How many online groups do you belong to? 10, 15, 100? They are so popular these days (thanks to Facebook and LinkedIn) and there’s definitely a group for everyone but how on earth can you get the most from them?
I’ll hold my hands up. I belong to too many. I cannot possibly keep up with what’s going on in them all and really, I might as well not be in about half of them. If I was the Group Admin, I’d probably like me to leave because I’m not bringing much to the party! But, it’s hard… when I try to have a cull, I find myself suffering from ‘fomo’ (Fear Of Missing Out!) so in I stay.
If it was an offline group, you know, a real-life group where I had to actually show up, this behaviour would be unacceptable and I’d be quite unpopular! Hanging about, not saying anything, just lurking. It’s not a pleasant way to carry on, is it?
However, there are some online groups where I do engage and guess what? I get more out of them. (No sh1t Sherlock!) Yep, online just as in real-life, we get out what we put in. Let me share what that looks like.
In the groups where I get truly involved or ‘engaged’ as the jargon goes, this is what I do:
- Read and abide by the group rules. They are usually stated in the Group Description or in a Pinned Post at the top of the discussion page.
- Remember to visit regularly (sometimes daily, mostly weekly). I make this easy by creating a shortcut to the group if it’s a facebook group. Not so easy on LinkedIn so I make a diary note about visiting my LinkedIn Groups. (Access Groups by clicking the ‘Work’ option in the top right of your LinkedIn homepage.) I also tick the box so that I receive Notifications.
- Read other member’s posts to see what I can learn and how I can help.
- Hit Like if I agree with what I read. It’s just an online version of a nod. Something to encourage and appreciate the writer of the post. I may also make a comment if I feel it’s particularly brilliant or if I have something to add.
- Avoid arguments! If I don’t agree with something, my preference is to maintain a dignified silence (just as I would in real life.) I don’t start or join in with arguments; I just don’t need that kind of negativity in my life!
- Remember that some people just like to be provocative and/or have a sense of humour that doesn’t always come across online as it might in person.
- Ask questions. If I don’t know something, of course, I’ll Google it or look it up on YouTube but if I want an opinion about something or some advice, I’ll ask in the appropriate group. It’s so much nicer to get an opinion or recommendation from someone you ‘know’ than to rely on the reviews of strangers.
- Share information and relevant articles that I hope will benefit the other group members.
- Promote my business – only when it’s allowed and appropriate. Some groups are specifically for that purpose, others are not.
- Keep my private life private. I am fortunate to have some great friends and family to whom I can turn when stuff happens. I choose to deal with that offline, in private. For me, my online presence is largely professional and I want you to feel better having read something that I’ve written.
Online groups can be brilliant for all kinds of reasons. I’d love to know what your favourite groups are and why. Perhaps you’d like to share them in the comments below?
Here are a few recommendations from me:
- Your Dream Job Networking Group on LinkedIn.
- Laptop Friday on Facebook.
- Local Business Network on Facebook.
See you on the inside! xx