Since creating and managing multiple Facebook Groups, I’ve learned a lot about what it really takes to be a great community leader.
What ‘no self-promotion’ means (Facebook Group Guidelines)
Creating the Facebook group itself – that’s only half the battle.
Making decisions like “Should it be open or private?”, and “How will I manage who comes in, who stays, and who goes?” seem simple, but they’re actually big decisions that could change the trajectory and overall vibe of your group.
Creating guidelines for your Facebook group
In a previous post, I discussed 5 steps to becoming a great community manager, and I also included a bonus on how to create and manage an engaged Facebook Group.
Today, I want to focus on something that will make or break your Facebook Group once it’s up and running: self-promotion.
Since the beginning, this single guideline has been present in every group we’ve ever started: no self-promotion allowed.
What’s considered “self-promotional”?
But what exactly does “no self-promotion” mean?
I’ve always thought this to be a very clear statement: it means just what it says – don’t promote yourself.
We build communities based on providing value and support to one another; we don’t build communities so people can join and then use the platform to advertise themselves.
However, I’ve learned that it’s always smart to put yourself in someone else’s shoes.
So, if you envision yourself on the side of a community member who is super excited about a recent launch; overcoming multiple roadblocks and finally getting their sales pages up; or who is desperate to gain traction and momentum for their new business, you might be able to better understand why self-promotional posts pop up here and there.
You’ve created a community where people are comfortable with one another, and where members have been building relationships for weeks, months – sometimes even years. Of course they want to share their excitement with one another.
How to handle the rule-breakers
So what to do?
This is something I’ve been working on for nearly 3 years now; how do you help members understand what no promotion means without making them feel unenthusiastic – or even scared – about posting anything in your group ever again?
It’s about education.
It’s about helping people see that you can still post wins and share your excitement with your community without asking for sign ups, money, or downloads AND STILL communicate that you have something to offer that could be of value to others (versus posting an advertisement that can really rub people in the wrong way).
Here’s an example of how you might do this.
Let’s say someone in your community posted a “win” (insert: self-promotional post asking people to visit, share, and “like” a feature they were written up in), and you’ve made the decision as a community manager or group moderator to delete it.
After deleting it, it’s good practice to follow up with the person and let them know – that way, you’re not only giving them the courtesy of telling them, you’re also sharing an alternative way of posting the exact same thing they can use next time.
I’m writing to let you know that I deleted your post about your feature in XYZ magazine (congrats on your feature, by the way!)
This post was considered self-promotional because you asked for people to visit, share, and like the post. A direct call to action for people to do something that will benefit you is considered self-promotional.
For future, anything that is promoting you, your business, or anything else you have to offer would be considered promotional, too.
I can definitely understand you wanting to share your excitement around this win with the community – we encourage that! One great way to post your excitement around something like this feature you landed in the group would be to say something like:
“Wow – I can’t believe I was asked to be interviewed by XYZ Magazine so they could feature me on their site! For those of you who aren’t familiar, XYZ Magazine helps people do ABC. The reason this is SO powerful for me and my business is because XYZ Magazine is THE go-to place for my avatar – so now, my avatar is going to see that I was featured, which gives me increased visibility and authority!
For anyone looking to be featured in a magazine or website like this, here are some of the things I did in order to get this feature:
1. I reached out to 5 outlets and pitched myself
2. I let my network know I was looking for this type of feature
3. I attended a conference and set aside specific time to chat with the editor
I hope this helps anyone who is in the same boat as me looking to get featured, and therefore seen by more people!“
I hope this helps so next time you’re able to not only share your win, but also share some amazing value with the community!
See how this takes the member’s excitement and win for what they’ve accomplished, but shares it in a way that’s helpful / powerful for others in the group, too?
A post that was 10% sharing excitement and 90% asking for people to do something for this member suddenly becomes 50% sharing excitement and 50% providing value for others who might see this post and think: “Awesome! How do I do that, too?”
Stick to your guns
You’re always going to have people in your group who don’t get it, “forgot” about the no promotion zone, or who simply don’t care and think if they can at least get 1 post out then it’s worth getting kicked out of your group.
One of the most important things I’ve learned since becoming a community manager is that you HAVE to stick to your guns. No exceptions.
Once you let 1 person do it, then forever other members will try to do it, too.