I decided to launch my Facebook group, Millennial Go-Getters, in early December of 2016. I remember being so hesitant and scared to do it (I was sure that no one would join other than my mom), but after a big push from my coach, I took the leap of faith and went for it.
Today, two and a half months later, Millennial Go-Getters has 600 members. I know - where did all of these amazing people come from?!
And even more mysteriously, why did this amazing people come?
To be honest, I have no fucking clue. A very small percentage of the group actually talks, which makes me wonder: who are all of these other lookie lous giving us the silent treatment?
When I say that, it's not coming from a place of judgment - I trust that these people are well-intended. I'm also a member of approximately 5 million Facebook groups and only contribute to maybe 5% of them. But it still makes me wonder, why do people actively seek out a Facebook group at all today? What are they trying to get out of it? Tell me, you Facebook group mystery lurkers! I really want to know!
For me, I opened Millennial Go-Getters because I wanted to create a community full of like-minded 20-somethings who were killing it in their creative careers (or on the path to doing so). I was determined to build a space for entrepreneurs to support, encourage, inspire, teach one another. And it worked! Yay.
What it was NOT intended to be was a place for people to spam the shit out of each other with lifeless posts about their latest freebies, programs and consultations. Yet somehow, similar to the vast majority of growing Facebook groups today, that is what slowly started happening.
People would join, not even introduce themselves, and immediately start link-bombing the group. Before I knew it, there were dozens of promo posts that were receiving zero engagement (obviously). And I'm like, "Uhhh does this group look like a trash bin to you?! Stop ruining my precious community with your garbage!"
And then I would tell them to stop doing it, but they would keep doing it! As if they were desperately dangling from the Facebook group branch, barely keeping their business alive with this icky marketing strategy.
Because ultimately, that's what it is: a fake, unsustainable marketing strategy that entrepreneurs need to drop, like, yesterday.
I also feel that it's important to say that I'm not perfect. I've been guilty of doing some self-promo in other groups in the past, but I typically got called out for it. Why? Because it's not cool, bro! And I get that now.
Here are the biggest reasons why Facebook group marketing is a thing of the past. Then, we'll get into some powerful alternative that you can adopt instead:
1. Facebook groups are run by real people
If you're someone who joins Facebook groups purely for the reason of self-promoting, did it ever occur to you that this group has real humans in it? Not robots who are going to click on whatever you post - real, legit human beings who have brains and interpret what you're doing as rude AF.
Think about it - would you show up to someone's birthday party without a gift, and only attend so that you can network and promote your own birthday party happening the following weekend? Uhhh no! You would not. Facebook group owners have eyes and can see you in all of your entitled glory. You just can't get away with it anymore, so stop!
2. Facebook is a really, really busy place
Everyone knows that when you go on Facebook today, there are a million things to engage with - Buzzfeed articles, videos, cash me outside memes, whatever. And with so much free, entertaining, low-commitment, bite-sized content to grab, do you really think that someone is going to click on your link? Obviously not! Unless you're giving away diamond-covered unicorns for free, other group members have no reason to engage with or trust you. This isn't to say that whatever you created isn't good - it just means that Facebook groups aren't the place to be doing this.
3. Everyone is posting the same content
It's very rare to see an opt-in post that's original anymore. I know that they think that what they're posting is an industry-breaking game changer, but it's probably not. The reason for this isn't because what they're offering isn't legit - there's a good chance that it is. But it's HOW they propose it that turns people away. Everyone in Facebook groups today is so careful to be polite and emulate this generic entrepreneurial persona and that it drains all personality out of their content, making everyone sound exactly the same.
Basically, what I'm trying to say is, if I see one more "lady boss" post a Canva-produced graphic written in cursive gold foil with a freebie that reads "FREE Fool-Proof Social Media Calendar", I'm going to shoot myself.
4. People pretend to care...and then link bomb
Did you know that there are courses available to purchase that literally teach you how to pretend to care about other people in Facebook groups and then sell to them? "All you have to do is engage with others first - comment on their posts, like their stuff - and then post your freebie! Works like a charm!" Like....what? Do you think that group owners are stupid? Do you think that we don't know this "strategy"? WE SEE YOU DUDE. And it's not cute.
5. It's not sustainable
A lot of groups still allow promotions, but everyday, more and more groups are setting in rules that ban it. It's just not sustainable because the Facebook group management is out of your hands. Find solutions that will work for you in the long-term instead of chasing the remaining promo-friendly groups are left.
My top social self-promotion tips
1. Run Facebook Ads
First of all, if you're looking for 100% organic strategies for growing your brand on Facebook, stop. It just doesn't exist anymore. Even if organic outreach works for you today, Facebook's algorithm will probably change and fuck you over tomorrow. You just can't depend on it. So, for now, the most powerful move to make is investing in Facebook ads. If you're thinking "I can't afford that", then it doesn't sound like you're serious about your business. Invest $5 a day and start seeing results. Promise.
2. Utilize the relationships you already have
Think about the people who's attention you already have on Facebook - could be your friends, family members, college classmates, professional colleagues, whoever. Within that pool, think of who would be relevant to what you're doing. Or if they're not relevant, maybe they know someone who is. For example, maybe your college roommate has a sister who owns a clothing store, and you can see online that she could use help with her branding strategy.
Focus on these people first. Why? Because they already trust you, they already give you their attention, and they already want to help you. Focus on using the real relationships you already have and deepen new ones before you ever start cold targeting people.
3. Start your own Facebook group
Build a community of people around you who believe in the same ideas and value that you do. That way, you'll be able to foster new relationships with hundreds of new people who are open to learning from you. Oh, and set your own group rules so that people don't spam it. Boom.
4. Use Instagram
How come so many millennials are still using Instagram solely as a place to stalk Kylie Jenner instead of using it as a powerful marketing tool?! There is so much ignored potential here! With the right organic strategies, Instagram can skyrocket your online community, your revenue, and your email list. Win win win.