8 Tips for Running a Successful Podcast Community on Facebook

8 Tips for Running a Successful Podcast Community on Facebook

There are dozens of Facebook groups about podcasting, and hundreds (if not thousands) of pages and groups for individual podcasts.

With all that competition for people’s time, how do you make yours stand out and not become “same ‘ol, same ‘ol”?

I accidentally grew a vibrant Facebook community with over 6,500 members. Numerous people say it’s the BEST group – which I agree with, of course.

I’ve even had people say they were about to remove the Facebook app from their lives entirely, but only keep it around because my group is so valuable to them.

HOW FLATTERING!

How do you create a group that has that much impact on someone?

Note: I’m specifically talking about creating a podcast community on Facebook and not a group for your podcast. However, many of the following suggestions still apply.

Here are eight things I have done to keep my group engaged, valuable, and constantly growing since its launch in January 2017.

  1. Niche Down!
  2. It's not about You, it's about Them
  3. Create Group Rules
  4. Ask qualifying questions
  5. Protect the niche!
  6. Pose questions, not statements
  7. Create a content schedule
  8. Offer. Don't sell

1. NICHE DOWN!

I can’t scream those two words loud enough!

You can’t compete with the 30,000 member groups like the Podcast Movement Community or Podcasters’ Support Group.

Every question about podcasting has been asked dozens of times in those groups, and they continue to be asked over and over. Also, the exact same questions are asked in all the groups because there’s no specific theme or focus.

If you don’t drill down on a specific aspect of podcasting then your group will quickly become stagnant and cease to grow.

Or worse! The same “I’m about to launch my podcast, any advice” questions will be asked and the experienced, influential members will leave.

Don't create a group to serve everyone. It's already been done

2. It's not about You, it's about Them

A Facebook Group is different than a Page.

Pages are more like places where you post your stuff to others, and others aren’t able to post stuff. Pages are a lot like your personal profile, but are used primarily to promote your business, brand, or even your podcast.

Groups are more for building communities. Anyone can post, or submit a post for your approval. I believe Facebook also shows more Groups in an individual’s feed than Pages.

So when creating a Group, remember that this is not about you. It’s about them.

I have found it helpful to mentally separate myself from being the “owner” and putting myself into the position of moderator. I’m there to protect the integrity of the group and what it stands for.

Keeping in mind that groups are not for you, but rather your community members. It makes you more relatable and helps community members feel more comfortable.

3. Create Group Rules

If you are going to niche down then you have to set some guidelines.

Without rules, members won’t know what is “out of bounds” and your reasons for removing posts will constantly be challenged.

By creating rules, Facebook will allow you to select the rule that was broken and communicate that to the member who broke it. This can save you SO MUCH TIME responding to “Why did you remove my post” messages.

Here are rules you may want to place on your group:

What we are – and what we are not

Tell people what the group is all about, and what it isn’t.

For example: My rule is “We talk about post-production, NOT CONTENT CREATION”.

The description is: “We DO NOT talk about mics, mixers, media hosts, or how to record. Please wear your Podcast Editor hat when asking questions, not a Podcaster's hat.”

I think that's pretty clear.

Do not promote yourself

Do I need to explain this one?

I didn’t think so.

Be courteous to others – and no foul language

I personally don’t like foul language. More importantly, making a stance on this rule helps keep disagreements from spiraling into a name-calling fight.

Here is the description for the “Keep the language clean” rule in my group:

Out of respect for others, keep the LANGUAGE CLEAN. I will delete any post containing profanity or questionable material without warning or deliberation.

TIP: When challenged about why you removed a post, have some grace.

There are a lot of groups with a lot of different rules. The member may have forgotten the rules when they posted. So when they contact you, respond with respect and kindness.

When challenged, I always respond with a caring question like “How are you doing” or kind statement like “I hope you understand why I had to do this.”

This almost always leads to a friendly salutation.

4. Ask qualifying questions

You may want to create a group for everyone. But you simply can’t.

So why not make sure you have the right person in your group – and keep the wrong ones out – by putting a small barrier in the way?

Another benefit of asking questions is you can subtly remind them what he group is about.

Membership questions can be answered with multiple choice answers, check-boxes, or even short written responses.

A membership question could simply be “How did you find us?”

However, I like to make sure they are actually qualified by asking questions only the right kind of person for my group can answer:

Q: What software do you use to EDIT podcasts?

Since my group is about editing podcasts, this should be easy. If they answer this question incorrectly then the request is immediately declined. (You’d be surprised how many people answer “Ooky” or “Anchor”).

Q: Do you edit for yourself, for others, or both?

This is a super-easy question. It’s also a subtle reminder about what this group is about.

Q: You can also turn on a question asking applicants to agree to the group rules.

Note: There is no setting that I know of that makes answering the questions mandatory. They don’t even have to check the “Agree to the group rules” option. But you have the opportunity to not let them in.

5. Protect the niche

Probably the hardest part about running a successful Podcast Group is protecting the niche or the theme.

You have to protect your group’s niche, even if it hurts someone’s feelings.

The reason my group is so cherished by others is because we only talk about podcast editing, post-production, and how to grow a business as podcast editors.

Questions about microphones, mixers, and how to use Zoom have nothing to do with editing a podcast – so I have to remove posts that address such topic.

I have to protect the integrity of the group by removing posts that break the rules. Removing posts upsets people. Sometimes I even have to remove posts from friends. I hate that feeling!

If your group’s rules are stated clearly, then it is your duty as a moderator to enforce such rules and protect the community from becoming like all the others.

To do otherwise, even for one post, opens the door for others to follow suit. “Hey, JoJo got to post about Anchor. Why was my post about Anchor removed?”

BTW: I had to remove one of my own posts when I realized “This has nothing to do with editing. What was I thinking?!?”

6. Pose questions, not statements

Remember, this is a GROUP – not your page.

It’s all about community. Even if you are the subject matter expert and ruler of all things in your niche, people want to be involved in the discussion.

I like to ask questions. It’s also easy for me to post questions because I have a bunch of them! “What do you do in this instance” or “What service do you use for invoicing clients” are better questions than “Does anyone use QuickBooks®?”. 

(BTW: The answer to that question is always “Yes. Someone uses QuickBooks®”. That's not much of a conversation, is it?)

Also, share news. Follow up with a question to create engagement.

“Podcast Movement Nashville is in August. Who’s going?”

Just that simple question will spur other conversations – and even helped people find someone to split their hotel room costs (pre-Covid).

7. Create a content schedule

Don’t let a good Facebook Group die!

Facebook likes to keep people on their service, so they share the most engaging content and updates in people’s feeds (the Notifications icon with the red dot that never goes away).

I actually have nine Facebook groups. Most of them are stagnant or dead because I have no reason to post there. It pains me to think I got people to join, then basically abandoned the group.

The key to a successful Facebook group is to keep conversations flowing. It is more likely your group will garner more attention and the Facebook algorithms will help you along with that.

Listen. My goal isn’t to keep people on Facebook. But I do know my group helps people, so I don’t have any hesitations in keeping things going in there.

You also don’t want to add new posts twenty times a day. Constant updates causes membership fatigue – and people will begin to mute you, block you, or leave the group.

Here is how I keep things going without being an attention hog:

  1. Build a Google Doc or Excel sheet with one row for each day of the week
  2. As you come up with ideas, enter them into one of the rows
  3. Add special events for future dates – like April Fools Day or conferences

I usually add 5-7 posts a week. It may seem like a lot, but my community also posts their own questions. In the past four weeks, there have been 267 posts. Admittedly, I am posting more frequently right now.

In February, I started posting a “Word of the Day”. I’m also promoting the Podcast Editors Conference on March 3rd, 2021.

But even without my posts, THERE IS A LOT OF ACTIVITY FROM MY MEMBERS!

I love it!

The content calendar help me spread out the activity, post relevant topics on relevant dates, and not overwhelm my group.

8. Offer. Don't sell.

There is nothing wrong with selling something to your group members.

However, the experience of buying a car has given the word “selling” a bad rep.

So I’m going to encourage you to offer what you have to your group and stop trying to sell it.

I’m a HORRIBLE salesperson. “Here’s a widget, do you want it?” just doesn’t work for me.

However, if I have something I know can help people, I want to tell them about it.

TextExpander, RescueTime, the Podcast Editor Academy… these are all things I believe in and know can benefit others.

So when I talk about these things, I tell my members about a specific feature that has benefited me greatly. “TextExpander allows me to open any Google Doc in a browser by just pressing 3-5 letters on my keyboard. Here’s how it works”.

When it comes to promoting the Podcast Editor Academy, which is a larger ticket item, I state the facts. “After 7 days, this live stream will added to the library of content in the Podcast Editor Academy”.

I know these items aren’t for everybody, so I open my hands and offer the item for anyone interested in taking it.

#Nopushysaleshere

Summary

While it seems there are Facebook groups for everything already, don’t be afraid to niche down even further and create a new one.

For example: many podcast editing groups have been born because of my group. Three immediately come to mind: Just Busters, Podcast Coaches Club, and Filipino Audio Editor training.

On the surface, you might think they they serve a very unique audience or solve a specific need.

Building a successful podcast group takes a lot of work…mostly time. With the eight suggestions I shared above, I’m fairly certain you will make an impact on your community members’ lives.

The Cost of Editing a Podcast Yourself