If you participate in any professional Facebook groups, you surely know that some people add value to the group while others … not so much. If you are reading this post, you are probably the type of person who wants to add as much value as possible. Luckily, the Indie Business Network private member Facebook group is composed mostly of people just like you.
Not surprisingly, the habits and characteristics of people who consistently add value stand out and are easy to emulate. If you want to make a habit out of adding value to the professional business Facebook groups you participate in, you'll love these tips to help you do so.
1. Give before asking for anything
Enter each new discussion with a “What can I do to add value” attitude. Share something helpful before asking others to help you. This “give, give, get” approach is a good life habit that will also encourage others to hold you in high regard as a valuable contributor to the group.
2. Assume good will
It's natural for people in digital group conversations to talk over each other. In popular threads, it's not unusual for dozens of people to post simultaneously in one conversation. Differences of opinions are not uncommon, and when they occur, it is always best to assume good will rather than assume someone is trying to be rude or insensitive.
Online conversations are great, but their biggest shortcoming is that they do not always accurately reflect the motivations you can normally see when you are dealing with someone face-to-face. Give people the benefit of the doubt. Being snippy with your responses will never make a situation better, and it often positions you and your business in a negative light.
Assuming good will allows you to take the high road and either step away from the conversation until you calm down, or leave the conversation and move to less controversial threads where your input can make a real difference.
3. Be quick to apologize
If you misinterpret what someone said, or if you say something you should not have said, apologize.
4. Respect community guidelines
When you join a new group, one of the first things you should do is look for the Community Guidelines or Rules. If there are any, they are typically posted in the Files or in the “About” area of the group. If you cannot find any rules and you want to post something you think may be problematic (like a promotional ad for your business or something regarding a typically controversial or emotionally-charged issue like politics or religion), ask permission to post first.
A professional community is not the place to do what you want and ask permission later. Enter a new group with respect and deference. Get the lay of the land first so you can pave the way for adding your best possible value.
5. Stay on topic
If someone initiates a discussion about a specific topic, don't hijack the conversation and turn it into something not intended by the host of the discussion. Not only is this annoying, but it also makes it difficult in the future for people to search groups for discussions using key words. If you want to talk about something off topic, start a new discussion.
6. Avoid being presumptuous
Business discussion forums are great places to get answers from like-minded entrepreneurs to many of your questions about being successful in business. If a group is composed of giving people, those who can will usually do their best to provide you with helpful information in response to your questions.
But don't take advantage of the generosity of others by presuming that you are owed an answer. Any answer you receive is a precious gift that someone else has chosen to take time to provide. Avoid being the person who routinely shows up with an “urgent” question, but never posts replies that are helpful to others.
7. Grammar, Spelling and Punctuation Count
We live in a world of emoji characters and abbreviations. Most of us post to groups using small mobile phone screens, and we are very busy and in a hurry. Even so, if your contributions to a professional discussion group are routinely riddled with grammatical errors and spelling mistakes, it will not be a good look for you or your business. It will also eventually result in fewer collaborative opportunities for you.
After you post, read what you posted and use the “edit” feature to correct any errors. If there is no edit feature, consider deleting your original post and re-posting it. (Yes, sometimes it's worth your time.)
Of course, there will be the occasional error; everyone gets that. But if spelling mistakes and poor grammar become your trademarks, you will stick out like a sore thumb, and not in a good way, as you lag on the professional interaction in the group. Of course, no one will say anything in the group, but believe me, they notice. (Don't ask me how I know …)
Proper spelling, punctuation and grammar reflect positively on you and your business.
8. Seek Out Opinions and Feedback
One of the best ways to add value to a discussion is to start a new discussion that seeks out other people's opinions. People love to share their feedback, and you can get valuable input on many of your new projects simply by asking people what they think. Whether it's a new packaging idea, a new logo or graphic, the bio for your Instagram profile or just a request for input on favorite apps or productivity tools — these types of questions start discussions where everyone can learn something new and valuable.
Do you participate in Professional Facebook Groups? Do you enjoy doing so? What tips and ideas can you share to help us deliver our best value in professional groups on Facebook? Please share your thoughts and feedback in the comments below, or share on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.