I've been blogging since 2012 (wow has it really been nearly four years??) but I've only recently joined some blogging support groups - namely Facebook support groups. In general, I think they're great! I think it's another outlet for bloggers to connect, grow, and get to know each other.
But, just like with every other circumstance in life, there are going to be downsides to joining blog support groups:
Increase in blog interaction
This is the whole point of blogging support groups - to grow your blog! After joining a few groups, I definitely noticed an increase in not only the number of page views I received, but the number of comments as well!
This is especially true in the smaller groups I'm a part of, but I really feel like I've made some genuine connections with other bloggers who I never would have found if not for blogging groups. I love finding new blogs to read and this has definitely introduced me to new bloggers whos blogs I really enjoy!
Social media growth
Not all groups do this, but many include posts or threads to help grow your social media presence. I've noticed a good bit of growth on my instagram account (because that's where my focus is at the moment) which I love! Not only has my "following" increased, but I'm getting more comments and interactions on my photos.
Blog support groups are a great place to post your blogging questions and get answers! Not only will you get your question answered, but you can usually get a few differing viewpoints and ideas instead of just one, and then you can decide which option works best for you.
Disorganized/the moderator is never around
This hasn't happened often, or recently, but I've been part of a group where people were just posting all willy-nilly and if I had a concern, I wouldn't hear back from the moderator. If a person is going to take it upon themselves to start a group or be a leader within that group, they should take that role seriously and professionally.
Too Many Rules
Rules and guidelines are great - they help establish consistency and organization within the group. Without rules, you get the disarray that I just mentioned. However, if your group has too many (silly) rules that I get penalized for, I will simply leave the group or quit posting.
All or nothing
I get it, we all want love on our social media and blog posts. If I get 100+ likes on an instagram photo I'm freaking out - but gaining likes isn't important if someone is only doing it because they're required to do so. Example: if I share my instagram photo on a certain thread, I am then required to like and/or comment on every single photo within that thread - that can be up to fifty instagram photos - which leaves me mindlessly clicking links and liking photos that I'm not really even getting a chance to look at or explore their profiles due to the worry of getting reprimanded for "not completing a thread" and threatening to "remove my link without question." I get it, fair is fair, but I think support groups should be about building genuine relationships and gaining REAL followers. It feels fake when I'm "liking" all of these posts, and if I'm feeling less than genuine, I'm sure others are as well.
Too many threads
I use my personal facebook page in combination with my blog facebook page to promote my blog posts. This means that I have personal friendships and people that I want to follow on facebook. I don't want to log on to facebook and see 100 posts from the same facebook group, thus causing me to just sign off in frustration rather than catch up on what's happening in my real life. I think 1-2 threads posts or threads per day is PLENTY, rather than 7-8 per day.
Overall, I think support groups are great - I just don't feel that they should be forced interactions and should instead allow members to create their own bonds and relationships with other members. It should be about having another route to expose your blog and gain followers, but it should also be about genuine support, answering questions, and meeting new friends. Currently, two of my favorite blog support groups are Atlanta Bloggers and Southern Belle Bloggers.
Are you a member of a blog support group or groups? What has been your (positive or negative) experience?