May 5, 2017

How Threads in Facebook Groups for Bloggers are Hurting You

Facebook. You love it or you hate it. I fall into the second group of people. I deactivated my personal profile ages ago and only created another so I could switch my Instagram profile to a business account to track my analytics. A few months ago, I joined a bunch of Facebook groups for bloggers and creative entrepreneurs because it seemed like everywhere I turned, someone was telling me that I needed to. I thought I might as well give it a shot, even if it might not be for me.



To my surprise, I really liked engaging with others who could relate to what it is I'm doing online, so I continued to join groups. There is a ton of support and collaboration, and FB groups are a great way to tap into this community in a more one-on-one way. What I was not expecting, and what I've noticed more and more (and come to associate with certain groups that I now avoid for the most part), were all the "share-for-share" and "like-for-like" threads. Almost all, if not all, the FB groups that I am in ban these threads and this reciprocal behavior, but people do it anyway.



On Wednesday, I added my link to a Facebook thread. It was not a comment-for-comment or like-for-like thread (I can't stand them, if you didn't assume that already ;)). I dropped my link and went about my day. Yesterday, I noticed that someone else who had posted in that thread had tagged me and 29 others in a comment. She was "still waiting" for us to reciprocate. Uh... what?

I'm not the type to start Internet drama and rant at people I don't even know, so I just let it go. Another blogger did not. She said what I was thinking: that it was not a reciprocal thread, so we didn't owe her anything. Is it nice when someone reciprocates when you share their post or leave a comment? Yes, of course. But when someone in a niche completely different from your own posts something completely irrelevant to your life or follows you on social media, you shouldn't be expected to reciprocate (unless you post to a reciprocal thread knowing full well what you've agreed to do).

You're not building an online community by regularly engaging in reciprocal threads— you're amassing a bunch of "fake friends." Tweet it!


What do I have to gain from content written by, say, a mommy/family blogger? Nothing. Not applicable to my life at all. For this reason, I won't follow back someone who found me in one of those "choose three people to reciprocate" FB threads just because they followed me; if your content is not relevant to my life or online niche, I don't want to see it. I'm sure most people feel this way, even if their actions support the opposite. But... why do you want to spend time reading and commenting on someone's post when it has no relevancy for you? Just so they can read and comment on your post that is probably, and logically, just as irrelevant to them?

The admin of another group regularly posts threads that stipulate that participants number their comments and reciprocate to the five people who posted above them. No. No, no, no. How does doing this build any kind of relationship or benefit anyone? To me, it's a massive waste of time, and I scroll past these threads, more annoyed than I probably should be. Truthfully, I should probably just leave the group.

You might be boosting engagement in terms of stats by participating in reciprocation threads, but at what cost? You're not building an online community— you're amassing a bunch of "fake friends." For every person who discovers you and who genuinely likes what you post or sees the value in what you do, there are probably nine that don't give a sh*t and just hope you'll share their content, too. They're just going down a list, leaving comments on blog posts or following random people on Twitter, perhaps finding someone they'd like to connect with, but maybe not. And there goes 20 minutes.

My point here? Read the specs of each thread carefully before you post and don't post to reciprocal threads just because you can or because you want exposure. I know the saying is "any press is good press" (even though we're not talking about the press here haha), but is it really? If you're not attracting your target audience through your social media marketing efforts, Facebook group posts included, you can probably stand to change how you engage with threads.

Also: If you've been following along for a while, you'd know that I've been posting three times/week since September. I have managed to keep up with this, excepting a couple of missed posts and some time off for vacations and Christmas, but I've decided to cut it down to two posts per week. Continue to expect self-improvment on Mondays, with #MusicMonday the last week of the month, but now look out for whatever blog/business/writing-related piece I go with on Thursdays! Thanks so much for your continued support :)  

6 comments

  1. Thank you for this post! It really resonated with me. I do find the value in SOME Facebook group threads, but it's been about 3 months since I've joined them and I'm already over a lot of the comment for comment threads. For me, I'm trying to be more selective with what threads I post on. There are a few groups that I really love and you can tell the people are genuine. I plan to "declutter" my groups very soon.

    Also, people that badger for reciprocity are the WORST! If I like your stuff, I'll follow you. Get over it people.

    http://www.insearchofsheila.com

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    1. So relieved to hear that you can relate, Sheila! I wasn't sure how this post would be received haha. I agree with you— I definitely find value in certain threads/groups, but I've quickly gotten tired of many of them. I definitely need to purge my group memberships, too. As far as the reciprocity thing, I've never had someone call me out about it until yesterday and didn't know people even did that. Totally agree that they need to get over it haha.

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  2. I completely agree! When I first started blogging I used to think these group threads were the greatest! Thankfully, I quickly became tired of forcing myself to engage with blogs that, as you wrote, have nothing of value to interest me. There are much more organic ways to grow a blog! Great post!

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    1. Thanks, Samantha! It's truly a mystery to me that reading and commenting on irrelevant content doesn't bother some people, but to each their own haha.

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  3. I totally feel ya on these groups! My organic comments are about 100x better than anything generated from the comment 4 comment posts. My only positive is that they have introduced me to a ton of new blogs that I love now so its give and take! Great post :)

    xo,
    Gabby
    theswirlblog.com

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    1. Thank you, Gabby! It's great that you were able to turn these threads into something positive and authentic!

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