Create An Engaged Facebook Community with Joanna Novelo
I had the pleasure of speaking with Joanna Novelo on the podcast who is an expert at managing communities on Facebook. I’ve known Joanna for several years and I LOVE her no-nonsense approach to strategy. She is hands-down the go-to person for building and engaging your facebook community. If you have a group and are thinking what is the benefit of this to me? Then you must talk to Joanna. We talk all the things managing a group during these turbulent times, how to start a community and how to keep one engaged.
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Jamie: Hey everyone, it’s Jamie Palmer here with the OMG show and I’m super excited to have Facebook group expert Jo Anna with us today. Jo Anna, welcome to the show.
Joanna: Thank you for having me. Jamie.
Jamie: I’d love for you to share a bit about yourself and your business
Joanna: yeah, so I primarily work with people on engagement inside their Facebook group and I help people come up with really fun, creative ways to get their groups to stand out. Um, I’ve been doing this for almost like four years now and it kinda just happened on accident. And, um, funny enough, that’s where we met Jamie. I was managing funnel playground and that’s how I met Jamie and I just had an absolute blast doing it. And I’m a former server and bartender and host and um, I love talking to people and I love just getting to know, um, all of the things and being in a, in a Facebook group gave me that in a virtual format. So, um, I got hooked on it and I’ve been doing it ever since.
Jamie: I love that. So I am truly of the mindset giving what is going on today with like the Corona virus and everything that’s like happening and everybody really working from home. I truly believe that it’s more important than ever for people to AE, um, have a community B, build a community and see, show up and serve that community. So I’d love for you just to kind of speak to, um, you know, how can you really engage people more during this time period?
Joanna: Yeah. So just like traditional marketing where you start with a pain point and you work from there, um, you’re going to kind of do that, but in a more approachable format. So you’re just going to ask them how are you? And there’s various, um, types of questions that you can ask people and some can be very broad, some can be very specific. So, um, when you’re, when you’re in a time like this, I highly recommend keeping broad questions and allowing people to, to like, uh, categorize themselves or um, to be specific for you. And then that allows them to kind of steer the conversation. If you’re directly speaking to them and not allowing them to have a part of the conversation, they’re going to be very turned off because people are going through a lot right now and they want to be heard. And when you give out broad questions like how are you, some people were struggling financially, some people can’t get food at the store.
Um, everybody’s all across the board right now. So I would stick with broad questions and just let people show up. And wherever they land on the board is where they land. And that’s one of the great things about community is if you think about your local community, not everybody has to be one person. Everybody gets to be themselves and at the same time, it’s still good to be a part of that community. So, um, some more examples of that would be, what do you need help with right now? How can I serve? And a lot of people are already asking those questions. So if you’re seeing those questions online already, I would scan the comments and just see how those responses are coming back in because you’ll see they’re all over the place. Um, some people are worried about their elderly grandparents. Um, some people, I saw a girl today that she didn’t know that she had already had her last day of high school and her mom is devastated that she can’t go to prom and um, she won’t be able to have a real graduation. Um, so there’s a lot of different layers to what’s happening right now. So when you stay broad, you can get everybody under that umbrella. And then as you see all the issues, you can start opening those up and then getting specific. But you have to, first of all, let the community know like this is a free space to say whatever you need to say and to ask for the support however you need it and then we can work from there.
Jamie: That’s really awesome. I love that you say that because I think it’s such an important thing to like open the conversation up but allow the community to really drive where it goes.
Joanna:Exactly. I think one of the biggest mistakes, well I know that one of the biggest mistakes that people do is they try to guess at what they think the community wants. So let me give you an example. I had a group where I went in and did an audit for her and her was around mindset and she kept posting these memes or these like uh, those really weird ones where they didn’t make any sense. Like the letters like the word fine, like the first signs. Um, so she was posting all of those things and I said, why are you doing that? And she said, because people are actually engaging. But the problem is that none of that was actually on topic with what she was trying to accomplish with the community. And she ended up straying from the vision and the purpose of the group. So don’t try to do things just because you think you’ll get engagement or just because you think that that’s what they want to hear. Start with a broad question, open it up, you’ll be given the treasure map and then you just follow the breadcrumb trail from there.
Jamie: Gotcha. Okay. So what you’re saying is like still keep it in alignment with what the vision is for the community. So that leads me to a twofold question. Um, so you know, some people that are my listeners already have a community, others Mmm. Others don’t. Right. So when you’re thinking about whether you already have one or you don’t, it’s important to define the vision of the community is what I’m hearing from you.
Joanna: Yeah, exactly. And I would start with how that community serves you. If you took a program and somebody told you to start a Facebook group because it was just part of your funnel, then I often find that those are the people that they, they don’t know what to do with the group. They’re not sure how to show up. They just know that somebody told them to start the group and if that’s where you’re starting from, then you’ve already lost. Because if you don’t know why you’re there, then yeah, you would have no idea what to say. So I would ask, why are you starting this community? What benefit does it give you? Because you’re going to be given two things, two at a time, and probably at some point money if you’re doing any sort of advertising to get people to funnel into the group.
So there has to be a return from you and it doesn’t have to be monetary. If you’re somebody that loves connecting people to senior citizens so that way they can get cards made or have the visit or something like that and you get true film fulfillment and joy from that, then you’re getting a return. If you are starting your free group to give people value to eventually turn them into a paid customer, then you’re still getting an ROI out of that group. So a lot of times people will show up and they’re giving time and energy into a group and not getting anything back it. And they call it a waste of time. They say they don’t work but they really don’t even know why they showed up there. And, and that’s the problem. You have to know what you’re getting out of it and it has to move you in some way.
Jamie: Yeah, that’s such a good point. Cause I think so many times we just, we do these things cause people said so rather than making sure it’s in alignment with our bigger vision for our business and it’s something that we’re excited to do. And I love that you said that. So I would love for you to kind of speak to people who, um, you know, how, how can we a, grow these groups during this time period. And then B, what can we do to keep people engaged because people are going to be home a lot more than they were per se in the past.
Joanna: Yeah. So I’m really interested to see if there are any statistics that come out to see how much in this first week that’s social media consumption has grown because we know it has, people are just sitting at home right there. They’re looking at their phones and they need quote unquote entertainment. They need to learn something. They need to feel like they’re accomplishing something. Um, they need something to help break up the days. And this is the time to do it. I have a group where they are millionaires and billionaires, they’re all CEOs. And we, it took us six months to figure out the cadence for them. Mmm. Mostly because that was the first time I had like dealt with that and I had never, um, gone more than a week for people without posting. So we were doing a weekly cadence. We found out that was way too much for them. Then we switched to a monthly and it was still too much for them, but then we found out that every quarter they slow down to plan out the next quarter. So we would, we created an email blast for them that set them up for the entire quarter and how they can engage with us. And we got it put on their calendar and that’s where it worked for us because their calendars were jam packed. They had assistance going through their emails, X, Y,Z and quarterly we were able to find them. So it kind of scared me because I was like, that feels like it’s way too long. But it was just right for them. It’s like a Goldilocks type. Thanks. So it worked out for them and we were able to find them. So for most people it’s going to be weekly, but you will have people where, um, maybe, let’s say if you’re serving a group of moms who have like six or seven kids they’re going to be very, very busy.
So you just have to figure out when do they have the downtime to engage with me and you meet them there. Yeah. And don’t try to force anything or like try to make them show up with any sort of like, Oh, I’m going to do like a Monday this and a Tuesday that, um, I know that there are a lot of scripts that are like floating around and um, outlines and things like that. And I want to caution people that just because those things worked for the person that created them does not mean that they’re going to work for you. And actually their intentions with providing you with that material should be as a guide for you. But most people take the lazy route and they just copy paste and then they get upset because they don’t have the same engagement the person they bought it from has.
But remember that your audience is completely different probably. Um, so you have to keep a pulse on your own community and it, and think about what makes sense. Because sometimes I feel like there’s this cloud around people when I ask them like, okay, why did you decide to do a Monday through Friday thing? Oh, because my coach told me to and that is there are, there are literally hundreds of thousands of groups that do this and then they wonder why they can’t get any engagement. And it’s because he didn’t ask herself do this, does this make sense? Is this, how am I audience would show up? And that’s how we finally discovered that a quarterly check in with our community made sense. Because do we expect millionaire and billionaire CEOs to be on social media every week trying to like hang out in the Facebook group? No, that’s not how they even want to spend their time. And even we have statistics to back up that’s [inaudible]. These people don’t even, they spend the least amount of time on social media. So we said, does this even make sense that we’re trying to do that? No, it doesn’t. Okay, so what makes sense? Who are my people and what’s the best way for me to show up?
Jamie: I love that you say that cause that’s like totally my philosophy too. Like, you know, blueprints are great but you have to take them and adapt them to what works for your audience. And I’m constantly saying like, you know, do you know your ideal client? Like it, dive deeper, dive deeper, dive deeper on what your people really want. Because I truly believe like the more that you can kind of show up and serve and understand like be in the head. Like how the heck did she know I was thinking that. Um, exactly the better off that you’re going to be. So how can we, you know this doesn’t have to necessarily be for like this time period per se, but like how can you grow your groups? Cause I mean I have a group and you know, I can run Facebook ads too, my, and then I’ve got it on the thank you page and it definitely increases the size of the group. But what are some ways in which you are seeing organically that people can grow their groups?
Joanna: So the best way to grow it organically is like how we just said, figure out where their starting point is and continue to work from there. And um, your insights inside. So what I like about the Facebook group insights, and this is found inside your group. If you’re an admin, you can see it on the left side it says group insights. When you click on that, you can go to engagement and then you can scroll all the way down. It’ll give me your top 10 posts. Those statistics, you’ll see a little eyeball and it’ll show you how many people saw the posts. And that’s important because remember, we’re not going off of likes and comments. More than likely if they’re in your top 10 then you’ll have more of the likes and comments. But sometimes that’s not the case. You’ll see the eyeball number is really big.
So a lot of people saw it, but maybe a lot of people didn’t comment. And I love the fact that Facebook will tell you that. So you can go into your top 10 posts. If anybody has a group right now, this is where I would recommend you start. Go to these insights, grab your top 10 posts and pull them fame from each one of those top 10 why did that post resonate with them? So one to 10 why did this post resonate and this one and this one, and then you have all the pieces to the puzzle and now you draw your own conclusions. Oh, this post did really well because people are worried about money right now. Oh, this post did really well because all of these kids are home from school and these parents need solutions and then you can pull all of that and then you as the expert, which we didn’t even touch on this, you have to be an expert in what you’re doing.
Jamie: Yeah, yeah. Right. I think that goes without saying. If you’re listening to this podcast, we expect you to be like relatively expert
Joanna: When people say that they don’t know what to say inside the group, it’s either a, they just haven’t done it in a virtual format, so the format is just different from them. Yet they’ve been doing this for 30 years in real life or be they, they’re not, they’re not really qualified and they don’t really have anything of substance to say. So if you don’t know what to say to your group, then you’re either a, you’re not an expert or B, you just haven’t done it in a virtual format. And that just requires you hopping on a computer and making some posts. You’ll, you’ll just slide right in. Yeah. Um, yeah, go ahead.
Jamie: No, I love that you that too. Cause I think a lot of people, I know for me, many of my clients are people who have been working, they were working one-on-one, right? And they’ve grown their business via referral and they’re switching. They want to slowly transition to getting more inbound leads. Right? So I think oftentimes people get hung up on that. Like, Oh boy, what would I say? And it’s like, Nope, just slow down and think about what you would say anyway if you’re just talking to another thing. Yeah. And I’d love for you to kind of just speak to like, you know, the, just the humanness. Cause I think when you’re building a community, it’s, for me at least, I always preach like be human, be real, be raw, be authentic. I love to kind of speak to your thoughts on that.
Joanna: So without this piece, which is connection that you’re talking about you, you actually don’t have a community. You have a group, so you can have a Facebook group or you can have a community. A Facebook group is where a whole bunch of people have added themselves into your group and they’re looking at your posts. A community is where everyone is giving and receiving value and transformation is happening. That’s the difference. If you’re just looking to have a group, you will be unfulfilled. If you’re looking to build a community, you will feel you will be fulfilled. So the only way to actually build community is through connection. If you can’t connect with people, then you are absolutely wasting your time. The difference between all these other marketing efforts that you’re making, if you’re using your group as a marketing tool, the difference is that this is the chance when you get to actually have them show up.
It’s kind of like when you have a party and you send out 50 invitations and 35 people RSVP and then show up your Facebook ads, your freebies, your funnels, are you sending out those invitations? But when they actually show up, that’s when the party begins. That’s when you actually get to have fun because they’re there to hang out with you. They’re there to get real. They’re there to receive transformation. So I would, here’s, here’s how I, okay, so I guess the question here now is, okay, how do you connect? So you’re, you’re already doing it in real life. So community is not new. It’s been around since the beginning of time and we are wired to connect. So you’re already doing it and you already know how to do it. It’s just that the format of it being online has changed. Um, and then again, people get distracted with this scripted message that they sent to people and all of those things.
And they’re like, I got to get the message out. I have to do this. I have to do that. If you were sitting in front of me at a coffee shop, I would not sin. I would not sit down third read you a message. I would. Yeah. Like think about how you do things in real life. We’re literally just translating this into an online format. I would start a simple conversation with you and get to know you. We would find common grounds and then we would go from there and I don’t know what the path is from there, but I know when you find common ground with people or if I were to find out that, you know, as we were chatting, if I found out that your mom was in a nursing home and you didn’t know how you were going to get supplies to her and you were worried about it, I would call a friend or I would volunteer to do it myself.
Or I would say, Hey, I actually know somebody there. Let me make a call for you. That’s how you make the connection and it’s really, I think the biggest message that I want people to hear is that this is not hard. This is the easiest part of it all because he just get to talk to people and you’re not having to check statistics or is this converting, is this doing that you just get to talk to people is the easiest thing in the world and people have made it so incredibly complicated. But remember that we were, or you were hardwired for this. So it should come very natural for you. If it feels weird that it is, it is like if you’re following some weird script or some weird outline that you don’t think fits your audience, then trust yourself.
Jamie: Yeah. And I love you saying that. I super duper appreciate you saying that cause I think that it’s such an important message to share at a time like this and we all just need to come together and really show up and support our people to the best of our ability. Right. And, and, and really strengthen that community. So I love that. I love that you’re saying that cause that’s just so in alignment with everything that I believe and try to practice. You know,
Joanna: at this time specifically right now, nobody has time for a facade or whatever image you’re trying to create. There is literally no time for that. Not when people are having a hard time getting their hands on essentials or if they’re craving a social interaction, now’s not the time to curate that perfect image that you’re trying to display. It’s just showing up and being real and being authentic. Those are going to be the winners.
Jamie: Yeah. I love that. Joanna, thank you so much for sharing that. Is there, I always ask every person who comes on the show, um, do you have any, I mean you’ve given so many Ninja tips, but do you have like one last Ninja tip you want to leave our listeners with?
Joanna: I would say to have fun because if I just, I mean I’ve lost count of how many people come to me with help for their group and I asked them, is this fun for you? And they’re like, well, I mean when I get to talk to people and I get to engage with them, it’s fun, but it’s the work of all the other stuff. And I’ll say, okay, what other stuff? Well, I have this outline and I’m supposed to do this post on this day and whatever, whatever. I mean Jamie, cause you imagine the two of us sitting here being like, okay Jamie, on Monday I’m going to ask you this.
Um, which by the way there, there are circumstances where those things work, but people have taken the lazy route of, on Monday I’ll post this on Tuesday I’ll do this. Yeah. And, and it serves a purpose and most people are not using that correctly. And then it ends up not being fun when you’re not having fun in your community anymore. Imagine you show up to the party and it’s not fun. No one else is gonna want to show up either. Exactly. Exactly. It’s a, it’s a transfer of energy and it can be felt when somebody who’s really passionate about their community, you can feel it. And the way they show up on Facebook live, you can feel it in the way that they post and the way that they comment back to people. You can, you can read it and you know that they’re having fun.
And when they’re having fun, they attract more people. Don’t let anything come in between you and having fun. Don’t let some script, don’t let some outline. Don’t let some weird thing that somebody tells you a year ago. Oh, it has to do this. Get in between that. And especially right now, figure out what people need and to figure out, you just asked. And that stuff is really fine. Just going in there and talking to people and getting them connected, it gives me a rush of energy. And if you’re not feeling that you have the freedom, so I’m going to write a permission slip. If you do not want to run your group anymore, you have the freedom to shut it down.
Jamie: I love that. And because it’s so true. Yeah. So true. It’s so true. So Juliana, how can we get in touch with you?
Joanna: So I’m probably the most active on Facebook. Um, that’s my home. So I have a business page called experienced and magic and that’s pretty much where I hang out. If not, um, I’m in Facebook groups. That’s where I spend all my time. I don’t, um, I think when I get to a point when I can hire a social media manager and I can have somebody doing content for me, I will. But right now where I’m at in my business, I’m in talking to people and I think that that’s the best use of my energy because I’m in a place where I get to talk to thousands and thousands of people a day and that’s where I get to show up. And that’s where people get to see me. So if you see me in a Facebook group, then say hi to me. Um, but that’s where most of my time is spent. Awesome.
Jamie: Awesome. Well we’ll make sure we put all of those links inside the show notes so you can very easily get ahold of Joanna. She is amazing. And I’ve probably known Joanna was, I don’t know, four or five years now.
Joanna: It’s been that long now. It’s crazy. It’s crazy.
Jamie: It’s like a literal group Facebook group, rock star. So if you’re looking for support with any of that stuff, like when all of this dump kind of went down, I was like, Oh, I gotta I gotta I it and I’ve been meaning to reach out to you anyway to ask you to come on the podcast. But I was like, Oh my God, I got to get Joanne on the podcast.
Joanna: Yes. Yeah. So, um, Jamie and I actually had this conversation on a post that I put up and um, I was saying that this is the time for community builders to, to put their skills to use. So if you are a natural at community building, this is absolutely your time to thrive and, and you can be the change that you wish to see in the world via a Facebook group. And that like gives me chills just thinking about the impact that [inaudible] people can make.
Jamie: Yeah, I absolutely love that. Joanna, thank you so much for coming on the show. I super appreciate you and your time this morning.
Joanna: Thank you for having me, Jamie.
Jamie: All right, we’ll talk to you soon. Everyone have a fantastic day.
Joanna: Take care everybody.