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How to Get the Most Out of Soapmaking Facebook Groups

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The internet moves at lightning speed, and the ways to keep up to date and in tune with the soapmaking community rapidly changes. For a couple years now, soapmaking Facebook groups have steadily taken over as the main way soapmakers connect with eachother online (versus the forums and Yahoo! groups of the past.)

If you are new to Facebook groups, you may not know about the number of robust features that can help you get the most of a soapmaking Facebook group. Even if you aren't new to Facebook groups, there may be a feature or two you didn't realize existed!

Here's out to get the most out of your experience with soapmaking Facebook groups:

Before you dive in, check out the group, read up, and get familiarized.

When you join a new Facebook group, your natural inclination might be to post or ask a question right away. Before you post or comment though, you will want to make sure you are aware of any intricacies governing the group.

Facebook groups tend to maintain some kind of group guidelines, and they are usually found in the Facebook group's Files. For instance, Modern Soapmaking's former Facebook group is for soapmakers who were in business - as such, we didn't allow general soapmaking discussion. This was outlined in the group's guidelines located in the Files. Many groups don't allow advertising or promotion, or have rules about the use of profanity, etc.

 Check the group's files for any information you may need, such as group information or guidelines, before getting involved.

The owners of a Facebook group try to do their absolute best to keep the group on topic and valuable to the membership community involved, and guidelines help do that. No one likes taking the time to post or leave a comment, and seeing it deleted later. I promise, most moderators hate deleting posts that violate group guidelines, and it usually takes a lot of time to keep a soapmaking Facebook group clean - be apart of the solution, not the problem!

Sometimes, there is a Pinned Post at the top of the group for guidelines or important announcements. Make sure to check it out! If you are on mobile, there will be a small box that says 'View Pinned Post' before the area where you can post in a group. Click on that to view it!

Do your research before you ask the members of a Facebook group for advice.

Large Facebook groups are usually pretty active, which means chances are the advice you are looking for is already hanging out in the group's previous posts. Every Facebook group has a native search feature that you can use to look for previous posts by keyword.

Before you post in a Facebook group, try using the 'Search this group' box to find an answer. Other group members who participate in the group will appreciate it! Some questions get asked in groups over and over, and it can be tiresome for long-time participants.

 Search the group for keywords to see if your question has been answered before!

For example, if you have a question about getting insurance, you may want to try searching the keyword, "insurance." After you enter your keyword, press 'Enter' or click the magnifying glass icon to see what results pop up. You may just find what you are looking for!

You can also join an older discussion by leaving a comment, and it will bring it back up to the top of the group's news feed. Some groups frown upon this, while others appreciate an older post being expanded on instead of a new post being made. That's where those group guideline's can be helpful!

Decide how much you want to be involved with the group.

Facebook makes it really easy for you to set up notifications and news feed settings for any Facebook group you might join. You can choose to be notified of new posts in the group, particular posts in a group, or if a group's posts show up in your main Facebook news feed.

First up, getting notifications of new posts in a group is managed by the 'Notifications' setting. You can choose to get notifications of every single new post made in the group, posts that Facebook deems highlights (they tend to be active posts with lots of discussion), posts that your Facebook friend's make, or none at all.

 Get notifications about new posts in the group... or not.

Sometimes, you'll see a post that you wish to follow along with, but don't have anything to add to the discussion. Leaving a comment notifies the original poster, and it can be really disappointing to get a notification about a new addition to a discussion, only to find it's someone trying to get notifications of actual discussion. Bummer. 

Instead of leaving a comment with an asterisk, "F" or the word "Following," use Facebook's notifications feature to turn on or off notifications. To do so, click the grey arrow on the right hand side of the post, and turn on (or off) notifications. 

 Get notifications on particular posts you want to follow in a group using the native Facebook feature rather than leaving a (pointless) comment.

This feature is also really useful if you leave a comment on a post or get tagged by another person, and don't want to be notified of every new comment - voila, turn off notifications!

You can also choose to see group posts in your normal Facebook news feed (... or not!) To do so, click on the 'Joined' button and select 'Follow' (see posts in your news feed) or 'Unfollow' (don't see them!)

 To see posts in the group in your regular Facebook news feed, make sure you are following the group.

By default, you 'follow' a Facebook group when you join, so you may want to change your settings straight away *if* the group is really active and takes over your Facebook news feed.

It's also important to note that accessing Facebook on a smartphone will give you slightly different options. You can accomplish all of the above tasks on mobile, but the location of information, buttons, etc., change depending on your operating system.

Want some tips on how to be a valuable member of a Facebook group and make real deal connections with other members that will help you grow and learn? Donna Maria of Indie Business Network has two fabulous blog posts about participating in Facebook groups that I highly recommend:

Looking for some soapmaking Facebook groups to get started? Some groups that I know and love are closed to new members or have special requirements (for instance, being a member of a mailing list, trade organization, or coaching program.) However, here's some of my favorite groups that are currently accepting new members:

Do you have a favorite Facebook group to share? Let me know in the comments!

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