1.8 billion people use Facebook Groups, and there are tens of millions of groups on Facebook. How is your Group standing out from the crowd? 

Learn how to grow, manage, and sustain a sense of community online with Lou Mongello. As host and producer of the WDWRadio podcast, Lou shares his strategies for building thriving, meaningful Facebook Groups and creating community-driven content on this week’s Social Media News Live. .


Jeff Sieh: [00:00:00] Welcome to Social Media News Live I’m Jeff Sieh and you’re not. 

[00:00:04] Grace Duffy: [00:00:04] Hi, I’m Grace Duffy. And this is the show that keeps you up to date on what’s happening in the world of social media. Today’s show is brought to you by Restream, which is the magic. That’s allowing us to go to Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, and Amazon live, and also allows us to seamlessly distribute the show as a podcast.

[00:00:23] Once we’re done with high resolution sound and separate audio tracks for hosts and guests, which has rolled out this month, restream studio gives you everything. You need to create a professional live show and podcast right in your browser. So you can find out more about that and everything that you can do with it at socialmedianewslive.com/restream

[00:00:44] Jeff Sieh: [00:00:44] Awesome.

[00:00:44] And today we are excited to have Lou Mongiello on the show, and we’re going to be talking about. All about his strategies for building a thriving, meaningful Facebook group and creating a community driven content inside of that. But once again, we also wanted to do a big shout out to another one of our sponsors.

[00:01:01] The show couldn’t be made possible with our out our great sponsors and it is Ecamm and they actually have this new version that rolled out version 3.8. You can have preview mode off air, Oh, comment, favoring search, new improved wizard, widgets, all these things. Yeah, you got LinkedIn live access now, blue screen, and you can actually totally customize the look of your live video or prerecorded video, just like you’re seeing today with e-com live, use their text overlays to create really cool graphics, pull in files from just about anywhere and bring that broadcast to life.

[00:01:31] You can find out more about that at socialmedianewslive.com/ecamm That’s socialmedianewslive.com/ecamm Now, if you do not know who our Lou is, you. I can’t believe you’re even watching. No, but he’s so amazing. And if you don’t know Lou, he is a Disney expert. And then one of the top 50 social media influencers hits podcast, WDW radio is ranked number two overall podcast in iTunes and has been named best travel podcasts for nine consecutive years.

[00:02:03] He’s a co a keynote speaker and entrepreneur, author, and founder of the dream team charity project, which sins children with life-threatening illnesses to Walt Disney world. He is the master when it comes to creating a sense of community, a sense of belonging and just a whole lot of magic with his podcast, live videos, blogs, Facebook groups.

[00:02:24] Well, just about everything he does. Lou, welcome to the show. My friend. 

[00:02:29] Lou Mongello: [00:02:29] Thank you guys for having me. Good to see you again. 

[00:02:31] Jeff Sieh: [00:02:31] So you’ve been, you’re like one of the oldest school podcasters. And so, grace and I were talking and we wanted to know, were there even iPods available when you first started podcasting?

[00:02:40] Were there, were they out then. 

[00:02:42] Lou Mongello: [00:02:42] They were rotary. They were like rotary, IFE. They literally were rotary iPod. That’s what I say. I was saying as a drug and I’m like, wait, it really was sort of the, with the click wheel. Yeah. So back in 2005. 

[00:02:52] Jeff Sieh: [00:02:52] Yeah. So, we have a lot of news we’re going to cover today, but I just, I mean, if you haven’t checked out Lou’s podcast, cause he has been doing it, I think I saw you for the first time.

[00:03:00]You were actually the keynote. It was the last time at the hotel at social media marketing world. And I think that’s when the first time I saw you and you were talking about podcasts and everything. And so, so LA has been around and the way he does community, you’ve heard me gush about him. My family thinks I have some sort of weird thing cause we always watch and listen to loose thing.

[00:03:18] My kids make fun of me, but I don’t care. So you can learn so much from this guy. So I’m so excited to have him on the show, but yeah, grace, the bromance man, I have, I really 

[00:03:29] Grace Duffy: [00:03:29] do. I need to 

[00:03:29] Jeff Sieh: [00:03:29] get between the two of you, but we set it up this way. Just I did it on purpose. So yes. So grace breakdown this, we’ve got some news we’re going to cover it and Lou’s going to kind of help us understand some of this stuff.

[00:03:40] So go ahead and break some of this first new segment down for you for us, if you would. 

[00:03:44] Grace Duffy: [00:03:44] Absolutely. Well, I wanted to share some stats on Facebook community, which has been their focus for the last couple of years. So this week Facebook held its community connect event, a live video workshop event that focused on the growth and engagement within public groups.

[00:03:59] Now we have public groups, private groups we’ll get into the distinction between those two. I wanted to share the stat with you more than 1.8 billion people use Facebook groups every month. And there are tens of millions of groups in Facebook and growing. So of course I made the lockdowns. People have been turning to social media to stay connected in their online groups in particular.

[00:04:21] Yeah, we’ve seen groups on Facebook explode. So the increase in activity users have been looking to maintain those connections. 26% of users primary groups tend to be around a hobby or activity. So not surprising Walt Disney world being one of them and all things Disney, right? Local groups, memberships grew 3.3 X last spring.

[00:04:43] Of course, as people were looking to support local businesses, find out what was going on in the local community. Facebook groups are now more significant to brands, more than ever because if you’ve so if you’re stuck on how to increase your brand’s engagement or looking to create more community driven content within your groups, then definitely stick around.

[00:05:02] So, you know, as people are finding themselves more and more, you know, tied to these groups, we’ve seen a lot of even activism causes giving. Oh, as a side note, I saw this article this week that $5 billion have been raised for nonprofits on Facebook. Of course, that’s tied to a lot of what’s been going on, you know, w with the growth in groups.

[00:05:21] So Lou, as you’ve gone, you know, a little bit about your story, I’m going to just be like skipping stones along a long, the river here, because cause like you have an incredible career. So you went from writing a book about Disney and Disney trivia, which we hope to stump you on later today. You know, to blogging, to podcasting and you know, along the way your content has fueled this incredible community.

[00:05:45] So tell us how, you know, how other people can create, you know, content that drives that sense of community that you’ve done so successfully. 

[00:05:53] Lou Mongello: [00:05:53] You know, it’s funny when you said that about content driving the community. And I think content is what gets people in the door as it were, but the community, you know, they, they come in because of the content, but they stay because of the friendships and the relationships and it really.

[00:06:09] It’s it’s how you treat people from the outset. And I think it’s really, it’s how you view them too. I, I am not. And I was just having a conversation this morning. I’m not a numbers guy, right? I don’t look at the numbers of the fact that Facebook’s statistics or, you know, our analytics are going away. It doesn’t impact me really cause they don’t really pay attention to it because I’m a firm believer in this idea of caring at scale.

[00:06:32] Because every number to me, as a person and the way you treat them will be reflected back on you in terms of the way that they engage in the group and engage in the community. So it’s always been at the, the, really the forefront of what I do, and I care more about the community than I do about the content.

[00:06:50] If that makes any sense. 

[00:06:52] Jeff Sieh: [00:06:52] Hmm. Interesting. Yeah. Yeah. So when, when you know, things shut down, I mean, you created content for Disney, but when, when things shut down for this better part of the year, I was so impressed about you continued on and give some tips on how you continued showing up for your community, because it was really interesting because I mean, you even, and you may, we mentioned about your nonprofit that you do at the start of the show.

[00:07:17] But I think even during this time, they came around you and surprise you with, like, it was, was it on your birthday or whatever they did this thing. I mean, you didn’t have any part with it. They just showed up and surprised you with this gift to your your, your nonprofit. Can you talk about that a little bit and, and how that worked?

[00:07:35] Like when people couldn’t even go to the parks. 

[00:07:37] Lou Mongello: [00:07:37] Yeah. So, you know, it’s, it’s, it’s, it’s just interesting because when this happened, right, when this shutdown happened, community became more important than ever. And everything that we had built beforehand, that that foundation was, was so critical because the community that, that, again, I just built the clubhouse.

[00:07:59] They are the ones who populate it and, and who bring other people into it. But the community that was formed both online and in-person right, doing monthly meetups and Walt Disney world doing group events and group cruises, when all that went away and we were locked in our houses, that relationship place at that place, it was the focus of the relationship became so much more important because people knew that they had a place to go to when Disneyworld shut down and everything was shut down.

[00:08:26] One of the first things I did was like, Not just do live broadcasts. I’m like, we need to get into a zoom room. We need to get as many people as we can because people needed to come together and they needed to have that face-to-face interaction, that friendship in a place that they knew that they were not only going to belong, but be understood and be heard too.

[00:08:44]And, and to the point about the the charity, cause obviously you want to make me cry right off the bat. When all this was going on, when the shutdown happened my mom was very sick and she was in the hospital and hospice, which was difficult, not being able to see her. And after she passed away a close friend of mine, part of the community, but took it upon herself.

[00:09:04]Her name’s Lisa Denodo Glassner, she took it upon herself to sort of rally the troops and sort of reach out to the community and say, Hey, we need to do something in honor of Lou. I’m starting to cry and out of Lou’s mom Unbeknownst to me. This all happened behind the scenes and in the middle of a live one thing I broadcast one night, there’s a knock on my door and my family knows, like you don’t knock the doors close.

[00:09:26] And my wife was like open the door and I’m like, that’s way too ominous. They open it and she’s there and Lisa’s there and you can see the beads of sweat pouring down my face. I’m like, this can’t be good, but what are they going to what are they going to reveal? And how quickly can I get to my car?

[00:09:43] And she came in and sat down and explained what she did. And, you know, I was speechless because in a very short period of time and unbeknownst to me, this community, this family came together and raised more than $60,000 for the Make-A-Wish foundation of America which will send five kids in their families to Walt Disney world.

[00:10:02] And that, that right there, we use community as a buzzword. That’s what community means. 

[00:10:08] Jeff Sieh: [00:10:08] Yeah. Yeah. So there’s some people who like Tim Brown, I think he’s probably part of your group. He says that was such a great moment. And Laurie goes, I’m going to cry again. So it was, it was amazing. And I, and I can’t, and I, then I use this, I mean, we’re friends, but I mean, I use your example of this, of how to build a community.

[00:10:31] I have never seen a community that has done that before. With no strings attached, there was nothing there. It was just because your community loved what you’re doing with so much. And you had fans and then you had your friend who helped, you know, rally them together, but it was all, it was all secret, which was amazing too.

[00:10:48] And they presented this to you. I have never seen the like of that before. And I think that. Because there’s no strings attached. There’s no spamming us to it. That’s what we want for a community. I mean, I mean, you don’t want to, you don’t want to say, Oh, they’re going to do this for me. It’s that, wasn’t your end goal when you created this thing, but because you’ve done such a great job with it and people love you and what you do, they rallied around you.

[00:11:13] And I just, that, that to me is just amazing. And just one of your community’s awesome. Cause I’m, I’m in there a lot too, and they’re just good people. And the second is that this, you have built it that way. And so can you talk a little bit, and maybe you would not have even thought about this, you know, in this kind of deep way, but what, why do you think that happened?

[00:11:34] What, what, I mean, you don’t want to make it so somebody can replicate it, but why do you think that those steps happened for you? I mean that you could build that kind of community. Do you want to see what I’m asking? I’m like, 

[00:11:46] Lou Mongello: [00:11:46] I get you and you know what, and I want to, I want people to replicate it. I absolutely do, because this was a very, I was very intentional from the very beginning before the community lived on Facebook, right.

[00:11:59] When they were in my vBulletin discussion forums and just showed how all that was. My VP pulled in discussion forums on my site, but it, it came from, and the way it grew was something that happened from the very beginning. And, and I only explain this because I do want people to hopefully replicated Jeff.

[00:12:19] I have never spent a dime. I’ve never placed an ad trying to. W market the community market, the group or anything like that. Right. I focused on the people who are already there. I’ve done it since day one in January of 2004, when 29 people showed up for vBulletin, I was amazed. And those are the people I focused on.

[00:12:41] And by nurturing those people who are already there, they are the ones who go out and say, Hey, you like Disney, you like this, you need to be part of the community. So the growth has been completely organic. And you, you talked about, you know, the idea of not getting anything in return. That also is something I did too.

[00:12:59] I’ve never been like, sign up for this and I’ll give you this. Here’s the lead magnet. And I know that flies in the face of traditional marketing, but I don’t do that because I don’t want people there. To be tricked as is the wrong word, but because they think that they’re going to get that thing out of it, because then their presence there is for the wrong reason.

[00:13:20] I want them to be present there because they want to be there. And that’s why it’s grown. And to get to a point, I’m sure we’ll touch on. That’s why I don’t concern myself about having moderators or moderating because we don’t need it knock on wood because they self moderate because the people who are there want to be there for the right reasons.

[00:13:38] Jeff Sieh: [00:13:38] Yeah, I want to, I want to bring up some some of your mom, it’s just because I think this speaks up, this speaks to your community. And he goes, I tear up every time I tell people all about it, about what we were talking about before the, the, you know, raising the money for Make-A-Wish foundation. Hmm.

[00:13:54] And Angie goes the goosebumps all over again, true. Coming at true community inspires. And so I think that’s amazing. Darlene says it was a very emotional time for all of us. Right. We love the F family. Lou has created, I have such wonderful family here during life. We support team that and so happy to help them all.

[00:14:12] So, I mean, I just, just those. Those simple comments is it speaks volumes about the community and how they take care of each other and how they love to do stuff like this. And Andy also says, I believe that lose authenticity and true love for what he does and who he does it for is foundational for the growth of his community.

[00:14:32] So once again, if you want to know how to do a, a community, right, you need to make sure that you drink the Kool-Aid kids. I sure have, because I didn’t show you this a big name. So I still have my. Choose the good shirt right there. So, yeah. So anyway, because I have, my kids will make fun of me for that so much, but anyway, I just, you guys you guys in the comments of really, you know, he’s a loved love figure in his community, but the, what he does for others, I think is really, really important.

[00:14:58] So this is, these are all lessons that we all can learn. So I’m done gushing. Let’s go on to the crazy. You had a question. I 

[00:15:04] Grace Duffy: [00:15:04] do have a question. Well, Lou, I’ve heard you say that you don’t like the words, followers, fans, you don’t refer to people as likes listeners, audience, basically all the words we marketers use to refer to the people we are selling to.

[00:15:18] Right. And I probably use these words ad nauseum 14,000 times a day. Right. And you know, and that’s not what it’s what it’s been about for you. So can you talk a little bit about what do you call your people? I mean, we saw, we’ve been saying the word community a lot, but you have a word for 

[00:15:35] Lou Mongello: [00:15:35] your people.

[00:15:37] They’re they’re friends. Right. And, and Darlene is right. And look, every person that commented they’re like, I know them, like everybody kind of like, I know we, there is a, a true, even as the group has grown, there are real relations that exists between us. And they are more than like, they’re not fans, they are friends.

[00:15:56] And it’s how I’ve looked at people in a towel, because that’s how they look at you. Like, if, whether they’re listening to your podcast or watching your lives, they feel like they’re your friends. And that’s why you need to treat them that same way in return. And they are real friends. And when you talk about things like Make-A-Wish and events together, that that friendship extends to family and the people who are my closest friends.

[00:16:19] Now I have met as a direct result of the community that they have created. 

[00:16:24] Jeff Sieh: [00:16:24] Yeah. So one of the things, and I wanted to, you know, you mentioned friends, but even in your podcast, and I always thought this was really interesting how you worded it. You never would say friends or, you know, welcomed everybody.

[00:16:37] You would say, Hey friend, thanks for listening. It was always singular. Can you talk about why you and I’m sure it’s a, it’s a choice that you made, why you chose to do that and why that’s important to you. 

[00:16:50] Lou Mongello: [00:16:50] Because, especially in a podcast, right? Such an intimate, medium, you need to speak to the one person who’s listening.

[00:16:57] Right. I want to speak to the person that’s listening in the ears. So it, and I am not a huge fan of, Hey everybody, Hey guys, Hey people, I don’t call me people. Like I’m an individual, I’m a person like speak. Let me feel like you are speaking to me. And I think it does make a difference. And it’s more importantly, Jeff, it’s sincere.

[00:17:16] Like I do want, if, when I’m recording, I want to feel like the person that listener is sitting right beside us, whether we’re at a table doing a dining review or we’re in the parks or on a cruise, or even just recording here, I want them to feel like they’re part of the conversation. So I’m speaking to the individual, not to a group.

[00:17:36] Jeff Sieh: [00:17:36] I think that’s a great lesson. And of course I did it wrong at the beginning. Anyway. That’s all right. We’ll learn. We’re all learning. We’re all learning here. So, by the way, let’s go to the next, the next one. Cause I wanted to talk about these new tools for, for groups. So let me break this down for you guys really quickly.

[00:17:53] So, last October, Facebook rolled out some new changes and ways to grow and engage in public groups. So they, they call it a more open public groups experience. And so now this experience is open to all public groups and they, they, what they did is they rolled out some new some new moderation tools and their goal is to encourage diverse conversations and new connections over time is what they said in the press release.

[00:18:16] And they also said in the new experience, members can join without admin approval, which is kind of new for groups and any person logged on to Facebook and also potentially participate as visitors. If allowed through these new admin controls. So these admins controls, can they kind of review and restrict?

[00:18:34] You can post a comment and actually lets you have some priorities and how to limit some spam. So this is the thing, this is kind of a new thing. Lou, for Facebook groups, on one hand, you have the openness of these new public groups and then you have the, you know, the, kind of the private groups that you have on Facebook.

[00:18:52] So how would you use these to work for business? You know, what has worked best for you? And like, are you even thinking about maybe making your groups like public like this or what are your thoughts about that? 

[00:19:03] Lou Mongello: [00:19:03] So just as a quick aside to, to poorly quote, emperor Palpatine, like this is happening exactly.

[00:19:08] As I have foreseen, I remember years ago talking about interesting, right. You know, for years we were so heavily invested in building up our Facebook page. Right. And we got buddy in entrenched into our Facebook page. And then all of a sudden it shifted to this pay to play. And now nobody sees anything.

[00:19:26] Groups were always sort of that cool little sort of exception on the side where everybody saw everything around us and even at playing field. And I always loved and believed in the group as really the home base and the hub. Now we see Facebook saying, yeah, bring everybody into your groups. And in fact, we’re going to let your group content be sheet, be seen by people who might like similar groups.

[00:19:48] We could obviously predict in the future that groups will somehow become a play to play, you know, platform as well. Hopefully not so much so that the algorithm starts to limit what the people in the groups are seeing, but right. No, this is what happens when we play in somebody else’s clubhouse, but it is really interesting in terms of the visibility of a group.

[00:20:08] If you want to have it open and allowing more people to find it, to participate, sort of dip their toe in the water, make sure the group is right for them. Make sure as an administrator, that that person is right for your group. But I also liked the idea of having private groups too. There are some groups that I specifically have as private for one reason or another either because it’s part of a Patrion group, or I have a Disney plus like a spoiler support group for Disney, Marvel, and star.

[00:20:38] You have to keep it close because people don’t want to see that in their, in their 

[00:20:42] Jeff Sieh: [00:20:42] feeds. Right? Yeah. I have to be very careful with that group because I’m a member of that and I’m like, Oh, I didn’t watch Falcon winter soldier yet. So, yeah, so that’s really interesting. So w are you even thinking about creating these like super public groups or does not fit your, your model at all?

[00:20:58] Lou Mongello: [00:20:58] You know, th there’s there’s the pros and cons and I’m sort of taking a little bit of a wait and see attitude because on one hand I do want more people to be able to find the group and become part of the community. But I also don’t want to lose a little bit of the intimacy, even though there are, you know, and I’ll get, I’m not a numbers person, but there’s thousands of people in the group.

[00:21:18] I don’t want to have to start worrying now about trolls, flames, moderation, you know, issues like that. Coming in that, that the group has been protected from for so long. And I’ve actually seen over the past few months, a huge influx of new people because that doesn’t happen there, right. Because it’s happening elsewhere.

[00:21:39] So I want to very carefully toe that line and make a decision. That’s going to be best for the people who are already in the group, as opposed to worrying about just growing it for the, for the vanity metrics and the numbers. Gotcha. Gotcha. 

[00:21:53] Grace Duffy: [00:21:53] Absolutely. So, as we mentioned, Facebook did introduce some new moderation tools probably to offset these issues that you’re discussing about.

[00:22:01] You know, now you’ve got all these people rushing into these public groups. So the first one is participant approval, which allows the admins to approve at least the first time someone posts. So of course, you know, you can come into group, you don’t necessarily need to be a member of it to comment, but this prevents that, you know, you can approve their first comment and it includes participation questions, just like if you were to join a private group the other one is called admin assist, which is a new set of moderation tools for both public and private groups that automatically reviews content based on previous that criteria.

[00:22:32] The one was, that was interesting to me was. And you can, you, yep. Admins can set up whatever they want. But one of the controls is it reduces promotional content by declining posts, with links. So if you have a group that, you know, you have a no promotion rule or whatever, that would be helpful. It also offers feedback to the original posters so they can make amends.

[00:22:50] And then there’s other criteria that you can do to, you know, tackle whatever challenges may come within these groups. So, Lou, have you had an opportunity to use either of these tools in your groups and if not, do you think you would? 

[00:23:03] Lou Mongello: [00:23:03] So I haven’t played around with them yet, but I have sort of been going through the scenarios in my head because again, I think that there’s, there’s pros and cons to it, right?

[00:23:11] You don’t want to make the barrier for entry to somebody too difficult where they post something and then they’re waiting. And now all of a sudden there’s an additional burden on you as the administrator or moderators to have to start reviewing all the first comments that come in. I love the idea of having the automated admin tools, but.

[00:23:29] To a certain degree that removes the human element. So I am not somebody in my group that has these hard and fast rules about no external links. No, this, no that I feel if there’s a link that is for the benefit of the group, right. It’s fine. Go ahead and share it. If it’s something that is overly promotional self-promoting, there has to be a call that’s made.

[00:23:53] I try not to do that because I want it to be open. So balancing those two and still being able to have the, the human element and the human touch on it is going to have to. I’m gonna have to navigate that, that starts to roll out. 

[00:24:08] Grace Duffy: [00:24:08] Gotcha. Well, there was another news update too. It was, this was found in Matt Novaris social media geek-out group.

[00:24:13] So group admins can now set this feature or this limit called slowdown commenting. So, when you slow down commenting, then each person can only post one comment every five minutes. So talking about, you know, that, that Wade and that anticipation and, you know, and it’s post specific, not necessarily person specific.

[00:24:32] So I guess if you are wanting to post controversial topics and you want to slow the roll, so to speak, this might be helpful. But, you know, as you said that you don’t really need to do a lot of moderation in your groups because of the nature of the people that you’re attracting, but you know, what, what advice would you have for these community managers, these group admins, or whatever that you know, that, you know, what’s a good way to manage these interactions without putting this, I guess this like these barriers, this, this, like.

[00:25:00] Yeah, because five minutes is a long time to wait when you’re like

[00:25:06] Lou Mongello: [00:25:06] right in it. And, and I’m struggling with that because Facebook on one hand want meaningful conversation, but you gotta go a little slower. You can be meaningful, but in five minutes is going to be an eternity. If you’re having, because look, that’s what you want it to be. You want to post a topic and have people meaningfully engaged as it’s going on, not having to wait, but you also don’t want it to get out of hand.

[00:25:29] It doesn’t get too crazy. Well, it gets a little crazy sometimes even in a Disney community, but, but not necessarily here. But I think you use the right word is this idea of the barrier. And every time there is one of those pause points, it’s a barrier. And I think psychologically as somebody who is participating in the group, if I keep on meeting all these barriers to comment barriers to, I got to wait for it to be moderated I’m I can’t post this every time you get a negative reinforcement, I think it adds a little bit of a negative connotation to the group.

[00:26:01] And I don’t feel maybe that it would as would be as, as open and welcoming as you might like your group to be. 

[00:26:08] Jeff Sieh: [00:26:08] Yeah, he’s got some comments. So, Joel says love those tools. I’ve been using them alerts filling them with common words so that they’re people Joel is using those, those tools.

[00:26:17] And then just the blog goes crazy and at a Disney community. Never. So yeah, I saw your post about that. A new Avengers campus. I’m waiting five minutes on that with people would not, not handle. So anyway, so Gracie had another question about the, I think the interaction that you wanted to ask Lou. 

[00:26:36] Grace Duffy: [00:26:36] Oh, just how to encourage and how to encourage and engage, interact.

[00:26:40] Yeah. I was talking to someone, you know, the other day about their group and they’re like, yeah, I don’t really post very much. And a big deal was that, you know, their big thing is they wanted people to interact with one another in this type of group that they’re in. So Lou, how would you encourage engagement or interaction among your, within your group?

[00:26:55] I mean, are you, you know, do you recommend. You know, posting content, posting questions, posting little, I don’t wanna say gimmicks, but like, you know, like quizzes or whatever else, like, you know, is, do you have to be that active to make the group a fun place? Or, you know, how do you get to the point where people in the group are feeding each other?

[00:27:14] Lou Mongello: [00:27:14] Well, I think especially early on, you have to not just welcome people into the group, but you have to invite them in. And when you invite them in, you have to invite them by giving them prompts. I’m a big proponent of just asking simple questions. Sometimes the simplest questions are the ones that get the most engagement.

[00:27:30] If I posted this morning, if you could be in Walt Disney world right now, where would you love to have breakfast? There’ll be an a huge flood of comments because it’s an easy question that everybody has the answer to. Right? I’m inviting them to answer a simple question over time. People start to realize that not only am I invited to answer the questions that Lou or somewhere else.

[00:27:50] As asking, but I’m also given permission to ask those questions myself, to start cut. And that’s why I love groups. I’ve always loved groups so much more than pages because if I go to somebody’s page and I try and ask a question, it’s not going to be seen in that made feed. Right. I sort of bumped off to the side in a community, in a group everybody’s on an even playing field.

[00:28:12] So everybody’s question will be seen and answered by everybody. So once you start those prompts which again need to be authentic, not just, and I don’t like the idea of it being a gimmick, but having a question that you just want people to answer, people will see, and that you’re giving them permission to go ahead and start asking some of those questions and start conversations on their 

[00:28:33] Jeff Sieh: [00:28:33] own.

[00:28:34] Awesome. So I wanted to ask this question because I think that this can be like when people are starting out, maybe even thinking about bringing their own group putting their own group out there, and this new blog goes Lewis our new growth into the Disney community, or, or we can analyze cannibalizing from other groups.

[00:28:49] So I think that’s a good question when people are looking at like maybe the competition seeing, you know, wow, there are, Lou’s already doing a Disney group show and I do a Disney group. I don’t, I should. So what do you tell people who have that question? When they’re they think, Oh, you know, somebody else is doing it.

[00:29:03] Nobody wants to hear from me. 

[00:29:05] Lou Mongello: [00:29:05] So I, I’m going to give you the same answer that I give when people ask me, well, should I start a podcast because there’s already so many podcasts about Disney star Wars, Marvel. Alpha, whatever it is, it doesn’t matter. Right? It doesn’t matter because especially in the Disney community, those of, you know, the Disney community is not just one big kumbaya hug Fest.

[00:29:28] There are lot of different subsections. And although we might, a lot of us might talk about the same thing we gravitate towards the people in the group. Not necessarily the content. Again, the content might be the initial introduction, but it’s the people that you’re going to stay for. Whether it be the host, the moderator, or the founder of the group, the other people who are there, that’s the reason to stay.

[00:29:53] So I don’t worry if somebody else is already doing this because you want to create your content, your community, not for everybody in the Disney space, but for the people who very much you want sort of in your circle of friends and your 

[00:30:10] Jeff Sieh: [00:30:10] family, Hmm, that’s a great answer. Great answer. So it’s not too late.

[00:30:15] It’s not too late for anybody. That’s what I’m hearing. So being a saying, it’s not too late, you know, it’s not too late to have your own live show, by the way, this is a perfect segue. By the way, this show is brought to you by our friends at e-comm. That’s how we’re doing all these cool overlays and graphics and going live.

[00:30:29] And I know even Lou uses Ecamm and he is a fan of that. I think he’s been using it for a while now, but this is what, how we’re doing all these overlays switching cameras and bringing up these lower thirds. If you’d like to find out more, you can go to socialmedianewslive.com/ecamm.  And then we’re able to go everywhere. Even to Amazon live with this amazing software called Restream. And so we’re using the EcaMm, we sent it to Restream. I don’t have a big taxing thing on my computer with all the processing. I sent it up one spot, it splits it apart to everywhere else and goes to all the different Facebook pages, YouTube, Amazon live everything.

[00:31:07] It’s an amazing, amazing software. You guys need to check it out at socialmedianewslive.com/restream So go check those out, help them out cause they help us. And with that, we have another piece of news. So, tell us all about it, 

[00:31:21] Grace Duffy: [00:31:21] grace. Yeah. So this is our last segment. I really want to focus on how brands can harness the power and the positivity of having a Facebook group to build their own communities around their interests.

[00:31:34] So brands like Peleton and beauty pie are known for using groups to build the sense of community around their brands. And if, I mean, if I post about wanting a Peloton, like 50 people are like, here’s my name? And here’s what you need to do when you have, you know, it’s like, I just want to know where to put it in my house.

[00:31:52] So creating your, there is an advantage to creating your own social communities. It’s an extremely effective way to build that engagement and affinity among your customers and to get them advocating for you. Right. But then, however, we also see the flip side of that the dark side of groups. So, there was a story about the New York times recently lost control of its cookie, Caribbean cooking community on Facebook.

[00:32:15] This was a group of 77,000 members, and I’m not quite sure what happened. I didn’t quite dig too deep into it, but it increasingly just like became irrelevant posts. You know, there wasn’t effective moderation and it ended up with the times just removing their name from the group and just slowly walking away.

[00:32:36] So, Lou, what is your advice? For companies looking to build that sense of community, positive community around their brand with a Facebook group. What, what strategies do you think they should you should have in place in established as you set forth to do this? 

[00:32:54] Lou Mongello: [00:32:54] Isn’t it funny? How, like, sometimes it’s simplest things like cooking, like you would never think that there would be like arguments in the Disney community, like, but it’s crazy.

[00:33:03] It’s crazy. Like, yeah. Those of you who are watching, you know exactly what I’m talking about. There’s, there’s a lot of, but I think initially from a brand perspective I’ve always been a believer that people, people don’t fall in love with a logo. They fall in love with a person. And I think humanizing that brand in a group is so very important by not just having.

[00:33:27] A quote, unquote spokesperson for the brand, but by having real people telling real stories that are relatable, right? And that’s one of the things I hear. And again, I’m clearly not familiar with the whole Peloton thing, but I see it enough on, you know, Instagram stories. And every time I see the story come up, they’re talking about a specific trainer, right?

[00:33:50] They’re mentioning them by name. They feel like they have this friendship and this relationship because they liked that person. Right. They liked the way they, I think it’s more than they liked the way they set up their training regimen. I think they just like their personalities. Those personalities have to come into the group as well.

[00:34:07] And obviously brands have to be very careful about who those personnel are, but people are because everything they say and do is going to reflect back on the brand itself. 

[00:34:19] Jeff Sieh: [00:34:19] Hmm. Interesting. So let’s, let’s talk about this. So let’s say once the group you’ve, you’ve created a group. Your brand, your, your group inside the brand.

[00:34:27] And so you’ve established, you’ve kind of gained some traction. So what is your strategy for like fostering, like a meaningful and impactful sense of community daily? Like, I would love to know, like, do you have a content calendar that you have like, okay, today I’m going to ask, you know, this question. I don’t know what it is cause it Disney news, but I got a question on this day, I’m going to do this on this day.

[00:34:48] Do you have it planned out other than like, I’m going live on Wednesday and I’m doing, you know, this this get together on this day. Do you have like a content calendar or are you just winging it? I’d love to know. 

[00:35:00] Lou Mongello: [00:35:00] On one hand, I would love to say of course, Jeffrey, I’ve got everything planned out months in advance.

[00:35:05]This is what my content calendar currently looks like. It looks like this every day, right. And it, and I don’t, and it also goes back. It doesn’t go to time or laziness where a combination of the two, but it goes back to the idea of wanting it to be authentic. Just like, I don’t use anything to plan my posts on, on social.

[00:35:26] Right. Whether it be Instagram or elsewhere, because I want it to be completely authentic and organic as it happens. I think that was the original intent. Right. We want to, the platforms want us to post things as they happen. And certainly there’s times that you can and should schedule things out. And that makes perfect sense, especially for brands.

[00:35:44] But for me, if I wake up in the morning and I’m feeling something or something happens, or I’m thinking about where I wish I could eat breakfast, that’s where I want it to come from. So there’s no right or wrong way. I think I probably would be much better served if I planned some more stuff out. But but I, I normally don’t I do it as I feel it.

[00:36:04] Gotcha. 

[00:36:06] Grace Duffy: [00:36:06] So you’ve built communities from, from the early days of forums to, you know, blogging to, to you know, we’re talking about Facebook group stay, but I’m, I’m even seeing on clubhouse and I see you everywhere on social media. Right? So you have this incredible sense of community. You’ve been doing it for a long time now.

[00:36:23]This is always an awkward question to ask, but it’s like, would you like, would you be able to share with us some of the learning opportunities that you might have encountered along the way? What might you have done differently? You know, in the very beginning that like, let’s say, if you were to start over today you would, you would do differently.

[00:36:43] You know what, what’s something that you. You would warn people like, Hey, I get 

[00:36:46] Lou Mongello: [00:36:46] this, just don’t do that. 

[00:36:50] Grace Duffy: [00:36:50] Don’t do that. 

[00:36:52] Lou Mongello: [00:36:52] Jeffrey, stay off tick tock, stay off tick. That’s my best. Look, I mean, you know, as in life, I think that I always say I would never do anything different because every step along the way has been a learning experience and it gets us to where we are and having sort of grown from, you know, dial up bulletin boards to use that newsgroups to all these different iterations of what community is, and starting off with a discussion forum on my own.

[00:37:19] I think things are, are, I think they sort of go in cycles and will eventually come full circle. You know, I, we, we’ve always sort of struggled with the idea of building our houses on rented land, right. And, and not having any ownership of the list. I would probably the one thing I would probably do going back is really concentrate more on.

[00:37:40]And I don’t even like to use these words cause it feels icky and marketing, but I would have more people. I wouldn’t, I would have found a way to encourage more people to consistently sign up for the newsletter because it really, at the end of the day is the only thing we own. And you know what, for years I had my VBL to discussion forums.

[00:38:00] And they made a very tough decision. And over a years ago, when I saw this, this huge migratory, you know, trend towards everybody going on Facebook, because that’s just where everybody was. And I said, all right, I eventually had to pull the plug on the group on the forums and say, this is where the community will live, because I didn’t want it to be scattered.

[00:38:18] I wanted to live in a certain individual place. I really do believe. And I said this, I had like a little fireside chat at my conference a couple of years ago. And I said, I think eventually we, as, as the community owners, whether it be on Facebook or wherever your sort of community or communities might live, we’re frustrated by the algorithms that are changing behind the scenes.

[00:38:42] And we’re trying to figure them out and navigate it. How can our stuff be seen? I do think eventually that cycle is going to come full circle and as. Users start to say, wow, I’m getting frustrated because I liked this page and I’m not seeing anything where I like this group. And now I’m not to starting to see anything.

[00:38:59] I wonder if at some point those communities start existing on our home turf again, right on our website again. So maybe I wouldn’t have shut down my forums, although I did save my database, I could always just resurrected any day. But yeah, I mean sort of having ownership and control of the communication would be something I’d like to have a little bit more of.

[00:39:21] Jeff Sieh: [00:39:21] Yeah. The question I was going to ask you is like, you know, companies are taking a big risk when they spend so much time building this. I mean like, do you have a backup plan? So I guess your, your answer would be you’d resurrect your forums, but like, what if all of a sudden Facebook said, You know, we’re going to charge you 99 cents per person in your group.

[00:39:40] And if you want to send messages to them, it’s going to be X amount of money. Do you have a backup plan, like to move people off like that you’ve been working on or is it just I’ll I’ll burn that bridge when it comes to it. 

[00:39:52] Lou Mongello: [00:39:52] And Jeff and me, that’s, that’s sort of what happened, right? That didn’t happen to pages.

[00:39:56] Like if you want people to see your stuff, you have to pay, it’s not, you know, per post per person, but I’m, I would bet dollars to donuts. That’s going to happen in groups eventually, too. We’re going to be so entrenched in groups. We’re going to have to start paying. I’ve been really fortunate because as I’ve moved from platform to platform, whether look, I used to go live on Ustream back in, in 2007.

[00:40:18] And when I said, Hey, we’re switching over to Periscope. We’re switching over to mere cat. Wouldn’t you know, it was for sure. They’ll, they’ll come and they’ll follow right. If again, because they’re falling in love, not with the platform, but hopefully with the person. And I have sort of been saying for years, like, yeah, there might come a point where, you know, we, we, we moved to something different.

[00:40:39]I know there’ll be a large attrition, but if, and when that day comes, you know, and I, and I go to something that’s that I have more control and ownership of hopefully will people will come as well. 

[00:40:51] Jeff Sieh: [00:40:51] That’s a great thing. It’s, it’s very sobering to think about, but I think as a business owner and a community manager, you need to think about that because.

[00:41:00] You know, you don’t want to have the rug pulled out from under you. I mean, I, a friend of ours and we’ve had her on the show before too, is Holly Homer. Who’s an incredible Facebook person, and she’s done amazing things with her quirky momma Facebook group, but she’s had Facebook like say, okay, you can’t sell anymore.

[00:41:14] And she’s had to pivot. I mean, she’s had to pivot multiple times and it’s interesting to talk to her. So she has, you know, she’s got some backup plans and always modifying them. So I think that’s smart being ready and aware of that could happen someday. So 

[00:41:26] Lou Mongello: [00:41:26] scary. I mean, Jeff, I mean, literally tomorrow you can wake up and your Facebook page or Facebook group has gone.

[00:41:32] I mean, literally just gone and a Facebook doesn’t want to bring it back then. What do you do? How do you reach it? Like how do you find those people again? It’s very scary. 

[00:41:41] Jeff Sieh: [00:41:41] Yeah. So 

[00:41:43] Grace Duffy: [00:41:43] as you’ve gone from group, as you’ve gone from forum to forum, right. Or platform to platform, do you have a sense that you’re like starting over or are people coming over there?

[00:41:52] I mean, what is realistic? Like, is it realistic to expect people will just follow you from place to place? I mean, I know they’ll follow you, but I’m talking about for me and Jeff, you know, like if we were to move over, like, is it realistic to like expect people to come over or you just were on clubhouse now we’re starting over a whole new community.

[00:42:13] Lou Mongello: [00:42:13] I absolutely think they will. Because they love you. They do that. You might not realize it or, or believe it, but it’s true. People love you. And if you said, Hey, we’re moving over to here. You will see, there are certain percentage of those people who actually get to see the messages on Facebook or whatever.

[00:42:29] We’ll make that move over. And as you do test out other platforms, you will build additional community there. But I think that’s the mind that we have to wrap our heads around is that community is not married to a platform, right? Community is not your Facebook group. It is the people that’s in it. And if they’re there because they want to be there and they see that you’re moving away, they’ll want to find you they’ll want to come over.

[00:42:58] Jeff Sieh: [00:42:58] Well, they, they actually love grace. They just tolerate me. You know, you don’t have the perfect Disney written reference beauty and the beast is right there, so, Oh, Oh my 

[00:43:05] Grace Duffy: [00:43:05] God, I’m wearing yellow and you have a beard, we themed it. 

[00:43:11] Jeff Sieh: [00:43:11] So I want to kind of wrap up show with this question quiz. Cause I think this is you could give some great advice for you, your vet here.

[00:43:18] And she goes, wow. And she’s talking about how you know, just wanting to talk about anything in my broadcasts that I have not, but yet not, not has started yet, but I want to be real and tangible. So when we were talking about being real and being authentic, that really, you know, struck home with her, what would you, what advice would you give somebody who is going live?

[00:43:35] Because I know that’s a big part of you building your community and how you’ve done it every Wednesday, both with taking them inside the parks and also just sitting down at your desk and, you know, doing your top five and all sorts of things. What advice would you give your vet when she’s getting started?

[00:43:52] Lou Mongello: [00:43:52] You know, I think live is, is the perfect medium because it strips away any, I keep using words like authenticity, right? And it’s, I hate the fact that it becoming a buzzword, but it is so important. And the fact that it can and should be unscripted, unrehearsed, you can’t go back. You can’t edit. It makes you the most, not just transparent and vulnerable, vulnerable.

[00:44:13] And I think that’s what people like. They want to see you make mistakes. They don’t want you to sit there, just reading off your script or reading off your bullet points. But as things happen, as questions are being asked, pay less attention to the notes that are on your screen or your desk, and more attention to the comments.

[00:44:32] And more importantly, the people that are in there. I have found, I think that people watch the show, especially when I’m here in the studio. Less for news and, and top fives than just the conversation that we have as a group of friends getting together, especially now in this, you know, time where so many people have been isolated for so long.

[00:44:56] Jeff Sieh: [00:44:56] Yes. And we’re all we were talking before the show. We’re all ready to get back inside. I’m ready to go back to Disney world really, really badly. So excited about that. So we’re gonna wrap up the show, but I want to make sure you guys we’re doing this the stump Lou game right now. So, we’ve already got some people who are trying to stump Lou with some trivia.

[00:45:12] If you are able to stump Lou you’ll win both this choose the good t-shirt, which I am supporting right now. Not this, not the actual, when I’m wearing a brand fresh new one for you. And also if you’re able to stop him and he doesn’t know it, you’ll also be able to win a copy of his book. If you’re only getting, you know, if you’re just, if we pick your question, you’ll just have to choose one or the other, the book is amazing.

[00:45:33] And Lou, those, those, that book came right out of your podcasts, correct. Is that where you is? Are those all interviews from people that you had on your show? Correct. Okay. It’s a really great book. There’s some fascinating, I mean, he’s interviewed Julie Andrews. I mean, come on. Jeepers. Okay. Anyway, so, so make sure you guys do that as we’re wrapping up the show, but as always, thank you guys so much for being here for the comments everything that you’ve done, but Lou, where can people find out more about you?

[00:46:02]And also talk about the box people, first of all, where did that word come from and what is that all about? 

[00:46:09] Lou Mongello: [00:46:09] So the box people was the original name of the community and it happened because when the very first time I w one of the very first times I went live, not in. My home office in, in, when I still lived in New Jersey, I was at an event and I was at my laptop, my 3g card and my webcam and my battery pack.

[00:46:31] And somebody said, who are you talking to? Like, what are you doing? I’m like, Oh, there’s all these people. And they sort of, they live in this box because live streaming was still very new back then. Well, they sort of picked up on that and they’re like, Oh, we’re the box people. And then it was like, we’re the box people in Lumon jellos basement.

[00:46:47] And they created like logos and t-shirts and had, you know, a logo contest. And again, it goes to it. That was all them like, and I love that. Like, I love the fact that they, that sense of belonging and ownership. They just took it and they ran with it. 

[00:47:02] Jeff Sieh: [00:47:02] Awesome. So where can people find out? I mean, WW, WW, radio.com.

[00:47:07] Is there any other place that I need to go? I know you’re on Facebook. Where should people go? If they want to find out, you know, to be a part of the box, people, all that kind of stuff. 

[00:47:15] Lou Mongello: [00:47:15] So everything I do exist@onthedisneysideatwwradio.com and you’ll find links to the different ways you could participate in the community.

[00:47:21] There I’m at Lumon jello on all social and everything I do on sort of the, the business side of things is that lumen, jello.com. 

[00:47:28] Jeff Sieh: [00:47:28] Awesome. And thank you guys so much for joining us today for this awesome show. Lou, I’m so excited that you were here. I mean, I’m, I can’t express enough make sure that you guys check out all our sponsors, make sure that you go and follow grace, Duffy, who is everywhere on LinkedIn, w where’s the best place to find you grace, you can 

[00:47:47] Grace Duffy: [00:47:47] find me at restream.

[00:47:48] I manage our we have a whole lineup of, of live shows all throughout the week, and you can find that on YouTube, Facebook, LinkedIn, we have some of the top experts on live video telling you how you can do it too. 

[00:48:03] Jeff Sieh: [00:48:03] Awesome. And this show of course, is you can always find us at on Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn, Twitter, Amazon live.

[00:48:09] Our next show is Friday, April 16th at 11:00 AM. Eastern 10 o’clock Pacific 10:00 AM. Central time. You can find us, like I said on Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, Amazon live. Thank you guys so much for watching. We will see you guys next week. Hi buddy. Hi everyone.


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