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How to use forums (and Facebook groups)

Discussion in 'Advertising, Marketing, Social Media' started by Andy Black, Aug 16, 2017.

  1. Andy Black
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    Andy Black Any colour, as long as it's red. Staff Member Read Millionaire Fastlane FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass LEGENDARY CONTRIBUTOR

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    How to use forums (and Facebook groups)

    I'm going to braindump some of my learnings about using Forums and Facebook groups.

    Spammers won't get it, but I'll direct them here and they may slow down long enough to learn something.



    For those trying to "validate a need" (I kinda hate that phrase), then forums and Facebook groups are a fantastic resource. Not only do people nicely group themselves for you, but they'll chatter about problems and issues they have. They'll also ask questions and you can respond by answering them.

    I've produced a ridiculous amount of evergreen content by chattering away in forums, noticing where I repeat myself, then creating threads to point to in future.

    In case you didn't spot the parallel to building a business:
    1. I find and engage the market - where they are already.
    2. I respond to questions and problems people already have.
    3. I immediately help people instead of "building stuff".
    4. If I find myself answering the same question over and over again - I go create a solution that I can point people to all the time.
    5. Before I create the thread (solution) I already know it will help lots of people - because it's a need that many people have already had.
    6. The content (solution) was created out of solving real-world problems, rather than solving problems I think people have.
    Added benefits:
    1. I immediately start getting known as "The XYZ Guy" - because I help people with XYZ.
    2. People already start reaching out to me about XYZ problem.
    3. People already start referring me to others who have XYZ problem.


    Why create a blog and try and find out what content helps people and resonates with people when you can go help people immediately in a busy forum or Facebook group?

    Why stare at a blank page struggling to create a new blog post when you can help people immediately in a forum or Facebook group?

    Why try and get your blog ranked when a forum already has a much better SEO juice than you'll likely ever get.

    Finally... if your goal is to help people and build relationships (hint: do this and get paid then you're in business), then why the feck don't you do that immediately instead of "building stuff"?
     
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  2. Andy Black
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    Andy Black Any colour, as long as it's red. Staff Member Read Millionaire Fastlane FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass LEGENDARY CONTRIBUTOR

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    Austin reached out to me a couple of days ago via my website.

    I offered to jump on a call and help him out, and at the start of the call I tried to piece together how he came across me, found my content, and worked out I was someone he wanted to speak to.

    Here's that part of the call:


    View: https://youtu.be/rHokl4skVjY
     
  3. WebSearchROI
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    WebSearchROI New Contributor

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    Thanks for the call Andy!
     
  4. Youngkody
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    This is very insightful for me.. I recently signed up for a bunch of forums to promote my blog site (which is new to me cause I've never participated in forums before).. I came across the Fast Lane forum and I'm actually loving it.. going to try to contribute as much as I can..

    Last night I installed and started reading the "UNSCRIPTED" book. I'm excited to get home tonight to continue reading so I can continue where I left off..

    I've always thought of life this way but never was able to put it in such vivid words which is why I love the book.

    Hoping to read the book quickly and soak in all the knowledge so I can provide better answers related to the book on this forum...

    I did always wonder how people contribute so much though.. and I think your answer summed that up..

    I'm going to begin building solutions for frequent and repetitive questions :) thanks @Andy Black
     
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  5. Andy Black
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    Andy Black Any colour, as long as it's red. Staff Member Read Millionaire Fastlane FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass LEGENDARY CONTRIBUTOR

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    Example of answering a common question and making the content available to help more people


    (Firstly... I do NOT approach this as "content marketing" or "lead generation". I helped one person, and the extra twist is to post that content other places so other people can benefit from it. Of course, good things should come from that, but my goal is to HELP MORE PEOPLE first and foremost.)


    So this morning someone in @Fox's facebook group asked a basic AdWords question that many people have.

    1) I answered in the Facebook group (it didn't take long as I've answered this many times in the past).


    2) I figure it's about time I create a thread I can point people to in future, so pasted the answer in the forum here:
    upload_2017-8-17_9-4-44.png



    3) I posted it in my private Facebook group in case they don't frequent the forum much.

    Notice how the headline is shorter... it's an AdWords group so no need to mention AdWords in the headline.

    upload_2017-8-17_9-6-45.png



    4) I posted it to my Facebook page
    upload_2017-8-17_9-9-57.png


    5) I posted it on LinkedIn
    upload_2017-8-17_9-4-29.png


    6) I didn't post it to my blog - because I can't remember my login and can't be bothered to look it up.

    7) I logged out of the forum, facebook, and LinkedIn as I've client work to do.
     

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  6. Andy Black
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    Andy Black Any colour, as long as it's red. Staff Member Read Millionaire Fastlane FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass LEGENDARY CONTRIBUTOR

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    OK, I've logged back in to show you an email I got at midnight last night:
    upload_2017-8-17_9-24-24.png

    And this was one within the last 24 hours:
    upload_2017-8-17_9-26-51.png

    And this from 3 days ago:
    upload_2017-8-17_9-28-24.png

    Oh, and this is dwarfed by all the Facebook PMs, Skype PMs, and forum PMs...
     

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    Last edited: Aug 17, 2017
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  7. focusedlife
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    focusedlife Bronze Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED Speedway Pass

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    ← New fan and follower of @Andy Black right here.

    Thanks for the gold bombs all over the place.
     
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  8. Andy Black
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    Andy Black Any colour, as long as it's red. Staff Member Read Millionaire Fastlane FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass LEGENDARY CONTRIBUTOR

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    (Originally posted here.)


    Here's a strategy I accidentally discovered: trawl the forum and help people there and then.

    "Show don't tell" your expertise at XYZ.

    Do it well enough so that other people start tagging you when someone gets stuck with XYZ problem.

    Do it so you become known as "The XYZ Guy".


    Rules of the game:

    1) You can't say you're an expert in it. You can only show it.

    2) You can't PM people offering help, or ask them to PM you. They have to PM *you* because they liked what you've done and want to know more.

    What would you do differently, and how differently would it play out?
     
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  9. Andy Black
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    Andy Black Any colour, as long as it's red. Staff Member Read Millionaire Fastlane FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass LEGENDARY CONTRIBUTOR

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    Should we focus on just one social network?

    I've had a few conversations recently about whether it's better to stick to one platform/ watering hole, or spread yourself across many.

    I don't consider myself a social media dude, and am literally making this up as I go along, but here's what I replied about my experience to date:

    ...

    I've been in TFLF for 3.5 years and posted over 4,500 times. It was my "one place" online for all that time.

    Now I've started posting in other places I've been surprised how many forum members have recognised me in those other places and commented. (Having my name as my avatar certainly helps with that!)

    I've also had a lot of people PM me from those new places who've never come across me before but like my content.

    To date I've not intentionally used the content to sell, but to just help people, and be a part of the community in TFLF.

    Unintentionally, I stumbled across what many already know - that helping people with XYZ gets you known as "The XYZ Guy/Gal" and people then start referring you to other people.

    And that posting un-related but helpful stuff just helps people to know you and your values better.

    I also found I was repeating myself so created posts that I could link to repeatedly.

    When I was in a few Facebook groups I linked out to threads in TFLF because I didn't want to repeat myself. I've since realised content should be native and added into each platform and tailored to the platform and new community (thanks @Fox).

    I've recently started posting on LinkedIn, and have already started getting likes, comments, PMs, and enquiries.

    If we stay on one platform then I think people on that platform would end up getting to know us better. And it would create more of a community if we owned that platform (forum, Facebook group, etc).

    If I was to 10x my efforts then I could post 10x as much (or 10x the quality of the posts) in one place.

    Or I could take the amount of content I create naturally and post it (selectively and more delicately than I have to date) in 10x locations.

    Reddit? Quora? Twitter? Instagram? Why not? They're just more channels to the people that may or may not be helped by what I have to say. Each with their unique ways of working and etiquettes.

    This reminds me of a podcast episode by Russell Brunson where he tells what he's learned from Gary V - that each social network and channel online is akin to the early TV channels. There's not that many (at the moment) and it's worth being on all of them.

    Something else he learned is that LinkedIn people stay on LinkedIn. Email people like emails. Facebook people like Facebook. Russell was trying to get everyone from each platform onto his email list, but realised many people won't do that, and if they do, then they will not open the emails later on.

    For me, I've produced content every single day for nearly 4 years. In TFLF, I've PMd over 1,500 people who've followed or rep' me. That just started with manners, and has lead to a lot of referrals and "good karma".

    Writing for me gives me clarity. It's one of those things I can't NOT do it seems. Putting it on steroids for me could simply mean just posting it where it can help more people.

    I see it as a bit of a disservice that I don't do that extra twist of posting wherever people happen to be - if what I post can untangle people and save them from losing money or time.

    Maybe there's an 80/20 for content as well? 20% writing it, 80% publishing/distributing it?
     
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  10. Andy Black
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    Andy Black Any colour, as long as it's red. Staff Member Read Millionaire Fastlane FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass LEGENDARY CONTRIBUTOR

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    Inbound Lead Generation WITHOUT Buying Ads
    (I wrote this recently in reply to someone.)

    I started this years ago and it started generating leads for me, to the point where I get inbound emails, Facebook messages, Forum PMs, or Skype messages ... every. single. day.

    Here's what I did, and the mindset I had (and have), and why I think it works.

    ...

    Find busy forums or Facebook groups where you can *** help people ***.

    It's important to get your mindset right and go looking for people you can help, NOT to go looking for people who you think will pay you.

    Join in and help people. Respond to questions. Start writing. Your expertise will tumble out of yourself in your desire to help people.

    When you've tidied up your post, you can then drop it onto your blog, and other places where you can help people.

    Look at some of the posts I've started in here. Many (most?) of them start as replies to someone. I then repurpose them and drop them on my blog and into other Facebook groups.

    ...

    Want to position yourself as "The XYZ Guy"?

    Help people with XYZ.

    ...

    How has this looked for me?

    1) I've literally grown my business in the last few years by inbound leads. People from forums and Facebook groups either contact me direct, OR they refer me to other people. I'm positioned as "The XYZ Guy" and that makes me easily referrable. This has resulted in 6 figures of revenue for me.

    2) I've built a big network and even if I stopped posting I'd still get inbound leads for a good few months (maybe years). Last week I had 4 excellent Skype calls. One was from connection I made cold on LinkedIn, 2 were from people who've read some of my content and were super excited to speak to me, and 1 had been referred to me by someone who read my content a couple of years ago.

    3) I've a MASSIVE library of content built up now. I'd consider myself incognito online. I've not been trying to "build an audience". I've been trying to help people, and it's built a small following (and "social proof"), and a load of content that I KNOW helps people, and that I can now package up to use as the "lead magnets" and email courses for paid advertising campaigns.

    ...

    Why is it so important that you want to help?

    1) People can sniff out all that content marketing lead generation cr@p within seconds. You'll get little traction if you adopt the "content marketing" strategies that are touted by experts who want you to buy their content marketing products or services. (I might be doing content marketers a disservice here and tarring all the good ones with the same brush as I tar the spammers. I do apologise.)

    2) People won't refer anyone to you if they think their friend is going to get hard sold to, pitched, or generally meet someone who they're going to be embarrassed sending them to.

    3) People like to help people. Simple really. If you helped them and they know someone else who needs that help then they'll WANT to refer them to you.

    4) Create an imbalance in the world. Give without expectation of anything in return. The universe and the world will try and correct that imbalance.

    Too foo-foo for you? If someone had a $99 30 minute call with you and talked for 2 hours then you're going to be super grateful. If they don't charge you more then you're going to recommend the heck out of them to other people.

    Over-deliver and it'll come back in other ways.

    Got it?

    ...

    What's your takeaways?

    What will you incorporate into your own strategies?

    ...

    If you've any questions fire away.
     
  11. banjoa
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    banjoa Contributor FASTLANE INSIDER

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    Hi Andy,

    Thanks For this gold bomb. I can say this truly works.

    Imagine this scenario:

    What if you keep on answering people's questions and dropping tidbits here and there on forums and such.

    And then sales don't roll in. People are raving about your contents and keep asking for help and you keep delivering without charging, when exactly do you go for the sale yourself if people don't automatically ask to buy an offer?


    ,
     
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    Love it! Very relevant to where I'm at right now. Thanks @Andy Black
     
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  13. Andy Black
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    Andy Black Any colour, as long as it's red. Staff Member Read Millionaire Fastlane FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass LEGENDARY CONTRIBUTOR

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    Hmm... let me work through this. I'll write down where I got to and see if I can answer you too.


    If you're helping people by answering questions and dropping tidbits here and there...
    • This is a good thing.
    • You've proved there is a group of people with enough of a problem to ask questions about it.
    • You are able to get in front of those people who're asking questions and where dropping tidbits helps. You've a "route to market" so to speak.
    • You'll find out what the common questions are, and the root cause behind the questions.

    If THEY reach out to YOU...
    • This is a good thing too.
    • The people who reach out are the ones most motivated and/or with the biggest itch.
    • See what they come in on. What's the pattern? What are the common questions of the people who reach out? What stage are they at? What have they tried? What's worked? What's not? Why are they reaching out now?
    • I've never asked anyone to PM me for help. At the most I'll let them know they can contact me if they want.

    • I do however message anyone who follows me or gives me rep. I say "Thanks for following / giving me rep. How're things going?". It's manners, and it starts wee conversations and I learn why they followed or gave me rep.
    • I could take that to Facebook and LinkedIn and send a personal message to everyone who connects, except I don't want to initiate conversations with everyone on Facebook or LI because, unlike TFLF, they're not all entrepreneurs or interested in being entrepreneurs.

    If you're delivering without charging...
    • This is a good thing too.
    • People don't even want free.
    • Being able to sell someone on spending time on a call with you, or reading your article or report is actually a BIG deal.
    • Oh boy but I've done a tonne of calls with forum members and others.
    • Many of them end up being a quick look over the shoulder review of their account.
    • Even if I don't get paid, I've learned sooo much more than if I charged for these.
    • I can also answer questions super quick now... I've seen a lot of the same ones again and again.
    • I have also identified the root causes of the common problems. I know WHY they have the problems they have.
    • This wouldn't have happened if I operated in a vacuum. I've checked and rechecked my suspicions dozens of times.


    If no-one pays?
    • I've not had this problem. But then I'm in a market where people with the problem I can help them with are ALREADY spending money. They've already proved they have a willingness to put their hand in their pocket.
    • If I was helping people with how to get everything in life for free, then I'd probably have a hard time charging them right?
    • So I already knew some of the people I spoke to would become paying clients.
    • I didn't ask anyone to hire me. If they wanted to they could of course. If they didn't then fair enough too.
    • I then get to observe what's different about those that do ask if I can work with them. (Them already making sales and already having a payroll are a couple of common themes.)

    Let me think about what I'd do if no-one ever asked to hire me. I'm off to do stuff with the family so want to come back to this with a properly thought out response.
     
  14. MattR82
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    MattR82 Silver Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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    I love this.
     
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  15. MattR82
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    MattR82 Silver Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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    I saw this first hand today. A guy I live with just loves to help people in the area he is an expert in. It's easy for him to do (through fb groups) and I can see he genuinely loves that it takes him one minute to stop people from making a mistake that would cost them thousands and months of work.

    Some people do ebooks on what he is doing and charge a few bucks for it. He just got a msg offering him between 500 and 1k for a little extra 1 on 1 help. That's a lot of ebook sales they need to make to catch up to him :p

    He's an English teacher overseas, that's a nice little amount of cash for him.
     
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  16. Andy Black
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    Andy Black Any colour, as long as it's red. Staff Member Read Millionaire Fastlane FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass LEGENDARY CONTRIBUTOR

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    Perfect example.

    See thread PM me...
     
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  17. Andy Black
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    Andy Black Any colour, as long as it's red. Staff Member Read Millionaire Fastlane FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass LEGENDARY CONTRIBUTOR

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    This sentence encapsulates why I'm in this forum and Facebook groups.

    I came because I didn't want people to lose sh*tloads of money building stuff, to find no-one wants it.

    I ended up getting clients, and "content" out of it...
     
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  18. MattR82
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    MattR82 Silver Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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    Glad you did! For some weird reason it took me awhile to get my head around your giving concept but it really sticks with me now.
     
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  19. Aaron T
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    Shhh... you are giving away all our secrets!

    Ok just kidding. Keep giving them away. It will only mean something to those truly committed anyway. Love it!
     
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  20. MattR82
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    I have helped numerous friends over the last few months with the same problem, and can see it's an issue that gets a lot of engagement on the bunch of Facebook groups here. The biggest one having over 60 thousand members. There is someone already putting out excellent free value, really amazing info that I also link friends to to supplement what I have already told them. However, I'm a bit hesitant to put myself out there on the group discussion. Even the guy with excellent info for people has issues with trolls despite the great feedback he gets from many. It's a large local expat group in our city, and many of the older established members have a rather caustic and bitter view unfortunately.

    I'm definitely a bit lost at the moment, trying to find a balance between giving value, when, how and if to monetise it and validating the idea before putting too much work in.

    But I feel the best advice here is to focus on helping people without even thinking yet about what I can get out of it. I don't want to get involved in negative flame wars on Facebook groups, and there obviously seems to be a need from looking at the engagement already on the groups and the pretty steady influx of requests for help from my own circle of friends. So I think I am going to go ahead and put together my own detailed pdf and video and possibly host it on thinkific's free version or similar (giving it away). Those enrolled then get access to a private Facebook group I would create, and maybe a webinar with discussions with friends I have that can also be very helpful. Then see what opens up from there. Who knows.

    It will probably save me a bunch of time in the long run anyway to be honest, rather than the haphazard way I have been helping my friends out which I enjoy but mostly is really repetitive.
     
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2017
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  21. Andy Black
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    Andy Black Any colour, as long as it's red. Staff Member Read Millionaire Fastlane FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass LEGENDARY CONTRIBUTOR

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    Create a FB group and invite people into it when they ask you questions? Say that you'd like to help others in the group who might have the same questions?

    The course will write itself.
     
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  22. MattR82
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    MattR82 Silver Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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    Yep. Obviously a lot less exposure than regularly posting in public groups but it's a start. Still a good idea to post there but will have to be selective about it unfortunately. Someone I used to work with was actually kicked out of a group last week after giving what I thought was good advice. However he was really named and shamed by the moderators who are faaaar less experienced than he is. Quite frustrating for him as it's also a local expat group. Bit of a wild west out there.. funny what the interwebs does to some people..

    Starting small and helping others that I can will also really help me grow my skill set and enable me to bo be a bit more confident and active on the larger groups.

    Didn't mean to hijack your thread but I strongly agree with the benefits of using fb groups and similar platforms. (Not without their little issues in this case though). I do an absolute tonne of learning from being in groups and seeing discussions. I find it more engaging and faster (and somewhat more.. natural? Conversational?) than forums.

    I'm getting a start on it this week so will post back how it goes. Thanks for the info as always guys :)
     
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2017
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  23. Andy Black
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    Andy Black Any colour, as long as it's red. Staff Member Read Millionaire Fastlane FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass LEGENDARY CONTRIBUTOR

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    100% not a thread highjack. Totally on topic.

    Funny you say that, I too find Facebook groups more IM style than forums. They encourage conversations where forums seem to encourage discussions or debates. I initially found that frustrating, but now I'm rolling with it.

    I'm literally off a conversation with someone in a FB group about whether I'm doing content marketing or not. I'm arguing that when I help someone in their thread I'm not content marketing. When I repurpose that reply and post it on other platforms then I *am* content marketing. He's arguing that I *am* content marketing and using forums as a channel. I disagree, but we'll record our chat and maybe it will be useful.
     
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    MattR82 Silver Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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    I agree with you. You've been helping me for years and I've never bought a thing from you lol.

    I also think that entrepreneurial endeavours in general rub some certain specific people the wrong way sometimes. The guy that gives a tonne of great info away on one of the largest groups seems to think it is a dirty word. I don't think there's a problem with it (obviously) if you are seriously helping people and have your priorities right and do things in the right order.

    I'd be interested in seeing the chat for sure.
     
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  25. Aaron T
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    Aaron T Silver Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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    The majority of people have a very negative mindset to making money, entrepreneurism, capitalism, rich people.. etc. Unfortunately there is this huge movement globally of people thinking they deserve things that they did not earn. As a result even bringing up topics around wanting to make money, or earning your way, or showing a lack of entitlement even can get you in a bunch of hot water online.

    Case in point, one of my good friends early on in my life really got on me after I started making a really good living because I bought a nice house, nicer than I needed in his opinion, and I didn't just get a smaller modest house and donate the rest. Now politics or social anything aside, I definitely involve myself in many charities. Back then, and now. But he lost it. We ended up not speaking for a long time.

    Then one day out of the blue he reached out to me. He was facing a conundrum and wanted to know how I would resolve it. He (as a developer) was earning a good living. He wanted to buy a Tesla Model S because it was the right thing to do for the environment (his words, not trying to start an argument) but the costs for what he wanted would push the car over 100k and he thought that was a terrible waste of money that could be sent to help needy people. I gave him some advice. He got the car in the end. He still feels guilty.

    This is the kind of world we live in. He is a great guy. We are friends again. But when this is the norm for most people that may never earn enough to even have his conundrum, yet they judge you. Well that is why online places like FB Groups can be so contentious for people who want to live Unscripted and try to offer helpful advice. You even see that kind of thing play out in these very forums.
     

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