Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Facebook groups – the NEW LinkedIn groups

Have you been invited to a Facebook group? 

Many groups exist - personal and professional in nature. There are several within the circles of meetings and events professionals. Just like there are now hundreds of LinkedIn groups made up of people in our industry, I see new Facebook groups popping up every day. Facebook groups are a great way to transition from using Facebook for only personal friends and family to using it for professional networking.

For a refresher on the various Facebook products (profile vs group vs page), see my blog post from December when I called Facebook groups the new associations. Ironic, considering that we have been having discussions in the Industry Friends Facebook group about the viability of our current industry associations. If you aren't a member yet, submit a request and I'll add you!

Side note: If you request to join any group and your Facebook profile is completely private, the administrator of that group won't know whether or not you belong in the group. I suggest making your work information public if you are using Facebook for professional networking.

People continue to use Facebook on a daily basis to post on their own profiles, contribute to the groups they belong to and use it as a mental escape from their daily lives. Like any forum, there are always going to be a small percentage of people who post and comment and a larger percentage of people who read these interactions but rarely jump into a discussion. Consider becoming more involved in online groups. Let people help you with a problem you are having - and help others with recommendations and referrals. As with any group, don't talk about your product or service unless someone asks for a specific recommendation - and don't ask a question along the lines of "what do people think of xxx" if xxx is your product/service category.

Is a Facebook group right for your event?

At MPI's WEC last week, I heard a great quote from Greg Fuson. He warned against trying to add an element of community onto an event. Instead, your event should be a product of your community. If you are planning an event and think that a Facebook group will promote interaction between attendees, you will probably be disappointed. Unless your attendees are currently connected and feel like they are part of a community, it will be a stretch for them to engage in this way.

What has your experience been with Facebook groups?