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Show highlights include:

  • The ‘Lollapalooza Festival’ approach for establishing guidelines and building community culture in your Facebook Group.  (0:44)
  • Why rules are a waste of time in Facebook Groups and how to get the members you want (while establishing community standards).  (4:09)
  • The ‘House Party’ analogy for creating the culture you want and moderating conversations with ease. (8:28)
  • How to instantly protect your group’s integrity and filter out bad members (while modeling as a community leader). (12:03)

You've heard the same advice about Facebook Groups everywhere. Ask questions. Add value. But what does it mean? Let me show you what a profitable, engaged, and FUN Facebook Group looks like. AND I’ll pop the hood for you so you can see exactly how I do it. Join my Facebook group Rock Your Tribe: Community Building for Entrepreneurs at http://www.rockyourtribe.com/facebook

Read Full Transcript

What's up? I'm Rachel Spiewak and this is Rock Your Tribe Radio where community, fun, social media and business collide. I firmly believe that parties are the answer to all of life's problems. Seriously. Building a community, bringing people together for a common purpose and serving them, that's your mission as a business owner. Let's make it happen. It's time to rock your tribe.

(00:29): I've been trying to write and record this episode for way too long. Things keep happening. It's cool though. I'm glad it panned out this way, because I'm going to tell you about the week I just had, and it fits right in with what I wanted to talk about on this episode. Anyway, over the last four days, 95, 95, 95 of my Facebook group members went live in my group. How cool is that? They all went live for five minutes, give or take to introduce themselves and their businesses. Does that sound kind of dry business owners talking about their businesses? It wasn't at all. Jamie Taylor pole danced in her video, Orlando zaps, Molina freestyled about his baby boy while showing us his kid's book, a Saurus, which you can get on Amazon. Greg Fearon told us about his incredibly inspiring personal story that led him to be a champion for women's fitness.

(01:23): Nigel Davies explained branding to us by sharing his nineties record collection. The live video event I hosted it's called live video Palooza in honor, of the iconic nineties, alternative music festival Lollapalooza, which I attended a few times as a teenager. I hosted live video Palooza twice before in my Facebook group a whole year ago, about two weeks ago, I saw a Facebook memory about it and I thought it might be cool to bring it back. So I pitched the idea to my group. I asked if they wanted to go live for five minutes to introduce themselves and their business. And a whole bunch of them said yes. So I set it up by now. You know, that's how I operate. I get an idea. I ask the group, that's the party hard method from episode number one, inaction. The outcome was 95 members went live.

(02:15): Many of them for their very first time. That's a big deal going live on social media can change your whole business. And then I woke up this morning to a notice from Facebook, inviting me to join their group for top admins, I must be doing something right. How did I coordinate all of this? How did I create an international business festival in my Facebook group on short notice using just the group and my mailing list. That's built from the group. I made it easy. I provided guidelines, but the bare minimum necessary, there were no stringent rules. The guidelines were there to give enough structure that everyone felt safe and there was enough wiggle room. So everyone could rock out in their own way, whether they wanted to pull dance or

(03:00): Rap or sing or show us their record collection. For example, there was no schedule during the allotted time, which there were technically three days, but I added it

(03:10): Extra day because he got to have an Encore at a festival. But during the allotted time you could go live at any time you wanted, it was up to you. The guideline about that was keep it to five minutes as best you can. Did we have a few live videos happening at the same time? Sure. Was it a big deal? No festivals. Usually we have a few stages anyway, and you have to decide which band you're going to see this way. I didn't have to overwork and go find people and keep things on track schedule. That would have been a headache. I didn't have to put anyone on the spot before they were ready. It was less work for me. And it made it more fun, comfortable for my members, especially the ones who had never gone

(03:51): Life before they could decide if they wanted to take the plunge right away or hang back and watch a day or two's worth of lives first. And that's what made the festival work guidelines and culture, not rules. And that's what I wanted to talk about on this episode, Facebook groups and the rules. People ask me all the time, how to handle the rules in their Facebook group. The typical situation like this, the group's admin, the person running the group once new members to agree to the rules as they're requesting to join, you know, tick the box. And they don't like it. When a new member doesn't tick the box. So they reach out to me and ask what to do about it. First of all, no one cares about the rules, but also knowing what I know. I want to take a look at their three membership questions because it's more than just the rules and the tick box. Most of the time

(04:47): Time, it's a misunderstanding about the onboarding process of a successful Facebook group. And it signals to me that there's a misunderstanding about how to build a committee in general. I can almost predict what their three members questions are. If they're asking me this question, okay. About the rules, most of the time, I'll see my pet peeve question. What are you struggling with? No too much soon. Don't ask that there or anywhere don't get me started. I already went off about this in another episode, let's go back to the house party analogy I mentioned on this podcast, your Facebook group is

(05:24): Your house party. It's definitely your house, your furniture, your record collection. We know it's your world. We're stepping into and you're curating an experience for us. Your tribe. You picked out music and snacks and activities that would entertain us. A friend of a friend, knocks on your door, ready to meet new people and interested in getting to know you. They brought some refreshments. They came to get down. So you open the door. And what do you say? What are you struggling with? Do you agree to the rules? Oh my God, no, you wouldn't do this in real life.

(05:58): If you did that person would turn around and leave. So what do I think about.
The rules and Facebook groups? What's my answer. When someone asks me out of frustration, what to do about new members, not ticking the box, like I said, no one cares about the rules and neither do I, at least not in the same way that most group admins care about the rules. I'm not saying don't have rules. What I'm saying is let's be realistic about the rules and take responsibility for building a culture inside our groups. What I see people doing is not taking responsibility for the culture and behavioral standards of their group. And assuming that the rules are the same thing as culture, the rules take care of all of them

(06:38): For you and they don't culture is often or reaction to rules, your favorite music and your favorite art. What were the social and political conditions that inspired it? Blues, jazz, rock and roll, hip hop reggae. It's all resistance. Music rules in society are often unfair. And why does anyone assume that people actually read the rules, remember them and care about them. Do you pay attention to the rules everywhere you go? Do you remember the rules of anything except kindergarten, kindergarten rules cover most of the important stuff too on to others as you would have them do onto you, keep your hands and your feet to yourself. Be nice.

(07:22): No, these rules and any adult who can't abide by them Is a Dick. No allowed is a great rule for Facebook groups. So I'm not saying I don't have rules. Rules can help protect the safety and wellbeing of your group. Members. Rules can protect the integrity of your group, but relying on a set of standardized rules provided by Facebook and expecting people to check a box and adhere to them. That's lazy and unrealistic. So getting mad about new members not taking the box is pointless. Sorry, not sorry. If you're a community, the leader, it's your job to cultivate a community with intention, stand up for its standards and walk the talk. And you're also a moderator because our communities are online. So that means you are an enforcer. That means you have to take action rather than passively relying on the rules to resolve problems for you. And because rules are meant to be broken,

(08:18): I'm going to break the rules of content and five paragraph essay writing. And I'm not going to give you a list of my three main points. Instead, here are five steps to intentionally create culture and moderate your Facebook group without being all about the rules in a lazy ineffective way. Here we go. Step number one, let go of me. Can people agree to the rules? When they first walk into your group, instead use your three questions wisely to filter in the right people and set the tone. Think of your three questions as part of the onboarding process of your group and make it nice. Let's go back to that house. Party

(08:56): Analogy, a friend of a friend knocks on your door. They're here to party and meet new people. They brought a bottle of wine. What do you say when they open the door? These are the rules of my party. Do you agree? No. You don't greet people like that. Remember there are more than 10 million Facebook groups. No one has to hang out in yours. If you want to attract the right people and get them to stay and engage and buy stuff from you, take them by the hand and tell them you belong here. That is if they actually do belong here, let's consider who belongs in your group and why and how to make that known. Let's take that house party analogy and call it what it is. It's your brand world. Your Facebook group is your brand world. So you've got your personal brand, right?

(09:40): And your group is where people can marinate in your brand. It's kind of like a theme park or a music festival. Once you go through the Gates, you're transported into a world where all the details, the entertainment, the costumes, the music, it's all on brand. And you as a fan, enter that world because it makes you happy. And because you can vibe out with other fans. So how can you use the power of branding to build a culture and moderate your group? This brings us to step number two, which is something that I've learned from the branding queen herself. Does this lava debris decide what you and your brand stand for and make it known. If you stand for social justice or animal rights, build that into your content and your engagement questions in your group, make it part of the conversation. You don't have to get on your soap box and talk about it every day.

(10:28): But if it's something you care about, find ways to weave it in. Then when align does get crossed, you won't be alone in dealing with it. And it won't come out of the blue. When you speak up, people who are aligned with you will engage with you. And those who aren't aligned will ideally leave. If you deeply care about a cause or issue, you want to filter out people who feel the opposite way, they're going to be tough. Community members and clients, and you don't have to serve everyone. There are some things we can agree to disagree about, and that's fine. And there are some things that really are deal-breakers a few weeks ago, I asked in my Facebook group Brock your tribe, who wouldn't you work with? What's a deal breaker for you. A lot of my members said racist, sexist, xenophobic, homophobic, transphobic, and abelist people. I feel the same way. And it's on us as community leaders to let our tribe know what we stand for and what we stand against. When you build your brand and stand for your brand values inside your Facebook group, it's so much easier to moderate the group.

(11:34): You've heard the same advice about Facebook groups everywhere. Ask questions, add value. But what does that mean? Let me show you what a profitable engaged and a fun Facebook group looks like. And I'll pop the hood for you so you can see exactly how I do it. Join my Facebook group. Rock your tribe, community building for@rokutribe.com forward slash Facebook.

(12:00): And that's step number three, be a moderator. Yes, you're a community leader and that's lovely. But since we're doing this work online, you are also a moderator. You can play the moderator card at any time to protect the integrity of your group. I'll give you an example. Yes. Ladders. Yes. Ladder what's that that's when someone posts something in your Facebook group, like who here is struggling with X, Y, Z, and then a bunch of people comment back. Yes. Or that's me. And then the original poster friend requests them and starts pitching them something. It's all about kind of laying a trap to get people to say yes. And then they raise their hand and then you pounce on them. Yes. Ladders. Nobody likes this. Nobody likes this. No Facebook group leader wants anyone to do this in their group. And that's why these kinds of posts are often removed.

(12:54): As your groups, moderator, you can remove posts. You can remove comments, you can remove people. In fact, it's your job. And now I want to point something out because Facebook groups can easily turn into a lot of work for you as a moderator. So here's a tip on cutting down on the workload. If someone does cross the line in your group, not everything has to be a teachable moment with the offending individual or in the group. So go ahead and kick people out. If that's what you need to do and you can do it unceremoniously. That's what I do. Most of the time. For example, I have a zero tolerance policy for spamming my group. If you spam my group, you get no mourning, no explanation you're gone. Does that seem harsh? Let me tell you. I've tried talking to people. Who've spammed my group and it's a waste of my time.

(13:43): I have a business to run and they can go spam. Another group, someone joined my Facebook group a few months ago, who also helps business owners with their Facebook groups, which would have been fine, but she decided to promote her freebie to my members who commented on my daily engagement posts. Oh, how tacky is that? So I kicked her out. The funny thing is I want my members to buy from each other. If she had waited long enough and spent enough time building real relationships in my group, she might've found some clients. Maybe my group members know that I am the go-to person for Facebook groups, but you get my point. I don't have a problem with competitors hanging out in my group, as long as they're good community members, just like everyone else. I used to go back and forth on how to deal with spammers and people who cross a line and people with the yes ladders. And what I landed on is this. If I have to deliberate over something that doesn't serve me or my community, or if I have to have a pointless conversation with someone who's not going to cooperate anyway, I'm onto the next one. It's not my job to teach. how to not be. I have a business to run most of the time. I kick people out unceremoniously, but every so often I do tell my group about why I've kicked it.

(14:56): Someone out a few months ago, I kicked out a member and wrote a whole post about it in my group because I felt it was necessary to make my values known. At that time. This member made transphobic remarks on her personal profile. When I attempted to engage with her, she and her friends tried to, I guess, cyber bully me, ganged up on me and called me a social justice warrior in a derogatory way, which makes absolutely no sense. So I kicked her out and wrote a post about it because the interaction had me feeling like I should weed out. Anyone else who wishes to spread hateful messages, using my community building strategy. In that post, I wrote about my interaction with her proud history of being yes, a social justice warrior. It wound up being a cathartic post for the, The whole group and help solidify us as a tribe with me as the leader, my group's reaction made me really proud of what I've built. So what happens when you,

(15:55): You, as the community leader make a mistake or offend someone, what if you're accidentally a Dick that brings us to step number four, be willing to take the L when someone points out your blind spots, we all have them. We haven't lived each other's lives. Sometimes even non can accidentally act like a Dick Sample. Some words are considered offensive in some places and not In others. A few months ago, I wrote the following one line engagement post in my Facebook group. And if I share this unpopular opinion about my industry, Everyone will spazz. What is this? Well it's

(16:33): Turns out the word spazz is highly offensive in the UK and in Australia where I have lots of members and not so much in the U S where I am, it's considered ablest. And this was pointed out to me with a certain amount of passion, as in, I really somebody off I'm a special needs mom. So it definitely wasn't my intention to offend anyone this way, But it did. That was the impact. So I owned it and we had it,

(16:57): Honest conversation about the term and the cultural differences and its usage. What kept my reputation intact was my history of standing up for what I believe in and my willingness to learn. And I've since phased the term out of my speech, because I agree. Yes, it is indeed. Abelist in another part of my life. My ego would have been bruised by this, and I wouldn't have handled it with as much grace being a community leader means maintaining your composure. I'm modeling the kind of behavior you want to see in your community. What kind of leaders do I want to inspire through my leadership, who are great leaders that we look up to?

(17:33): What are they like? I'm willing to bet that if you're part of my tribe, you're drawn to leaders who listen to their tribe members and learn from their mistakes. Those are the kinds of leaders that I aspire to be like. Now, as a moderator and leader, We do so much to take care of other people and our communities. But what about you? I got you. Here's step number five, be kind to yourself. Doing this kind of work is tough. Sometimes part of why I don't believe in overworking in your group as many group leaders.

(18:07): When you lead a group, it's not just the content you're responsible for. It's all of this. It can be a lot, especially if you've never been a community leader of some kind before being kind to yourself means keeping your content plans simple. And that will leave you with enough bandwidth and energy to be a moderator, and to be the creator of your group's culture. I'm always saying, if you do one thing in your group every day, start a relevant conversation. That's the bulk of my content. Really? So that was step number five is simple. Step about keeping it simple. And now I'm going to break the rule some more and drop a bonus step. If you want good members, you need to be a good member. But when you

(18:47): Nine other people's groups, we have to do our homework on the leaders we're choosing to follow. So here's bonus step number six, that your community leaders, when you join other Facebook groups, do your homework on the people who lead the group. Look at their profiles, read their blogs, listen to their podcasts, check their websites, find out what they stand for. If you're not aligned with it, or it's not aligned with you leave, you don't need that energy in your life.

(19:14): Everyone who looks successful online truly is so don't get dazzled and miss the clues that this person isn't really looking out for you and your best yeah. Interest. And that's it. That's fine. Absent a bonus step to help you build a culture in your group instead of passively falling back on the rules that people ignore anyway. And now, you know why I don't care about the tick box or getting people to contractually agree to the rules. There's so much more to it than that, but when you know how to be a great community leader and moderator, you'll be happier with your group and your members will love it too. This is going to help you grow your group and encourage your members to engage. I see this all

(19:53): The time in Facebook groups, it's in the description. The description will say something like this group is a safe place for X, Y, Z, people to do X, Y, Z thing. And it's so much deeper than just saying it's a safe place. And it's so much deeper than having people we'll agree to the rules. You have to actively create the safe space and you do that by building the culture instead of passively, relying on the rules, too

(20:20): Good for you. But you got to do it in a way that it doesn't burn you out. So for a quick recap, being responsible for the culture in your group means letting go of making people agree to the rules. When they knock on your door, it means building your brand and standing up for your brand values. It means moderating by removing people, posts and comments often unceremoniously, because it's not worth your time to have that conversation or make a big deal, but sometimes actually talking about it because you do need to share your brand values with your group. You got to make that judgment call being responsible for the group. Culture also means graciously learning from your own mistakes. When someone points out your blind spots and it means being kind to yourself by keeping your content plans super simple and your bonus step, of course, if you want great numbers in your group, go be a great member in other groups. But when you join them that the leaders of those groups make sure that you're aligned with them. They're aligned with you and make sure that they have your best interests at heart. Now go build your culture, throw your party, and don't take any from anyone next up on the show. Let's talk about money again. I love talking about money, especially making money through Facebook groups. Thank you so much for being here and as always you rock,

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