Build an Engaged Online Community from Scratch | Phil Ebiner | Skillshare

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Build an Engaged Online Community from Scratch

teacher avatar Phil Ebiner, Video | Photo | Design

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.

      Welcome to Class


    • 2.

      Download the Course Slides


    • 3.

      What is an Online Community?


    • 4.

      Why Should You Start an Online Community?


    • 5.

      Recommend Tools and Apps for Creating an Online Community


    • 6.

      How to Grow Your Online Community


    • 7.

      How to Create More Engagement in Your Community


    • 8.

      3 Quick Tips for Increasing Engagement


    • 9.

      Best Types of Posts to Share in Your Community


    • 10.

      Make Consistent Posting Easier


    • 11.

      Content Tools & Apps I Love to Create and Automate Posts


    • 12.

      Make Your Posts Count More and Increase Engagement


    • 13.

      Use Analytics to Grow Your Community


    • 14.

      Setting Your Expectations & Thank You


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About This Class

Do you want to learn how to easily create an engaged and self-sustainable online community?

This crash course will teach you how to create your own online community to better serve your audience and stand out from the crowd.

Learn what an online community is, why it can be so beneficial for you or your brand, and the steps and tools to actually creating your community.

Beyond simply creating a community, such as a Facebook Group, you'll learn best practices for making it easy to manage and more likely to be successful.

More skills you will learn:

  • Learn the best platforms and tools - all free to use - for creating an online community

  • Learn what types of posts to create the most engagement

  • Learn other techniques to improve the engagement of your posts

  • Learn tools for creating high quality graphics, scheduling content, automating posts, and making publishing content even easier

  • Learn how to use analytics to improve and grow your community

What do you get with this course?

  • Easy-to-watch video lessons

  • Downloadable Community Building workbook

  • Practical tips and techniques

  • Instructor support if you have any questions

  • Community of students ready to help

Why take this course from us?

Over the past 10 years, I have experience creating successful online communities that range from 5-person masterminds to 70,000+ Facebook Groups. I'm excited to share all of my knowledge and experience creating and managing these groups and communities. You'll learn real world and practical tips and techniques that actually work in making a highly engaged community.

More importantly, I want to show you how to make your community self-sustainable, meaning it will run on its own as community members become content creators, question responders, moderators and beyond. I want this to be easy for you, and not an extra burden.



Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Phil Ebiner

Video | Photo | Design


Can I help you learn a new skill?

Since 2012 have been teaching people like you everything I know. I create courses that teach you how to creatively share your story through photography, video, design, and marketing.

I pride myself on creating high quality courses from real world experience.


I've always tried to live life presently and to the fullest. Some of the things I love to do in my spare time include mountain biking, nerding out on personal finance, traveling to new places, watching sports (huge baseball fan here!), and sharing meals with friends and family. Most days you can find me spending quality time with my lovely wife, twin boys and a baby girl, and dog Ashby.

In 2011, I graduated with my Bachelor of Arts in Film and Tele... See full profile

Level: Beginner

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1. Welcome to Class: Welcome to community from scratch. In this class, I'm going to teach you how to build your very own online community completely from scratch, making sure that it's an engaged community and making it easy for you to do. My name is Phil webinar and I'm so excited to have you here. I've been teaching online courses and building communities for my students for many, many years. And I am ready and happy to share my step-by-step process on doing that with you. So the three components of this class are what, why and how, what our communities, why are they so important right now, specifically for a brand or business? But don't worry if you don't have a business or brand or don't have one yet, that's okay. Or you could be just creating a community for fun, for a local cycling group or for a group of friends that play a particular video game, whatever it may be, this class will be applicable to you. And then of course how? And that's going to be the bulk of this class. How practical tips on how you build an online community. Beyond how though I'm going to teach you how to make it easy on yourself so you're not spending too much time trying to grow your community. I'm going to also give you specific tips on how to build that engagement early on so that your community becomes self-sustainable. And that's the ultimate goal is that we want your community, you, I don't want you to have to be doing everything, every data. Can I keep it alive? At the end of the day, you want to create the platform, create the space for your community members. But really have them be the people, the ones that are making it a great community. So I'm going to show you exactly how to do that in this class. Throughout this class, you're going to see some slides like this where their action items. So this is just a calling card for you to take a breath, take a pause, maybe even pause the video, write down or answer the question or the prompt you can even download are downloadable workbook, which will be in the next lesson of this class, which will have space for you to write and if you want to print it out. So the first action item is just to write down some of your passions. This might be something that you have already thought about creating a community for. Maybe it's something you already have a community for, or maybe it's not anything related to what your community is about. But I think it's a good idea to get some of your passions in mind so that as we move through this class, we can kind of use those as examples. And you can start to think about how you potentially could create a community based off of what you love. So without further ado, we're going to jump into the what, the why and the how. But I just again want to say thank you so much for joining this class. I'm always open to feedback. I really hope if you participated in the live training that this course helps you even more. I'm going to dive a little bit deeper, show you a little bit more examples and the backend and the practical things that I didn't get to cover in the live training. So I'm super excited about it and let's get going. 2. Download the Course Slides: I have included downloadable slides so that you can follow along with everything I'm talking about in this class. So go down to the resources under the projects and resources tab there you can download the slides. You can also read through the project description. I can't wait to see what you come up with for your content calendar, which is just one aspect of what we're going to be learning in this class. But please share it and we can't wait to see it. And of course, I hope you enjoyed the class chairs. 3. What is an Online Community?: What is community? In this lesson, we're going to cover how people benefit from a community and really what it is that we're going to be creating through this course. So first, let's talk about why someone would want to use or join a community. One is that a community may provide informational and educational info. Maybe they're learning from the community. For example, I'm going to be using my community, the photography and friends community a lot for examples. And that is an educational community. Students join that group so that they can benefit from it by learning. But that's not the only reason someone may want to join a community. Another could purely be entertainment. There are communities online for people who love watching funny cat videos or political junkies who want to just follow and be entertained by maybe comical political junkies or maybe it's more informational or informational, or maybe it's a combination of both. Beyond that, people are looking for connection. People are looking to connect with other people from around the world. But beyond even connection, we're talking about acceptance. People join communities so they can be accepted for who they are, for what their passions are, for the way, their lifestyle, their beliefs, all of that kind of thing. So when I think about communities, I'm not only thinking about online communities, but I'm also thinking about in-person communities. One of the communities that I was in that perfectly aligned with my values was a social justice organization that I joined in college. It was called ignitions, Loyola Mary mount university. So shout out to any Ag is off hair. And it was a group where we just got together on the weekends and during the week we did serve a community service. We would go hang out with kids after school. We would clean up the beach. We would walk dogs at pet shelters, all kinds of really cool stuff. And at that time it was a community of like-minded people that I just really, really bonded with. And that's that, that passion for helping others and serving others. What brought us together. But that was really mostly an in-person community. And with this class we're talking about online communities, but it doesn't have to be solely online. It could be a in online community for a group that you get together in person with. There's such a fluid dynamic between in-person and online stuff. Now that I think that's totally a possibility, for example, I'll use another example of a community that I partaken is cycling groups. So I ride my bike a lot and in my local area there's a lot of cycling groups that are usually based on Facebook groups where people learn, they get information about upcoming rides, ask questions, post funny cycling videos. But it's again building that connection and acceptance for who you are. And there's different types of cycling groups out there. There's some that are super professional. There's some that are a little bit more of like people that just want to write for fun. And so that's what I mean by acceptance, is there's communities out there for everyone. And that's what you're trying to do. Build a community that whoever is a part of it truly feels accepted. So here's another action item for you, and that's what makes a great community too. You I listed for benefits, but maybe there are other things. I want you to write them out so that as you move forward in creating your own community, you really have a good grasp on how to make it a good one for you because at the end of the day, you are creating a community that you would love to have joined or that you want to be a part of, right? So go ahead and take a minute right down, what makes a great community for you? A major key point that I want to get across is that a community is going to be successful when it's more about your members interacting, then you having a place to shout through your megaphone. Now I mentioned this because I think a lot of people taking this course are thinking about this as a way to help their business or brand, potentially as a place for you to promote your products or services to and hopefully get more customers or more repeat customers. And that's great. Don't get me wrong. That is definitely something that you can use a community for. But if that's the only reason someone is joining a community, it's not going to be engaged, and it's definitely not going to be self sustainable, is not going to be a group where you can be hands off and let it run itself. People who joined that group are going to be expecting you to provide all of the content and all of the information, all of the posts, and keep it interactive and engaging. Whereas if it's a place where people can just interact and want to interact and want to share and help each other and learn or be entertained and not just be sold to, that's going to be much, much better for the community. So keep that in mind as you move forward. So that's what a community is to me. In the next section, we're going to be learning about why it is important to have a community. 4. Why Should You Start an Online Community?: Why is a community important? You might be thinking, well, accumulate, IT sounds cool, but I want to show you why it can be very beneficial for you, and specifically for those of you with businesses or brands. But let's, let's back up a little bit and talk about the big picture of where we're at in society right now. 0.1 is that we have unlimited means of communication. So you might be wondering, well, why would I want to build a community if the point is engagement, interaction, acceptance when there's so many other ways to communicate and interact with people. I think that we're almost at a point where there's too many ways of communicating. I look at my phone and I have people messaging me through text, through Facebook messages, through Instagram, direct messages through my community, through email, multiple email accounts. People still call me. It's, it's almost too much at this point, but we're lonelier than ever. I don't know if you feel this way, but studies show that a lot of people feel lonelier now than ever before, even though we have literally unlimited means of communication. I just I can remember in my lifetime, ten years ago when I started dating my wife. Her family is from the Philippines and they went through so many ways of communicating with their family back in the Philippines. I know I heard stories about how her dad moved to the United States before her mom. And he would call just with a regular landline call her mom every single day. That must have cost a fortune. Back then in the eighties. When I started dating them, there were different online methods of trying to connect via land lie, and I don't know if anyone remembers the magic Jack, who was like, you could call on your phone through your computer, but it's still cost a certain amount of money. Then of course there were things like Skype, but even Skype wasn't completely free depending on who you are, where you are calling. But nowadays, communication is constant and it's free and it's video chat. So compared to what it was like ten, 20-30 years ago, you could face chat, FaceTime. Anyone around the world who has a, an Internet connection for free right now, which is crazy, right? But at the same time, we're lonelier than ever, and that is a big problem. Another good point though is that there are more people online than ever before and more and more people are going to beginning online than ever before. This means there's people out there that have similar passions and interests as you that might want to join your community. And you are no longer limited to the people in your city or in your surrounding area. Or even in your country or your state or whatever you have the entire world that might be interested in joining your community. And at the end of the day, kind of connecting the point number two is that we need to find a sense of belonging because this is what brings us happiness. This is what gives us purpose in life. Belonging to your family, belonging with friends, belonging with the community. I know that to me out of anything that I do with my online business of teaching other people's skills. One of the best things is the community that I've built and building that connection on a deeper level with my students through that community, and seeing students connect through that community as well. And so I think if we look at where we're at in society, we need more purposeful and meaningful connection. And that's what you can do with your community. So let's talk about why this might be important for those of you who have a business or brand. So customers have unlimited options, like since we are online now and there's basically multiple options for any type of product or service. And people can purchase that online. Competition is really difficult right now. And now people can more easily than ever compared different products and services, different brands. And it's often hard to stand out in the crowd, especially when there are big brands that are taking over everything where Amazon is promoting their product over everyone else's or whatever it may be. So you need to stand out. Having a community can help your business stand out and gives a customer or a protest potential customer. That extra reason for choosing you or your brand. Communities are great because they do create loyal followers. And this helps with your brand if you're trying to make money from it. Because it helps create customers who will buy a future product of yours. If you have one, they will share your brand and product and help grow your business organically that way in a community is a perfect place to do that without it feeling kinda like scammed me. A community is completely beneficial or should be completely beneficial to your customer. And it's just inevitable and organic that the customers become loyal followers, loyal customers who buy more and share your product or brand. And the last point I want to talk about is if you don't have a, an online brand or you're selling something in person, a retail store. This is still a great idea to have a, an online-based community for your customers. You could think about a local yoga studio, for example, I do yoga sometimes more, I wish I could go more. My wife really likes doing yoga at a local Studio. And I can imagine that if your local yoga studio had their own Facebook group or can online community, it would really benefit their members as a place to learn about events, new classes to connect with other people who take yoga, yoga at that studio. Rather than it just being a place where you go in and do yoga, go out. And it's just all personal, just for yourself. That community aspect of being able to go online and be a part of something, connect with other people. We'll make that experience so much better for those customers, for those students practicing yoga. And that's just one example of how an online community can help. I've seen lots of people who do things like baking bread, local bakers who built a community of followers, whether it's through even just a simple Instagram account where people follow and communicate in chat. Or it could be a website or a Facebook group or a YouTube channel. We'll talk a little bit more about what platforms you can use for a community, which ones are more beneficial. But I don't want you to think that a community is only something like a Facebook group. It could be something like a YouTube channel or other kind of platform. But definitely if you have a sort of an in-person retail or service business, definitely think about adding an online community aspect to it. Like I mentioned before, I'll be using photography and friends, which is my student group that I started for all my students of my photography courses. To date, we have over 66 thousand members and growing. And it by far is like I said, one of the best things that I've done and we're going to dive into all the practical things that I did to help grow it, make it self-sufficient and as engaged as possible. So quick action item, The question is, have you already started your own community? If you have, that's great. Maybe you can send it to me. This action is probably more. You don't need to write it down. But if you are in the class on the Discussion tab, make sure you post it so that other students can see potentially you'll find other members of this class you might want to join your community as well. So that was a big lesson on why community is important. I hope you understand from my perspective why I think it's so important, and I hope you do too. Next, we're gonna move into how to build your own community. 5. Recommend Tools and Apps for Creating an Online Community: Welcome to this new section of the course all about how to actually build your community. This one's going to be broken down into a lot of lessons growing from just the basics of platforms and things like that to practical things like what posts you should try to do to make your group or community even more engaged. So first, let's look at some of the platform options out there. And like there are forms of communication, there literally are unlimited options for different platforms you can use to start a community. Here are some of the ones that I would suggest looking at right now. Facebook groups, it's calloc the first place I would think just because there's a lot of people on there. People are on Facebook all the time. There's definitely drawbacks to putting a community on Facebook. You don't have complete control. There's privacy issues and things that make people not want to use Facebook. So not everyone might be willing to go onto a Facebook group. That's an issue I've had with some students, have my photography classes. But in general, Facebook is really, really easy to use, really easy to get started. And if you're starting from scratch, it's a great place to put a community if you want to grow it quickly. And like I said, it's just people are on Facebook, so they will see your content and it's kind of a double edge sword. So people go on Facebook, so it's easy to get to your community. They don't have to take that extra step of going to a separate website to get to your community. But at the same time, Facebook and other, everyone else's competing for their attention on, on Facebook. So that's not necessarily good if you want someone who's dedicated to coming into your group. So that's why some of these other options might be good. Slack and discord are, are pretty similar. These are more of just a message board, a place that you can communicate with people. These are a little bit more for community groups that might be working on projects together, that kind of thing. I know for me and my wife, we have a couple of projects we're working on in our community. For example, we've helped start a community newspaper. So our little group has a Slack channel where we can communicate. So it's more of a productivity community app, I would say. But the cool thing is that it's web-based. It's, you can go on your computer, you can get to it through the application on a phone or even on your computer. And discord is very, very similar. Mining works is something you should definitely look into if you want more control of your community. This is a platform and I bet there's other ones out there. This is just the one that I've heard about. I've played around with it a little bit. I sign up for an account and I did. I've thought about moving my photography group over there. But at the end of the day, I will say that I have surveyed my audience in the, in my community. And overwhelmingly. 80 to 90% of them ALL consistently say they'd rather have the community kept on Facebook rather than moving to a dedicated platform like mighty networks. We're gonna dive and look at some of these networks just to show you how it works in just a second. But the last is read it. And I mean, there's more than this, but read it is an example of what you could create a community on as more of like a forum where you have your group or your community and it's just kind of a discussion forum. So you don't have complete control of what types of things can be posted, how it's laid out. But it is an option. And the cool thing about all of these is they're free to get started. It's Facebook groups. Facebook is free, slack is free, Reddit's free. There are some paid upgrades for these apps, but also mighty networks as well, does have a free plan to get started. Of course, if you built your own website, there's lots of apps and plug-ins that you can use to build sort of a community or like a social network type platform of your own. But if you're just getting started out was something easy and free to use OUT suggests one of these. Let's look at them just a little bit further just to see what the options are. And I can kind of show you what my Facebook group looks like. Alright, so here we are in my Facebook group now Facebook and all of these platforms do change. So if you're watching this course and Facebook looks a little bit different than, Don't worry. Things are generally going to be similar. They don't make drastic changes in terms of what you can actually do with your Facebook group. But the layout is quite different than it was a year ago. I actually have lots of Facebook groups. I haven't hide Facebook groups for my online course training courses. I have a Facebook group for at my mastermind group of other online course creators. I've got a Facebook group for other students of mine through my video School platform. So I'm really not going to spend a lot of time here because I think most people are aware of how Facebook works. You've got your board, your stream with all of the posts. So you can see that I have a lot of students posting photos, lots of interaction from members. And that's great. You know, I love looking at my stream and seeing people that have posted photos. A 194 likes, 46 likes. Most of them have comments. Just lots of people engaged with this group. A 120 likes, 40 comments. I mean, just lots of engagement. For most posts. With Facebook groups, you have the option of pinning your most important content at the top of the group and making announcements. And so this is where I would say Facebook is a little bit lacking in the ways that you as the group moderator. Can dictate what content people see. You basically only have the ability to make marker posts as announcements, which is supposed to make it so when any new student comes or community member comes to your group, or if they have their notifications on, they will see your announcement in their stream or there we'll see at the top of the group, you also have the option to pin a specific post to the very top. So I have a lot of announcements and we'll go a little bit more in depth in this later on and types of posts that I suggest. But lots of different types of posts. Down at the bottom you scroll, you'll see that some of them are just like a welcome video. A couple of other like group rules, that kind of thing. Things that I want to just stick there for people whenever they want to get to it. Here's one. Let me just show you I can actually remove this announcement because this was an old live stream that we did. So I'm going to remove that. And then you have the one pinned post that you can pin to the very top so you can pick whatever one and that should, that will stick it to the very top of the community. So of course, like Facebook, other aspects, you can create events and things like that. There are a lot of things you can do with viewing your members. Seeing analytics, which we'll dive into later on. Reddit is another option. And this is more of an option if you want to just create a community of people who you might not have in your business or brand already. You're just kinda like creating community for any kind of random topic or passionate or interested in. And then anybody around the world can find it and join and be a part of it. So here's an example of a community. I often look at the sourdough bread community. I'm into baking and I love seeing this. It's basically just a discussion forum where people post photos, questions, videos, people can comment on it up, vote it, download it. Basic big stuff. Slack is the other one I mentioned along with this chord. You can check it out here, but it's basically a glorified message board. What I love about it is that within your community or Slack channel, you can have different threads where there are there based on different topics. You can have your thread with everybody on it. You're going to have direct message threads with specific people. But it really is more of that message boards. So if your community is not based off of like content necessarily in viewing content, more just about communicating with people than Slack is a good option. And then lastly, mighty networks mining that works kind of puts everything together and puts it on one platform. So what's cool about it is that you can base build basically a website using mighty networks. You can put your own online courses there as well. You can use it as a membership site so you can actually charge for it. You can get paid for your courses there. What I also like about it is that you have all kinds of ways of Forcing people to see the content you want them to see, or also notifying people to see that content. For example, on Facebook, if you put out a, if you have a community group of lots of people on your Facebook group and you put out a video that you want people to see. You're basically just hoping that they go to Facebook and see it. But with a platform like maybe networks, if you post something, you have the option of sending everyone a message or an email when you have new content or things like that. The other thing I like about my name networks and why teased the idea of changing from a Facebook group is you can have different sections of your community based off of topics. And so I would love to have that in my photography group where I could have like beginner questions or photo editing stuff in a separate area. Whereas on Facebook it's just in one space. But mining networks allows you to kind of break things down by topic. It also has an app so people can get easy access to your community. You don't have to build it out yourself. People can access it via the app as well. So something to consider if you are looking for a platform that has a few more options and customized customization options. A few other tools. You've probably heard of these, but I just want to mention them as things that you keep in your mind for how to connect with your community members on a deeper level, google meet zoom Microsoft teams. These are all things that we're all accustomed to now, since Cove ID, we have probably used all of them or definitely a couple of them to meet whether it was for work or school or with friends, with family. These are DO start free, but you do have to pay depending on how many people you want to join. If you want the ability to record or the length of time of your meetings or things like that. So definitely something to look into. But this is something that I don't necessarily use for my photography and friends community, but I do use these ops in other communities. For example, in our local community, where for our community newspaper that we're creating, we're always doing Zoom meetings and things like that. Groupme and Mail Chimp or other just things to think about. Group me is a way to have like a text message chain. It's, it's really a simplified version of something like Slack. It's just basically a group chat that's easy for people to join and get, get in and remove themselves from the, from the group. And there's, you know, you could use WhatsApp, you could use all kinds of different apps. Group me as one of them. Again, it's free. And then Mail Chimp is just one example of an email marketing software where it would be a good idea for you to collect email addresses of your community members. So if you are using a platform like Facebook, were you can't really send them an email about important content or things that are happening in your community. You will use a tool like Mail Chimp, which is free to get started. Get people's email addresses, start building that email list. And then when, whenever you have something important to share it, you can send them the email. So you kind of use all of these tools in combination. And you know, you have your platform where your community is hosted, dots, one of these tools in the first column, but you use these other apps to further the communication and engagement with your group. So these are all the platforms, apps, and tools that I would recommend checking out if you want to get started. But if you want something super simple, I would just go with a Facebook group. So that's what I've done and it's super easy. And if you're continuing with this course, you'll see a lot of what you can do with a Facebook group through the rest of the course. 6. How to Grow Your Online Community: In this lesson, we're quickly going to talk about how to grow your community just to give you the ideas of where you're going to find your community members if you're starting. So first is existing customers. This is the easy one if you already have a business or a brand, if you have an online presence, if you have a social media account like a YouTube channel or an Instagram channel, Arctic talk or whatever it is nowadays, if you have an existing brand, of course, you're going to want to invite all of your existing customers to your community. So this is great if you have been collecting community or customers information. For example, if you do have a brick and mortar business, hopefully you have people's email addresses, if depends on what you sell. Imagining my local bike shop, they do take people's email addresses down. So they've built their email list whenever someone buys products from them. Now if you're buying something from your local bakery, you might not have given them your email address, but maybe you follow them on social media and that's where they would reach out to you to invite you to year their community. Or if you're the bakery owner and you have an Instagram account, of course, you're going to want to invite your existing customers to your brand new community, then of course, your new customers. But this is something that a lot of people forget to do. Who have a community. They're not aware or not thinking about having it built into their process of sales to invite customers to their community. So again, whether it's brick and mortar and you are selling cupcakes or you are online and you're selling beauty products. Whenever you make the sale, you should follow up with an invite to your community. Again, using the in-person bike shop example, if you're selling a bike to someone and they lived near you and the surrounding area. If you sell them a bike, you should definitely be letting them know that you have this awesome online community that they can join where they can learn about group rides and things that are happening or discounts and sales or promotions going on in the store. If you sell beauty products online, if you ever saw anything, you should have an automated system where in the receipt email or in a follow-up email, people should be being invited to your community. Like I mentioned, this is also a way to separate yourself from your competition by mentioning that when people become customers, they are invited to a community. You might not want to have your community be exclusive to only paying customers. But that is one way to make your, your group feel a little bit more exclusive and automatically make it more engaging, which we'll talk about in a future lesson. And then lastly, if you have already invited your existing customers and you are already going to invite all your new customers. Social media and search are the other places to get people. So if you have a Facebook group, if it's a public group, people can just find it on Facebook. And this is something I definitely recommend doing for people who are starting from scratch. If you want to grow a group and you're not concerned about it, only being paying customers of yours. Put out a Facebook group, make it public. You can still make it so that people have to request to join and people aren't automatically able to join your group. But there are so many people on Facebook searching for all sorts of topics. And I've done this in the past myself. And I imagine you have two just looking for communities out there for whatever your passions are. So this is a great way to make it to grow your group fast and easy. Put it out as a free Facebook group. This is why Facebook's a good place to put your community versus something like mighty networks are a Slack channel because those are platforms where you're not going to get really any organic traffic from social media, from people just finding it on accident or through search, or potentially getting picked up through a Google search or things like that. It'll take a lot longer to be able to get picked up through Google Search or other search engines and things like that. So that is one benefit to using a platform where people are already on that platform, such as Reddit or Facebook. Because it's going to be easier to grow your community a little bit faster. So if you're thinking, how can I grow my community? These are the three buckets that you can pull people in from. 7. How to Create More Engagement in Your Community: So now we've covered what a community is, why it's important to have a community. We've talked about the basics of how to create a community and the platform is to use. But what about how to make an engaged community making it, taking it a step further. That's what this lesson is all about. So why isn't engaged community better? One is that members want to be a part of the group. So this isn't something like a student group or a community for your coworkers. Your boss put together where you're forced to join it, you're forced to partake, participate, and engage. Community is one that people want to join and want to participate. Themself. People will feel like they're a part of something exclusive. This goes back to what I was mentioning in the last lesson about existing customers or new customers. If you keep your community only for people who have purchased a product, or maybe a person who has been on a bike ride with you or like even more exclusive with my mastermind group. It's only five or six of us in that community, and it's only us after we've met each other, we've talked, and it's much more exclusive than our photography and friends community where anybody that's a student of our Photography group join that. But if there is that barrier to entry, it does make it feel more exclusive for people and that makes it special. And there's just something about that that will automatically make people a little bit more engaged and engage community is one where members come back to the group on their own. So going back to the very beginning of the course where I talked about, this is not a place for you to just have a megaphone where you're shouting about your latest content or your latest promotion or sale or whatever it is. You want your community to be a place where people come back to it on their own because they're getting value from it. And whatever that value is, educational, informational entertainment. But of course, an engaged community is going to be one where people come back on their own and they're not basically waiting for you to tell them to come back. And then lastly, members make the community self-sustaining. Going back to the very beginning of this course where I talked about how you want your group, your community to be self-sustaining. You don't want to be the one that's constantly having to post, constantly, constantly crying out to your members, to post, to share it, a comment to Lake to engage. You don't want that. You want your community to be engaged itself. So what will this look like when your community is self-sustainable? I just wanna give you a vision for what this could be. And then we'll talk about how we actually do this and the steps to take in upcoming lessons. One is members become content posters. So no longer are you the only one that's posting content? You want your members to be sharing content as well. Too. Is members become moderators. So this can be in an official way where. You actually hire them or depending on the platform, you can give them actual access or tools to help out to moderate content, make removing content that's not allowed or to accept new members, or to answer questions. Or it could just be a more casual relationship where there are just people in your group who care about your community, who are reporting content that shouldn't be allowed or who are answering questions instead of you having to do it, which is my 0.3 members are answered new member questions depending on what your community is. This is more for educational communities, but it would be nice if you want to have to be the one answering all the questions. Once you have enough members and F engaged members, you can count on the members themselves to do that. 0.4. is that members promote the community. So the beauty of this man and would that be amazing if you didn't have to try to fill those three buckets, remember the existing new customers or from social media or Google? Instead of you having to promote yourself, ask people to join. Your community members are so stoked about your group and your community that they're promoting it to their friends, to their family, to the people of that have the similar passions as them that are your community, that's your communities for. And they're sharing it and helping you grow it yourself. They're sharing it and helping you grow organically. As I was going through these slides, you can see that this is content from my community members, my amazing community members. You can see these photos. These were I just picked some random that were all around the time that I was prepping for this class in October. And these photos have 587 likes or reactions. Seven hundred and fifty one hundred one hundred twenty six forty six commons VG two comments, one or this one down below. What is the best Canon lens? So this is a typical question you get in a Photography group, 35 comments, and that was within a day, 35 members, beautiful, beautiful, amazing members helping me out. And this is what I'm talking about in terms of separating yourself from other competitors. Students of my photo courses get access to this amazing community where they can learn and be inspired and share their work. And this is something that sets my courses, I think, apart from other platforms, other educational content, YouTube videos for example, a lot of what I teach you can find on YouTube, you could find in a blog article, but one, you're not going to find it laid out in a course format where it goes super in-depth. You're not going to find it where you have instructors who are engaged, willing to answer questions. But beyond that, we have this community for our students where you can get all of this extra content and help in a lot more which I'm going to be covering in our future lesson about posts. So this is what a sustainable community can look like. 8. 3 Quick Tips for Increasing Engagement: Here are three tips to increase engagement for your community. Tip one is consistent posts and responses from the moderators. This sounds easier said than done, but, but really it's the rule to any successful online business. Consistency. Now, consistency looks different depending on the community, depending on the platform. If your community is on YouTube, maybe posting once or twice a week or even fewer times is fine. If your community is on a Facebook group, you might need to post more often than that to keep it engaged, especially in the beginning from, from yourself in terms of post. Ultimately you want your members to be posting, but from you, you need to be consistent and you need responses from the moderators. And this is like the number one thing to quickly grow from scratch is to be active and to be engaged with new members. Because at the end of the day it's all about building that connection. It's not just about building in connection with each other, but with you, the brand, the business. You are your brand, your business, you are the face of the community. And so people want that connection with you. So the faster you can respond, the more you can engage in help with members who are posting, not just questions, but any type of posts, respond. It's going to increase your engagement. Tip number two is quick moderation of posts that go against the community rules and themes. So there's nothing worse than spam. So automatically you gotta make sure you're on top of that. Get rid of the spam. But also if people are posting thing that might not be spammy, but it's just not related to your community. You want to also get rid of that. This happens a lot on Facebook, maybe more so than if you had your own platform. But it happens a lot. And you can imagine if you're in a community where you're expecting to watch funny cat videos. But then people start spamming you with their video game live streams, then that's going to get annoying. And if the community moderators aren't removing it, it's going to lead those community members to leave. Say that 20 times fast. And then tip number three is asked members what kind of content they want to see. So while we are making this community for ourselves in the sense that you're trying to create a space that you would want to join. So that involves coming up with content that you would appreciate and enjoy seeing. Sometimes it's a good idea to survey your audience and see what they want, because it might be a little bit different than what you want. And you always want to be aware of that. Because you want to be posting content that your community loves obviously. And I would say that this is one of the things that has improved our community more than anything else. Asking and listening to the feedback from our community members. A quick key point. The point of becoming a self-sustained community will be different for different communities. So what I mean by that is it might take a 1000 members to be self-sustainable and to have that, those four points that I just covered, to look like that. Or it might take a 100, or it might take five or make, take 20 thousand. It really depends on where the platform is and who your audience is. I can say from my own experience and you probably have similar experience that I'm in groups with everything from five to 60 thousand plus members. And some of those ones that have five members are more engaging and interesting to me than some of the groups that have 102030 thousand. So I don't want you to see my group and say, wow, filled, created this group of 66 thousand members. And it's going to take that to have a self-sustaining community? No, that's not true at all. Our group was self-sustainable and and really high-quality, thousands and thousands of members ago. But especially for those of you who are starting community for things like a local shop or community group. You will only need a small number of interested people to make it engaging and self-sustainable. So I hope you've enjoyed these tips on creating an engaged community. In the next lesson, we're going to look at the types of posts that I share in my community to make it so engaging. 9. Best Types of Posts to Share in Your Community: In this lesson, we're going to go over my favorite types of posts. And I'll be giving you some concrete examples of what I do and my photography and friends community. And give you some ideas for posts that will make your community better and more engaging. So post type number one is an activity or an action. This is when you are prompting your members to do something. So here you can see an example of what this looks like. We have weekly challenges in our photo friends community where every Monday we post a photo adventure where we challenge people to take a certain type of photo. This example is something you made. We've gotten really creative with this. You can, you know, we've done everything from take a picture of a sunset to a silhouette to something that's blue, that's something to something that's round or something that makes you happy, all kinds of things. And we've had, I think almost two years now of unique things. But you don't even need a year's worth of content of unique contact can be much less because you're getting new members who, who will want have never seen your old stuff and it kinda refreshes everything when you get all those new members doing the same action or activity. So this is on Facebook, but you can do this pretty much on any platform. But the goal is to get someone to do something related to your community. So going back to the bike shop example, a group ride. So maybe this is a weekly ride or a monthly ride that you do. And that if someone is listening and seeing a post of yours in your community and then taking action. It's just going to build that connection with you as a business or a brand even more. Or if you're not a business or brand is building that connection with you and your community even more. This goes without saying, but your communities should be more than just something where people come and look at stuff online. It should be a place where you're, you're interacting, where you're challenging people to do things to whatever the topic is. I find that these action and activities really, really builds that camaraderie of the community. Questions and polls is another favorite type of posts. This is a really easy activity for members because you're trying to increase engagement, right? And so the first example of going out and taking a photo or coming out on a group ride or whatever it is. That could be a lot of work for someone, but a simple pole where you're asking, asking a question. And they can simply do that while on the online community is a great way to have more engaging posts. And here's a poll that one of our students did, and you can see over 483 comments, 74 likes. And this is amazing because we're not even creating this content, but we do do polls and questions like this. And I find whenever it's a question post compared to just a statement or information, it gets much more engagement. Live streams. So live streams are huge now with online communities, social media in general, I love doing live streams and you should too. I know it's intimidating to go on video, let alone live. But if you can kind of let down your guard and get online, go live. It builds that connection with your audience on a deeper level than, than ever before. Especially if you're an online business. If you're a local brick and mortar community or business, you might interact with your customers in person already. But for those of us that have online businesses are brands we might have never come face to face with our followers. And so even though you're not doing it face to face, your face is going to be on there and people are going to be watching it. Being able to communicate with you live in the moment, which just lends itself to a much bigger and better connection. Then you just posting a video or a photo that you've recorded ahead of time. Now that there is a key difference between just going live and having a scheduled live stream to get the most engagement, it's very important to schedule out your live stream so people know ahead of time that it's going to happen. Here are a couple of examples of what we've done in our photo friends group. The top one is a live photo editing session where Sam and my co-instructor and I took student submitted photos and we edited them live. The cool thing about it was we did a couple of things. We actually, it was like this is like the pinnacle of how cool our community is. If I can brag a little bit. One, it's a students submitted photo. So the students who submitted the photos get that benefit too, is people could download the photos and follow along so people could fall on practice editing while they're learning. Three is that they could give us feedback while I was editing. So I was going through this, I would change a photo from like black and white to color. I would boost the saturation, all kinds of different things. And I would ask and get feedback from the students watching. And they would kind of help dictate what the photo looked like at the end of the day. And the fourth thing we combined with this live stream was a giveaway. So we gave away some free camera gear. And it was just altogether culminate, you shouldn't like if I could do something perfect for my community, this live stream was it. Down below is another example of a livestream that Co-instructors well, and Sam did where they were just critiquing photos submitted by students. So early in the week they posted a question saying, hey, if you want your are a challenge, I guess if you want your photos critiqued, submit them in the comments. And so they got dozens of photos submitted, and they ended up picking, I think ten and going through them and critiquing them live. And again, just better than recording the video and critiquing photos. Being that I was live, people can interact, ask questions, get feedback live. So live streams, Duhem, it's easier than ever. If you're not gonna do live stream video is the next best thing. So or sometimes it can be even better because when you do a recorded video, you do have the chance to make it more polished. You can edit it, you can add your music. If you're into video editing, you can add your graphics and all that kind of thing. But in general, video bills that connection much, much more with your audience. Then simply posting photos or graphics or text posts. It's going to build that connection on a deeper level. So get used to recording and posting videos. It doesn't have to be fancy. It could be simply holding your phone out and recording. This is a video that my constructor will posted where he was analyzing his composition style and his latest Instagram photos. But just this past week, I posted a video where I was just walking around. I was on a walk with my twin boys who are 2.5 years old. And this was just sort of a request. I was requesting reviews for our classes. But I just kinda just talk for a bit, asks for some reviews and I recorded it on the walk, uploaded it when I got home. Nothing fancy, but again, it was authentic and it builds that connection on a deeper level. So those are my favorite types of posts. Another key point though, is that visually impressive content is not the only thing you can do to stand out nowadays. And what I mean by that is the tools to create high-quality, very good-looking graphic design wise posts are out there and easy to use., I'll go more into detail with tools I like. And for this, for creating posts in a minute. But it's super easy. You don't have to learn Photoshop anymore to create really visually pleasing graphics. And so why do think posts that have photos or good graphics stand out from posts that are just text. Or if you're using emojis, those will stand out from just plain text. That alone will not make your posts engaging. And something that your community members will really, really love. I think these other types, video Live Stream Questions, activities, but especially the live streams in the videos. These, what's gonna set you apart is the Authenticity, authenticity that you share in your post. So again, it doesn't have to be video, it doesn't have to be a live stream. But authenticity is going to make people feel connected when we talk about people wanting to join your community to, to be accepted by being fully authentic yourself. That's what's going to build that connection and let people make people feel like it's okay to be authentic themselves in. And when they do that, they're going to feel accepted into a community. Does that make sense? Like, I don't know if this is getting a little too philosophical, but when I follow a brand or when I'm a part of a community and the people in charge of that brand or community are authentic. And they share, not just like the behind the scenes stuff, but when you could tell that it's coming from their heart when they're sharing some personal tidbits. And it's not just like business or focused on the topic itself. That community. Sometimes that's good. Of course you want your, your, your posts to be on point, to be on topic. But sharing personal tickets, sharing yourself, being vulnerable, that's going to allow your community members to be vulnerable themself. And like I said, that's going to, that's going to make your community so much more engaging, make people want to come back to it because it's that safe space for them. One of the best things you can do to get more inspiration for types of posts is to join other people's communities, see what they're doing. Follow other big names or brands that have communities and get inspiration for them. So that will be my action item for this lesson is to go out there. If you're interested in photography, join one of my courses where you can get access to our community. And I quick tidbit bit about that because on Facebook there's not a lot of options to prevent someone or to make sure that someone is a part of your customer, of yours or whatever before they can join, you have the option of asking three questions when someone requests to join your group. And what we do is we have a sort of a secret word or a password that you get at the beginning of our photography courses. And we don't share it anywhere else. And we are trusting that someone won't, which they could easily share it out on message boards and maybe it's done, it's been done before. But we're trusting that people want to share it because they want the community to be exclusive, right? But yeah, we just share that secret word in our course. And then we asked them if they know the severe wear it and we kinda verify that way. You could do verification by looking at people's names and maybe, you know, double-checking with your customer receipts or however you want to do it that way. But that is the sort of easiest way that we've found to make our group community more exclusive is private that way. So just tidbit. Anyways, those are types of posts. And in the next lesson we're going to be looking at how to make posting all these posts easier for you. 10. Make Consistent Posting Easier: One of the things I promised at the beginning of this course was not just to teach you how to create a community and in an engage one, but how to make it easier for you. So this lesson is all about how to make consistent posting easier. We know consistency is important. Even once you have an established group that's somewhat engaged and self-sustainable, you also want to be in charge of that group. You want to be in the forefront of the post and the direction of the community. So let's look at how we can make this easier on you. One is create a content calendar. This is by far the best and most important thing for any community, for any brand online, but for anyone that has a Facebook group or a page, or for training community, whatever it is, create a content calendar. We're going to look at mine and just a second. But basically what this means is just knowing ahead of time every week or every month or every year, what types of posts are you posting and when and how often to is use existing content. So if you have a website, a YouTube channel or whatever, if you create online content, whatever format, or if it's not online content, but you have stuff that you've created in the past, put it online and use that as POS. So what I do is I have a library of tutorials that I've created on YouTube and posts that I've shared on my website that we reuse off and we rotate it, actually reuse it again and again. And I don't think you should feel bad about using old content because a lot of your members, especially the newer ones, may have never senior old content. They might have just found out about your business or brand and then join your community and are seeing it for the first time when you share it. So definitely reuse that old content. Three is batch, create monthly content or beyond. So beyond a content calendar and using existing content. Instead of waking up every day, figuring out what you're going to post. Or even if you already have a content calendar and then waking up and saying, OK, well I have to create this post today. Batch, create this at the beginning of the month or even before. We, I showed you our photo adventures that we post every Monday, I batch recorded that. I think we did batches of one year. So we had two years. I did like 52. Those ran out and then I did 52 more and we're still do or maybe even more than that. I feel like I haven't created those in more than a year. But it's so nice to know that those are going to be coming out every Monday, keeping the community engaged without me being there, having to post it on Monday morning or created on Monday morning. And then lastly, crowdsource content. This is great once you've started a community, once you have members in there, but requesting some kinda content that your members will actually share with you to post. So for me as a photographer and a photographer community, this is rather easy. We sent out requests for our students to share photos with us that we share in our group on our Instagram, on our other social media platforms, which is awesome too. But this is more of a formalized way of getting people to help post. So it's not just hoping that people posted themself, but it's a formal request for people to submit something. So it could be anything. You can have people submit tip, you could have people submit answers to a question that you share later on, you can have people submit photos, whatever it is, you are trying to get the other people in your group to, to create the actual content that you share. So here is my content calendar. So I have weekly, monthly and quarterly. For weekly these posts that come out every week, monthly. These come out every month and quarterly. These are things we do about every few months, but I have them in the back of my mind. I shouldn't have done on an actual calendar. And some of these are scheduled out, but these are things we do every so often. But every week we have a photo adventure. On Monday, we do a live stream and this depends on our schedule. So this change, we change it up and it's also good to change it up in terms of time and day of the week to give people, if your community is worldwide based, give different people in different time zones a chance to participate in those live streams and then archive contents. So we pull chips and tutorials that we've created in the past, and we actually share multiple of those a week. And I'll give you a cool tool that you can use that makes this so easy in the next slide. And then every month I've created these posts that also 3p, be friendly reminder, which is literally just a reminder to, to tell people, be nice. This isn't a place to argue or to shame or to be mean to each other. And that, that Post always gets a lot of love. Photo guide plugs. So this is a promotion, I guess you would call it to our website where we have lots of other photo guides. So of course, at the end of the day, this community is mutually beneficial. It helps our students, but it helps me. And one of the ways it helps me is that I get people onto my website where they might end up purchasing another course of mine. So sending them to our articles or our photo guides, which I call them, allows them to hopefully end up on a, another course of ours. Call for questions. So this is a cool, cool posts because we get a lot of questions. But once a month we just have a post where it's like post your questions below. What's great about this is that it gives us idea for future content in the community. Also out of the community sometimes will take all of those questions, bang out a bunch of video tutorials, post those across all of our platforms, and then of course, tag our members or post it in the community and tag the personnel submitted the question. And people really, really, really dig that when they post a simple question and then they get a video response. They loved that. Call for a critique. So this is just asking our members to submit photos that we will critique. We have a group Instagram follow thread. Again, another very popular one where we tried to help each other out and follow each other on Instagram. And then every quarter or so we do a bigger photo competition that's really engaging and fun. And then a B featured call. So this is where we are getting. We are crowd sourcing and our content for our Instagram account. We tell our students that we'll feature your photography work. And people can submit their photos and be featured on our Instagram. And that helps us be consistent with our content that we publish on Instagram. In the next lesson, we're going to continue with this theme of making posting consistent content easier for you with some of the tools and apps that I use. So we'll see you in the next lesson. 11. Content Tools & Apps I Love to Create and Automate Posts: Here are the four tools that I love using to help post content to my community. Even easier. recur, and Wu is an online graphic design tool, recur, which is amazing for existing content. So what you can actually do, and I'll show you this in a minute, is you can create a bucket of content. Say you have tutorials or YouTube videos that you've created. You could create different posts. So maybe ten posts. And you can tell, recur, Post to post one of those tutorials once a week on Mondays. And it will pull from that bucket and it will actually repeat that bucket when it runs out. So you have ten weeks of content before it repeats any post. So this is how we do some of our monthly posts as well as our photo adventures. We have a bucket of 50 photo adventures that it pulls from. And then once it's done pulling all those adventures and it will repeat them. But you have 50 weeks worth of content that's being fresh content that's being posted is the scheduling app that I use for Instagram. I also know that Facebook, if you have a Facebook page that's connected to your Instagram account that you can now scheduled directly from Facebook itself, which is very helpful. But is a much easier way for a batch scheduling out content. Now, this isn't specifically for a Facebook group, although I think you can schedule out through, you can also, has a way of scheduling out content to a Facebook group. And you can schedule posts for a later date in a Facebook group. But some of these third party apps or platforms have more options. And specifically has a nice visual way of laying it out. And I'll show you this in just a second. And then whoo is the tool that I use to run contests for my community. So it's just a third-party app that allows you to create things like photo contests or all kinds of contests. And it's what I use to run my photo contests. So it's another way of creating engagement for your community is to think about what kind of contest you can run. And Wu boxes the tool I like if there are any other tools that you use to schedule content or with social media that make your life easier. I would love to know them. So post them in the course and the discussion. Just let us know if there's any tools, would love to see them. So let's go quickly through those tools and see a little bit more on the backend of how I am using them. So a lot of you are probably aware of It really is the online graphic design platform that has gotten the most advanced. They've made so many upgrades over time. And it really is my go-to place for creating graphics and things like social media posts, YouTube thumbnails. The beauty of it is that it's all online cloud-based. So sometimes I'm working in the office on my iMac, sometimes I'm working on my laptop, sometimes I'm on my phone. I can access the the graphics that I'm creating from any of those platforms. Again, download them, I can post from air. There. They come with all kinds of templates, free photos, icons, fonts and shapes and styles, all kinds of stuff. Here's my YouTube thumbnail setup. So I have all these different options for my YouTube thumbnail. There's my baby girl. And so I can quickly add my photo for my YouTube video at change the title or the text. And I have all kinds of templates that you can see here. And it's just really easy to use and lots of high-quality stuff. So play around with it if you're not using, I definitely, definitely recommend it. So recur posts is this tool that I don't think as many people are using, but it's free to get started with. And I mentioned how it works. You have a, you create a bucket of content and then it basically pulls from that content. And based on the schedule that you want, it, post it. So for example, I have these different buckets. For example, are Photography Basics. These are just like tutorials or tips that we have on our website or on YouTube. For photography videos. These are specifically video tutorials. I have it for video production for another, for our other pages and communities. And then here is the photo friends recurring. Let me open that up so you can kind of see what this looks like. So these are the monthly post that we do. So we have the Instagram follow thread. This is like the be friendly reminder. The Photo got check out our photo guides. Here's one I forgot about that was promoting our merge. One-on-one coaching. Here's the call for questions. So it's pretty easy to set up. You create your posts, you can add all of your different social media accounts. I have three, which is the limit, I believe for the free account. But you can pay and you can connect more accounts. Then for your different buckets, you can create a schedule. So you can choose the account you want to share to. You can say, do you want it to post daily, monthly, and you can select the time. And so what I've done is with these different, these different for these this bucket, I've actually set up a specific day of the month that I want each content to be shared. So, for example, the beef friendly reminder might come out on the fifth of the month every time. But for these other ones, for example, here's our photography basics tutorial. So this is one where every Tuesday it shares one of these updates. And so that's 24 different updates. So that means that it has fresh content for about six months of the year. And then every Thursday here's a video tutorial that we have. So that's another piece of content that we're sharing every week. So there's two new sort of content-based existing content that we are sharing every week to the group. And it's all being done automatically with recur posts. I mentioned is another option for more manually batch scheduling out content. So this is what I use for Instagram, but you can connect it to other platforms like Facebook for Facebook pages or groups. So you could do it for a community as well. Here you can see that I have calendar view where I can upload photos and I can simply drag and drop, drop them to the future date, set the time, write the text, and it automatically will pose to Instagram for me. And so you can see the sort of the past months worth of content. Again, on the free plan, I am a cheapo when it comes to paying for apps like this. But that's the beauty of this, is you can use Apps for completely free when getting started. And so I don't have all the features of viewing of my past history. But you can see I think the past couple of weeks, but again, super easy to use. You can bulk upload posts. So what I'll do is I'll create all my posts on Canva, download all of them in one fell swoop, upload all of them. Schedule it out and it takes maybe half an hour to have a month's worth of Instagram content. And you can imagine that's every day, but if you're posting it once a week or so, you can be scheduling out months in advance with and then whoo I'm not going to show you a full tutorial on this. That's not the purpose of this class, but I do just want to show you kind of like the basics of what I created just as an example. So these, this, let's go back to our contests. I want to show you one of our contests. So here's our night lights photo contests. So here's basically what it looked like. We added a photo, some text, and people could upload their own photo. They submit their name, their Instagram channel. You could even ask for email addresses. So this is a great way if you have something like a Facebook group to get people's contact information, all kinds of stuff. You can customize all of this. But again, it's just a way to create these contests where people are submitting things, where you can set up contests where like if someone follows you on Instagram, they get automatically entered. You can do ones where if people submissive and post something with a specific hashtag, they automatically get entered all kinds of stuff. Wu box is just the tool that I use, those other ones out there. But again, if you're thinking about doing contests for your community, check it out. So hopefully this deeper dive into the tools and apps that I use to make content scheduling out and creating content easier for me, helps you out, gives you some ideas of what you can do for you, your community. Hopefully you understand that recur post is one of my favorite tools and definitely one you should check out if you haven't been using it. Thanks for watching. 12. Make Your Posts Count More and Increase Engagement: Make your posts count more. It's not good enough to just do all the things I've said to do up until this point most of the time. So you can't just do all the live streams, do the videos, do the action and activity pose. Created content, schedule, batch process everything, schedule out things for months in advance. That might work. But nowadays, there's so much competition for people's attention in social media in communities that you have do more, especially in the beginning, to make your posts even more engaging and count more. Some of the things that I suggest doing our get people excited. So I talked about with live streams, you don't want to just go live sporadically and that's okay to do now and then. But for live streams where you want people to actually attend and have a good audience. You want to schedule it out and you want to get people excited for it. So here is actually another video that I posted, and this was a sort of spur of the moment, non scheduled live video that I did where I was actually just sharing that the next day I was doing the live photo editing session. And so this video got some engagement and helped get people to that livestream. I also do this on other platforms. So I share on my Instagram account, I share on my Facebook page, also email and send out announcements in that way too. So if you are using a tool like group me or any of the other communication tools, make sure you are using those and sharing important announcements about posts or things that you're doing in your community. Here you can see a few examples of simple post on Instagram for our video School brand account, where you're just sharing that we were doing a live Q. And a. The middle one is me doing a live story, or maybe it was recorded. I think I just did a video recording. This is literally me picking clothes out for my kids. But while I was doing that, I just record a quick video talking about I can't remember what it was, but I know it was me promoting some kind of content that we're doing in our community. And the last one isn't necessarily related to photo friends community, but this is just promoting on Instagram a new tutorial we put on YouTube. So it's just an example of using cross-platform promotion to create more engagement and excitement for your posts, tagging members. So this is super, super crucial, super, super basic, but super, super something that people don't often do, tag members of your community. So this will allow them to be notified and much more likely to be to see it. I mean, you know, when you're tagged in something, you're most likely going to want to check it out because you wanna see what your tagged in. So tag your members with Facebook groups. It's easy to tag newest members that have just recently joined your group. So what you can do under the members tab of the group is it will say, do you want to share a message with your newest members? And depending on how many members are joining your group, I think you can get up to 300 new members tagged in a single post. At least that's what I'm up to now because we're growing at hundreds of new members every week. And so all tag all 300 new members and try to build engagement and excitement from them in the very beginning. So I'll post a question like, which camera, what camera model do you have or what cameras better, canon or Nikon. Because those for photographers, those questions are always something that gets a lot of engagement or all pointing them to something that we're doing that week, for example, for doing a livestream, I'll tag all of our new members and say, hey, have you checked out? Did you see that we're doing a live stream this week and all? Create a link or share the link to that livestream. Or I'll just point them to the announcements are the pinned post and say, hey, check out our announcements. You'll find lots of important things there. And maybe ask a question or ask them to comment something because you want to not only just say, Hey, welcome, you wanna give them sort of an action item, but tagging members, great, something you should always do. Following up on comments. This goes back to engaging with people in the very beginning. You want to make sure that you are following up because it makes your posts look like there's more engagement. If you're responding to questions or comments, even if it's just saying like things or if even if they're not responding with a question, if if your members, I mean, aren't asking questions, still respond. Hit the like button on their comments because it makes the algorithm believe that your post is more engaging and it will push it out to more people's feeds. And now this is on, on Facebook. So it's going to work differently in, and maybe not even be the same on different platforms. But in general, you still want to be following up to people's comments. Again, it's just building that connection. It's letting people know you're there. And if the reason people are joining your community, you as the brand, as the face of your business or whatever it is. If people are getting direct comments from you, they're going to love it and they're going to want to come back and participate even more. Brand your posts. So this is sort of a wall more marketing technique, but you wanna make sure that you are using colors and fonts and imagery that are similar or create a similar style for your posts. This is very easy to do in You can even set up your brand kit on, meaning you can upload your logo. You can choose specific fonts. You can create your color palette. And whenever you're creating a new graphic, you can easily swap out your font or your colors or add your logos to your posts. And the reason this is important because sort of subconsciously or maybe more consciously, when people see a post that looks and feels like your brand, they're going to be more likely to check it out, view it, engage with it because you have that authoritative voice of the community. So you want to make sure that your stuff looks sort of similar, has a style. So you can see here some examples of our posts. We do switch it up because I find that if things look too similar, then it becomes a thing where people just gloss over, they glance at it and scroll on by. But as you can see here, we change it up. We use similar. We only use two or three fonts. But you can see that teal color, the yellow pop here and there. And so hopefully people can kind of get the sense of a similar vibe while also still having some difference to, to make sure it's not boring. Using your pin posts wisely. So automatically if you have the option to pin a post or a piece of content at the top of a group or your community where people are more likely going to see it or just be more likely to see it because the algorithm shows it to them, then it's going to get more, more engagement. But you wanna be wise about this. You don't want to pin every single thing that you pose to the top. If you're posting every day, novel, if you're all in posting content every week or so, yeah, maybe, but you only want to use it for your most important stuff. This is one of the drawbacks of Facebook groups, I mentioned it before, but the way that you choose, like what can be pinned, how it can be pinned. I wish there were more options for having different pages for topics or things like that. And that's why something like mining networks might be a better option for your community. But if you are doing anything like a live stream or a big event or a porn posts, make sure you remember to market as an announcement and pin it to the top for the time being, because your members are going to be much more likely to see it and engage with it that way. So hopefully all of these techniques give you ideas for how you can get more engagement with your posts. It's putting all of this together that's going to make your post more engaging, major community, more engaging and ultimately will allow it to become that self-sustaining community that we all dream for. 13. Use Analytics to Grow Your Community: Analyze what works and what doesn't. This is another key to any successful business, successful venture, successful anything you do, you want to look at what you've done and see, was that working and how can we improve it? Or if something was, wasn't working, then stopped doing that, right? Do the things that work more and the thing that don't work less. Sometimes we get caught in this idea that we know exactly what we want our community to look like. We know the content that we want to share. But at the end of the day, the analytics will show you if that's actually true. And the beauty of the internet is that for a lot of things we do get those analytics. And the very basis what this means is just looking at your past posts, seeing which ones got the most likes, which one's got the most comments, which ones were shared the most, which got the most engagement, and just simply doing more of that. But beyond that, you can see a few key things that I want you to look at. One is just look at the trajectory of your growth now on Facebook and can see sort of the past years worth of growth. So here's an example. From October 2019 to October 2020. You can see the growth. So obviously, you see a steady bit of growth here. And you want to see that growth depending on what it is. Maybe there's a limit to how many people ride bikes in your neighborhood and are going to join your cycling group. But if it's an online community, you typically wanna get more and more members because it's inevitable that some members are going to get tired as a group and we'll just stop engaging with it. What you can also see though, is the act of members, which is pretty amazing. This shows the total number of active members in the past year. So what this shows is that actually about 9 thousand members didn't engage with the group in the past year at all. So it might be a good idea to actually prune some of those members if you have that option. I don't have the time and I'm not really worried about people in my group being there and not being engaged. Maybe in the future they'll want to be engaged. But you could also see by the month, so not every month and everyone's engaged. So people probably have I don't know how when the fourth is every few months or so, it kinda recycles. But every month between 2030, thousand of my members are engaged. I don't know exactly if that's a high percentage or a low percentage, but I think, you know, about half of my members, a little less than half of my members engaging every month is pretty, pretty good. So in general though, you just want to see what the true directory looks like. See if there's any spikes and say, OK, what am I doing there? This is when I was actually giving away some of my courses at the beginning of. The whole Covidien 18 quarantine. I gave away courses because I felt like it was the right thing to do to help people out when they were stuck at home. And so that's why there was this spike here. But then I can also see what was this engagement? Why did engage ment increase here? What were these spikes here? And I know that we were doing a lot of, a lot more live streams here compared to what we were doing before. So there are, obviously there's going to be an increased because there's more members, but there's these spikes as well. So looking at those specific dates and seeing what was I doing then, I know I was doing more live streams then and continuing to do more of that is the basics of a simple way to look at your analytics and use them to improve. Another way you can use your analytics is to find your community champions. Again on Facebook groups. This makes it eat, they make it easy. You can see your top ten contributors past month. These are the top ten people who have posted the most liked, the most pose and commented on the most posts. And it's kind of a combination of that. But it's not enough just to know that. Use it for something. You can use it to create moderators out of these top contributors or you can reward them. So this is something we used to do is we used to actually take, give away t-shirt to our top contributors, give away free courses to our top country. Contributors which incentivized people to be more engaged, to be more involved. So use that information to make it a little competitive to get people to engage more. Another thing you can do on Facebook is see demographic information. You can see the, if there's more male, female, you can see the age range. And so here you can see that a lot of my members are 25 to 34 years old. So what do I know and how can that affect what I'm doing? You can basically use that demographic information to customize the type of posts you do, the style of your post, your voice, all of that kind of thing to try to get more in touch with those members. Now I have a pretty spread out range, but still the sort of 18 to 44 year old bucket is the biggest bucket. So you can see that I don't have a lot of 13 to 17 year olds in my group. So I'm not going to create content focus specifically for that kind of age range. You can also use this the opposite way. You can say, well, I know that people with that are a little bit older, have little bit more spending money. So maybe I want to cater content and try to get that age range into my community. So that might, that might help my business out. So you can use your analytics both ways. At the end of the day, the only way you're going to improve is to see what you've done poorly, see what you've done well, and make improvements based off of that information. Luckily, Facebook groups do give us a lot of that information. Otherwise, other platforms might not give you all of this detailed information, but you can still use sort of a general ballpark idea of who your audience is. See who's engaged. Shout out those top contributors given them some prizes, that kind of thing to use your analytics to make your community even better. 14. Setting Your Expectations & Thank You: We have come to the end of this class. And the point I want to get across right now is that I want you to set your expectations properly. This is going to be different for everyone that takes this class. It's going to be different for someone who has an Instagram account with 10 thousand followers and is starting a community and can invite all those people to their community. There'll be different for that person compared to a YouTubers who has a 100 thousand subscribers and it's doing the same. Or for someone who's starting completely from scratch with no audience, No business, no community president, online presence whatsoever. At the end of the day, the timeline for your success in building a community will be different and it will be dependent on all sorts of factors. Whether you are using Facebook or mighty networks. Whether your community is going to be open to the public for anyone to join. Or it's only for people who have bought a product or service from you. All of these factors are going to change how fast you can expect your community to be successful, to be self-sustained. That sort of light at the tunnel, the star, the, the goal that we all want for our communities. So I don't want you to come away from this course thinking, well, next week I'm going to have a successful community. And I also don't want you to think, Oh my God, this is gonna take home. It's longer than I thought. I'm never going to have a successful community. At the end of the day, you should be having fun doing this. You should be creating a space where you yourself finds acceptance, where you find like-minded individuals who you can share with, you can share knowledge, share ideas. You can have fun, entertain together. That's what community is four. So at the end of the day, whether you go grow fast or slow, it should be fun. You should enjoy this if you're doing it just to make more money, just to have that end goal of growing your business or brand. It's not going to be a successful community. Make sure you're doing it for the right reasons. And with that, I just wanna say thank you so much for participating in this class. I hope you found it very beneficial. I'll be adding to this class as things change, as I learned new things from my own experience. So make sure you stay tuned if you haven't done so already, I would love a rating and review of this class. Whatever your thoughts or feelings are, I would love to hear them so that I can prove the class and improve my future classes. And so that future students who want to see what this course is all about get a good idea whether this is the right course for them or not. If you want to take your skills to a deeper level, I have lots of courses on similar marketing and business topics. And of course you can learn things like photography, video production, design, art, graphics, all kinds of stuff. Thanks so much. Have a beautiful day, and I hope to see you in another class. Bye.