7 Facebook Groups small business owners should avoid and the ones to look for instead. Avoid Facebook groups that suck the life out of your precious time, do nothing to grow your business, and leave you frustrated and discouraged. 7 different types of Facebook groups that small business owners should avoid, why they are not good options, and what to look for in a supportive group.
Facebook is an excellent way for small business owners to connect with other entrepreneurs and potential clients. None so than with joining a Facebook Group. Many people with a personal Facebook profile are already members of at least one group.
No matter if you like, or despise Facebook, it is still a viable option if you are looking to start or grow your business. A business-focused Facebook group consists of like-minded individuals that can provide support, information, and feedback to improve your business. It is also a excellent outlet for successful entrepreneurs interested in providing mentoring on the fly.
A personal-focused Facebook group is a potential avenue to connect to your businesses target audience and find potential customers:
- Sports fans, if you design t-shirts
- Groups that focused on assisting students in completing their doctoral education, if you offer mentoring and coaching services for doctoral students and post-doctoral trained individuals
- Members that discuss luxury cars, if you sell a private label car cleaning solution
- Location-specific groups, for brick-and-mortar stores to offer discounts and share events
- Small business groups within your locality that provide support through pandemics, such as COVID-19
Yet, while the reasoning behind joining groups are good on paper, you may find the reality of the situation much different.
Groups can suck the life out of your precious time, do nothing to grow your business, and leave you frustrated and discouraged.
This article discusses six Facebook Groups small business owners should avoid like the plague and the ones to look for instead.
Group to avoid #1: The group that does not want to learn about your business
As you begin to grow your business, you may discover that traditional advertising (Google & Bing Ads, print ads, social media (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, & Facebook ads) are outside your budget or too cumbersome to understand. You research free ways to grow your business and read articles that describe how you can post your product, goods, or services in a Facebook group to gain website traffic, increase followers, and grow revenues, without spending a dime.
Here is the reality.
Let’s say, for example, you offer tutoring services for children. Your target audience is parents, especially mothers. Your peers tell you to post in a mom-focused group. As you begin the join, you read the rules that state that you can’t advertise your service.
Well shit, how are you going to offer your service?
Further research states, instead wait until someone posts a comment seeking recommendations for something you offer. You join the group and patiently wait until someone asks for a recommendation for a tutor.
You pounce into action and respond with 50 other people who are doing the same thing. In the end, a personal friend within the group provides a recommendation, which more often than not, will be the business the person chooses.
Another common outcome is the person is too inundated with responses, they turn to another website such as Nextdoor and post the same request or post on their own personal Facebook page.
Do you see where I’m going with this?
If you don’t have time to actively engage with the group and get involved, the member is likely to ignore anything you offer. If you only joining to find future customers, you are wasting your time.
You will need to search through dozens of posts a day in the hopes that someone asks for a recommendation. If you are spending your time scrolling through feeds hoping for someone to ask about your service, you could spend more time focusing on things that will improve your chances for success.
What to do instead?
Focus on groups that provide solutions to the problems that are holding your business back.
- Is it marketing?
- Is it finding a new location for your business?
- Is it Human Resource Issues?
- Are you struggling with designing your website?
If you still want to join a group, use it to research your target audience.
- What keywords are they using? If your target audience is using those words in a group, they are more likely to be using those same keywords when they are searching for services.
- Are there new problems that you can provide unique solutions that can give you an edge?
Second, use the group for feedback. Be truthful. State that you are XYZ business that is looking to do ABC. You would like some feedback and take it. Please do not take the kindness of members and add them to your page or offer your services out of the group. Take the information, use it to grow your business, and watch your success grow exponentially.
Group to avoid #2: The seller group that isn’t a marketplace group.
Many groups offer members the opportunity post their goods, products, or services. It isn’t an official Facebook marketplace, which is designed to sell these exact things to the public. The seller group that isn’t a marketplace group disguises itself as providing an avenue for you to post what you are selling and gain new customers.
Don’t join this group – No
Here is what is wrong with this group and why it is a complete waste of your time.
Let’s say I am looking for a new lampshade and I’m NOT a seller of lampshades. I’m interested in a unique lampshade, not found in stores.
Where do I search?
Perhaps I might post something on Facebook asking my FRIENDS for recommendations. But, more often than not, my go-to place is probably Google and I search “Unique Lampshades.”
We all know comes up!
A website offering unique lampshades. A list of Amazon products.
Do you know where is not listed? Your comment in a Facebook group.
But, you say, perhaps someone in the group wants it or is willing to share it?
True, but how many products or services do you share or recommend outside of a group? You are more likely to provide a recommendation if you have a relationship with the individual or business. Just because you and I are in a group doesn’t mean I am going to recommend you.
What do you do instead?
Focus on getting hiring ranks on search engines, increase your SEO on your product pages, and yes (the dreaded) advertise in places where people are going to buy.
Group to avoid #3: The moderator led-bullying group
You take my advice and drive down the problems in your business. You proceed to seek a group that focused on offering help. Groups with names such as (these are not names of real groups)
- SEO Growth-minded Group
- Facebook ads on a budget group
- Grammy winning music producing group
- Twitter growth group
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You join excited to get the help you need. Maybe you are having an issue with the menu button on your website not displaying correctly on a mobile device (true story that was me). You post your question, go about your day, and get a notification that you have comments on your posts. Thrilled that you are going to get the answers you want, you log in, and see the following rude, unhelpful comments.
- “This has been asked a million times, why don’t you search the previous posting before you post”
- “YouTube it”
- “This is basic website design, perhaps you should hire someone before you break your entire site.”
All followed by a nasty comment from the moderator about how people like you are stupid and need to learn more. That you should go learn more about what to do and then when you have a specific problem you should ask then.
Am I being dramatic?
No, these are some of the exact comments I have received and read. These groups are nothing more than people trying to disguise themselves as an elite group of people who know more than you. If you find no one is providing you with good insight, no one is sticking up for you, and worse the moderator is the biggest bully of them all – LEAVE.
What to do instead?
First, as moderator, I never expect someone to go through and search posts to see if their question is answered. If a group has people who aren’t helpful, they should be kicked out. Why join and be active if you are going to tear someone down?
Second, after joining the group and before posting your first comment, scroll through the comments and see what others are posting. Are people being helpful and kind when interacting? Is the group appropriate to the problems you are facing? If is it too technical, it might not be the best place for you. If people are too negative, it might not be the best place for you. If you do not see value, leave the group and join another that will welcome your presence and provide the respect you need and deserve.
Real life example: I posted in a group about issues I was having with the drop down menu on my website. Someone was nice enough to fix the problem. I was forever grateful. I also posted asking if there was anyone local I could speak to and someone was kind enough to offer. I met him and we had a great conversation and he provided me with much needed insight. These are the types of group you should join.
Group to avoid #4: The group with members that bombard you with selling stuff
You have a question that you think a group could assist you with. Perhaps you are interested in feedback on three different logo designs. You’d like the group’s opinions about which they prefer. You post and see 500 comments. 60% are people who provide the answer to your questions, some with comments other just the number. 40% are people trying to sell you their logo creating services.
- I can create you a logo that fits your style.
- I can create a responsive logo that will drive your sales through the roof
- Your logo isn’t what people want, you have all these problems, I can do a better job
In addition, you look and see you have 10 new friend requests. Then, 2-3 DM (also known as direct messaging) repeating what the 40% stated.
If you asked for someone to create a logo for you, that is fine to get messages or replies offering their business. But if not, DO NOT send people who are looking for opinions your business.
Remember word of mouth is one of the best marketing tools. If you have pissed me off, I probably won’t connect, let alone recommend you.
Here is a piece of advice for others in groups trying to sell their business services. As we see more people trying to start a business as the number of lay-offs increases, more people will turn to these groups for advice. If a person explicitly states that they do not want to do a particular type of business be respectful and do not offer it. I see this very often with MLM (multi-level-marketing). People describe how they can easily make money. I have been a victim of this myself. I’ll be selling my Optavia MLM stuff soon.
Extra tip: If you find you are asking a question and need a response that is an opinion about different options, create a poll. It is virtually impossible to wade through 500 posts to understand the answer to a simple question.
What to do instead?
Focus on driving traffic to your website, store, or blog through advertising or organic searches. Offer your opinion and be respectful. If you feel their business has a future opportunity for collaboration, add them as a friend and support them in their journey
Group to Avoid #5 The group disguised as a helping group but is an outlet for the moderator to get your business (The most shameful group)
Here is a common scenario. You are interested in having an e-commerce store and and you want to learn more about dropshipping. You join a group with thousands of people, all these people must know something You post a question, the moderator posts an answer – a link to his/her YouTube channel or website. Then promptly stops all comments.
This isn’t a group to help you. It is a group for that person to get more clients. Higher clicks to their YouTube channel means they can get sponsors. They are making money off you and your needs.
Shame on these people
What to do instead?
There is nothing left to do but leave this group immediately. Don’t click on anything . Do not pass go. Do not let them collect $1000 from you.
While I agree that people have the right to make money and people deserve to earn a income from their brilliance and success. What is unethical is to disguise your willingness to help and moderate a group by disabling the ability for others to offer their own advice so that they earn money from you.
Another issue I found was the moderator has the paid group and free group in the same Facebook group. Starting a Facebook group is free. Joining a Facebook group is free. There are ways to monetize Facebook groups by limited access to those who have paid for additional service.
These groups are often separate and many moderators will have a free group and a paid group running simultaneously. The paid groups will only be open to those who have joined their paid group (class or other program) and has the ability individualized treatment from the experts who run the group.
I’m all for that. What I have seen is a group where the moderator opens up to asking him/her a question but only if you are a paid member. I get the psychology of it. If you pay, you get answers and feedback so why not join. This isn’t as bad as the other situation at least this moderator isn’t cutting off all comments.
Group to Avoid #6 The non-involved moderator
This morning, I was in a group and someone posted a screenshot of how they made $22,000 selling a service.
This is great wow. Groups should be an outlet to share your accolades. Share the big and small milestones that make you proud. These shares help to inspire others to know that there is potential for success, especially for those that are struggling.
Then what is the issue?
In order for a group to be success, a moderator needs to understand the psychology of why people join a group, especially a business-run group. It can be discouraging for those who are working hard and are having little to no success or are having to close their doors.
A moderator has the ability to delete comments/posts as they see fit. If an individual is hogging the group’s feed with comments every 2 days about how they are killing it, it might discourage struggling businesses. Better yet, ask the person who posted what were some strategies they did to earn their success.
Back to this morning, the individual who posted about their sales, did something I hadn’t seen in all the groups I have been apart of since starting my entrepreneur journey.
He shared that he spent $100,000 a month in Google Ads.
This wasn’t asked by the moderator, but shared by the member. I appreciated seeing this additional information because transparency is hard to come by in groups.
While I do not expect everyone, or anyone for that matter, to share the details of your success a group should have a balance of success stories, tips and strategies, and avenues for people to share their struggles.
Extra tip: If you do find yourself in a group that is dominated by a boaster, ask yourself this question.
“Do really successful entrepreneurs spend their time posting about their success rates in Facebook groups or are they out there making money?”
I’m sure you can answer that question, easily.
What to do instead?
Seek a group that has a balance of accolades and those seeking help. At the same time, don’t wait for the moderator to ask questions. Take everything with a grain of salt. If a successful person’s comments are too vague (I just worked really hard) or they want to send you to their website or offer their services, they probably aren’t being truthful.
Group to avoid #7: The group that posts sharing days (The biggest hoax of them all)
I saved the best for last because this is the biggest hoax of them all. These groups appear to be helpful but are running you around in a circle.
I’ll unmask the hoax
You get into a group and the moderating has themes based on certain days
- Freebie Friday – Share your Freebie
- Blogging Saturday – Share your latest blog post
- Affiliate Monday – Share your affiliate page
- Tuesday Connect – Share your social media page and connect with a new member
On and On and On. The underlying thought seems good. If I share in a group of 10K members, just think of the number of people that will drive up sales, convert on my website, and bring me business.
I will post my Freebie on Friday. All these people in this group (because it’s called XX helping XX) will come to my website. They will download my freebie (an e-book, video, sign-up for my newsletter). They will share it with all their friends. All with little to no effort. In the end, I will increase my sales, earn money, and didn’t pay a dime in ads.
Here is what really happens! Again, first hand experience.
At first, you drink the Kool-Aid and dive right in. You excitedly post whatever you have to offer under the daily theme. You are a good neighbor because the moderator states you should post and do the same to 5 other group members. You are elated because you have 10,000 potential people who are going to connect with you.
You share at 10:00 AM because you are up to working your ass off to get more business. You get back on around 4:00 pm and you see 1000+ comments on that post. You spend the next hour sharing, commenting, posting, liking, and interacting even more. Because again, if I follow/like you, you are going to do the same for me.
You stop, grab dinner, spend a few minutes with your family and eagerly check the statistics of your website and social media pages. You look at Google Analytics knowing that there has to be a spike in your traffic. Why not, you were one of the first to post. You check your social media pages, the number of followers, connections, and likes are sure to have gone through the roof.
Then reality hits and there is not much, if any, difference in any traffic from the previous day. Maybe a little more traffic, one or two more followers. You check your feed and you see the people you followed didn’t return the favor. You have no sign-ups. It is a desert. CRICKETS
What the fuck? How did this happen?
I’ll tell you the truth about why this is the worst strategy to increase your business sales, followers, etc.
First, unless you are in a specific group for a specific product, I probably don’t want it. I am child free and if someone posts something about how to get my kids to turn off their iPad, I don’t care. I am not going to share your posts. I’m not going to download your eBook. I’m not going to follow you on Instagram.
Second, the members that have been on for a while start to realize how much a time waster this is. They will probably post, but don’t follow. Hoping that the new unsuspecting members, or people who haven’t read this blog yet, don’t get from reading the first reason why it doesn’t work.
Third, remember, groups consists like-minded and people who have the same objective. If you are posting to a group of struggling entrepreneurs, who are you posting your information to? A group of other struggling entrepreneurs. If you have the same niche – selling coaching services you are speaking to your competitors, not your clients.
Finally, the way that Facebook sets up their feeds, it is very hard to scroll through hundreds or thousands of comments in a single post. If you are on a mobile device and scroll too fast, you may accidentally click out of the feed. Then you have to start over. Who has time for that? If you are the first one to post, you are probably going to get the least amount of engagement.
It seems like a good idea at first. I did it numerous times and got immensely frustrated that it turned into nothing. The sad fact is that the other members may have something I might want. There might be a way to connect and collaborate with someone but this isn’t the way to do it.
What to do instead?
Don’t waste your time posting to a group of people who are offering the same thing to each other. Stay away from the crowd, close the app, and work on growing your business in other ways.
Facebook groups are a great way to connect with people, professionally and personally. I have been actively spending time in groups for years. As my needs change, the groups I am involved in change. If you find yourself wondering about whether to stay in a group or not, leave.
It’s OK to leave a group. I have been involved with all these groups that I have said to avoid and have left them all, how do you think I could write this article? Sometimes I join a group and immediately leave it once I realized it wasn’t giving me value.
It can be hard to leave a group. I will admit that every group, just about, that i have been in has provided me with some knowledge that I didn’t know before. It can difficult to leave a group that has meant something to you. Yet, groups are not relationships you need to maintain. Look at your feed, grab the names of the people you wish to stay connected to, then leave the group.
- Redirect your attention on a new group that adds values to you and your business
- Use the information you gained and dive into the problems you are having with your business.
- Join a group that isn’t business focused. Reading posts all day long about a particular business sector or question can drive you nuts.
- Finally, get off the computer, phone, or tablet and get back to making real connections offline.
A Facebook Group is a not a relationship you need to maintain.
Do you have group you think does a great job with helping small businesses? Feel free to share