A common conversation I see happening online is entrepreneurs saying that they can’t find clients in Facebook groups because most groups do not allow promotional posts.

Cue the inevitable group owners commenting that their groups do… only to join their group and find it’s a ghost town because…

Promo posts suck.

There. I said it.

For the vast majority of people hoping to use Facebook groups as a lead generation and networking tool, posting promotional content is a complete waste of time, and it’s not a sustainable way to get clients.

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Promo Posts Are Like Bad Commercials

Promo posts chase people away and make the group experience feel more like a non-stop commercial break rather than a community.

For the majority of people looking for clients in Facebook groups, promotional posts are going to drive people away rather than bring in the clients. Instead, you want to focus on providing value and being a part of the community. Provide valuable content, answer questions, and be helpful. When people see that you’re not just there to promote yourself, they’ll be more likely to check out your work.

From a slightly more passive perspective, this is where optimizing your Facebook profile comes into play, and I’ll talk a little more about that later in this post.

Promotional Posts Don’t Work Anyway

By and large, promotional posts don’t work in any meaningful way. Typically, the engagement I see on promotional posts falls into one of two categories. They’re either clients who will haggle on your price or deliverables at every stage, the ones who will never really value you time or expertise. Or they’re other people engaging for the sake of engaging, and they really aren’t interested in securing your services.

When you’re trying to get clients, you’re networking activities help build your reputation as a trusted expert. You’re not just selling your services or products, you’re also marketing yourself. You want to be known as a go-to person in your field.

The best way to do this is by establishing yourself as a thought leader and a trusted resource.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gotten a message on Facebook or Instagram because I left a comment on someone’s post, and a completely unrelated person sent me a message asking for my business.

I didn’t solicit them or reach out in any way.

They came to me and asked if I could help.

That kind of thing doesn’t happen when you’re putting out promo posts that essentially say, “Buy from me now! Here’s why I’m awesome.” That just doesn’t resonate with people because those posts are all about you. What resonates with potential clients are things that matter to them, things that are about them.

Your energy is better spent using Facebook groups more effectively from the ground up.

What To Do Instead: How to (Actually) Get Clients from Facebook Groups

Start by joining groups that are relevant to your niche. Lurk for a while and get to know the members. Participate in discussions and offer helpful advice—my secret is to always include something that shows how trustworthy your advice is and serves as a searchable way for people to find you and your comments later.

I add things like, “I’m a marketing coach, and I recommend XYZ,” or “I’ve been in marketing for over 10 years and have supported hundred of entrepreneurs, so I do XYZ thing this way because it gets better results in my experience.”

Be genuine and provide value. Don’t just drop links to your website or promotional materials. People can see through that kind of thing, and they’ll instantly put you in a category of “never work with.”

Remember, everything you do publicly online in front of your clients colors their view of what it will be like to work with you.

So ask yourself, “Is this a representation of what it’s like to work with me?”

Now, from a tactical standpoint, you also want to make sure you’re set up for success before jumping into these groups to network in the right way.

I always recommend optimizing your Facebook profile to connect your business page to your personal profile, add your website link, and even connect your social media pages.

Doing this will make it easy for people to find you online and continue the relationship off of Facebook.

Change Your Perspective on What Giving Value Means

Continuing on the lines of actually finding clients when you’re engaging in Facebook groups, giving value is an absolute must.

But giving values means more than just posting tips or answering questions in Facebook groups. So often the “gurus” teach that the only way to give value is to create long teaching posts or share tips, but it’s more than that. In fact, I don’t see those posts regularly getting great engagement either.

So change your perspective on what sharing value in groups even means.

It means investing in relationships.

It’s sharing your experience in a way that empathizes with people and helps them feel like they aren’t alone.

It’s asking questions that get people thinking and reflecting on their own.

It’s being vulnerable and authentic.

It’s offering to help without asking for anything in return.

It’s giving people the benefit of the doubt.

When you give value in these ways, promotional posts aren’t even something you feel like you’ll need. The relationships and leads and referrals will naturally flow from your interactions int he group because you’ve built trust and a relationship with those group members.

And that is what Facebook groups are all about—community.

Ultimately, giving value is really all about approaching every relationship as a potential peer, collaboration, referral, or client and giving them all equal standing.

So stop worrying about the fact that you can’t drop promotional posts in the Facebook groups you’re using to find clients. It really doesn’t matter.