There is a trend I see on social media A LOT lately. On the surface it seems generous and kind, but at the root, it’s soooo slimy.
Let me describe it – maybe you’ve been in this exact situation.
You’re a member of an active, chatty Facebook group, where other business owners are conversing all the time. Then, one member posts that she’s created a new pack of Trello boards, bookkeeping checklist, branding DIY kit, etc. It’s totally free; she just wants to share her knowledge with the other awesome women in the group. All you need to do is comment on the post with your email address and she’ll zap it right to you. You do this and go on with your day. A week later, you receive the free something from this person. But it isn’t sent as a personal email. Heck, it isn’t even a templated personal email. Nope, you’ve been added to this person’s email list!
If you’ve been in this situation, I’m betting it felt less then great to know you’ve unknowingly been added to someone’s marketing list.
And if you’ve done this before, please stop. It’s super disingenuous. We can see what you’ve done. Plus, it’s against the guidelines for most (if not all) major email marketing platforms, since we didn’t actually sign up to be on your list.
If you’re going to hang around in groups on social media, treat this as you would any in-person relationship building scenario. You probably wouldn’t grab someone’s business card at an event, then start spamming their inbox, just because you spent two seconds with this person that one time.
So what to do to be a good online group member?
- Show up and be yourself in the group. We all like it when we’re talking with a real human, someone who isn’t all business all the time.
- Read the group’s guidelines about what you can and cannot post. If you don’t, you can quickly be blocked.
- Be respectful of others in the groups. Yes, that means respecting the options of others, even if you don’t agree with them.
- Love on the other group members by being helpful and supportive. If someone has a question and you can answer it or point them in the right direction, do it. We all have our strengths and blind spots, and getting assistance from others is what these groups are all about.
- If you aren’t sure, a good rule to follow: if you wouldn’t speak or act that way if you were face-to-face with this person, it isn’t okay to do when you’re behind a digital curtain.
Engaging in business relationship building in a virtual environment is a great method to increasing your visibility. Please remember to treat this as you would any other relationship, in-person, digital and otherwise.