcome you to the group.
- Participate in group discussions – While you may get a lot out of “lurking,” you’ll get so much more if you actively participate. This is where relationships begin! If you don’t participate, you won’t build relationships and you’ll miss out on opportunities to show that you know your stuff.
- Provide value – As you participate, always try to provide useful, relevant information. It’s not about touting your services; it’s about being valuable. For example, if you’re a real estate agent and someone asks for advice on pricing their home for sale, you may be tempted to say “call me for a consultation.” That’s not what the other person is looking for. Instead, you might suggest websites where the other person can look up recent sales in the neighborhood or even point to a blog post you wrote addressing how to price a home for sale.
- Share relevant information – It is perfectly acceptable to share links in groups periodically. However, those links should be relevant to the group. For example, if the group is focused on accounting topics, sharing a link about plumbing would be completely irrelevant.
- Don’t spam the group – While your blog posts may be valuable and relevant to the group, use sparingly. This is not the place to link to every single blog post you write. It is not your platform. If you have a particularly timely, topical blog post that could serve as a fantastic discussion starter, then it might be appropriate to share with the group.
- Use the promotions tab for announcements and promos – Posting a promotion in the main discussions area is considered bad form. On the other hand, it’s expected in the Promotions tab. If you are running a special, launching a new product, or have some other promotion in the works, use the Promotions tab.
- Stay professional at all times – Group discussions can become heated. Whether another member has said something offensive or you feel passionate about a controversial topic, remember to stay professional. Your words will be publicly available (at least within the confines of the group) long after the moment has passed. Before you click the “comment” button, make sure that your response is 100 percent professional. If in doubt, don’t post it.
- Replicate engaging discussions – Keep an eye on the types of discussions that are getting the most activity. These are the types you’ll want to replicate. For example, if you post a link to an article you found interesting, you may wonder why no one has commented on it. For insight, look at some of the other discussions that contain links. Did the group member introduce the article or ask a question of the group about it? Getting more engagement could be as simple as including some sort of call to action alongside your link such as “How can we incorporate some of the ideas discussed in this article in our own businesses?”
Participating in social media groups requires following basic social media group etiquette rules. Remember to be professional, approachable, relevant, and non-spammy and you should do just fine!