Facebook Groups can be a great place to network, share opportunities, and ask questions. Before we dive into how to make the most out of this powerhouse feature, let’s be clear on the difference between Groups and Pages. While Facebook Pages are official channels set up by brands or individuals to advertise their services, Facebook Groups are a more casual experience where people gather together based on a shared mutual interest.

I’m ready to find a group. How do I do it?

Start by heading to the search bar at the top of the Facebook home page. Type in a short phrase that describes the kind of experience you want to have, like “nail stamping” or “Arizona nail technicians.” The search results will show you posts, pages, and more, but you can zero in on the groups by clicking the Groups tab along the top of the results.

There are three types of group privacy settings. Only Public and Closed groups will show up when you search for them.
Public: Anyone can see the group’s name, description, posts, and members, and posts to the group may show up in anyone’s News Feed.
Closed: Anyone can see the group’s name, description, and members, but not the group’s posts. You must be a current group member to view and participate in discussions.
Secret: Secret groups are completely hidden from search results on Facebook. The only way to join one is if a current member adds you.

After searching for your keywords, take some time to browse the search results returned to you. When looking for the right group, consider privacy settings, group size, group names, and descriptions. Facebook will also let you know if any of your friends are already members.

While it can be overwhelming at first, be selective and don’t join too many right off the bat. Check out a few at a time, and if they’re not the right fit for you, don’t be afraid to leave them.

Still not finding the right groups for you? Consider posting on your timeline for your friends’ group recommendations.

That’s great, but how will joining a group help me professionally?

Facebook groups are tailored experiences that take you out of the pet pics, food snapshots, and political rants that often dominate the rest of the site. Here are just a few of the things that groups can do for you:
• Inform you of local events like nail technician meetups, brand pop-ups, and continuing education
• Keep you up-to-date on the latest products, techniques, and styles
• Answer questions or troubleshoot issues you’ve run into
• Let you know about job opportunities in your area
• Connect you to valuable professional contacts and
potential industry friends!

Cool! I’ve joined a few groups… What do I do now?

Take some time to introduce yourself if you feel comfortable doing so. Let the group members know where you’re from, what you specialize in, and why you joined that particular group.

Next, adjust your notification settings. Look below the group’s image banner for the button that says Notifications, and choose the one that best suits you. Many groups get dozens of new posts per day, so we suggest either the Highlights option, which alerts you to suggested posts and posts by your Friends in the group, or Off, which won’t notify you of new posts at all. Either way, some posts from the group will still show up in your News Feed, and you can always go check in on the group manually as well.

Now… contribute!
• If you see a question or topic posted in the group that you can answer, jump in on the conversation.
• Share opportunities that you know about but others may not, like jobs or local events.
• Show people what you’ve been practicing lately and ask for feedback.
• Talk about new products you’ve been loving.
• Ask questions. For example, if a product isn’t working for you, ask if other people have had the same experience and try to use the group to troubleshoot.

Finally, be sure that you’re keeping things professional. While groups have a more casual feel to them, that doesn’t mean you should let loose. Groups are made up of your peers, and can also contain brand ambassadors, educators, and editors. Be sure to put your best foot forward.

Thanks! I’m off to join some groups now!

You’ll only get as much out of a group as you put into it, so don’t be shy. You may be surprised by how many people have the same question as you, or by how many people are looking to connect with others in their field. It’s all ready for the taking, so get out there and get social!

NAILS’ social media columnist Sarah Waite is a
licensed nail tech and the creator of the popular
nail art website www.chalkboardnails.com.
Follow her on Instagram @chalkboardnails.

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