It’s not just a good idea to build community around your podcast – it’s a GREAT idea.

It’s just about the only way to get to know your audience, understand their needs, and build trust on a personal level. So I wanted to bring someone to you who is a PRO at doing that through tools that any of us can use.Meet Bella Vasta.Bella is a pet groomer by trade, but she’s built some amazing community and interaction within her industry through Facebook Groups and I know that what she’s done will be of immense value to those of us who are willing to apply it to our own situation. Bella – thanks for sharing. Let the value bombs DROP!

  • [1:21] I’ve TRIED to build community and failed. Can you relate?
  • [2:30] Bella’s experience of saying “yes” to everything led to creating her own FB groups
  • [5:10] What you name your Facebook Group is VITALLY important
  • [10:40] A podcast case study: how to build community around your topics
  • [16:05] Could you take your rabid fans into a private (paid) Facebook Group?
  • [22:27] How you can start a Facebook Group from scratch – Bella takes us step by step
  • [26:14] The ground rules / photos / and entry questions – follow Bella’s advice to do this right
  • [28:11] What NOT to do in your efforts to engage your community
  • [32:11] Facebook paid groups are coming… whoa! This could be big!
  • [33:58] Bella’s best pitch for why a podcaster should start a Facebook Group

Other Goodies Mentioned On This Episode

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Who is your community for? BE SPECIFIC!

One of the things that guarantees that people will at least be interested in your Facebook Group is that it appears to be RELEVANT to their interests or needs. Think about it…You join the communities that you know are going to benefit YOU. Your podcast listeners will do the very same thing.I loved that Bella drew out this point, because it’s so true. You can and should build community by creating a private, members-only community that addresses their needs. Bella’s a pro at doing that kind of thing on Facebook.If you haven’t listened to this episode yet, hit the play button while you continue reading. Bella shares a number of ways you should establish your Facebook Group with specificity that makes it clear to potential members that they will receive the value they are looking for. Here are the things she mentions…
  • How to effectively NAME your Facebook Group to attract the right people
  • How to create entry questions that reveal what group members want and need
  • How to start conversations that build trust and reveal more needs (for you to meet)
  • How to make your Facebook group meet member needs and generate revenue for you
And there’s lots more! Bella’s creativity was spilling through the speakers as we spoke and I know you are going to be energized by her enthusiasm for building community around podcasting, so be sure you listen.

Use your Facebook group to engage with listeners after your episodes publish

Too many podcasters make the mistake of dropping a link to their latest episode into their social media platforms and groups and then hitting the publish button.No introduction. No tease. No explanation of the topic or guest. Nothing.And we wonder why we don’t have many downloads/listens via social media platforms. ;(There is a better way to do it – through a Facebook Group. Bella explains why your Facebook Community is the very best place for you to post your new episodes and she explains how to post them in a way that actually gets engagement and encourages listens.Encourage listens by asking questions related to the topic – as you post your podcast episode link. Start an actual, real-life conversation. 🙂And what should you do once people start commenting? Bella has a great tip: Respond!You want the people in your group to know you hear them. You want them to feel you are available and responsive. You want them to know that the care and concern you express via your podcast episodes is genuine on a personal level. That’s why your response to their comments is so vital.Bella suggests you not only response (“Great point…”) but that you use your response to extend the conversation with that person and others (“Great point… how did you learn that?).Do you see how building community with your listeners can become much easier once you get them into a group like this?

But that begs the question… How do you get them into the group in the first place?

I’m glad you asked. Your podcast listeners actually LISTEN to your podcast, right? So it makes sense that you invite them to be a part of your Facebook group THROUGH YOUR PODCAST AUDIO. Make the invitation to your Facebook Group a consistent call to action on your show.Tell listeners how to find it. Tell them again. Tell them again. Episode after episode after episode. And don’t let yourself stop because it seems you’re talking about it too much. Some people who listen to your show may not have heard the other mentions. Maybe they got distracted by their dog, or their kid, or the car that almost cut them off.The point is – keep telling them about your group – and you’ll grow it over time.

Make money WHILE you build community around your podcast

A few times in my conversation with Bella, she mentioned using Facebook Groups into “paid” groups. I didn’t know you could do that on Facebook – so I asked her about it.Turns out that at this point (Sept. 2018) you CAN’T create a paid or subscription group on Facebook. But it’s on the way. See the resources for this episode to read a TechCrunch article about what’s being tested even now.But there are OTHER ways to create a paid Facebook Group even without it being an official part of the Facebook platform. It takes a bit more work on your part (or the part of a VA if you use one) but it can be done.Here are the basics:
  • Create your private Facebook Group – make it clear what value people will get from joining
  • Make the group known (on your podcast audio)
  • Create a landing page where they “buy” membership into the group (you could use a PayPal recurring subscription, a Gumroad subscription, etc.)
  • Once a member pays, direct them to your Facebook group and instruct them to join
  • You approve the membership and engage with your new friend
So – if you took the time to do all of that, how do you make the group WORTH the cost of admission month after month?

You have to provide members-only content they can’t find anyplace else. Maybe it’s…

  • Group coaching
  • In-depth how-to video or audio
  • “Office hours” when you are personally available to the group
  • Systematic lessons on a topic the group is interested in
Bella creates groups like this often to do group coaching. She sets them up as limited-time only groups to impress on the members that they only have a short time to get the content and do the work – then she boots them all out (into a more general group so she can remain in contact with them) when the coaching is done.During our conversation, Bella also mentioned another idea (I think it came to her on the spot as we spoke) about creating part A and part B episodes with a guest. Here’s how it would work…Part A serves to “prime the pump” by teasing listeners into the topic.Part B provides the “how to” portion step by step – but is ONLY available in the “pay for” group.That’s a model that could go on indefinitely as long as you provide great, actionable content episode after episode.I’m actually thinking through this approach as it relates to some of the courses I’ve already created. Could those courses be repurposed into a limited-time paid Facebook Group / Group Coaching Session?

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Why EVERY podcaster should start a Facebook Group

By the end of my conversation with Bella Vasta I had all kinds of ideas running through my head, but I didn’t want my own enthusiasm for what she was explaining to keep me from thinking of how her ideas might be landing on others.So for all you who listened and were unconvinced – I wanted to ask Bella straight up: Why should a podcaster start a Facebook Group.Her answer was simple: Because you want to have ongoing listeners.When she first responded that way I wasn’t sure what she meant, but her explanation had me convinced.In her mind, podcasters should use the popularity and dominance of Facebook to their full advantage. That means using it as a distribution / announcement channel for your podcast episodes.Bella believes that your group members will be checking their group messages more often than they are checking their email, podcast apps, or anything else. Facebook notifications ARE on by default and many people never turn them off.So your publication to your Facebook Group could be just the reminder they need to listen to your episode. And then it’s all up to you… to create great content, to provide value, to provoke excitement and enthusiasm, and to engage with your listeners by building community after you publish.Bella thinks it’s a win-win – and I think she’s right.

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