A couple years ago I started a Facebook group for Legal Marketers Extraordinaire (LME). The group is “secret,” per Facebook’s definition, but open to all legal marketers. However you need to be invited in (leave a message in the comments below if you need an invite).

We’re a mixed bunch: in-house legal marketers, outside consultants, and service providers.

We cover all 5 Ps of marketing (product, price, promotion, place, people). So our conversations are as diverse in theme as they are diverse in sophistication.

For anyone who is part of an industry group, whether on Facebook, LinkedIn, an association listserv, etc., the value of the group is dependent upon the membership and the content.

One bad apple can spam the group into silence and make it irrelevant, which I have found to be true of most of the LinkedIn groups to which I belong. They have lost their value as more and more people just dump links in an effort to self-promote themselves.

Not so with the LME group on Facebook. We have great conversations. Touch on some high level topics. Some irrelevant, but still valuable, threads.

One of our esteemed members sent me an e-mail yesterday asking the following question:

Heather, what’s your policy / thinking / take re members posting links to their blogs on the site? Most bloggers are not, like you, in-house, but are consultants.

My response, which I posted publicly to the group:

For me, it comes down to value and content.

No one here should be posting a link to every single blog post they write (and no one is, thank goodness). Linking to your blog should be done in context to the conversations that we’re having, or topics and themes we’ve been discussing.

Example: We’ve had some interesting conversations around pricing recently. If a consultant/service provider has a great post, that they feel adds value, I would appreciate them posting and taking the conversation to a higher level.

We’re all adults here. We know the difference between adding value, and spamming the group. And, really, from the variety of conversations we have, everyone should be able to highlight their wares very nicely.

I think that advice resonates across the different platforms where we can promote ourselves and our business offerings: speaking at conferences; leading a webinar; writing a blog post or e-newsletter; participating in a LinkedIn or Facebook group; or, replying all on an association listserv.

We consumers of information do not want to be spammed. But if you are really smart, and have something to say, by all means, elevate the conversation, even if that mean posting your latest blog entry, adding the slides from your recent presentation, or linking to the YouTube video you just posted.

When doing so, you add value. And, in adding value, you promote yourself in the best light possible.

But if you are adding content again and again in the attempt to self-promote, we consumers of information are sophisticated enough to recognize it, note it, and eventually block and/or unsubscribe to it.