Many business owners do not know how to behave on Facebook and in a great desire to advertise their business they produce Facebook Group spam and aren’t even aware of it. I think in most cases it is not bad intentions, it is simply being poorly educated, although in my experience there is no excuse for ´I didn´t know´. If you don´t know something, look it up or ask. Some Facebook groups are excellent for that.
You probably know these groups, everyone is posting their bit about their business, and no one responds. It is like a Facebook ghost town.
I wrote a successful post on how to network for your business in Facebook groups. Please read it and act upon it and if necessary share it to groups where you feel there is too much spam.
For Admins of Facebook Groups it can be very time consuming to keep your group spam free. There are some things you can do about Facebook Group spam.
Tip #1 Have clear rules for your group
You can make a group description in which you define the purpose, what you expect from members, what you consider spam, if people are allowed to promote their business, how you will handle spam, and how you will enforce.
The problem is often that people do not read this when the apply for the group. So there are a couple of things that you can do to tackle that.
Tip #2 Pin a post and ask everyone to read this
I have groups where I have a pinned post, with an image that says, read this first. You can make an image in Canva within minutes and it does not have to cost anything.
Tip #3 Refer to your rules in the group image
The same idea as pinning a post, but it maybe even more prominent for people when they are in the group.
Of course if people do not come to the group, but read stuff in their feed, the two image options are worthless.
Tip #4 Welcome new people to the group
By means of a message, tag the new people, ask them to introduce themselves and point out the rules.
Of course people are pressed for time, and as a result read poorly. In one of my groups I had to add the sentence ´Please do not let your first post be an advertisement for your business´.
Tip #5 Don´t add people to the group who use a personal profile for their business
Every now and then you will see a personal profile that has the name of a business. I personally try to avoid becoming friends with such people as I want to know who is behind the business. I also refuse them access to groups. It is obvious that they are using this profile for business, which isn´t allowed by Facebook. So you know they either do not play by the rules or do not know them. Any which way it could be an indication of spammy posts to come.
Tip #6 Check applications
I run a group for Dutch speaking business owners on the Costa del Sol and I receive join requests from people who are not in on the Costa del Sol, are obviously not Dutch speaking, or obviously do not have a business. I deny those requests. When in doubt I send them a message. Based on their answer I decide to let them in or not. There is a setting in Facebook groups that will allow everyone to add new members, but will let the admin have final approval.
Of course then you have to start to make sure that people play by your group rules. There was one group I was a member of, where the admin did a horrible job of upholding the rules. The admin was afraid to confront people, so nothing was ever said directly, posts weren’t removed, people weren’t banned. The group kept growing as there was no selection at first, and the number of spammy posts grew as well.
This is bad for your group because what happens is, that members of the group start turning off notifications for that group. If members of the group start turning off notifications, they will not see what is happening, there will be less interaction, the group will become less interesting, and it all undermines the purpose of the group. Unless of course the purpose of the group is to advertise businesses.
Tip #7 Be fierce and uphold the group rules
So if you have them, enforce them and inform people how you will enforce.
There are groups I know that will remove your spammy post without notification. I do that as well, as I have no time for people who do not want to take time to inform themselves. For me a spammy post can be a post about a restaurant organizing a party in a group that is purely for business. If the message of the post is not relevant for the group as a whole, I delete it.
Many groups have a ´three strikes and you are out Facebook Group Spam policy´. Meaning that if a person keeps on spamming they will be removed from the group.
Tip #8 Be in tune with what your members want
Members have the opportunity to report posts. Follow up on such reports. That too is upholding the rules and an indication that your members aren´t happy with what others are doing.
Check out the comments, or the lack of comments on posts. If someone is always posting spammy posts and no one is liking them, contact the person posting.
If there is a discussion on spammy posts within your group, get involved in the discussion and communicate your point of view. It is your chance to let people what it is that you want. If you do not get involved you will be seen as weak, or indifferent.
Tip #9 Approval of posts
At one point, in the group where the admin didn´t uphold his own rules, the settings of the group were changed and ever post had to be approved by an admin. Many other groups have followed and in general this can be a good solution.
It doesn´t work however if the admin does not set apart time to approve the posts as they come in. This can result in bulk approval of posts, meaning that all posts appear in the group at the same time. Very frustrating for those people who spend time to write a good post. It disappears in an avalanche of other post before it even has a chance to be noticed.
Another thing which can happen with an approval of posts and the admin not having time for it, is it taking hours, maybe even days for something to be approved. I know of a couple of groups where this is happening and I have seen the submission of posts come to a near standstill. Of course so do comments and soon there is hardly any interaction and the group turns into a ghost town.
In one group the admin had asked me, in order to have good content, to post twice a week. I did that for about 18 months. Then the Approval of Posts came and my posts were bulk approved and sometimes it would take up to 4 or 5 days to get approval. Guess who is not submitting two posts a week anymore?
Tip #10 Pre-approval of posts by certain people
When every post is up for approval, the admin can, when approving a post, check if he or she wants to pre-approve all posts from that particular person.
If a person is a valuable member of your group, you may want to consider doing that. For one, this will result in posts, that are not approved at the same time as the others, and as such resulting in a more random flow of posts and comments. You will avoid making your group look like a ghost town.
It also keeps contributing group members motivated and engaged.
Tip #11 Regularly provide a post where people can advertise their business in the comments
I am not a huge fan of these types of posts, as I find that most people comment about their business and do not bother looking at what the others are commenting. There often is a lack of interaction, which was the intention.
It however can be a good diversion for the spammy people and take the spam out of the group news feed.
Tip #12 Educate your members on Facebook Group Spam
If you feel, like I do, that in most cases the spam is not intentional, but the result of a lack of knowledge, educate your group members on the topic of Facebook Group spam. Through articles, or posts. My post with 13 networking tips for Facebook groups is an excellent start, if I do say so myself.
All in all there quite some things you can do to prevent people from ruining your group through spam. If you have any other suggestions please use the comments below.