Online communities are nothing new but, but if that online community is at the heart of your business then you need to look after your people. The fact is, if you’ve built a strong following and you provide a community for them, you’re probably going to be a busy person already. You wouldn’t invite people to dinner and then not look after them and smart people know that a strong online community needs a strong community manager.
This week’s guest is Diana Tower and she lives and breaths hiring and supporting killer community managers.
She has advised and worked with top entrepreneurs like New York Times bestselling author Ramit Sethi, Media & PR Specialist Selena Soo, and Carrie Green, the founder of the Female Entrepreneur Association.
Diana has shared her strategic insights from the stage of Retain Live 2019, hosted workshops for Digital Marketer and Teachable, and has been featured in major publications & podcasts such as Forbes, Growth Lab, Super Fast Business podcast, Active Campaign and more.
Links and mentions
Diana's webiste : https://www.dianatower.com
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Automatic Show Transcript
Online communities on nothing new but if an online community is at the heart of your business, and need to look after your people. The fact is if you've built a strong following and you provide a community for them, you're probably going to be a busy person already. You wouldn't invite people to dinner and then not look after them. And smart people know that a strong online community needs a strong online community manager. This week's guest is Diana tower, and she lives and breathes hiring and supporting killer community managers. Hi there and welcome back to amplify the digital marketing entrepreneur podcast. I'm Bob Gentle, and every Monday I'm joined by amazing people who share what makes their business work. If you're new to the show, then take a second right now to subscribe in your player so you don't miss new episodes. And you can dig into some older ones when you finish this one. Don't forget to join our Facebook community. Just visit the shortcut URL amplify me.fm forward slash insiders.
Contribute taken right there. So welcome along, and let's meet Diana.
This week I'm delighted to welcome Diana tower to the podcast. Diana, do you want to start by maybe just introducing who you are, where you are and the kind of work you do? Sure thing. So I am originally Canadian. But I live in the south of Spain with my husband and my son and I am a community strategist and I specialize in actually hiring and training. unicorn community managers for established memberships.
Define unicorn community managers, because I'm also community manager and also our community.
Let's go basic, because this is so funny that you asked that because even in a community yesterday, yeah, I did a guest spot. I was live in this community. And somebody asked me like, what's a community manager? And so for me, it's so obvious and I think, oh, maybe people don't understand what it is. And so for
Well, the misconception is it's not a social media manager. Okay? So what people think is people confuse community with say like their, maybe like their email list or the people they have on Instagram or this sort of thing. Like, that's like a buzzword now is like, oh, engage with your community, you know, in social media. And that is one way of looking at it. But the way that I deal with community is it's a, it's a group of people that are in a space, typically, in my case online, that are sharing, like, the same struggle, or they have the same goal and they're working towards solving that or working towards, you know, achieving that goal together. So it's like, kind of like, if you think of it like real life, your community like I live on the street and my neighbors and the people that are sort of in your life with you and they kind of have the same sort of situations going on. It's kind of the same thing. So that's community, at least the way that I'm talking about it. So a community manager is a person that is specifically dedicated to
To facilitating that group. So it could be a Facebook group, it could be, say mighty networks or any platform, it could even be like a forum. But it's a person that's specifically there to facilitate connection. And sort of, you know, make sure that the space is safe for everybody to be there. And so this is the thing. So a lot of people just think, oh, like a community manager is somebody who's really empathetic and really engaging and like a cheerleader. And that's one piece of it. That's like the the tip of the iceberg. But the way that I look at it, so a community manager holistically, there's, there's all these different aspects that you can look at. So for example, like when I'm assessing somebody to hire as a community manager, I actually look at nine different points. Okay. And so, this, maybe we'll talk about that in a second. I don't want to get too pulled into that. But I'm assessing everything from you know, how they write, how they're thinking, how they make people feel in the community.
How they foster connections between members, the type of content they're writing, how they enforce guidelines, making sure people, you know, feel welcome and encouraged and helping them, you know, achieve their goals. There's so many different things. And then there's like admin stuff behind the scenes. So maybe it's like, for example, with Facebook, like, you have to, like, let people in and get people out, you know, posting things, scheduling posts, and also just collecting information. So for example, if you're the owner of a membership, maybe you don't have the time to be in the community, but you still want to be, you know, cheering people on when they have a win or some success or, you know, if somebody is having a rough time, maybe you can sprinkle in some love for that person. But you don't have time to be scrolling for hours every day. Imagine you have, I don't know, 505,000 people in this membership. And so that's where you can lean on your community manager to go in and sort of gather that information and create
You know, a document that makes it easy for you to see what's happening, grab a link, jump in and sprinkle some love in your community.
So that's that's just like a really high level look at like what a community manager is. I think was there something else we covered? What is community community manager? There's something. There was one question I wanted to ask you, which was online communities, Facebook groups, forums, things like that. For a lot of people, that's sort of native territory. But can you maybe give some examples of what an intentional community of like that might be?
Like? So some specific examples like of clients or people I've worked with, if you like, definitely. So well, for example, like the first community, so originally, so like rewind the clock, like probably like five years, I was teaching English in Madrid. So I was an ESL teacher, and I was teaching in person, but then I moved to South to live with my my knowledge
husband. And so I started teaching online with them, which then made me want to teach for myself online and set up a business. And so when I was doing research for that I discovered roommates at Okay, so if anybody has not heard of roommates, he he runs a company called I will teach you to be rich, sounds super scammy. But he actually is like personal finance, online business. Um, he's kind of in that online space. And so he was launching a program called zero launch, which I then joined. And he had a coaching membership as well called accelerator. And I wanted to go in I wanted to support and I wanted to be able to kind of go faster, and so I joined this membership. And it was a Facebook group and they had coaching. And I don't know what came over me, but I could not stop myself from helping other people. So I went in, I started like, cheering people on, like editing people's copy, like creating documents to help people like commenting and just basically doing what a community manager does, but I wasn't good.
Paid like this was just because I love doing it. And long story short, they offered me a job, I think two months in. And so they brought me on as the community manager. And then I was also working with them as a business coach for the same membership. And so that was like my first taste of like, a membership community. And being a community manager myself. And it's just it's fascinating because a lot of people don't even realize that community managers exists. They just think, oh, I'll just get a VA to, you know, do a checklist of community related tasks.
Which mice for myself, it's, it's kind of shooting yourself in the foot. Yes. It's kind of like a band aid, right? Because as your membership grows, you think, Oh, well, I can't do this myself. I'll just delegate to a VA and then I have more time to myself, but you really want to have like a professional taking care of your community, especially with a membership because the community is like the driver of retention. And so you want to keep people
And keep people happy. And so that's like the fundamental role of a community manager is boosting retention and keeping people happy. So other examples, I would say probably the the biggest, most well known that I know of is Carrie green. So the female entrepreneur Association, they have the membership and there's 5000 people in there. And so they have that's a Facebook group as well.
What else what else? There's so many examples like I know Chris Ducker has the academy for you printer that is not on Facebook, that's actually like in a forum style setting.
Like there's so many good examples like Mike and Kelly as well the membership guys, they have a membership for memberships, this super meta.
And they have it's a community it's like a forum built into their WordPress website.
And so it's just it's so fascinating like you can just see like so many different examples and also the subject matter
for membership, so for example, like I have a client who helps coach Etsy shop sellers, and she has a membership. Obviously, for example, training people about memberships or business. My latest client though, she has a membership, teaching women how to paint door hangers.
And I first of all, I didn't know what a door hanger was, so I had to look it up. And there's this like super sub niche of people that paint door hangers like they're these flat pieces of wood. And you you paint different things like things for Valentine's Day or Christmas or just like welcoming and all these things. And it's amazing. There's like, there's 750 people in this group. Wow. Think about this. People do the math like, man. I can't actually remember how much it costs. But imagine it's 40 bucks a month.
Yeah, that's the thing, I think in the in the online space, which is a very big planet. There are billions of people and some of them have some obscure interesting
Common. and building a community for those people is actually
a great opportunity in lots of different ways. It just takes a little bit of creativity and time exploring, actually, what is it that you are interested in? Because there's a very good chance. There are a lot of other people interested in that. It's it's a very interesting time in online business for that very reason. But a lot of people wing it, and I think a lot of people wing it for too long. Yeah. Which is why when you see a site or a community, I'm a member of a few online communities. And when they do engage with an effective Community Manager elevates the member experience a lot. 100%. And I think what's quite interesting with a lot of membership sites, especially in the entrepreneurial space, is people join them, either because they're very ambitious, or they have a problem or they're in crisis. So you have people in that membership where the stakes are quite
Hi. And I'm wondering what common problems your community managers are when you're managing those communities yourself in the past? What are the common problems that you encounter? Oh, my goodness, such a good question.
So I'd say that there's, there's so many things that you know, so when you're tweeting manager, and you're really invested in it, and you care about the people, which I think honestly, like you need to be if you're going to do your job, right, you need to actually care about the people that are in the space.
But the I think the number one issue is that community managers we worry, like about everything. And so, essentially, what made me really good at my job, so when I was actually managing, for example, the accelerator community when I was in it and doing the management myself, it's almost like the, you know, like Minority Report. So like Tom Cruise is like moving all these things around in your head and you're, you're looking at problems and you're looking at possible solutions. Like maybe there's three solutions that you can
us, but then you're thinking, Okay, if I do this, what will happen? And you're, you're thinking it's like the butterfly effect, right? And you're trying to, you're thinking three steps ahead, right to kind of mitigate risk in this sort of thing. And so I would say like, the number one issue for community managers is actually setting boundaries for themselves. And I know this probably is not like the response that you're thinking like you're thinking of, like forward facing towards like, situations. But like, for a community manager, what tends to happen is that they're always in there. And they can't stop being in there because they feel like oh, well, I have to catch everything right away. I have to be on it. I can't let things slip this sort of thing. And so one of the things that I train community managers on is actually setting boundaries. And it applies to the host of the membership. It applies to the county manager, but then also for the members themselves and really setting expectations of like, okay, when will people be showing up like as a community manager, like, are you going to be in there on the weekends or do you respond right away, which is
I highly recommend not doing because that sets the wrong expectation. It's like oh, Diana will jump in or this person will jump in, rather than like the community coming together and supporting each other.
So that would be the first thing like just setting boundaries. But in terms of like situational things that happen, I think, obviously people breaking rules. I think that in the entrepreneurial space, the number one issue is self promotion. And I think for me now, when I go into community, it's a completely different experience than somebody that's just joining community because it's a part of a program because I'm looking at everything and I am so skeptical. I'm like, really, huh, there's a link here like did you really have to have the link? Like, what's going on? Oh, like you're, you're, you're taught you're celebrating a win and you're talking about something but it's actually veiled self promotion. Like I'm so skeptical and like I judge so many I'm like, Hmm, I don't know. Like, where's this coming from? So
yeah, like dealing with self promotion, I think
One of the best things you can do is a you will less you need guidelines. First of all, a lot of people just kind of wing it and they say, oh, like we're all adults here. You don't need to have guidelines. And yes, you do. And the number one reason for that is you as a community manager, if you don't have guidelines in place, people don't know what the rules are, they don't know what's expected of them. So they'll just do what they think is okay. And it makes more work for you. Like, you have to then tell someone Oh, actually, we don't do that here. Or, you know, can you remove this link or don't tag this person, blah, blah, blah. And so it makes more work for the team. And so by having these guidelines, it's, I sort of compare it to like a prenup. I mean, nothing bad's gonna happen and we love each other and everything's amazing. Just in case like something goes wrong. Here the here are the rules and I'm going to send you to remind you that oh, this is what's okay here.
And that's the thing is like you most people won't read the guidelines.
Because they're not thinking about that they're thinking about getting started and introducing themselves and kind of getting that ball rolling. But then the community guidelines are for the community manager to reference later. So it saves them time when you know something bad is happening. And they're like, oh, my goodness, this person is doing something wrong. They can just drop a link, right? They can just send a private message or they can do it publicly. And it makes it so much easier, you know, to kind of keep the keep the peace, I guess.
And then I guess the other like, so like, just one more thing. There's so many I could talk for hours. But the like, one more thing I would say that people struggle with would be the balance between coaching and community. So this is another thing that people don't even realize is that as a community manager, if you are answering questions, you're actually coaching. Okay. And so, for example, when I was working with accelerator, I was actually
A coach and a community manager, which is like oil and vinegar, because my job as a coach is to answer people's questions. But then my job as a community manager is to facilitate connection between members. And so in that case, coaching Trumps, you know, community management because you have to answer the questions. And so you know, when you're in a community, or you have a community for yourself, this desire to answer questions, that's coaching, right? And so there's this, you want to make sure that as you're setting up kind of the foundation of your community, that you're separating the coaching from the community. So in your community, imagine you do want to answer questions and provide that sort of feedback. I would recommend having it either on a live call, getting people to submit questions, and maybe you do like a Facebook Live once a week or you hop on a zoom call once a week, so that the coaching is kind of separate. And then you really just establish the fact that the community is a space for the members to connect with each other. It's not like
Your soapbox for you to just go and be like, I'm amazing. And I know everything. And you can ask me all your questions. Because when that happens, people stop looking at each other and they just stare at you. They don't care what anybody else thinks they just want your answer they want you to comment. So sure, that's great when you have 20 people, what about 500? What about 1000? What about 5000? Right. And so that's the thing is setting the expectation from day one, that it's a space to connect with each other, not a space to get coaching from the host or from the community manager. I think I've seen that actually, I've watched the transition in a couple of memberships. I mean, where people were very hands on, maybe a year or two ago, but they have slowly sort of delegated that first point of contact to community managers, and it's very effective. But what I wonder is, how important it is and there probably isn't one answer, but how important is for that community manager to really be an expert.
It in the field? Because that's going to have an impact on the cost of that community manager. Yep. So what's your experience around that? Okay, this is so good, because
what I would say is that as a community manager, like I said, it's not their job to answer questions, it's not their job to coach. So technically speaking, I would say that a community manager doesn't need to be an expert in the field of that topic. Now, there's an Asterix to that, if they know about it, or if they're knowledgeable or they're kind of on a journey learning about it, then that's a good thing. So for example, perfect example is my client who has the Etsy shop coaching membership, okay. So she has a community manager who actually used to be a member. So kind of the same situation as me. He was this amazing member. He was just doing all of these amazing things until she moved him into the role of community manager. So but the thing is, though, he was he moved into country manager, but now he's transitioning into being a coach.
Okay, and so she then realized, okay, we need to bring on somebody else to basically be the community manager. And the person that we that we brought on was somebody they'd been working with before. But she does not have an Etsy shop. She does not have experience with that. And so that was the biggest concern or insecurity of that person themselves. They were like, I'm not an Etsy shop seller, like, I can't answer questions. I'm not gonna be able to do this. And so I think on day one of our training, I said, that is totally okay. Because your job is to be a human. Your job is to assess how people are feeling and make them feel certain emotions, maybe it's
feeling proud of themselves or accepted or supported. That's actually something else a lot of people totally gloss over is you need to understand the emotional needs of your members. Because if you don't understand that, you can't be strategic at all with the community because emotion is the strategy when it comes to coming.
And so you reverse engineer that. And so for her, you know, she was really insecure about that point. But it actually for me, it makes it easier because then you set the expectation like, Hey, guys, I'm not an Etsy shop seller, but I'm here to support you to connect you with the right information to help, you know, the conversations flow to like, have fun and like, let her personality come out. So I would say that it can actually be an asset because it makes it easier to have that boundary of she's not a coach, she doesn't ask the doesn't answer questions. You have to go to this live or you need to go to this place over here to get you know, questions answered. But as a community manager, yeah, I would say like, for example, like we're, we're looking to hire one right now for a client and
she, for example, with the door, the door hangers, so she doesn't paint door hangers. She used to be an art teacher though. So for me, I'm like, okay, she's creative. She's in that space, but I'm much more focused on
Assessing her as a whole in terms of the role, which actually brings us back to those nine key points. So those assessment points that I mentioned really quick at the beginning, I kind of rein myself in, like, let's just really high level talk about that. Because, like I said before, most people just think, oh, community manager, find somebody who's like really fun and engaging and empathetic. That's the tip of the iceberg. That's personality. That's key number three. The first key is thought process. So when I actually
do like a hiring process to find candidates, we have, you know, the typical things like let's get your resume your cover letter, but I actually create a, like an assignment. So there's eight questions usually, and they're pulled from the community. They're either real situations, or they're fake ones that I create. So I can see them in action. Like I want to see how they're going to handle it, how they're going to write and also their thought process. So it's like, why are they handling this situation in the way they're handling
It just so I can get a better taste of like, Okay, how does this person think and handle situations? key number two is writing skill. Because online, like 96, or 97% of the communication is in writing. Yes, they might have a Facebook Live, they might send videos or audios but they need to be able to write in a way that really connects people and triggers emotion. Like you need to be a strong writer, that's probably the number one key like afterthought process. The third key personality and connection, so this is where it's like, they're a cheerleader, or they're empathetic, or they just have a really friendly personality. Like I got a couple nicknames. So when I was managing the community for accelerator, people were calling me the empathy ninja and then also the mother hand so like you can get a feel right so it's like all like the mother hen energy in a very masculine very like no BS sort of environment because that's the like, if you guys know where meets at, like that's the kind of vibe of the company
And that was the vibe of this membership. And then I came in and sort of brought this friendly, silly mother hen permission to be yourself energy, which people loved. So like personality is super important. Number four tech savvy, like, Can this person work in a Facebook group? Can they reply in like a set a threaded reply? Can they use Google Docs and share it properly? So people can actually go in, like all these different things like zoom all these different pieces of technology that you know, they're going to need to use on a daily basis? Number five, distinct communication, right? So can this person be very direct in writing? And also was speaking and the reason I look at this, this is not really forward facing for the membership. It's more for the the host and the team behind the scenes because there is nothing worse than having somebody that will send you like five page emails when they could have sent it in like a paragraph. Right? So like
Couple of clients like that, right? It's the worst. It's like dude and I, this has been sort of burnt into me from working with roommates at like this it like he, his team is just absolutely amazing and making it. So when you send an email or a message, you do the heavy lifting, you do the work so that the other person has to just say yes or no. So you provide context, you provide all the links they need. You're very proactive. And so that's one of the things I look for, like, I want to find a community manager that makes less work for you and your team. Like that's one of my big goals. So it's like, looking at how they communicate. And we do that obviously, in writing through the application, but also during their interview, because we asked very strategic questions during the interview. And it's almost like a podcast you, you don't stop them, you just let them talk. So can they be succinct and can they just answer the questions, you know? So that's super important. I think number six, this is one of the biggest things that people don't even think about, but availability
And future growth. So a lot of times what will happen is, when you find a unicorn or somebody that's amazing at what they do, they have another gig, okay? So they have, like their own business or they, they're trying to set something up, but they're trying to do something else. And you have to be very careful, so that you actually hire someone that can grow with you. And that doesn't have kind of other priorities, because you don't want them to go away from you. You want them to kind of grow with you and be with you long term, especially like if you're investing good money, like training them and bringing them into your team. And it's a community manager, it's, it's one of those forward facing positions. So for example, if you have a membership of 500 people, they're going to basically fall in love with this person, because that person is going to take care of them and become a part of their life. And so when they leave because something like people leave, right and so if they leave, it can be really hard to then find a replacement that your members will actually accept and like kind of welcome in. So
That's the thing trying to find somebody that's like long term future growth. And that's actually the number seven is long term commitment. So it's not that somebody's interested in, you know, like, six months or three months, like we're talking like two years minimum or more, which is very difficult online, it's hard to find somebody that's looking to commit for that long.
Number eight, organization skills and schedule. This is something again, behind the scenes, making sure that they can set boundaries and create a schedule so that they're not just mindlessly scrolling and being reactionary. They're actually being strategic. Like, right now I'm creating content right now I'm creating, you know, an email to send to my to the host to let them know what's going on in the community. You know, managing and just scrolling, making sure that you know, all of the rules are being followed, enforcing guidelines, sprinkling in some comments, like really time blocking and creating that schedule. And then number nine, punctuality and it's so funny, like
Literally, it's just like, when does this person arrive for the live interview? And I've had people that arrive five minutes early, I've had people arrive late, or like bang on. And so, like punctuality, it's a small thing. But imagine if behind the scenes, you have a team call, and this person is always late. That drives me nuts. So it's, again, like, it's a very holistic assessment of a person for the role. So it's not just, you know, are they empathetic and a cheerleader? It's like, are they going to really support you with your business and with your membership, like now and into the future? And I think that support is key. If you're making that investment in a community manager, you can afford to get that wrong because if you get it wrong, your whole community sees it. Exactly. Will the damage can last I imagine for many years. Yep. It's the thing like people get, this is the thing like people and it's, I think this is why some of these people are a little bit scared about having a
prominent Community Manager, like a person that's like a member of the team, like they're out there because they are forward facing people get attached. We're human. And this is the thing I think, you know, I'm like everything that I do, I'm very specific with the community management, like training and hiring community managers. But like, I'm in the business of human connection. And it's, you know, in writing, it's in video, it's how you express yourself in different situations. And the thing is, is where the community, people are struggling, they have a problem. And then you have this person that just makes them feel so supported. Like I had, like a perfect example was Stu McLaren. So he created a program called tribe so that's actually for memberships as well. And he has another membership called Connect. And what was it the community so I actually so fun story, was it last June, I completely burnt out. I just hit a wall.
I was I could not do anything. And I thought I needed a vacation for a month I ended up not working for five months, just about five months, like literally could not sit in front of a computer. It's the weirdest, most horrible situation I've ever experienced. But it was definitely needed to kind of reassess the work that I was doing. I was kind of, I was doing way too much, and I wasn't focused. And so when I came back from this, I remember that rebel, the community manager, she sent me a message. I think it was about a month or two in and it was, it was just literally a message saying, hey, Diana, like I've noticed you haven't been in the community recently. And I just wanted to see if you're okay.
And even just saying that right now, I have goosebumps because it makes you feel like oh my god, like they care. They notice if I'm there or not. And it just opened up this beautiful conversation of like, you know, thank you so much. Like, I'm just having a rough time right now. You know, how can I get
The most from this, you know, and it was just it was a beautiful thing. And it literally took maybe two minutes from her. And here's the thing to like, let's be strategic, take a little bit of the emotion out of that. She might just have a template that says, you know, put in the name here, hey, I've noticed you haven't been in her a while. And maybe she has like tracking or data that says, hey, this person hasn't been in the community for a month, you should message them. Right? So it can be very, like, this is the thing. It's like, when you kind of like go behind the scenes, a lot of this is very like their strategies, their systems, it's very strategic. But when it's on the other side, if you do it well, it does not feel like that it feels authentic, it feels real. And again, it's all about that human connection, like making somebody feel seen, heard accepted, you know, all of those things that honestly I think in today's world, like we're all kind of starved for that human connection.
I think something I'd like to maybe move on to
Because you've painted the picture of an ideal situation there. And there's two places I want to go. One is, what does a car crash look like? And the other is, who should shouldn't start a membership online community. But maybe if we start with, okay, who is maybe ripe for launching some kind of online community, and then we can talk about when it all goes wrong afterwards, and we can have a laugh at other people's expense. Oh, my goodness. Okay, so this is fantastic. So with community so first of all, I'm just going to be very clear, like, I really don't like free Facebook groups. So to me, because my the way I look at community, it's about fostering connection and supporting people who have invested money with you. Right? Whereas with free Facebook groups, it's a lead generation tool to sell people. And so I don't know what it is about my brain. I just can't wrap my head around. It feels very it just feels nice. It's kind of exploiting community.
So some people do that. That's great. I don't like that.
But the thing that I noticed so for example, there are people that do free Facebook groups and they do them beautifully. Right? They actually offer value they help people they move forward, and then they pitch which is fine. But actually recently I I joined somebody's free Facebook group and I walked in and so this is the experience I had it literally was like, I joined the group and the first post I saw was recommending to join somebody else's program. And I was like, oh, okay,
scroll a little bit like I like because for me I'm like looking for what's this place all about? Where can I introduce myself like pretty standard things and as I was scrolling, like it was just post after post of promoting themselves promoting other people. Join us you know, be a part of the family but with the price tag, it was just so like, it was just gross. Like it was just like, like it like the the way I wrote an email to
My List and I think I described it as like, being in line at Starbucks, and like seeing somebody and then suddenly be married with like three kids, and you just jump, like, Whoa, like I made eye contact with you. And now we're like, retired on a porch. And we, you know, like, it's just like, What is going on? So I feel like, there's this, like, people sometimes just don't get
what goes into community. And so now, for example, though, imagine if somebody has a course or they have a membership, and they're like, Okay, I understand that I need to have a community to boost retention. If you're only looking at it in terms of numbers, you probably shouldn't do it. Because not only will it not be rewarding for you, it's going to be massively draining, because it's way more work than you think it is. And so like this, this idea of, Okay, I'm just gonna, I'll just set this group up and it'll go with the course it'll go with the membership people can quote unquote, engage and everything
We'll just you know, if you build it, they will come, you know, Field of Dreams. And it just really it does not work that way. And it creates a bad experience for your your clients. It's like you're basically sending the message that we're not worth investing the time in, like, we're not worth having boundaries were not worth, you know, having you show up here. And like, it just leaves a bad taste in your mouth. And so, and I've seen it I actually it's really funny too, because a lot of my students, so students that have that were in the accelerator program or people that are in communities that I've sort of touched. So if I've helped businesses kind of optimize their group, people reach out to me they say, Diana, I thought that all communities were like your communities. And then they go into someone else's, and they're just like, what? Like, oh my god, like no, like, just so disorganized. No rules, like a pitch fast. Everyone's promoting themselves. Nobody cares.
about anybody else, the host isn't there. There's nobody actually, it's like just basically like putting kids in a room and just letting them do whatever they want. No Boundaries, like climbing up the walls. And, you know, it just it. I think that just that alone having people reach out to me and say like, hey, like your communities are amazing, like you create this space that allows us to focus on only the goals and what we're dealing with, but also each other, like and connect and have fun and like, make friends like that really is the essence of it. So I mean, yeah, like in terms of those car crashes, it's just it I think it's one of those disappointing situations where somebody is just like, you know, this strategy says, I have to have a Facebook group. So I'm just going to do that and then they check it off their list. And like for me, community is so much more than that. And it's just really, it. Yes, it is a time investment. Yes, like hiring somebody to match
is a constant, you know, cost. But the benefits of it, I think are like you can't even you can't really measure them because a its retention be its product research. So for example, when you get people really comfortable in there, they start talking about their problems or what they want to get help with, you can potentially do customer research. It's an amazing way to get testimonials and do case studies with your with your clients, because you can see what's happening and then reach out to them and say, Hey, we'd love to feature you can we hop on a call? Like, there's, there's just so many benefits that it really for me, at least it really outweighs the cost of you know, having somebody managing it and taking care of it for you. And I guess, to push the question a little bit, who should start a membership site.
Um, this is really interesting because I think that you have to
be somebody that has boundaries. So even for myself, here's, here's the deal with me. I love helping people. And I find it very difficult to not help people. So like the coach in me wants to jump in and answer questions. And so for example, I hosted What was I was doing a beta for a training program to train community managers. And I had a mighty networks group, like a community that went with it. And after the first week, I had to write a post and laugh because I said, Hey, guys, so I realized that this is a coaching platform, it's not a community, because they just wanted to ask me questions. They were like, oh, like, Can you answer this? Can you do this? And, and it was interesting, because they didn't need a community. Because this is the thing. Like spoiler alert. Not every program, not everything you have has to have a community. Right? So even with a membership, you might have a membership where people just literally want to get a PDF each month or maybe it's just like a live coaching.
called each month and that's it. And that, like, that's okay.
But in terms of like people and like, try to assess yourself like, should I have a membership and like a membership community? Number one is making sure you have boundaries. So can you stop yourself from coaching? Because if you start coaching and your membership, so imagine like the ecosystem of your business, if you offer one on one coaching, or group coaching, which is quite expensive, and then you have a cheaper membership, people will start to think like, if you're jumping in and answering all the questions all the time, people are going to think, Well, why would I? Why would I sign up for group coaching? Or this one on one when she's always jumping in and answering the questions in the in the membership, I'm just going to have the membership, right, so you have to be very careful. And I've seen many membership owners close their membership for exactly this reason, because they could not kind of create that boundary for themselves. And it basically
it cannibalize their other offers. Right? And so you need to
Make sure that you're not going to kind of go buck wild and start coaching and in your membership.
And I would say the second thing as well is like figuring out if that's actually what your people need, like I definitely I love the business model of a membership, right that like it's recurring income. And you get to like, really love on your members. And I'm definitely a an advocate for it. But I do feel like in some cases, like in some niches, people don't need that they need a course or they need maybe a mastermind, or maybe they need something else that's going to give them like the result that they're looking for. So I would say asking yourself, like, is this the best way for them to get results? Because again, it's about the human in this equation. It's not about the numbers. It's not about, you know, doing the math, it's about, hey, this person has a problem. They want to solve it, I can help them solve it, what's going to be the best way and like maybe you have options, maybe it is one on one, maybe it is
coaching, maybe it is a membership, but just making sure that you can really separate those and not have the membership kind of eat away at your other offers. Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. That's a really, really good answer. I think what I'd like to talk about next is you spoke about the unicorn Community Manager. Yeah. And the reality is, you are in a super niche, like it's a very, very small niche and your ideal customer is already a unicorn business owner. So I'm curious to explore with your What does your own marketing look like? How do you go about connecting with these ideal customers? Because I imagine they're all over the world. They're very, very busy people. So how do you cross that bridge so they know about you? This is such a good question and especially for right now because so like I said before, I was marketing myself as a
Sort of like community, help you build your community, set up your community, engage your community, this sort of thing. And, and I realized, so after I burnt out, I realized that really, what I love is I love coaching, like community managers, I love training them, but I also like finding them for clients. And so I'm in this new space where I'm literally like, I've got like this new positioning, but the world doesn't know it yet. And so it's this kind of this uncomfortable space of, okay, like I've pivoted, I've changed, everything is set up, and this is the work that I'm doing. But the world is still under the impression that I'm doing what I was doing before, like six months ago. And so my plan actually and it's funny because I've been working on this I've been kind of like sitting with my bullet journal and just really jamming on, like, what's the best for my clients like these ideal clients, but also what is the most fun for me? Because I've realized that in the past, I've done things sometimes
weeks, I thought that they were what I was supposed to be doing. But they were so heavy. And so I'm looking at my past history, one of the best things I've done is writing ultimate guides. So I actually have two ultimate guides. So from the past, I've got the Ultimate Guide to building an online community, a profitable online community, and then also the Ultimate Guide to engaging community members. And it's like my beefy guide that basically downloads my brain on everything that you need to know on building and engaging and community, a paid community, so not a free Facebook group, but a paid course or membership group. And so I did that. And what I found what was fascinating is that people would read my guide, it would be so beefy, and it would make them realize, oh my gosh, this is a lot of work. And they would just reach out to me and they say, Hey, can you help me build this or can you work with me and coach me on building this or engaging my community or this sort of thing and it was perfect. It was a basically brings awareness, but people at that level, they just didn't have the time or didn't
Want to do it themselves, so they would pay me to do it. And so what I plan to do moving forward is I'm going to write the Ultimate Guide to hiring a community manager, a unicorn Community Manager. But I'm also going to write more Ultimate Guide. So for example, like the ultimate guide to training a community manager, you know, the Ultimate Guide to down the line, I want to branch out because like you said, I'm super niche right now. And that makes me really uncomfortable. But I feel like it's the right step for right now to just be very focused. But as I sort of create that content and move outwards, you know, I want to create ultimate guides, for example, like the ultimate guide to setting up a pop up Facebook group to launch so that's the only exception, right? So before I was saying, like, I don't like free Facebook groups. The only exception is a pop up group, because a pop up group if you've never heard of that, that is a group that you create, and it's live and you use it for say, three weeks and you offer massive value, then you launch your product. And then when you're finished launching you close
The group, you don't keep it open forever. It's not like this. It's not lead generation forever an ongoing and never ending. It's for a specific time period. And actually, right now, my good friend, Gladys atto. She's a leadership expert. And she is doing that right now. So she's had a three day live event. She just opened her cart for her story mentoring program, and now she's getting on calls with people to see if they're a good fit. And this community, like she just creates space for people to explore their story. And so that's the only type of free Facebook group that I would ever want to touch. So for example, for me, I'm like, okay, Ultimate Guide to that. And then even previous clients, they've said, What about, you know, building a Facebook or building a Facebook group from scratch for your course. And in my head, I'm like, I'm not sure that I really want to do that because people don't care. Usually at that point. They're kind of like, whatever I'll just set up myself. But I think down the line, there's so many different places that I can touch on and I would say that's probably
Number one strategy ultimate guides. I'd say the second one is podcast interviews like this I love I love talking with people and just jamming about community. And I think it's, it's an easy, like, it's the perfect way to give people a taste of what I'm like, like this is 100% me like, when I'm on a call if I'm doing any sort of coaching or any work with people like this is me like I like I probably actually I swear a little bit more. I'm just sort I'm not sure. I'm not sure. I've been waiting for it hasn't happened. Oh, I know, I was just so funny because I had this moment halfway through. I was like, Wait a second, I'm not sure if swearing is okay, so I'm just gonna make it like, nice and like, I can drop the F bomb. Do we have the green light for since wearing the colorful language? That would be the only difference really, I would be probably dropping f bombs and whatnot.
Probably a little bit more.
But I feel like it like finding a couple ways that you just really love in order to grow and just really focusing on that like I'm also
Getting into Instagram a little bit like I love Instagram stories. They're just so much fun. And actually, like we're gonna have a couple for today. So like, just kind of wait, right like I was it before this podcast I was doing I don't know what I was doing. I was like strolling around my kitchen, I was like, I'm going to record this. It's like a pre podcast strut around my kitchen. And I think that's really the key, like a lot of my good friends who are very successful business owners. Like they just keep saying, like, have fun. Find what is fun because you'll do it. Like it's easy. So like, for me, it's I like writing ultimate guides. I like for example, like maybe even hosting webinars like I think I love coaching. I love answering questions like if you sit me in a room with people and just throw questions at me, I I could do that for hours. And actually, that was what happened a little bit at Mike and Kelly's event retain live. And so I spoke that was like the first time that I spoke actually, which I was really proud of. So I got really good working
us, but I spoke there, but then there was a panel afterwards. And so people would just line up at the microphone and ask questions. I could do that all day every day. I love answering like, and you know, when you're asking questions, my brain is just like, you know, exploding, like all so many good, like things that I want to share. And so yeah, I think that's the key in terms of promoting yourself getting your message out there. find something that works and, and also if you're doing something and it's not really working, be okay with stopping it. So for example, I started a podcast A while back, and I paused it after probably, I don't even remember probably embarrassing, like five episodes or six episodes, because I did not have a good system in place for the back end. And so I was like, This is not the best use of my time in the future. Do I want to have a podcast? Hell yes, I do. Because I love this. I love talking to amazing people and just learning from, you know their specific set of skills.
experiences. But right now it doesn't make sense. So for me, it's like writing ultimate guides, doing trainings doing podcast interviews. I've also actually one thing that's really great as well, is being a guest expert. So I've hosted a couple like workshops. So I've hosted actually just recorded one for the printer Academy. So that's, I think, coming out in May.
And then I've done some for some smaller mastermind groups, one for digital marketer, one for teachable, so like pitching yourself and really putting yourself out there for media. So this is another thing as well, like really being comfortable with putting yourself out there. And just, yeah, like making sure that you can get your message in front of the right people. I think I would like to come back to that topic on another podcast interview with you because that's one area that I know a lot of people would like to go deep on. But we've probably come to the end of our
Definitely a genuine I mean, I would like to, you're the person I would like to speak about that with because I know you've done a lot of work there. And it's been successful. But for now, we would probably need to wrap things up. Definitely. I would love to jam about that. And I actually do have a secret weapon so I can talk about that too. I love secret weapons and my favorite thing. So Diana, I'm going to ask you the same question that I asked every guest or have asked every guest for the last five episodes or so I'm trying to get properly organized. Remember to ask this question every time. But what's one thing you do now that you wish you'd started five years ago?
Ah, such a good question. I'm going oh my gosh, there's so many different things I want to say I would say the number one thing would be niching down.
Because when I first started, I was like community for everyone in anyone. And you just get lost in a sea of everybody out there and
Like I couldn't really get traction, and it was really demoralizing, you know. And so you're trying, you know that you have something special that's like inside of you, and you can't get like that validation of Yes, like people are throwing money at you or people are getting value from your programs. Like, I didn't have focus. And so it was very hard to move forward. And so, like I said, after I burnt out in June, I'm super nice right now and it just while it scares me, because I think oh my gosh, like super nice. Like, I'm cutting out all of these other people and like, people will reach out and say, Oh, can you help me with this? And I'm like, actually, I don't do that anymore. So like turning people away. It's a little bit scary. Yeah, but having that niched down focus makes everything so much easier, and I really wish that I'd done that right from the get go, just giving myself permission to focus on like one person, one type of person, one situation
And then give myself permission to grow after that. That's a great answer. And Diana, if people want to connect with you, how would you like them to do that? They can come on over to Diana tower calm. And that's where I said, so I've got my ultimate guides there. And also if you are looking to hire a unicorn Community Manager, I do have a form on my homepage so you can share some more context on your membership and your business. And I can take a look and we can hop on a call. Dinah, you've been a great guest I've had great fun. Thank you very much for your time. I can't wait to speak to you again. Yay. Thank you so much. I'm super excited. We'll have to book in for the next one because I can like again, like with promotion and getting media and publicity. Like that's such a huge part of how I've gotten to where I am right now, but also transitioning and changing my niche. It's been so helpful. I can't wait to speak to you about that. See you soon. See you.
an online community of some kind. Whether it's just your friends on Facebook or Instagram, a Facebook group or a full on paid members of community, how would you make your people feel is such an important thing to think about. Before I go, just a quick reminder to subscribe and if you haven't already, then join our Facebook group. And yeah, I feel a little awkward after speaking to Diana. You can find the link in the show notes or just visit amplify me.fm forward slash insiders and you'll be taken right there. I would love to connect with you on social media. You can follow me or connect with me everywhere you hang out. You'll just find me at Bob Gentle if you do to message me and let me know so I can follow you back. If you enjoyed the show, then I would love for you to review it on iTunes. It would mean a lot to me as the very best way to help me reach new subscribers. My name is Bob Gentle thanks again to Diana for giving us hard time this week, and to you for listening and see you next week.
Transcribed by https://otter.ai