The Ultimate Checklist to Build a Facebook Group For Your Membership

The Ultimate Checklist to Build a Facebook Group For Your Membership

So you want to launch a new membership {congrats}, and it’s time to build a FB group to bring together your founding members.

Sure, you could whip a group up in 3 clicks, add a cover photo of you looking off into the distance and cross your fingers it works out, but you’re the kind of business owner that likes to do things right, from day one.

You’re intentional, and you know that community is going to be super important for retention.

“Members come for the content,
and stay for the community.”

At the same time, you know that community isn’t your speciality.  

There’s a lot you don’t know, and even more that you don’t know, you don’t know. #blindspots

That’s why I created this free {but beefy} checklist to share my step-by-step process for building a FB group strategically from the beginning! 

⇢  Click here to download the doc version of this checklist!  ⇠

Note:  This is not 12 quick points on a page, it’s 10 pages of specific actionable steps for you to set up your group.

So you can KNOW what you need to do and create a FB group that:

  • strengthens your member’s onboarding experience without you having to DO more, 
  • plants seeds of engagement + helps members “self-disclose” faster,
  • is easier to manage and doesn’t feel like a massive time suck.

What are the 12 steps that are outlined in the checklist?  

Step 1: Identify How You Want to Use Your Community.

Step 2: Identify the purpose + goals of your community members

Step 3: How do I actually set up a Facebook group strategically step by step?

Step 4: Customize Settings

  • Customize Group
  • Add Extra Features
  • Manage Membership
  • Mange Discussion
  • Manage Advanced Settings

Step 5: What should your Facebook Group Cover image be?

Step 6: How to create a Facebook Group File for your Community Guidelines.

Step 7: Customize the FB Group Rules

Step 8: What to write in your Facebook group description?

Step 9: How to set up the 3 Qs that members have to answer before joining + WHAT questions to use?

Step 10: How to set up Moderator Alerts?

Step 11: How to set up GUIDES (formerly Units) and what guides you can and should have?

Step 12: What will your community based onboarding content consist of?

Once you complete those 12 steps,
Your Facebook Group Foundations
will be Done like dinner!  🎉

Yup, FINISHED!  You’ll be able to shift gears to focus on welcoming your members in and facilitating this space for them.

What Is A Community Manager & How To Assess Before You Hire?

What Is A Community Manager & How To Assess Before You Hire?

You’re a busy membership owner + you’ve probably been “wearing all the hats” when it comes to your community.

You create all the content, schedule events, welcome members in and “engage”.  Everything.

And ya know what?

Until recently, that worked for you...but you’re starting to feel the “I need help” itch and decided to hire a Community Manager.

Now...before you email your VA with some additional tasks to add to their list and move on, it’s time for me to hit PAUSE and give you the red pill. 

Yup.  

Morphious here {me} and I've got a red pill and a cup of water with your name on it.  

Note that there is no blue pill in this scenario cause I can't let you move forward thinking “Community Management isn’t all that complicated/important”.  It's time to unplug from the matrix.

So down the red pill...bottoms up your H20, and saddle up for some insights, and actionable steps.  

That way when you do handover the keys to your community castle someone...you can do so with an air of confidence.

Here’s a quick breakdown of what we’re going to jam about:

  1. What Is A Community Manager (CM) NOT?
  2. What ARE Community Managers Then?
  3. Where To Find Candidates For The Role Of Community Manager?
  4. How To Assess The Person You’re Thinking Of Hiring As Your Community Manager?
  5. Freebie mini Guide:  13 Questions To Help You Assess Someone You’re Thinking Of Hiring As Your Community Manager.
  6. Your Next Steps
Hey.  Want an easy to read/print version of this process
PLUS the list of 13 Qs to ask yourself to assess your candidate?  

Pop your name and email below and I'll shoot the PDF version to your inbox.

    What Is A Community Manager (CM) NOT?

    Alrighty then.  

    Let’s dispel some common beliefs membership owners have about Community Managers and what they are.  

    First...here is my definition of what a Community Manager is, in the context of online Memberships.

    Community Manager:  A trained professional who provides strategic support and insights that boost the everyday running and member experience of an online membership community, while simultaneously serving the members, the team and the membership host.

    Now, that definition isn't perfect but it gives you a good idea of what Community Managers are responsible for and what their focus should be on. 

    You’ll also notice that the focus is on activity INSIDE the membership.  

    This is an important distinction, as a lot of business owners will try to combine the role of  “Community Manager”  and “Social Media Manager”...which are totally different animals.

    • A Community Manager focuses on welcoming members in and facilitating a space and experience that keeps them there.
    • A Social Media Manager focuses on attracting new leads to the business and “warming them up to join the membership {or other offers}.
    Let me also state for the record that:
    Community Managers are not VAs.  


    Virtual Assistants are people who handle agreed upon tasks and provide support for businesses remotely.  

    Now...technically you could have a VA that specializes in Community Management related tasks, but the breed of CM that I’m referring to isn’t that.

    Why?  

    Because VAs tend to be “reactionary”.  They are given tasks and they do them.  They aren’t expected to proactively assess a Community to see what needs improving from a strategic perspective.  

    What ARE Community Managers Then?

    What I’m talking about when I say, “Community Manager”, is someone who owns the community piece of your membership puzzle.  Who balances the needs of members, the team and you as the host, so that the community can function as a whole and everyone wins.

    Community Managers are…

    • Connectors...helping members connect with each other and form friendships.
    • Supporters...making sure members get help when they need it from each other, the content and the coaching {if offered}.
    • Enforcers...protecting the members and the space from rule breakers and making members feel safe.
    • Cheerleaders...making members feel amazing about their wins, learn from their mistakes and support every step of the way.
    • Guides...making sure members know where everything is and how it works.
    • Copywriters...creating engaging content inside the membership to promote engagement, taking action and triggering positive emotions.
    • Creatives...designing challenges, activities and approaches to bring life and meaning to your group of people.
    • Admins...handling tech within the community for events, announcements and updates.
    • Product Developers...observing the ecosystem and providing insights to other team members to improve the membership and provide content/courses and offers to help.

    Basically...Community Managers do A LOT of shit! (so you don't have to)!

    They're like proactive octopuses...with tentacles always on different levers and moving parts ensuring that the community runs smoothly and that your members enjoy and find value in the experience.

    It’s like a hamster running on a wheel while having balls thrown at it periodically...and it being expected to catch said balls and organize them...all while RUNNING!

    It takes a special breed of person to nail "all the things", while being focused on the mission, purpose and vibe of the membership.

    Where To Find Candidates For The Role Of Community Manager?

    I see this question A LOT.  Usually from membership owners who know it’s time to get help, but they are unsure how to find it.

    Here are the most common options, with some thoughts to consider for each as well.

    1. An existing member of your team.
      This can work, if you have someone who is looking to change roles. Someone in customer service could be a good fit.

      Just be careful not to give someone who already has enough on their plate the role of CM as well. Managing a community is not something you can effectively do “on the side”.
    2. An existing member of your membership who is highly engaged & supportive of others.
      This is actually how I got my first client {Ramit Sethi’s Accelerator coaching Membership}. I joined as a student, and couldn’t help myself from helping others. Long story short, I was offered the role of Community Manager a couple months later.

      This is definitely a valid option but be careful to ensure that you position this properly. Many membership owners will offer people the title of Community Manager in exchange for something like free access to the membership but I would warn against this.

      Establishing the role of CM as a paid position sets a professional tone and ensures that clear expectations are established and upheld.
    3. A friend or family member.
      I see this a lot as well. A membership owner has a membership and isn’t making a lot of money, but needs help. So they think a family member could do the work for them. Their husband is tech savvy or their niece is super easy to connect with.

      This can work, but I would be careful to set clear expectations on hours, what they would be doing for the community, how they would need to handle situations/communicate with members etc.
    4. Hiring a Community Manager from Scratch.
      This is when you create a job posting, share it online and also tap into your social channels to put out the word that you’re looking to hire for this position.

      In this case, you would need to create a job posting {though creating one in any of these cases would be a good idea so you can be clear with the person as to what you’re looking for}, create an application process/assignment, host live interviews, possible host another assignment to have a “tie breaker” and then hire and onboard them.

      This can be a great option, if you don’t know anyone in your network and don’t have anyone in mind. Just be sure to create a job posting that repels “donkeys” and attracts “unicorns” that fit well for your membership and team.

      Not interested in doing this process yourself? Want to hire me to roll up my sleeves and do it for you?
      Fill out this survey and I’ll circle back with you if we’re a good fit.

    How To Assess The Person You’re Thinking Of Hiring As Your Community Manager? + Free mini guide!

    So what can YOU do to ensure that the person you want to hire is a good fit for the role...for your members, your team and for your bottomline?

    You can assess the shit out of them BEFORE you give them the keys to your membership community castle.  

    Truth: You're hiring the person in the trenches who will facilitate a community that boosts retention.

    So at the end of the month or year when your members are deciding if they should keep throwing cash your way...it's a YASSSS take my money {a no brainer}.

    Free 13 Q Assessment + Mini Guide!

    To help you assess someone quickly and efficiently, I created a mini guide that includes 13 juicy Qs to ask yourself about that person.  Drop your name and email below + I'll shoot the mini guide to your inbox.

      Got it?  Great.

      Now...really take a moment to answer these 13 questions about the potential hire...or your current Community Manager.

      If you notice that you’re getting a lot of negative responses or that this person might be falling short, take your assessment one step further and ask yourself the following Q:

      Is this issue something that they could learn through training/explanation/experience, or is this something that will likely never change?  

      If it’s not something that can be learnt or groomed into them, you’ll then want to ask yourself if this is a deal breaker for you, your members and your team.

      An example of this would be hiring a Community Manager that doesn’t write well.  Maybe English is their second language, or maybe their grammar sucks.  

      Whatever the issue is, if you have to start having other team members write copy for them, or review their writing, or you are worried about what comments/replies they are writing in the community {wondering if they are interpreting questions correctly etc} then this person is creating more work for the rest of the team and not delivering peace of mind for you.  

      Your Next Steps

      Once you’ve assessed someone using the 13Q Assessment, you’ll want to put the person through a similar process you would any new hire/candidate.

      You can either put them through an official assessment process {which includes email correspondence to assess their writing, a live interview, and a written assignment} or you could delegate that all to me.

      No matter what you decide to do, just know that most membership owners tend to underestimate the Community Management role or downplay the importance of what’s being done.  

      Many believe that Community Managers are simply glorified VAs that execute on task lists that have been given to them...that happen to involve the community.  They “scroll” and “check” the community and not much else, which couldn’t be further from the truth.

      You of course know better...because you took the red pill and read this mini-guide.  

      Your next steps: 

      Here’s a high level look at what that might consist of:

      1. Answer the 13 juicy Qs to assess the people you have in mind for the role. 
      2. Map out a job description/responsibilities/expectations for them.
      3. Create a contract/signatures and celebrate “YOU’RE HIRED.
      4. Onboard them for behind the scenes {team etc}
      5. Introduce them as the new Community Manager in the community.
      6. Create a schedule to check in with them regularly (email/calls) to address concerns/issues from both sides and ensure everything is running smoothly.

      You've hired someone.  Now what?

      Congratulations!  You've but a ring on it.  Haha.  Once you find the right person, it's time to train them to ensure that they take a strategic approach to your community {making your life easier and making the experience for your members outstanding}.  

      What's next?

      It's time to train them into a unicorn Community Manager and my live coaching program UniU: Community Manager Training Program for Memberships could be exactly what you need.  Click here for all the details + to learn when it's next open for enrolment.

      Hey.  Want an easy to read/print version of this process
      PLUS the list of 13 Qs to ask yourself to assess your candidate?  

      Pop your name and email below and I'll shoot the PDF version to your inbox.

        One Self-Inflicted Community Killer & How to Keep Your Paid Membership Community Engaged

        One Self-Inflicted Community Killer & How to Keep Your Paid Membership Community Engaged

        When you first pulled the goalie on your paid membership community,  you probably dreamed of the impact it would make on the lives of your future members.

        The successes, the relationships, the connections, the random thank you cards and gifts (yes that shit happens). Not to mention the predictable income, stability and ability to focus on your best clients.

        It made you feel all warm and fuzzy, didn’t it?  {I’ve got the feels just writing about it}.

        What you probably weren’t dreaming about though is something a far cry from “warm and fuzzy”.

        Fast forward 4 years from now.

        You’re sitting at your desk with tears in your eyes as you hit publish on your latest blog post, announcing the heart-crushing decision to close down that very membership {which could be pulling in a sweet $330k a year}.

        Now you might be different of course.

        You might be 100% sure of yourself and your ability to nail your membership and continue riding the “predictable income train” into life’s sunset.  Or maybe you’ll eventually kill it…unintentionally of course.

        I bet Margo Aaron thought the same thing when she set up “The Arena” to help connect solopreneurs, freelancers and online business owners.  After 2 years though, she just had her “shut down moment”.

        Ramit Sethi, from GrowthLab also closed down two membership programs, Ramit’s Brain Trust and Accelerator.  He confesses why he shut down RBT {a $2M product} on GrowthLab.

        Have I got your attention?  Has your resting bitch face changed to concerned furrowed brow with a touch of “cold sweat”?

        Are you worried about what you’ve gotten yourself into with your membership and if you’re destined to end up with a shutting down post too?

        If you are, it’s time to talk shop about the REAL reason why memberships die {or get put down by their owners}.

        I bet you a pink sprinkled donut that you can’t guess this “deadzone-maker” I’m about to share with you.

        • Maybe it’s a tactic that blows up in your face.
        • A NEW community platform that licks balls.
        • or maybe I’m going to share a secret that is so freaking simple and logical that once you know it, you’ll have the guilty pleasure of knowing how little you actually have to do to engage your membership.

        Here we go…

        Your community doesn’t need YOU {well…not in the way you THINK it does/should}. 

        That’s right…

        You don’t need to check the community on your phone as soon as your eyes open in the morning; or always be in there answering questions, commenting, replying and “engaging”.

        As a membership host owner you probably ASSUME that you need to jump in all the time.  Am I right?

        You need to post “engaging content”, answer questions, comment and encourage your members to engage.  You know…show them the ropes and “seed” engagement so you can back off eventually.

        THAT right there is the elephant in the “membership” room.

        Let me explain.

        Most memberships are based on what I like to call The Triangle of Membership (the 3Cs of Membership).

        1. Content
        2. Coaching
        3. Community

        Most memberships will have all 3, but some will only have one, like my badass client Heidi Probably and her membership community, “Fashion Industry Friends” for Fashion Designers.

        It’s straight up community.  No content and no coaching, just a SPACE to connect with other peeps…and they have no fucks to give about Heidi showing up to answer questions or “be” there.

        It wouldn’t have been that way though if she had set up her membership alone.  She assumed that she would have to coach somehow…to make that triangle complete.  But working with me forced her to LISTEN to her members and all they wanted was community…so she delivered it.

        Now, the funny thing is, that even though she had decided NOT to coach in her community…she was naturally drawn to doing it…without even realising it {just like most hosts are}.

        On one of our 1on1 strategy sessions she started talking about all the content that she was going to be posting that week…which was 3 posts.

        WTF Heidi…they don’t care about YOU…back off and let them own the community.

        Ok ok..I didn’t SAY that but I gently reminded her that her job wasn’t to “engage” people…it was to ALLOW her members to engage.

        Now something else was going on as well.  I stopped her from “coaching” because coaching and community don’t play nice.

        Yup, “coaching” is like the black widow lady spider eating her “community” LOV-AH post coital. Nom-nom.

        It sounds weird right?  {yes the black widow shit is WEIRD…but I’m talking about keeping coaching and community separate – keep up dude}.

        You might be thinking,

        “No no…coaching and community are complementary, they add value to my membership!  All memberships offer some kind of coaching and community Diana!”.

        Yes, they are valuable but coaching is all about supporting somebody, answering questions, helping people move forward, and providing accountability to meet their goals.

        Community on the other hand, focuses on human connection. Period.

        So what’s the problem?

        The problem is that most of the time community hosts start using their community to coach members {just like Heidi started to do without noticing it}; things like challenges, Q&As, check-in threads, accountability, coaching calls or webinars, and other coaching activities.

        When you do this, your members start to focus on getting support and connection from YOU the host (coach) rather than connecting and getting support from fellow members.

        Members start thinking (consciously or subconsciously)…

        “I don’t care about these other people.  I just want access to you. Talk to the hand fellow members…I’ve only got eyes and ears for the host!”

        When this happens, brace yourself for a drop in engagement and a fast-pass to

        “Faack!  Why is my community a deadzone??”.

        Honestly…coaching will side swipe your community engagement like…the Orient Express, doused in gasoline, lit on fire, and clocking 150km/hr…with failed brakes…and filled with killer bees.  AHHH! Where is Keanu when you need him?!

        Let’s dig deeper to really hit this home for you.

        Take a look at this doodle below that I did.

        When you set up your membership… you became a host (happy stick guy in the upper left corner of the doodle) and with that new role you probably felt a strong sense of responsibility for the success and well-being of your members.

        You felt all “Mama bear” for her cubs, and Mama bear wants the best for her BAY-BEES!

        Not to mention Mama Bear wants people to STAY in her membership bear-cave as long as possible.

        I mean…who doesn’t want recurring payments, consistent income, and the ability to focus on supporting your best clients?!   #Magicsauce!It totally makes sense for hosts to want to support their members and offer as much value as possible.

        So when you  set up your membership you probably used the following “typical” process to pull things together and offer value via the Triangle of Membership.

        Typical membership set up process {see if you can spot the red flags}:

        1. Ensure that your audience wants and needs a membership (beta test).
        2. Choose a platform (usually Facebook, Mighty Networks or a WP based platform).
        3. Set up the platform and also find solutions to provide your content or vault of materials.
        4. Decide what content to provide, and add the initial content to kick things off.
        5. Plan out your live coaching calls, figure out how the calls will be delivered and how you will promote the coaching calls via the community.
        6. Craft onboarding emails.
        7. Create some onboarding content in the platform (welcome thread, community guidelines etc).
        8. Invite your members in.
        9. Welcome everyone in, reply to their comments, engage with them and make sure they feel welcome.
        10. BOOM…you’ll have a highly engaged membership community that knocks your member’s socks off and makes them never want to leave {…or will you?}.

        The process outlined above is an ok start, but it’s missing a lot to ensure your membership community launches and grows smoothly… like butta!

        Not to mention those red flags in step 5 and 9…assuming that you should be doing “coachy” activities in there…when you shouldn’t; remember black widow? Nom-nom.

        Back to the doodle.

        In my super realistic doodle {look at the shading dude…oh…what shading?..ummm}, you’ll see that the host has answers (as an expert) and her members have Qs, so as she builds and manages her community she naturally {and with good intentions} ASSUMES that she should answer those questions

        “I can answer their questions, offer more value…and they will stay longer…money in da bank…weeeee!”

        But when a host starts answering questions…the community shifts to a coaching platform.  See the PROBLEMO {that’s spanish for problem dude} section where the peeps are in their own cute little boxes.

        Check out the 4 little dudes with their eyes fixated on the host.  The members have questions and they “believe” that the best way to get answers is by having the host answer them.

        Why do they believe that?  Because the host trained them to!

        They don’t even think about the other members and their experience/opinions.  They simply post and wait for the host to reply.

        Let that sink in for a moment.

        Imagine if your members want you to answer their questions individually.  That might be ok if you have 5 or 10 members…but what happens when you hit 100, 500, 1000?

        A clusterfuck of exhaustion for YOU, that’s what.

        No wonder so many entrepreneurs complain about communities being a huge time and energy suck…and end up popping it into a potato sack and dropping it into the digital river…meow.

        The problem is that this issue is SELF CREATED.

        Hosts unintentionally train their members to go to them for answers rather than each other.  It’s not sustainable or scalable to have all your members relying on YOU for answers and support.

        That’s coaching, not community.

        Sidenote:  Community IS scalable, and allows members to support each other, and takes the pressure off you…when done right!

        Now, it sounds like I’m poo-pooing all over coaching, but it’s not the “bad guy”.  It can be a wonderful addition to a membership on live coaching calls, or in situations that are intended for coaching.

        The issue I see over and over with my clients and other successful entrepreneurs is that they don’t set clear boundaries for themselves.

        You created a membership with the intention of having a peer to peer community {sounds gravy right?}.  The idea being that members will talk to each other, provide support and insights for each other and you can step back and focus on fostering the space.

        That is what leads to a thriving membership community that doesn’t suck up all your time and energy.

        Unfortunately, what ends up happening though is that most hosts (who are usually experts on the topic that the membership focuses on) feel like they need to jump in and answer questions OR they offer that as an incentive to join, “Get expert insights from me”.

        So when engagement dips they DO more, which trains members to expect the host to answer their questions more, which leads to members ignoring each other more and presto…DEADZONE.

        Why does coaching have such a bad effect on community engagement?

        Like you can see in my doodle, when there’s a lot of coaching in a community, members stop turning to each other for support, and only have eyes for the host.

        Community members:

        • Stop posting in the community {if they ever did in the first place}
        • Direct all their posts to the host.
        • Disengage from other members and “not bother” adding their perspective when someone else does post.
        • Become less interested in other members personally…as they simply want to get in, get answers to their Qs, and get out.

        Sounds like a fucking nightmare – doesn’t it.

        Another great way to look at this is to imagine yourself hosting a Dinner party.

        Picture it.

        Your guests gather round a table and proceed to only ask YOU questions.  Whaaaa?

        You sit at the head of the table – trying to get some food in your belly – while each guest writes questions on pieces of paper and passes them to you.

        You open each piece of paper…look at that ONE guest with uncomfortably unwavering eye contact and answer their questions.

        You might go back and forth a little but it’s not a discussion.  It’s not personal…it’s simply a problem solving session.

        Once finished you move onto the next piece of paper and the next person…while everyone else sits patiently waiting for their turn and focusing on eating there food.  You on the other hand will not get any food in your mouth…let alone your belly because you’re talking the WHOLE time.

        WHAT THE LITERAL FUCK?

        Who wants to be sitting at that dinner table?  Not me!

        THAT is not how a dinner party works, and a membership community works on the same principles.

        Look at my doodle again.

        You can see on the left the KING...I mean host…has all eyes on him and is focusing on answering questions.  But what’s happening at the dinner table on the right? The dinner table on the right has a completely different dynamic.

        There is NO head of the table…you can’t even really tell who the host is (they aren’t that important).

        The table is circular and allows everyone to participate in the conversation as a whole, and to break into smaller groups and pairs to chat.

        Notice as well that this isn’t a Q&A session…it’s conversations, connections and interesting issues that each person is either facing or going through.

        THAT is an amazing dinner party experience and it’s the perfect metaphor for a community.

        “The purpose of a community is to bring together people who have similar goals, situations, or circumstances. NOT to answer questions.”

        YES…questions will be asked and answered in a community but that should be a happy side effect between members…not the main event!

        When you focus a community on answering questions (especially having the host or the team members doing the answering) the community quickly transforms into a coaching platform even though everyone will still define it as a community.

        This is a shitty deal for you because when community engagement takes a hit {remember…choo choo flaming orient express with killer bees!}, you and your members will be left wondering…why doesn’t anyone “engage” in this community?

        Answer?  Because you coached the community to death.

        (Side note:  Coaching platforms aren’t bad…you just need to know if your members want a coaching platform or a community and position it that way from day 1)

        So my friend…don’t be THAT guy who jumps in and coaches his community into an engagement coma.

        Take a strategic backseat {RESIST} and facilitate connections between your members and save coaching for your live calls.

        Now, telling you to “resist” sounds easy in practice but rather than leave you hanging and wondering how to actually DO this, I’d like to help.

        5 Overlooked Ways To Engage Your Paid Membership Community Without Coaching (AKA Killing It By Accident)

        5 Overlooked Ways To Engage Your Paid Membership Community Without Coaching (AKA Killing It By Accident)

        You’re already savvy to the fact that coaching likes to face punch community engagement, which means you’re ahead of the game.  {Not savvy?  Click the link above and get savvy stat}.

        Now, if you are savvy, you’ll want to learn how to engage your paid membership community WITHOUT inadvertently coaching it into an engagement coma.

        My 5 simple – yet powerful – foundations series will help you do just that, and course-correct your approach to “engaging” your community.  Results? More time {and sanity} in your back pocket.

        What you’ll learn on this “engagement secrets” menu?

        First we’ll kick things off with the “pièce de résistance”:

        • #1 – Stop assuming you have to DO sh*t to engage your membership community.

        Then we’ll move behind the velvet curtain, to dig into the remaining 4 gold nuggets:

        • #2 – Be a Matchmaker; blind dates + strategic tagging.
        • #3 – Front-load your community with “Uncommon Commonalities”.
        • #4 – Spotlight your unicorns.
        • #5 – A Welcome Thread (FB) or Topic (MN).

        If you read #1 and it leaves you wanting more, sign up to get the remaining nuggets swiftly delivered to your email inbox by my email fairies.

        Yes…Big D has email fairies.  Ok ok…they are monkeys but they like to wear fairy wings and pretend.  Don’t crush their dreams! Shh!

        Nugget #1:  Stop assuming you have to DO sh*t to engage your membership community

        Seriously, if I could just take every membership host and community manager, pull up a chair and sit uncomfortably close to them…look them straight in the eye and break this news to them…the world would be a better place; with more thriving communities and fewer hosts and Community Managers on the verge of burn-out.

        So many entrepreneurs assume that in order to engage a community that they have to be DOING something.

        • I need to write a post.
        • I need to create a new challenge.
        • I need to jump in and answer questions.
        • I need to get the ball rolling in the comments.  

        I have to be DOING something!

        Or so you might think.

        The problem with this assumption is that not only do you foster passive engagement rather than proactive engagement, you make it impossible to sustain your membership in the long run and guarantee that you’ll eventually shut it down like Jill and Josh Stanton did in 2019.

        Let’s get on the same page about those 2 types of engagement real quick.

        • Passive engagement: This is reactionary and members generally will not DO anything unless it is in reaction to something you or your team initiate.  Booooo to that!

        When you DO everything in your community, have all your posts pre-scheduled and it’s always YOU sparking the conversation…your members will sit back, put their feet up and wait for you to do something.

        • Proactive engagement: This engagement is organic and driven by a member.  Members feel compelled to share something to help others in the group, add value or reach out for support.  It does not require any effort from you, apart from fostering a safe space for them to share such a post.  YAAASS!

        So stop drop and roll the next time you want to DO something in your community.

        Oh wait.  That’s for when you’re on fire.

        Meh…it works here too!

        Stop, drop and roll around on the floor the next time you want to DO something to engage your membership.  Just make sure you clear a space so you don’t roll on your router or internet cables.

        Instead, focus on…

        DOING LESS and OBSERVING MORE.  

        ⇡ This right here is GOLD.  Please read it again…slowly…with emphasis. ⇡

        I know it ain’t sexy, or a magic pill to engagement, but when you train yourself to watch what’s happening in your community and to engage strategically…THAT is when members learn that YOU aren’t the engagement engine.

        So rather than DOING.  Observe!  

        Be the lion in the grass… watching… waiting…. assessing… ready to POUNCE!

        Not sure what this actually looks?

        When you scan or review a community look for the following opportunities: 

        • To enforce the community guidelines (you DO have guidelines right?!  RIGHT!!!).  Guidelines or a Community Manifesto – as I like to call them – makes it crystal clear who the space is for, what’s expected of them (and you), what isn’t kosher and more.  This allows your members to live up to your expectations and dramatically reduce the number of “incidents” that you need to “manage”.
        • To connect members with each other.  If someone is struggling with an issue that another member experienced last week…jump into the comments and tag that person in.  It demonstrates that you’re paying attention, that you care about the person struggling AND that you value the insights and experience of  the person you tag in. It be rainin’ WINs ya’ll.
        • To make your unicorns shine…more on that in nugget #4.  Sign up below so you don’t miss out on this game-changer.
        • To introduce topics that could make for an interesting discussion.  This is not something you do on a daily or even weekly basis…but you are going to keep in mind so that you can organically add an engagement post here or there.  Think sprinkling rain showers of engagement posts, not a tsunami. This is NOT something you schedule every Monday for the entire year. That’s lazy and NOT engaging. Fuck me in the eyeballs!

        If you want to be a fly on the wall and see how I scan a community…I share a quick video of me “doing my thang” in my “whole enchilada” of free resources.

        Sign up below to snag that video & ALL my goodies!

        So to land this plane…today’s mantra that you’re going to chant to yourself whenever you catch yourself DOING a lot of shit in your community…

        STOP DROP AND ROLL…LESS DOING; MORE OBSERVING.

        In a jiffy, {if you signed up} I’ll be creeping into your inbox {sloth style} to share secret number 2.

        It involves blind dates, hearts bursting and strategic tagging. I’m excited to tickle your brain tomorrow via email!

        Be sure to sign up for the whole 5 part series, so you get the remaining 4 nuggets and future word-babies (aka emails) from moi on all things “engaging paid membership communities”!

        Hugs and skittles,

        Diana

        How to name your membership…like a boss!

        How to name your membership…like a boss!

        In the past month I have helped 3 entrepreneurial badassess create awesome names for their online memberships; that capture their community vibe like a boss, and I’d love to help you too!

        When it comes to naming a membership {community, program, system, retreat etc} I recommend focusing on 2 thing:

        1. Choose a PLACE that evokes the imagery and feel that you want your members to experience as they imagine themselves with you and fellow members.

        2. Name your PEEPS.  Who are the members that you are bringing together in this safe space?

        Let’s look at the naming magic that unfolded for my 3 clients and see how you can do the same (when naming your paid membership community).

        First up, Primoz Bozic.  

        We were jamming on a 1on1 call {at the end of the Community Catalysts beta program} and we were working on naming his membership community.

        In Primoz’s case we went with a place.  

        He was creating a membership for writers and I’ve always had this image in my head of a cozy cabin where all you have is your laptop, cups of hot bevys, blankets and a forest silently hugging the cabin all around.  A writer’s dream.

        The Cabin was on the right track, but it also made me think of summers at the cabin, summer camp, kids…not to mention cabin fever. 

        Not the vibe he was going for.

        Primoz, being the European he is, suggested The Chalet.  And for my Canadian brain it was kind of meh.  

        Chalet made me think of skiing and hitting the slopes…not knuckling down and writing. 

        We went to Google and searched for “different types of houses” which is a great idea.

        Chalet, Cabin, Beach house…so many different PLACES for people to gather, and they all created totally different imagery and FEEL.  

        Just look at the images below.  How would you feel staying there for a weekend?

        That’s when I saw it.  THE LODGE.

        Well fuck me, THAT right there is the MONEY SHOT of community names for Primoz’s membership.  

        It’s absolutely PERFECT for what Primoz is doing, on so many levels.

        **Cue day-dreaming about Primoz’s future live event**.

        When I think of “The Lodge”, I imagine a big beautiful lodge nestled in the woods somewhere in Europe.  It’s snowing outside…or maybe it’s summer with green trees and Disney animals prancing around from time to time. 

        There are big brown leather couches and arm chairs…that you sink into.  There’s a big stone fire place with a fire crackling. There’s an open concept kitchen and a dining-room with a massive table to fit all of us.

        There are other rooms too…welcoming you to curl up with your laptop to create and pour your heart out onto the page.  A sun room, a library, a games room and more.

        When we’re not writing, we’re going for a morning run on a dirt path, going kayaking on a nearby lake or staying inside and grabbing a drink from the mini-bar.  Cozying up with fuzzy blankets and comfy clothes and shooting the breeze.  There are silly games, laughs and people who understand the ups and downs of writing.  

        Meal times are another opportunity for us to connect too.  Different members team up to prepare meals and we get to break bread together, discuss writing, entrepreneurship and business with people that ACTUALLY want to listen {not roll their eyes like your husband or family do}.

        THAT is the feel of the lodge in real life, and THAT is the exact feel and vibe Primoz can aim to recreate online…in his online membership community.

        • He’ll be creating little rooms and spaces to chat with others, to share “war” stories and insights.
        • He’ll be stoking the fire and gathering people around it to get warm and shoot the breeze with a Whiskey in hand.
        • He’ll be helping people connect, learn from one another and have an amazing time while they are at it.

        Side note:  Hosting a LIVE retreat in a REAL lodge is going to be a MASSIVE win for him and his membership.  Not only will it allow him to bring together his most active, supportive and amazing members {being invited to join this event would be a privilege to people showing up in the community}, but he can hire a photographer/videographer and capture the moments I described above, so that ALL the visuals of his online community will  ALL whisper the same thing…”you’re at the lodge here”.

        Man…just writing about it makes me want to pack my bags and go!

        Next up is Sew Heidi.  

        We worked together 1on1 for 2 months to get her community ducks in a row BEFORE she launched {and she then joined Community Catalysts for support during the emotional rollercoaster that is launching, evicting “red flag” members, on-boarding strategy and more!}.

        On one of our calls, we got to the age old question…

        What the hell should I call the community?

        For Heidi, I got her to talk about her target audience and why they were joining her membership.  As she spoke I took notes on what jumped out at me.

        TOP TIP:  If you’re doing this alone, grab your phone and record yourself talking about your audience and what they are getting from the membership.  What their problems are, what they worry about and what they are dreaming about and aspiring to.  Then you can listen back to the recording with fresh ears and pull out the interesting bits.

        Something I’ve noticed about these naming sessions though, is that my mind moves quickly between issues.  It looks at it from so many directions at the same time.

        • The members’s experience,
        • What they want to have happen there,
        • The feelings and emotions involved,
        • And different places that match those feelings.

        I recommend starting with PLACES, and if nothing really grabs you, then switch to identifying WHO they are.

        In Sew Heidi’s case, they just want friends from the industry.  She kept saying friends over and over when she was speaking, so we got simple.

        I asked her, “What kind of friends?” and she said, “friends from the Fashion Industry”.

        With a quick switch up of the word order, we had it…

        “Fashion Industry Friends”!

        I remember when I first said it, Heidi’s face lit up like National Lampoons Christmas tree!  Moments like THAT are why I LOVE the work that I do. 😍

        YUP.  We nailed it.  The name started rolling off her tongue {or rather flowing from her typing fingers} without her even realising it.

        She sent me an email days later, giving me an update and reading it made me SO freaking happy.

        Check it out below:

        I know I’ve done my job well when someone emails me and drops F bombs left, right and center.  🙂

        THAT is what you want your community name to feel like.  

        You want your community name to flow in your copy, to be a natural fit, for you to say proudly, to share WHO your peeps are or WHERE you’re going to take them.

        It’s funny, because I haven’t had that magic moment with my own membership {YET}.  

        I kept calling it “The Community Beta”, initially, which doesn’t do the program justice.

        The program {foundational coaching/training} is called Community Catalyst and that could be the name, but in the singular it feels off too. This isn’t just ONE catalyst (me), it’s many.  It’s a group of Community Catalysts who are kicking-ass and taking names.  Hmm…

        Community Catalysts might work.  It is the closest I’ve come to my “name eureka” moment, but I’ll get there.

        The last example is from Neil Welsh.  

        He doesn’t have a community per-say, he has a coaching platform (Slack), though many people confuse the two.

        Neil isn’t connecting his members together, he’s answering their questions on his video course material, in a group setting…aka coaching platform.

        He created a 12 week nutrition course and did a beta to test it with a group of around 10 people.  Now that the beta is finished, he wanted to name his program AND he also had a visual model that he wanted to name too.

        I recommended we name the program first, and then the model…as naming the program would making naming the model easier.

        Again, I got him to talk about his program, what it does {results it delivers} and who it helps.  I also got him to share the course outline so I could see the titles of his videos and materials.

        Here’s a secret weapon as well…we were not alone.  We were on a call with 4 other people and they were sharing ideas at the same time.  I highly recommend that you do not try to name your community alone.  

        Getting on a call with someone or a group of people is so much better.  

        In Neil’s case, one person opened their mic and said something.

        The New Normal.  The feel was spot on, and once we named the model as well, it subtly established the ideal market (family) and it was catchy. {share that in a min}.

        Then we moved to the “system” or model he wanted to name.  It was an image of 3 overlapping circles that had the main goal in the center…health.

        We talked about it for a while, going in circles when it hit us: the heart of the matter, the heart of health!  

        The Heart of Health Model.

        The New Normal:  A family focused approach to getting to the heart of health.

        It felt like a great fit, but the only way he’ll REALLY know is to ask his audience.  

        Again…it’s ok to rename a program or community…you don’t have to get it right on day one.

        Sometimes you’ll just KNOW, like Heidi and Primoz.  Those names are SOLID, but if you’re not sure if the name works then just ask your members.  You can talk to them via email, or hop on a quick call and get their feedback on the name, and ask them how they feel about it.

        Still staring at a blank page wondering: what the hell should I name my community?

        1. Don’t do it alone.  Jam with a couple friends, or with an expert/creative mind to put the pieces together and help you see what’s already there.
        2. Focus on a PLACE or the PEOPLE you’re bringing together in your community.  
        3. If it’s a beta…and you’re super blocked. Don’t sweat it.  You can always change the name down the line.  Name it something for now and move on (like me).

        Also note that if you’re building on Mighty Networks that you can change the name/ULR of your community at any time.  The only issue is that it will break links that you have put into your articles (to other places in the community). So in that case, it is better to make a final decision on your community name SOONER rather than later.

        OR just name it your name and leave it at that.  The URL for my community uses my name because I’ll never be changing my name so it works for life. 🙂

        YOUR TURN!

        I’d love to know what your experience has been with naming your membership community, and how you approached the process.

        Big D.

        The Ultimate Guide to Engaging your Online Community Members – Chapters 15, 16, 17

        The Ultimate Guide to Engaging your Online Community Members – Chapters 15, 16, 17

        Chapter 15 —

        Stop Spinning Your Wheels with Random Tactics; Use THIS Plan Instead.

        Back to table of contents

        How to choose what to try first.

        This can be tricky if you don’t create a full out community strategy, but my guess is that you won’t (no shame) so here is what I would suggest. When it comes to tactics you need to think about a couple things.

        1. Will everyone see it or is it one on one.
        2. How long do the effects of the tactic last?
        3. What kind of change or influence will this have on your members?
        4. How much of your bandwidth (time) does this tactic take?

        Rate each tactic on a scale from 1-3, for each point above and then add up the numbers.

        Simply start with the tactics that have the highest numbers (that more members will see, that have the longest and most influential impact). Also look at your bandwidth to see how you can divide your time up.

        NOTE: You don’t want to be doing 10 or 15 tactics. Start with 5 maximum.

        How to decide if something is working (and keep doing it) or when to stop and try something else.

        When trying out new tactics Richard Millington from FeverBee recommends a 3 month testing period. This allows you to collect data on your community and how it’s reacting to your tactics.

        Once you have 3 months of data you can look at it to assess how effective each tactic was. Look at that same information that you used when choosing your tactics (the 4 points above) and rate the success of each aspect from 1-3.

        Then you can see what is working and what isn’t. If something isn’t working, simply stop doing it and either replace it with a new tactic or add that time to the tactics you’re already implementing successfully.

        If you’d like a simple and easy way to track your tactics and their success, grab a copy of this free spreadsheet. It’s make this all seem WAY easier. Trust me.

        BONUS MATERIAL: Grab your copy of the master spreadsheet

        I’ll also send you BOTH my ultimate guides (and bonus offer spreadsheets and systems) to help you engage the members in your online community.

        Chapter 16 —

        Wrap Up: What You’ve Learned and What Comes Next?

        Back to table of contents

        Holy FUCK. Was that good for you? Cause it’s was hella good for me. So good I might need a cigarette… and I don’t even smoke. Oo la la

        So what all went down in this beefy beast of a guide?

        Let’s recap, cause there’s a lot going on!

        We established, explored and dug into…

        1. Why I only focus on paid communities and not free facebook groups.
        2. 4 common mistakes that entrepreneurs make when it comes to their course communities, so you can dodge them.
        3. How a community can stress you out and how to stop worrying.
        4. Debunking the age old myth about size mattering so you can move forward with a small community.
        5. The importance of emotions and how you can trigger them in 9 different parts of your community.
        6. How to make your community sticky as fuck and keep your members coming back for more.
        7. How to actually go about welcoming people into your community so they can make themselves at home right off the bat.
        8. What is your job as host…really?
        9. Your fears about TIME and how much tic-toc a community actually needs.
        10. The platform you’ve chosen and how that can impact engagement.
        11. “Auto posting” and “daily threads” and why they aren’t always so great.
        12. Self-promotional assholes and how to keep them at bay.
        13. Live coaching and how it can make a community even better.
        14. How you can know that your actions are making an impact.
        15. 8 techniques that I personally use to engage the communities I manage or engage in.
        16. How to implement and test your tactics in the long term.

        With this badass guide in your back pocket, you’ll be able to approach your community with a new sense of calm and control AND be able to authentically engage your audience so that your course community transforms into a more self-sufficient machine of support, sharing and caring.

        It’s a win-win. Your students feel supported, connected and get results faster, and you set the foundation for fans for life, killer testimonials, and star students to brag the shit out of.

        Chapter 17 —

        FREE BONUSES

        Back to table of contents

        That’s right folks, not only am I pouring my grey matter out all over this page, I wanted to give you even more free shit to help ensure that you can engage your community members.

        Take a lookie-loo at the bonuses below and if ya’ dig em snap them up. Just tell me where to send them and I’ll hook you up.

        BONUS MATERIAL: Get the whole enchilada of bonus materials to engage your community members.

        I’ll send you BOTH my ultimate guides (and bonus offer spreadsheets and systems) to help you engage the members in your online community.

        • FREE BONUS #1: Want to know where you’re dropping the engagement ball in your community? Take this quick quiz/audit and see where you’re leaving engagement on the table and quick fixes you can do right now to change it.
        • FREE BONUS #2: Engagement checklist and tracker sheet to see what you’re already doing, what you have yet to try and how you’re implementing it.

        A Quick Something-Something Before You Go

        The fact that you read through this entire guide shows that you’re serious about making your community engaged AF and maybe you know other badasses that want to do the same.

        If you do know someone that would be over the moon to learn what you read here, I’d love (and super appreciate it) if you shared it with them. They can download their own copy of the guide (and grab the sanity saving free-swag) by going here.

        Also, if you’re feeling like singing from the digital rooftops about this guide, by all means share the guide on Facebook, Twitter, email or the ever so fashionable passenger pigeon.

        Thank you again for taking the time to read this beast of a guide and for allowing me the pleasure of helping you with your community.

        Hugs and Skittles,Diana(That lady down there sitting on a massive chess board. Strategic AF!)

        PS: If you DO apply something (or anything from this guide) and it helps your community, shoot me an email and let me know. I love hearing stories and seeing how this guide helps others better engage your community members. 🙂

        The Ultimate Guide to Engaging your Online Community Members – Chapter 14

        The Ultimate Guide to Engaging your Online Community Members – Chapter 14

        Chapter 14 —

        8 of my Engagement Techniques that I Personally Use in Client Communities.

        Back to table of contents

        1. Find Your Minions

        Ah yes my friends, it is time to rally your minions and get them to do things for you. Ok ok, I’m not saying to hired little yellow dudes and have them work in your community for you (though that would be nice) but what I AM saying is to ask some of your members to do things for you.

        This might take the form of writing up a post-mortem after a launch to share with other members, tagging someone on a post to get them to share their insights, or even asking people to welcome new students into the community.

        The key is to position your ask as a favour and also because they have done things that you appreciate or are proud of.

        2. The ‘24hr Hold Up’ Technique

        Picture it. Someone posts a juicy question in the community and 5 minutes later you are armed and dangerous with a reply.

        You’re about to click post when you slap yourself and say “24 hours dude”.

        That’s right. Before you jump in and reply, think about how this person might get the best value and insights from the community as a whole. Whenever an admin or community manager dives in and answers a Q it can lead to other people keeping their opinions and advice to themselves.

        So rather than post right away. Leave it for a day, so others can dive in.

        If you want to demonstrate that you’ve seen the post you could reply and let them know that you want to see what others think first. You could also tag in a couple of members that you know could share some great insights.

        3. The ‘Tagging Train’ (choo-choo!) Technique

        1ynqdb

        From time to time you’ll have something that you want everyone to see. Perhaps it’s a survey, a big announcement etc.

        Rather than posting it and hoping that people see it, I recommend calling on the “Tagging Train” technique to get the message out there.

        It’s simple and once it gets momentum can be super effective.

        What you do is simply get people to do the action you want (like fill out a survey) and then come back to the thread to say that they have done it AND get them to tag 1-3 other people that they know so that they can do it as well.

        Not only does this keep the thread higher in the Facebook feed from all the updated comments, it helps spread the word. It’s similar to the idea of paying it forward, which spreads the message like wildfire.

        4. The ‘Circle Back’ Technique

        You want to check in with your students to ensure they are on track, and students want to feel like you give a shit about them. That is why I recommend using the circle back technique whenever I check in with someone.

        If they are working on writing a guest post I ask them to circle back with me in X amount of time to let me know how it’s going. You can even get them to add it to their calendar so they don’t forget.

        5. “More than words” Technique (Memes, GIFs, photos, video)

        If you want to really create a unique and personal feel in your community I highly recommend mixing in original media.

        There is nothing like saying you’re welcome with your own “You’re Welcome GIF” or reaching out to a student to see how they are doing with a funny MEME.

        I personally like to use silly kitten and puppy memes…I mean, who doesn’t like a puppy or a kitten?

        1ynqfd

        Adding videos of yourself to posts can make it feel like you’re more present in the community as well.

        6. The ‘Can You Do Me a Favour?’ Technique.

        Once you have build a bit of a relationship with your members, there is nothing like asking them to do you a favour to make them feel important and useful.

        Imagine you ask a student to post about an experience they had because so many other students struggle with that issue and you feel it would help the community. Asking for small favours like this go a long way to making members feel important and useful.

        7. The ‘Just Checking In’ Technique

        Being able to check in with your members individually via PM is super important. It shows that you care about them AND it allows you to keep a finger on the pulse of the community. You can see how they’re feeling, what they’re working on, if they are struggling and how you can do a better job to help them and improve the course.

        It’s a win-win all around and when you have a system to reach out that allows you to do it quickly and easily (I reach out to 50 members a day/ 250 members a week) it means that your members will feel taken care of and be less likely to fall off the wagon.

        8. The “Tag in the Troops” Technique.

        When reviewing your community you might find questions that haven’t been answered or possibly the answers they have received so far leave a lot to be desired.

        Rather than jumping in and answering yourself, Tag in the troops. This is when you can tag in other members who specialise in something or you know have personal experience with a situation. This not only allows you to help the person asking the question, it makes the tagged troops feel special as well because you thought of them.

        On to the next chapter

        The Ultimate Guide to Engaging your Online Community Members – Chapter 13

        The Ultimate Guide to Engaging your Online Community Members – Chapter 13

        Chapter 13 —

        How to KNOW if What You’re Doing is Actually Making an Impact.

        Back to table of contents

        Fuck me this is the bane of my existence right here folks. I mean, any community manager will tell you that the #1 issue they have is trying to demonstrate their value or worth to their employer.

        You see, the issue with community is that it isn’t as easy to measure as sales figures, subscribers, etc. We’re talking about behaviours, humans, emotions and all that jazz.

        So how the fuck do you know if what you’re doing is even working?

        What I’ve learnt to do is lean into the frustration and focus on what we CAN measure. Lucky for you, there are a lot of different ways to gather data on communities now. Let’s take a lookie-loo at a couple.

        Facebook analytics (free)

        Like I touched on earlier, Facebook is catching on to the power of Facebook Groups and is making it a hell of a lot easier for admins and community managers to know what the frig is going on in there.

        They’ve added the ability to schedule posts in advanced; though at this time they have NOT made it possible to post the same post every Tuesday.

        Come on dudes…I want a little checkbox that says “repeat weekly”. Make my Christmas wish come true santa baby!

        PS: I know you’re real!

        They’ve also added analytics as well, which shows you a good number of things about what your people are doing and how they are doing it. The only shit sandwich that I smell here is that the data is only a months worth.

        Yuuup. That’s right folks. 30 days. WTF? How are you supposed to see longer term patterns of your group if…well…there’s no long term data.

        This is why I still used good old Grytics for all my community data needs.

        Grytics (Free and paid)

        Gyrtics.com is the best Facebook group analytics tool that I’ve personally used and it makes many of my tasks a whole hell of a lot easier.

        For example: I like to create a weekly round-up post and pin it to the top of the Accelerator community each Friday. This allows our students to avoid the scrolling pit of doom and simply enjoy a buffet of hyperlinks to posts they might find interesting. If not…simply back to work. Time and sanity saved! YAY!

        The problem is that for me to do this I used to have to sacrifice my own time and sanity scrolling to find the posts, but thanks to Grytics it now takes me around 5 minutes to create the post.

        Simply go into Grytics and click on the “Posts and Comments” list. Then organize the list by “date created”. Then simply review the posts and grab links to the posts that will be the most interesting and useful for your group.

        Before Grytics, it used to take me at least 30 minutes to do this because I had to scroll through the community. These posts get scattered in the news feed pretty quickly (depending on what members are commenting on) so this makes everyone happy.

        Is Grytics perfect?

        Nope. But it’s pretty darn close. The only thing that I’ve come across so far is that I wish that all the excel sheets that are generated would include a hyperlink to the student’s FB account. This makes it much easier to reach out to students.

        Why do you NEED this data?

        You need data so that you can see what affect your actions have on your community. This is where you can see what is and isn’t working and adjust your actions accordingly. The last thing you want to do is start doing lots of different things and not actually know which is making an impact.

        For example. Imagine you start doing a weekly round up post, adding in a Facebook Live Q&A weekly and start posting encouragement in the comments regularly. Those are 3 different things that could or could not be making an impact.

        Imagine you look at your data and you see a massive jump in engagement since starting these 3 tactics. Great right? Sort of.

        How do you know which of these actions is actually making a difference?

        What if the Facebook live is the true reason why people are engaging but they don’t really care if you comment on their posts or create that weekly roundup post? Essentially you could stop doing those two other tasks and STILL have higher engagement.

        That’s why we track everything, and assign metrics to each tactics so we can assess each tactic individually. If it’s working great. If it isn’t cut it!

        There are some other cool things that you can do with Grytics that are worth mentioning.

        #1 Learn the best time to post your weekly themed posts.

        With Grytics you can see when your students are most active in the Facebook community. Why is this important? This is when you should be posting anything that you want to get a lot of eyeballs on. Like that weekly roundup post. If the majority of people pop into Facebook at 7pm on a Friday. It wouldn’t make sense to post earlier in the day or later in the evening.

        #2 Do personal outreach to ‘lurkers” to check in and see how they’re doing.

        Everyone wants to feel important, and there is nothing like getting a personal message from YOU to make that happen. Reaching out to people that haven’t posted, commented or engaged in the community can be a great way to tip them over the edge to get involved.

        #3 Create a “top” board to trigger the competitive side of your members

        Maybe your members are competitive and want to be special. In Grytics you can actually create a members leader board that shows the most engaged members. You could post this monthly on a special thread to see who is in the lead…and who is new on the leaderboard.

        #4 Beware the time sucking black hole of vanity metrics and “fun” data.

        While Grytics is awesome and provides you with so much information on your users, don’t get sucked into the black hole of vanity metrics. You’ll see lots of different numbers, and figures in Grytics and it might look fancy to have all these graphs and charts but you really need to put your blinders on and focus on what matters to you and your team.

        On to the next chapter

        The Ultimate Guide to Engaging your Online Community Members – Chapter 12

        The Ultimate Guide to Engaging your Online Community Members – Chapter 12

        Chapter 12 —

        How to use live coaching to ensure your members complete your course and get massive results worth bragging about.

        Back to table of contents

        Here’s the scoop.

        So many people dream about creating an evergreen course and having a super engaged community paired with it so that their students will help each other and leave you laying feet up on a beach somewhere.

        1ylp2d

        This isn’t really reality though. For one you’d be bored as fuck after a week or two, and you want the best for your students, so I’m pretty sure you’re not going to toss some evergreen content at them and hope for the best.

        If you’re like me, you actually want your students to get results, to finish your courses and become your star students, create compelling testimonials and become raving fans. The best way to do this is to provide live coaching in combination with your course community.

        Why this works?

        Well, it’s comes down to human nature. We like to be part of the pack, a tribe, a family of people and when we are cut off from that pack…we don’t thrive. The same applies to online courses.

        Having “life time access” is positioned as a benefit, and being able to do it at our own pace is as well, when in reality the best thing for us is to work on it TOGETHER with others. To form a bond or connection with other people as you’re doing something.

        This also applies to students connecting with you. If you are there for them, demonstrating that you care, answering their questions and giving them a nudge when they need it, they’ll feel it, appreciate it and share that fact with the world.

        Ways you can provide live coaching.

        There are several ways you can provide a live coaching aspect to your programs and here are a couple of the easiest ways to do it.

        Facebook Live Q&As

        This is probably one of the easiest ways to add value to your students, directly into your Facebook community. You simply choose a day of the week and time that you’ll hop on a FB live, and answer questions that your students are having that week with the course material.

        Top tip: Use Google Forms or create a special thread in the community to collect questions from your students in advance. This will allow you to avoid any awkward silence on the live and it allows you to prepare a bit in advance.

        Webinars (Zoom for example).

        This is another great option for live coaching calls. You can sign up for a free Zoom.us account and get started in minutes. If you stick with the free account you will have a 45 min maximum to your calls, but that’s still a good length for a call. You could even offer 2 calls a week if you feel that it’s not enough time. (Or you could simply shell out the cash for the paid account and do a full hour…you penny pincher!) Zoom also allows you to record the calls and download the chat as well.

        Office Hours threads or channels for set times.

        This is another way to provide value directly in the Facebook community, where you invite students to post their questions as comments on a special thread. You could post the thread at the same time on the same day, every week and allow students to post questions for a set period of time.

        Then simply circle back and answer the questions. You could write your replies OR you could be a badass and do video responses using www.usingloom.com. THE best screen sharing, video hosting app out there. I adore them.

        How to structure your live coaching sessions

        Once you choose one of the formats above, it’s time to think about how to structure the session itself. Here are some tips that I’ve learnt from my own trial and error.

        • Think about what you want your students to walk away FEELING. Do you want them to feel supported and encouraged, to get a tactical answer, or to simple find out what their next steps should be in the course?
        • Kick off your call with something fun to break the ice. If you are on Zoom you can wave to specific people and quickly say hi, if it’s a Facebook Live you could show everyone where you are or give them a sneak peak of your workspace.
        • Decide how many questions you’re going to answers. Are you going to only look at 5 but do a deep dive into each one? Or are you going to address 10 or 15 and help as many people as possible?
        • Wrap up the session with a call to action. If you’re on a zoom call maybe encourage your members to jump into the community and share their takeaways on the thread for the video. If you run a Slack group you can tell students to dive into a specific channel and share their #1 take away as well.

        How to tailor the sessions to exactly what your members need and want.

        We touched on this a little above but basically this is simply ASKING them what they want and need. It’s not rocket science here, it’s simply going to the source and allowing them to tell you what they want and need.

        That being said though, sometimes people LIE. *Gasp!*

        YES…it’s true. Your students might be fucking liars.

        They will tell you something that sounds nice or what they think you want to hear but they’ll hold back that deep dark secret pain or doubt that they would really like to have answered.

        Why? Cause it’s embarrassing dude, or they might look stupid or a whole slew of other mental BS that pops up.

        So that’s why I recommend asking, gathering questions and then sprinkling in a bit of “ medicine”. What do I mean by medicine?

        In the words of Buckleys Cough Medicine, “It tastes awful and it works”. When you have a cough you take something for it, and if a student has a problem (that you can see or feel is truly the issue) give them a dose of what’s good for them.

        For example…someone might come to me and ask how do I engage my community. I’ve got daily posts all set up and content pre-written for a year. Why am I hearing crickets?

        They might be wanting more tactics but the real issue is they aren’t digging deeper to find out the emotional needs of their audience. So that’s when I might zoom out and focus on better understanding their audience manually…then trying to jump into automation.

        Not sexy, but it engages. 😉

        On to the next chapter

        The Ultimate Guide to Engaging your Online Community Members – Chapter 11

        The Ultimate Guide to Engaging your Online Community Members – Chapter 11

        Chapter 11 —

        How to Protect Your Community From Self-Promotional Drama and Foster Quality Conversations and Relationships.

        Back to table of contents

        Alrighty folks, now we’re getting to the good shit…well actually it’s bad shit when it’s in your community, but boy is this chapter going to help you clean up shop, or better yet keep things clean to begin with.

        If you happen to run a free Facebook group this is going to be WAY worse for you my friend. Sorry to say it but a huge portion of your members are simply there to do customer research, find clients and basically hang out in there like a leech. Sucking all the blood they can get.

        In a course community self-promotion is still a thing though. Some people just see any community as “fair game” or their are quasi-delusional and believe what they are doing is alright.

        The first thing you need to do, to arm yourself against this bullshit is make it super clear what is and isn’t ok and what your expectations are of your members. Thats right folks…we are talking guidelines. I know…super sexy right.

        What to include in your guidelines.

        A lot of people get stuck on this. What the hell should I put in my guidelines? Should I be a hard ass or be a supportive friend? These are all valid questions that you need to answer with your personality and business in mind.

        For example, if you are a super friendly and fun person BUT you don’t want people to do a couple things…be friendly and fun throughout your guidelines but drop the hammer with some super clear and strong do’s and don’ts.

        So in terms of specifics here are the basics that you will probably want to get in writing. It’s easier to call someone out down the line when you have things in writing. That way you can reference it when you call someone out.

        1. The purpose/mission of your group. What’s the point of your group? What is everyone there to do? What is everyone working towards? This is going to be super easy since everyone will be taking one course and looking to gain the benefit of that course.
        2. How can members take advantage of the group and get the most from it?
        3. Posting guidelines.  When someone posts what do they need to include? This might be having a specific title, like we do in Accelerator. For example [ZTL – M2- I’m not sure if I should build my website yet].  Notice what happens when someone reads that title. We know a lot about the student without reading anything else. We know they are taking the ZTL course, that they are in Module 2 and their issue is clear as well. It makes it so much easier to reply and it also allows other members to know if they can offer insights here or simply keep scrolling.
          1. Specifically tell people what is NOT allowed. I know we want to be positive all the time but laying down the rules is something that you need to do.
            If you don’t want people posting links to their websites…say that.
          2. If you don’t want people PMing members and promoting themselves…say that.
          3. If you don’t want people to post videos…say that.
        4. There are going to be situations when you need to delete a post, yes dude…that is going to happen.  So be clear on what those situations are and mention it upfront. That way you can simply delete it without having to give an explanation (saving you time and sanity points).

        What to avoid.

        One thing I wanted to mention on the flip side of things is to be aware of being TOO negative. Having a NO list might feel great to you but it might not have the same effect on your members.

        Here’s the thing though…I would much rather you were a bit too heavy on the no side, than to be to permissive. You see, guidelines can change dude. If you feel like you should ease up down the line…then go for it.

        You’re the boss.

        How should you present or deliver the guidelines?

        There are many ways and formats to present your guidelines and I’m gonna outline the most common options. This way you can choose one option or do all 4!

        Google Doc

        Ah yes. Good old Google doc! This is by far the simplest, easiest version of guidelines. Simply write up your guidelines in a Google doc, change the share settings to allow people to view it, and share a link in the community..

        Screen Shot 2017 11 02 at 08 47 42

        Pinned post

        Another option is to create a post in your Facebook group (writing out all the guidelines and possibly including an image) and then pinning that post to the top of the group’s wall. You can also share a link to the Google Doc in the pinned post. 😉

        Email

        You can also write up your guidelines in an email that you send out when members first join your course. You can simply add a link to the Google doc in one of your onboarding emails. This is a great option as it puts it in their inbox and makes the excuse of “I didn’t see it” less likely.

        As a part of an Ultimate Guide to getting the most from your community.

        This is something that I did recently for IWT’s Accelerator program. I received a lot of the same questions, over and over again and rather than simply answering them over and over again, I wrote an ultimate guide that students can search to find answers to pretty much ANY question they might have about how the program works.

        Take a page from the book of Jayson Gaignard. ASK, PRAISE, GIVE.

        Jayson Gaignard runs Mastermind Talks (MMT), is the author of Mastermind Dinners and launched his own podcast, Community Made in 2017.

        MMT is a invite-only $10k weekend retreat and community for entrepreneurs, with a lower acceptance rate than Harvard. Talk about awesome!

        Anyhoo, he was hiring a Content and Community Manager in mid 2017 and a couple of my friends thought I’d be a great fit. It was funny as I knew the job wasn’t for me (it’s a full time position and I wasn’t available for full time) but I wanted to connect with Jayson and offer any help or insights I could (he’s a really lovely person and I love what he’s doing).

        Fun fact: I made it to round three for a live interview call!

        It was lovely to get to know Jayson and I was able to help him with his Facebook group for MMT alumni. That is when I first saw his approach to posting guidelines.

        His guidelines are simple yet powerful.

        RULES: We want this group to be of value to everyone. This community runs under the ASK, GIVE and PRAISE model.

        ASK = You’re asking for something (advice, feedback, an intro)
        GIVE = You’re giving something (conference tickets, expertise, etc…),
        PRAISE = You’re praising a member in the community for going above and beyond.

        I adore this approach to posting. It’s so simple, yet sets the tone for his community. It’s not a place to take, it’s a place to give, get help and make other people feel great.

        When I reached out to him to make sure it was ok to share this approach in this guide he sent me an audio note and shared the power of this approach, which I wanted to share with you as well.

        “The method ASK, GIVE and PRAISE has worked exceptionally well for us, because it helps us steer clear…it’s a pretty clear line in the sand as far as avoiding people soliciting or people talking about themselves. Like, “Oh I just came out with this blog post” or those kinds of things, self-promotion. So it’s work really well.” – Jayson Gaignard

        Now I’m not saying that you need to start using ASK, GIVE, PRAISE, but how might you take this idea and apply it to your own business?

        What is it you want your people to do? ASK, SHARE, WIN, SUPPORT, CONFESS, etc.

        How to enforce your guidelines without being a dick or making people scared to post and participate.

        Oooo doggie…now we are talking. You’ve got guidelines and you’re itching to enforce them.

        Oh wait…what? You aren’t excited about the enforcement part? You’re actually terrified and want to just crawl back into your comfort zone like a snugglie cocoon?

        I get it dude.

        You don’t wanna be the bad guy. You just want to have fun and support people. Well I can tell you here and now that if you don’t enforce your guidelines you’re actually doing your people a disservice.

        Imagine that you are one of your members that follows the guidelines by the book. And then sees some douchebag promoting themselves and you not doing anything.

        How does that makes them feel? Probably a couple ways. Annoyed that someone else isn’t following the rules and pissed off that YOU aren’t stopping it. OR maybe they think that that person has some sort of agreement with you…when they DON’T!

        So here’s the deal. Once you create the guidelines…they apply to everyone across the board. No exceptions please. Be consistent.

        Now. What are you actually supposed to DO when shit happens?

        Picture it. You log into your Facebook to check on the community (during your allotted time no more no less.. remember) and you see it.

        A post that seems to be “helping” others but there is a link out to their latest article (on the same subject), or maybe it’s their new website that they are so excited to share, or maybe they are bold enough to post a link to their sales page for a “review”.

        Ok…breath. Let the “WTF” thoughts wash over you and be with those feelings.

        You might be thinking something along the lines of,

        “What the literal fuck does he think he’s doing? Didn’t I make myself clear…no freaking links in your posts dude. It’s just not ok. No one else is doing it. And here you come linking it up. Arrrggg. I don’t want other people to see it and think that it’s ok. Shit. MORE people will probably start doing the same. WHAT SHOULD I DO?”

        Great question.

        What SHOULD you do?

        Let’s do a quiz. Which option would YOU choose?

        1. Leave it up there. You don’t want to hurt his feelings.
        2. Delete it and act like nothing happened. You’re the admin…only you and that douche will know and he knows what the guidelines are.
        3. Copy the text of the post and shoot him a PM explaining that you removed the post (as it doesn’t follow the guidelines for the group)..
        4. Do nothing but assume the fetal position below your desk. Why can’t people read? Why in God’s name did I think a community would be a good thing? FML!!!
        • Ok…so obviously A is out. Come on princess. You won’t hurt his feelings.
        • D is out as well, and I’d suggest meditation or something to relax dude…this isn’t really that big a deal.
        • B and C…well actually those are two great options and you get to choose which works best for you.

        If you simply want to delete a post…go for it. Make sure that this kinds of response is mentioned in your guidelines though.

        Something like: Any posts that break these guidelines will be removed.

        Now, some people will message you and ask what happened, like they didn’t know, and you can simply say that it broke the community guidelines and then link to them.

        Sometimes people don’t realize what they are doing though. It’s like they get hypnotized and just start doing weird shit without even realizing it’s self-promotional. That’s why I recommend simply saying that their post broke the guidelines.

        Now C is another option (the one that I take personally) and it’s the same as B but there is one step added. You copy the text of the post and then shoot them a PM. Explain that their recent post didn’t follow the guidelines and that it has been removed but that you copied the text for them. Paste the text in the message and send.

        To delete or not to delete?; how to handle posts that break your guidelines.

        There is another option for handling posts that break your guidelines, and I like to call this the “call them out publicly” technique. It’s just like it sounds. So if someone posts something that isn’t appropriate or does not follow specific posting guidelines you simply leave a comment on their post letting them know and asking them to update the post to correct it.

        Note: This doesn’t apply to self-promotional posts. In those cases I delete the posts (with or without notification).

        Again, I know this might sound harsh or not fun at all, but it’s an important part of building and protecting the integrity of your community. It’s not sexy, and no one talks about it publicly (until now) but it needs to be done.

        Plus, on the bright side, the more consistently you do this from the beginning the LESS it happens. That’s right. People aren’t stupid. They learn from what you do and also what others in the community do.

        On to the next chapter