A few years ago we all stopped using facebook groups in droves and got ourselves fan pages. But groups have been making a resurgence over the last year with the introduction of new features. The improved facebook groups are much less "me me me" and more about bringing together families, friends and communities. I've just set one up called 'Craft Links'.
How to use facebook groups to network
One of the interesting features of a facebook group as opposed to a facebook page is that all the members get notified of the posts, by email or by facebook notifications. You can opt out of this which is very easy to do. You can also be automatically added to groups by friends, you'll get an email with the chance to unsubscribe and details of the group if you have been added, so you needn't worry about being put into 100's of groups or a deluge of emails for each group you join.
Despite facebook groups being geared towards communities, there are still opportunities for networking. Opportunities for finding people and pages that will want to read your craft blog posts and maybe buy your handmade products! (aka plan A!)
Be Subtle and Relevant!
As with many of my posts I always recommend being subtle and relevant with your promotion and networking. Knowing when it's right to shout about your posts and your handmade products and listings is the difference between being a perceived as a boring old spammer or being seen as super successful and having your 'finger on the pulse'. Look at how a group is already being used to assess the etiquette for link posting - or just ask by posting to the wall if you aren't sure. Asking questions is a great way of introducing yourself too.
Using facebook groups is very similar to using forums, the focus is sharing and discussion of information - links, photos and videos, not cold selling.
Find relevant groups and interact
Look for groups that fit your market and get involved. Use this facebook search to look specifically for groups - http://www.facebook.com/search.php?type=groups Post relevant links when it's appropriate - as with most social media, you get out what you put in and there are no magic shortcuts for real interaction with potential blog readers and customers to build your brand. With facebook groups you can also start up live chats just with other members!
Add existing friends
If you find a group useful, tell your facebook friends about it. There is a link to 'add friends' in the right side bar of an open group. It's in your interest to have friends in a group as it will give you more opportunities to gain likes and comments. In facebook groups, posts with likes and comments are brought up to the top of the page so will gain more exposure.
I'd love to hear about any great crafting or blogging groups you find or are already members of, add the links in the comments below. Or if we are friends on facebook you can just add me! You can find me on facebook on my public profile - http://www.facebook.com/haptreeandme or at the CBUK facebook page http://facebook.com/craftbloguk
Submit your UK Craft Blog! x Hilary :) .