Early on in my blogging career, I was a big fan of using Facebook groups to promote content. I know some people have mixed feelings about doing this. To some, it may come across as spammy, but I found it to be an effective way to reach my target audience. People who frequent chronic illness-related groups on Facebook are looking for support and answers to their challenges. If you’re putting out strong, useful content, then I’ve generally found it’s welcomed within these groups versus being viewed as spam.
That being said, I think the question of whether or not to post content in Facebook groups really depends on the dynamic of the individual group. Some groups are definitely more friendly about link-sharing than others. My best advice for using Facebook groups to generate blog traffic would be:
- Always read the group’s rules. Some groups don’t allow link sharing and doing so will get you booted from the group faster than you can ask yourself, “Why isn’t XYZ group showing up in my Facebook feed anymore?”
- If you’re worried that you might be labeled as a spammer, reach out to the administrators of the group and ask for permission to post your links within the group. They may say no, but they’ll appreciate that you asked first.
- I typically don’t post product reviews or sponsored posts in Facebook groups. These are usually frowned upon because members feel like you are trying to sell them something, and it comes across as too promotional.
- The best posts to share within groups tend to be those that help members solve some sort of problem. Those ever-annoying but effective “16 tips to help you…” posts always tend to generate lots of engagement. Research- or treatment-based posts usually do well, too.
Another way to use Facebook groups to boost your readership is to start your own group. A few months after starting my blog, I set up a Facebook group called What Works for Fibromyalgia group, which now has almost 7,000 members. There are definitely pros and cons to starting a Facebook group.
- It helps me to develop a relationship with my readers. I try to check in with my group at least once a day to comment on members’ posts and share resources, so I’m approachable and available to them.
- Since I run the group, it allows me the freedom to post my own content, including more promotional posts (reviews, sponsored posts, etc). I don’t have to worry about breaking the group’s rules because I set the rules.
- I find that my content gets better engagement within the What Works group than on my Fed Up with Fatigue Facebook page. My hunch is that Facebook tends to show group content more freely than page content in people’s news feeds.
- Learning is a two-way street. My members learn from me, and I learn from them, too.
- I sometimes get blog post ideas from group discussions.
- Running a Facebook group is a huge time suck. As the group grows in size, it takes more and more time to approve/decline members and moderate the discussions. I’m fortunate that I have two group members who voluntarily help me to moderate the group, but it’s still a time commitment. I suspect the time that I’m investing is probably not worth the traffic that it’s driving to my blog.
- As with any group, sometimes there are disagreements between members. This is definitely the most unpleasant part of running a group.
As always, I’m providing some links to articles that you might find helpful…