Using Facebook Groups to Research & Connect
Using Facebook Groups to Research & Connect
RV-related Facebook groups are a valuable tool in your research arsenal.
By: Lindsey Quick
When I first started looking at RVs, I felt overwhelmed. I spent a lot of time browsing websites, blogs, and videos to ground myself in what was available. But I also wanted to hear from long-term owners and as many of them as I could. This was a huge investment for me, so I wanted to feel as confident in my purchase as possible. After scouring the internet, the resource I found to be most helpful was Facebook Groups, where I could find reference information, technical support, and community.
Groups for Learning the RV Basics
I began my Facebook-based educational journey with general RV-related groups. I'd never been camping before, and had never stepped foot inside an RV – it was completely unfamiliar territory. The RV groups helped me learn a few key things, like the pros and cons of a motorhome versus a travel trailer, the importance of winterizing and pest control, and proper etiquette in RV parks and campgrounds.
A couple of my favorite groups are Where'd You Stay RV, which offers helpful campground reviews and popular RV destinations, and RV Newbies, which is perfect for learning the basics. There are also groups targeted toward specific audiences or areas of interest, such as solo women campers, RV renovation tips and cooking in your RV.
We selected this campground in Door County, WI, after reading campground reviews in the ‘Where'd You Stay RV’ Facebook group and seeing other RVers’ gorgeous photos from the area in multiple groups on Facebook.
Model-Specific RV Groups
The next step I took in my research was to join Facebook groups dedicated to the specific RV models I was interested in, as well as similar models from other manufacturers. These groups grant you access to hundreds or thousands of owners and their first-hand experiences with that specific RV and its manufacturer. You'll hear directly about their travels – and tribulations.
When I was in research mode, I paid attention to the issues owners were having, both minor and catastrophic. I noted which kinds of issues were happening by model and manufacturer, and how owners felt about the service they received from their dealership and the manufacturer. These observations are what led me to choose Winnebago.
Facebook groups provide guidance on gear as well. I purchased my first inflatable paddle board after seeing members of the Winnebago Travato group talk about them and also brought our bikes on a recent trip after researching bike racks in several groups.
I also noted how active the groups were. One of the greatest benefits of the Facebook groups is to get input and advice from fellow owners or enthusiasts. A long-going, active group will have a helpful collection of files and previous posts with how-to tips, popular products to purchase, and suggestions on customizations. You'll always have your dealership or manufacturer to contact when you have an issue, but the Facebook group can sometimes be a lifeline when it's well past operating hours on a weekend.
While most of the model-specific groups have all the information you'd need about that particular RV, I've also found it helpful to join chassis-specific Facebook groups for those with a motorhome. I joined a Ram Promaster Owners group as another source of information about things like regular vehicle maintenance and how the engine handles on different terrains.
We knew the Promaster engine could handle steep changes in elevation on future vacations after reading others’ experiences in the Ram Promaster Owners Facebook group.
One of the most interesting aspects of these Facebook groups is that each is its own community, bringing together people who share an interest in a specific RV or the lifestyle in general.
As an admin for the Winnebago Solis Owners and Wannabees group, I review the profiles of everyone who requests to join. Each person is unique – they belong to groups and have other interests that could result in some intense debates. But because we're in the group to talk about our interest in the Solis, the most intense discussions are about things like the lack and/or necessity of a microwave in the rig.
Our Solis group is growing, but we're still pretty new, especially in comparison to the powerhouse Travato Owners and Wannabees group. Members in that group have been around for years and have turned virtual interactions into in-person friendships that include regular get-togethers. I haven't heard about a Travato-group-inspired wedding, but it feels like it's only a matter of time.
When there isn't a global pandemic, Travato members and others across the Winnebago family have regular meet-ups for owners. I can't wait for the Solis group to reach that level of community.
While Facebook definitely has its drawbacks, it did create a way to bring these people together who may have never met or interacted if it weren't for these groups' activity showing up in their newsfeed.
Travato owners at a meetup in Duluth, Minn. Photo by Stef Adinaro.
If you're new to RVing or searching for your next unit, I recommend adding Facebook groups to your arsenal of research tools as you explore the RV lifestyle. General RV groups are great for beginners to ground you in the language and basics of the subject, while model-specific groups are ideal for hearing directly from real owners and their experiences.
These groups bring together all kinds of people who may not have become friends if it weren't for this shared interest. It's a real community, even if members are hundreds and thousands of miles away.
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