Online Group Etiquette: Copy/Paste Your Content Instead of Linking

You’re a member of an online group, on Facebook or LinkedIn for example.

You’ve seen how some postings feel too self-promotional, and others are more generous/contributory yet say nothing about the poster’s own expertise.

You’d like to be both generous/contributory, and at the same time, demonstrate knowledge of your field.

A simple way to gauge whether your post would be contributory vs promotional is to answer this question:

“Does this posting/comment take people away from the Group (to another page) in order for the reader to get the thing being offered, or is that content made available right here in the group, therefore increasing the group’s value?”

(I’m suggesting this as an owner of multiple online groups.)

And when you talk about your expertise, come from a place of humility that you are still yourself a student, or share any numbers or an example of how what you are saying has been proven to work… or do both of those things ☺


Case in point: I am a member (not owner/admin) of another group where I wrote the following long comment, and although it talked about my expertise and work, it was well-received by both the members and the group owner:

I used to be a promotional type of marketer… been making a transition over the past 3 years toward a more generous/contribution-minded social-media-global-citizen. I’m still learning!

In that light, I’m playing with a framework right now about how to generously give content, while drawing the right people to work with me as clients:


Quality = creating content (articles, videos, podcasts, ebooks, slideshows, etc) that is Useful and/or Entertaining. The more so, the more Quality it is. The more Quality it is, the more it will be naturally shared by the right people, with the right people… and the easier of a time you’ll have to build your ideal tribe. They will seek you out, the more Quality content you have.

Quantity = frequency and ubiquity. The more often you show up in places that your ideal audience is, giving some kind of value (doesn’t have to be super Quality, just anything along the spectrum of Useful or Entertaining) the more you are top-of-mind for people… the more Quantity you have, the more people think of you immediately when they need your services. It’s interesting that when checking out service providers, or when making referrals, people often don’t think of who is “the best”… but rather, who comes to mind immediately that seems qualified, and nice.

Partnership = having your content endorsed / featured by leaders who have audiences, e.g. guest blogging, doing interviews on podcasts, doing webinars for others’ email lists. This is how I built my audience in the first 3 years from zero to 15,000 email list (since then I’ve pruned my list to keep only the most active 5,000) and a full-time income. However, I’m doing the “partnership” track much less now (well, I’m letting it happen naturally now with very little active outreach) and instead, I’m playing more with Quantity and Quality. For example I’ve been experimenting with doing a Daily Video, posting it to my Open Facebook Group Our Highest Work, as well as to my Youtube channel and other social media e.g. Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn. Then once a week I post my popular video over at my personal FB timeline.

I hope this is helpful!

This could have been linked as a blog post, with a short comment to say “go read it” but instead, I pasted the whole thing as a comment within that group’s discussion thread, making it easier for members to consume without leaving the group.

If you have written a blog post that is relevant to the discussion, but it’s too long to copy/paste into the group, you can post a link to it, but give a useful summary so people can enjoy the value right there in the group even if they don’t click away.

And for those who really like what you wrote, they will want more of your content, so the link you share will be useful to them. Those are the ones you can best engage with anyway!

I hope this helps all of us become better participants in online groups!


George Kao is a marketing & business coach who prioritizes authenticity, service, and personal growth. He has been featured on hundreds of webinars, telesummits, and podcasts over the past 7 years, and has successfully facilitated dozens of online groups. He loves giving away all his training and content for free, and earns a living only through his 1–1 coaching. To get his best trainings & content in a single monthly email, subscribe for free at

This blog post is freely licensed with Creative Commons (CC BY 4.0). Share it forward and help others!

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Authentic Business Coach & Author of 4 Books including "Authentic Content Marketing" and "Joyful Productivity"

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