PowWow Nation is an active and engaged Facebook community of over 97K members where he experiences, teaches, and celebrates Native American Culture. 

We invited founder and owner, Paul Gowder on this week’s Social Media News Live to dive into all the ways that he keeps this online community connected, monetized, and growing!  


This transcript is automatically generated by Descript.  Any errors or omissions are unintentional.

Part I

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

[00:00:04] Grace Duffy: And I’m Grace Duffy. And this is the show that keeps you up to date on the world of social media.

[00:00:09] Jeff Sieh: And we have a fantastic guest today. Paul Gowder leads a Facebook group called Pow Wow nation, and it has over 97,000 members. So we invited him to the show today to discuss all the ways that he keeps his community engaged, connected, and monetized.

[00:00:25] We’re going to talk about audio. We’re also talking about shop in groups and also the new welcome page for groups as well on the show. Paul, thank you so much for coming today. My friend excited that you’re here.

[00:00:37] Paul Gowder: Thanks guys. I really appreciate you. Having me out. Community has been a part of our business since the beginning.

[00:00:43] So I’m excited to talk to people about that today.

[00:00:45] Jeff Sieh: Yeah. So if you don’t know who Paul Gowder is I’m gonna introduce you to him because he is an amazing guy. I met him at Momentum Lou Mongello’s event and was super impressed by all that he teaches and just him as a person, but he is the owner and founder of PowWows.com.

[00:01:00] And it’s the leading online community, celebrating native American arts and culture for the past 25 years. So PowWows.com is the number one resource for learning about Pow Wows and native American heritage. He’s visited hundreds of Pow Wows around north America and he captures these events and publishes them to millions of viewers on his website and YouTube channel.

[00:01:24] And Paul is also a leading expert in community. Content creation, social media and email marketing, and he’s forged a successful path in blogging, live video streaming and podcasting, and he helps entrepreneurs navigate the successes and pitfalls of building an online business through his public speaking and consulting services.

[00:01:44] Once again, Paul, thank you so much, man.

[00:01:47] Paul Gowder: Thank you. That was a good intro. Thank you,

[00:01:51] Grace Duffy: Paul. I think it’s really cool that you’ve created this group celebrating such a, sometimes marginalized, sometimes misunderstood community. Can you tell us more about PowWows.com and then also Pow Wow Nation?

[00:02:04] Paul Gowder: Sure. I had to go back.

[00:02:07] So I started PowWows.com in 1996. We have been around a long time. We just celebrated our 20th anniversary and it was really an accident. I was teaching myself how to do webpages while in college. And when I threw up these pages about Pow Wow, because that was something I knew about and I was involved in I just threw them out there, not thinking anything about them. Within days I started getting messages from people and they wanted to, they were asking me questions, but they wanted to talk to other people that were Pow Wow. And they’re like, oh my gosh there’s other people out there on the web can, how can we talk? And so really from the beginning, how has that kind of grew because of community when we threw up forums in the early days and that’s where the community came from.

[00:02:48] So when social media and Facebook and all this came about, it was a natural transition for us to go. Forms that we hosted to Facebook groups. So Pow Wow Nation is one of our groups. We actually have three groups on WowWows.com. But Pow Wow Nation is our main group and that’s just a place for our community to come and interact with each other and talk and we get posts from all, all kinds of things, whether it’s Pow Wow related or not.

[00:03:14] But that is the, really the hub for where our community is.

[00:03:19] Grace Duffy: What is your connection to the first nation native American community? How did you get, how did you get into this?

[00:03:27] Paul Gowder: Yeah, so it’s not something I grew up knowing about it wasn’t until college that I really started doing the research and found out that I am a descendant from on my father’s side.

[00:03:37] And then I had friends that were into the Pow Wow world and they brought me in and taught me. Took me some of the Pow Wows and taught me how to do, make the outfits and everything like that. I started dancing in the early nineties and traveling to Pow Wows. Unfortunately I don’t get to dance and participate as much anymore because I’m behind the camera, but, I still enjoy, we, get as many pals we can, unfortunately, I’ve only been to one in the last two years.

[00:04:02] It’s crazy. But yeah, 2020, we’re going to be back at more Pow Wows.

[00:04:07] Grace Duffy: Are they starting back up? Are they doing more of them now?

[00:04:10] Paul Gowder: Yeah, they are back in a big way. Yeah. So I’m excited to be back at them in just a few

[00:04:15] Jeff Sieh: weeks. So can you describe maybe a little bit of what, is it a small event or is it like thousands of people come?

[00:04:23] Can you explain to people who don’t know what a Pow Wow is?

[00:04:27] Paul Gowder: Sure. Yeah. Good question. So Pow Wows they happen all over the U S and Canada and. They are just celebrations. So if you if you’re from down here in the south, any small town in the south has a festival, whether it’s the sweet potato festival or the, we have an ochre right here near me.

[00:04:45] There’s always some kind of festival in Pow Wows are like that. They are a festival, a celebration they have whether it’s sometimes some trips. An annual homecoming. Some people will schedule a special one for an anniversary or a birthday. Some of them have in memory of something that happened.

[00:05:01] And now with casinos and other big money coming into some of these tribes, there’s contest Pow Wows. We on our calendar on pals.com. We normally list 12 to 1300 a year, and that’s not all of them. That is as many as we can find and capture. So they are literally all over the place and they range in size from, a few dozen people to the one I’m heading to in a few weeks in Albuquerque, they’ll have over 3000 dancers and somewhere in the neighborhood, in the past.

[00:05:32] After COVID has done, but a hundred thousand people actually at the event, so they range in size, but they’re all over. And so they are not only are they a celebration of culture? And you see the dancing and the singing at the Pow Wow, but they’re also like these other festivals I’m talking about, in here in the south, but you’ve got the food and you’ve got crafts and sometimes you’ll have a special concerts and other things going, other, other kinds of talents being shown.

[00:05:58] So it’s really an immersive experience of all types of native culture.

[00:06:03] Jeff Sieh: That’s awesome. How I want to go to one, so that’s really cool. I don’t think I’ve ever been to one. That’s really awesome by the way. Go ahead

[00:06:12] Paul Gowder: and make sure that if you’re interested, Pow Wows are open to anybody, they are welcoming for all visitors.

[00:06:19] Whoever you are. You’re welcome to come and attend to Pow Wow and spectate and participate, go and eat the food and shop at the vendors. That’s what they’re for. They are really a, showcase for native culture to show others what’s going on. So yeah, go find one. There’s.

[00:06:35] There are hundreds and hundreds of them. So there’s one somewhere close to you.

[00:06:39] Jeff Sieh: And so the best way to find one would be go to Pow Wows dot com and look at your schedule. And that would be the best way. Yep.

[00:06:44] Paul Gowder: Palo’s dot com slash calendar. And we also have a resource if you’re new in. Want to know more about that pals, that calm slash Pow Wow 1 0 1, that’s our, what to expect at your first Pow Wow.

[00:06:54] Yeah, so that’ll really help you if you’re interested. Of course. Just shoot me a message. If you have questions I love helping people go to their first Pow Wow and really experience this. It’s something. If you’ve never been, it’s hard to explain what you’re going to see. You’re seeing traditions that are hundreds of years old, mixed with contemporary art and techniques.

[00:07:14] So it’s really cool to be able to go and see that.

[00:07:18] Jeff Sieh: Awesome. Lynn has this Lynn Reese says this. She goes, she, I grew up in New Hampshire at the home of Dartmouth college and my favorite was looking for events each summer was the annual Pow Wow being odd by the costumes, hypnotic music and dancing just all this stuff.

[00:07:35] She is a big fan of that. So thank you for that comment because yeah. Now I’m excited. I’m gonna have to find where I’m sure there’s some around here. Okay.

[00:07:42] Grace Duffy: Catherine Lang also said the native American festival in Mountville Alabama is amazing. She endorses that one as well.

[00:07:51] Jeff Sieh: Yes. Oh. And our friend Sabrina says, she goes, I used to attend many Pow Wows when she lived in Hawaii.

[00:07:57] So very cool. I know that Sabrina is now in New York, so that’s really cool. Serena, thank you for letting us know. Before we get started to deepen the show, I want to make sure that we do a shout out to our friends over at Ecamm who sponsored the show. You can find out more about Ecamm by going to SocialMediaNewsLive.com/Ecamm

[00:08:14] I know Paul uses it. They just rolled out a brand new update. Version 3.1 0.1, I think just came out. Started today. So they’ve got some really cool stuff with the virtual mic brand new overlays and some transition. So if you are on a Mac and you want to do live shows or even presentations, or even record your TikTok, you can do it with Ecamm.

[00:08:35] It’s an amazing program. Make sure you guys go to socialmedianewslive.com/ecamm.

[00:08:43] Let’s go right into this grace and we’re going to be talking about, managing a Facebook community. Paul’s got one over 97,000. There’s got to be some management stuff that he, some tricks that he can let us know about.

[00:08:57] But I’ll let you go ahead and just introduce what’s going on because there’s a lot of stuff that’s been happening recently in the Facebook groups.

[00:09:06] Grace Duffy: Absolutely. Yes, today we are talking about Facebook groups and Facebook communities. So Paul, you established your group on Facebook Paolo nation.

[00:09:15] It said 2016, even though you’ve been doing this for the past 25 years. And as my friend, Jeff you’re just mentioned, it has grown to over 97,000 and it’s actually nearing 98,000. Let’s not be humble here. It is. I was in people that is a massive group. So of course, 2019 Facebook kicked off eBay, its annual developer’s conference.

[00:09:39] I rolling out changes to groups saying that it is now the center of the Facebook experience as well as rolling out new ways that Facebook was supposedly going to help people use groups to bring people together offline. So obviously a lot has. Since 2019 global pandemic hurdle, the adoption of live video and push us deeper online, there’s been a rise of social audio.

[00:10:06] We’re going to talk a little bit about your use of audio rooms in your groups. There’s competing platforms also just raised there’s also just more raised awareness about different things happening online, different cultural, political generational divides all happening on Facebook.

[00:10:22] And then of course, Facebook is now making. So we do have a question from one of our friends, Ian Anderson, gray, about where do you see Facebook groups going? Do you see it continuing to be a strong area in light of all of these shifts? So I’ll let

[00:10:41] Ian Anderson Gray: thanks, Jeff. We’re really excited about this episode on Friday.

[00:10:44] So my question is if you’re starting a community from scratch, would you focus on Facebook? It seems to me that it’s a lot more difficult to grow. Group quite now. And also depending on where your audience is, I’m in my audience are like splits over everywhere. LinkedIn, they’re all of Facebook, Instagram.

[00:11:05] So is Facebook a Facebook group the best could be to see place? What would you, yeah. And how do you do that? How is a good way to actually start and get that engagement right from the word go. Cause it is.

Are Facebook Groups Still Worth It?

[00:11:20] Paul Gowder: Yeah, he’s right. It is difficult. And your community is probably spread all over the place for me. I still think Facebook groups are a really strong place to go. Facebook still has a very large footprint and tons of people still on the platform. I know there’s, lots of things going on and people are wondering if.

[00:11:41] they can Trust, all the things Facebook does and I get all that, but they still have a ton of people and what they’re doing with their groups and building The groups into more organically seeing things in your feed, pushing more of the content, out from groups with that focus on them. when Facebook focuses on something we should probably pay attention and that’s probably where we want to at least spend some of our time.

[00:12:08] So for me, it’s still a valuable resource and I do see, I still see growth in our group. starting, a group From scratch. That is tough. I think it’s tough on any platform when you start from scratch. it’s, still a matter of, you’re going to have to create good content.

[00:12:25] You’re going to have to, find out who your, audience really is and create content for them. as my friend, Lou Mongiello always says, put out the content that you want and you’ll, find your group and they will come to you. It may take a little more time now with, as spread out as people are.

[00:12:41] But yeah, I still think Facebook groups for me is still a very valuable resource.

[00:12:47] Jeff Sieh: So real quick, do you ever get like reluctance or hesitation or actually people like pushing back on your Facebook group? Like, why are you using that? I don’t want to be on Facebook because Buzzfeed reports that, people are spending less time on Facebook, because of the competition with TikTok and Instagram and all that kind of stuff.

[00:13:06] They even said that their daily users are doing. Yeah, this quarter, it’s still one point 93 billion, but still, and people are critical of Facebook. So what do you tell people who say I’m not on Facebook, so I can’t be in your party.

How Do You Handle People Who Hate Facebook?

[00:13:22] Paul Gowder: I I get that a lot. Especially around one of our other Facebook groups is we have a buy sell trade group where people can come and post their crafts or things.

[00:13:34] They’re making whatever. And that group is really active. I think we have 40, 50,000 members in there. But a lot of times when I’m promoting that in our newsletters and on the website, people do come to me and oh man, I really wanna, I saw that picture. You posted of this bead work. I really liked to go buy it, but I’m not on Facebook and I’m not going to join Facebook just to go shopping.

[00:13:56] And I get that. But it is an easy tool for us to allow people to post their items for sale in a really easy way. There’s the two sides of it. People are reluctant and hesitant to come, but Facebook makes it so easy. That’s hard. But. I still find it again for me, the people that are hesitant or reluctant are still less than the number of people joining those Facebook groups.

[00:14:28] So for me, I’m still seeing more growth and as opposed to the reluctance.

[00:14:33] Jeff Sieh: Gotcha. So in Sabrina goes, preach it. Paul SPE speaking my love language, community management. So she is all for this. And Grace, I know you had a question.

[00:14:47] Grace Duffy: Yeah, I have a question. I’m going to bring up Andrew Cavanaugh.

[00:14:50] I hope I said that, right? His question. He says he’s a large group where he would get about 3000 new members a week. That’s amazing. By the way. And out of nowhere, growth has come to a crawl. Why do you think this would have happened? And how do I get the growth back again? I love that question because I think you add going back to Jeff’s point about like maybe use it to slowed a little bit.

[00:15:11] It hasn’t slowed that much. So let’s talk about how to gain more of that moment.

Why Has My Facebook Group Growth Slowed?

[00:15:17] Paul Gowder: Yeah. That’s oh, wow. That would be amazing to have that kind of growth. And then and then tank that’s T be shocking. So first thing I would do is try to figure out where that growth was coming from. If it was one particular post that was just being promoted by Facebook, or maybe some other group was promoting you across cross-referencing some of your content, I try to go find where that happened.

[00:15:42] And make sure you have your group settings turned on Facebook really wants your groups to be public right now. And if you have your groups public, there are way, now they’re taking comments and posts from your group and posting them on. People’s feet, even outside of your group, depending on what that person’s algorithm is or whatever.

[00:16:02] So make sure your group is public and you have all those features turned on and Facebook’s going to help you promote the group. So that would be first thing. I would go check your settings and make sure you didn’t restrict something and not letting Facebook really get in there and promote your group.

[00:16:15] Wow. That’s an incredible growth. I hope. Shoot me an email. I’d be happy to look and help you look into that too.

[00:16:22] Jeff Sieh: So this is a great question from our friend, Gary Stockton, over on YouTube, he goes, it’s a tricky time to host groups. How do you encourage dialogue, but avoid political rants?

[00:16:35] Because I want to talk about, what makes a Facebook group, a good community, a resource in a place where people want to be. If you have a bunch of trolls in there, people are dumping in like this political stuff or fake news or whatever that can really dampen your group pretty quickly.

[00:16:51] So what do you do about that, Paul?

How Do You Handle Trolls In Your Facebook Group?

[00:16:55] Paul Gowder: That is tough. And with the nature of my group, which is there are sensitive topics, there are very politically charged topics and people are very passionate. We’re talking about a racial issue not all the Pow Wows. Go down that road, but there are racial issues in our group.

[00:17:15] So we have it, it happens all the time. Probably on a daily basis, we’ll have something happen. And yeah, for me, what we try to do is we are we’re heavy handed. We do, if we see a post getting out of control we do not hesitate to cut off comments or Banned people suspend people. Some of the new features where you can put people on pause for 24 hours, 48 hours.

[00:17:42] Those are great resources. Sometimes people just need to cool off in Facebook groups and also social media. Sometimes you just need to think before you write that and suspending somebody for 20.

Part II

[00:00:00] Jeff Sieh: Hey folks, we are back. Sorry. I don’t know. It was probably because we showed a video of Ian at the very beginning of the show. It probably did it. You know

[00:00:10] Grace Duffy: what it’s because I said something negative about the book of faces, this happened. So that’s what happened. Just, we’re just going to refer to it as the website that Shelby named, not named, we’re going to treat it like the dark one, right?

[00:00:24] Jeff Sieh: Baltimore. Okay. Where were we? We were getting ready. I think we were talking about. Being a good community because we’re managing trolls. I think Paul is what you were talking about before. So do you want to finish that thought and talk about how you manage dealing with keeping, I guess that your community as a safe spot and some place where people feel good when they come in and not have to deal with all that negative.

How Do You Moderate Facebook Groups?

[00:00:49] Paul Gowder: Yeah, w I encourage my moderators and we are very heavy handed. We take a very active role and we will shut down stuff quickly. And we do not hesitate to suspend ban, whatever needs to be done. So I love the idea. Some of the new tools Facebook has, where you can suspend somebody for 24 hours or 48 hours sometimes.

[00:01:09] That’s what people need is just a cool off period. And so we, we take a very active role in making sure that things don’t degrade. And I know when you talk about, we’ll talk about it later, some of the new admin tools we also have some things turned on and admin assist to make sure that things don’t go down a bad path.

[00:01:28] Jeff Sieh: That’s great. So Ian says he just finished reading 1984. It sounds like the thought police shut you down. Yeah, that was probably when. That’s

[00:01:36] Grace Duffy: right. It’s my big mouth got us in trouble again. And I’m sorry. So we have this question that comes up frequently. When we talk about Facebook groups and this one comes from our friend Jim fuse.

[00:01:49] Jeff, if you have that ready, queued up. Ready to go. We let’s play Jim’s question here,

[00:01:55] Paul Gowder: especially when some of the other things going on with Facebook and. Yeah, a strong area, especially when some of the other things going on with Facebook. And is it better to have a private group versus a public group, especially if you are maybe talking about some stuff that if you want to call it as sensitive that you don’t want shared outside the group would love to know that.

Is It Better To Have A Public Or Private Facebook Group?

[00:02:23] Paul Gowder: So for me, it really depends on the situation. I highly encourage everybody. If you’re going to start a Facebook group, you need to start one that is public. Again, going back to what I was saying earlier, before we stopped Facebook is promoting public groups and they want you to have a public group and they want you to, they’re going to have tools and they’re going to push that stuff out for you.

[00:02:44] You should start one public group. Now for sensitive topics, we have a private group for pals.com too, for people that are looking to trace their family heritage. They’re looking to do genealogy genealogical research. That was hard today. We take that group and we make it private because that is people having very sensitive conversations.

[00:03:03] And that’s the issue of. Documenting your family. Not only is it private information, but it can be controversial. And some of that too. So we make that group private and you have to, request to be a part of that. So it really depends on the situation, but if you’re going to only have one group, have it public, just because that’s the way Facebook wants it right now.

[00:03:23] And that’s the way you’re going to get the best exposure.

[00:03:25] Jeff Sieh: So we had a question earlier and I apologize, cause I can’t pull it up because the stream died. It was pages versus groups. She was asking. It was

[00:03:35] Grace Duffy: Catherine. Yeah, it was Catherine Lang and she says groups versus pages. She says, I already have a page.

[00:03:42] Should I also add a group?

Facebook Groups VS Facebook Pages

[00:03:46] Paul Gowder: So groups are the place where you can really engage with the community and they engage back. I think of pages as your place to. Shout out to your messages. Yes. People can respond and yes, there’s comments, but it’s not really a two way dialogue. It’s not, you’re not really having conversations with my page is just feel like it’s, Hey, we’re doing this.

[00:04:09] Hey, there’s this? Hey, there’s this where the group is. We are going in and we’re having long discussions. We’re posting a topic or a question and people are going back and forth with it. That’s the place where community is you can have community on your pages. And we do with palace.com, but the group is really where the community is going to live and grow.

[00:04:31] And so it is two different things, at least what I’ve found.

[00:04:35] Jeff Sieh: That’s a great point. Yeah, because I know. I haven’t done a group because when I don’t want to have to manage it, but I can see your point on that because I have noticed it in Facebook, the reach on pages have shrunk to almost nothing in, and being able to have that group where you can have community and build that.

[00:04:54] I think what you had been saying before and having that be public is super critical. So I want to dive right into something that’s and I want to know if you think it even matters, Paul, because you’ve mentioned you used these new audio rooms, which every platform at seen when the clubhouse bandwagon hit, that everybody wanted to jump in on it and Facebook’s no exception.

[00:05:17] So have you used them do you think they’re still relevant to tell us what do.

Facebook Audio Rooms

[00:05:24] Paul Gowder: Okay. So I’ll preface this by saying I have a biased opinion. I was part of the Facebook community accelerator a couple of years ago, and I was in some of the testing for Facebook audio groups. So I have a little bit of a biased opinion.

[00:05:38] I just want to make sure I put that out there first. So audio groups. Yeah. Everybody came out with a clubhouse killer, right? Trying to copy that. Audio rooms on Facebook or can be a great tool. And it goes back to, it really depends on your audience. So we had our, the most successful audio room we’ve done is we scheduled one ahead of time.

[00:06:05] We promoted it and we had a topic about the missing and murdered indigenous women crisis in north America. If you’re not familiar, there is a. There’s a real problem with our indigenous women going, missing, being killed, being victims of assault, sexual abuse, and all kinds of other things. It’s a horrible topic, but, and so we brought in a couple of experts and we really dug into that topic and we, it was a.

[00:06:32] We felt like it was a more safe place to just have an audio conversation and to have a little bit more of an intimate feel that one was super successful. I’ve used audio rooms since then in several different ways. And I think it’s a really good tool again, to re to talk to your community. I love the ability that I can start an audio room, just grab my phone and start talking to the community.

[00:06:55] And it, if people are there and have questions, I can bring them on stage and let them interact too. It’s a really quick way. And easier than sometimes going long. Cause we feel like we’re not camera ready or we’re, like I did one, one time. So my daughter is in marching band and we were before a competition.

[00:07:15] I was doing my setup was over by myself and I had 15, 20 minutes. And so I just jumped on before the competition started and had an audio room and we had a nice discussion. It’s great for that. I feel like it’s a really easy impromptu way to interact with the community. Now, having said all that Facebook really put a lot of effort and energy into it and promotion into it a few months ago.

[00:07:43] I don’t know if they’re still doing it. Some of the audio rooms I’ve done recently, didn’t get, hasn’t gotten as much traction as they did a few months ago. You never know with Facebook where they’re putting their attention. And so is the algorithm really going to pick it up? I don’t know.

[00:08:00] It’s something we’ll continue to experiment with and use. It’s not going to be probably not going to be a priority for us in our community.

[00:08:09] Jeff Sieh: And I also wonder if it’s, because now we can, we actually can put on pants and go outside. If people are using, audio, you should put on pants and go outside.

[00:08:20] That’s just

[00:08:21] Grace Duffy: never, some of us never stopped wearing

[00:08:23] Jeff Sieh: pants, Joe, just saying important safety tip. Pants or encouraged. So Ian asks this question before we go on to our next section. I want to bring this up. Cause I think this is interesting. He goes, I’ll be creating a Facebook group. As soon as I hire a community manager.

[00:08:39] It’s not something I think I could do on my own. So I want to talk about that. First of all, Paul. These P do you get volunteers out of your group and what do you look forward to? It helps to have somebody help with your community. And should you wait until you’re grown big enough that you need to community manager and what do you need to look for to hire one or whatever?

Do I Need A Community Manager To Run A Facebook Group?

[00:09:01] Paul Gowder: So Facebook groups can be a ton of work. I agree in it. It is a little bit scary. And especially if your group really starts growing, it’s a lot of effort to approve members. Look at new posts, wash the comments, all of that. Yes. So when I talked earlier about how PowWows.com got started, our origins was on the old forms.

[00:09:21] vBulletin if anybody remembers me Bolton Lou and I like to reminisce about the old days of vBulletin, it was great. So when we were on vBulletin, we had a huge team of 30 or 40 moderators, and those were all volunteers that, that organic, he came out of the community with Facebook groups were doing the same kind of thing.

[00:09:38] We’re looking at people that are. Creating good topics are really engaging in the comments, making insightful posts helping other people. And when we see them, we’ll talk to them about them helping out in moderating. So yeah, we use a lot of community volunteers for moderating. Now. I also. So go back a year.

[00:10:01] I did have some paid people helping manage the Facebook group, especially handy handling new members. Now we’ve been very fortunate. I was able to wrap a whole bunch of these contractors that I had into one role. And now my wife is is doing all of that combined with her trout. She’s a travel planner too.

[00:10:19] So that combined with a travel planner. That’s now her full-time responsibility is managing some of the community aspects as well as for travel stuff. So yes, I do. I still can count that as we have somebody that is a paid person managing the Facebook groups. So again, some of these things that are daily, just tasks, I, when your group gets bigger, you are going to want to have some help.

[00:10:43] But again, if you have an active community, you can get, especially in the beginning, you can get help from your community, look to your members and find those people that are very active and talk to them about being a moderator. You can, you’ll find some really great people right there in your community that can help out.

[00:11:01] Jeff Sieh: That’s awesome. That’s great advice. Ian there’s no. You need to start a group. And as Sabrina says, yes, as a community manager, it is a lot of work in, which is very true. And that leads me to our second segment that we’re gonna talk about is you’re doing all this work. You kinda want to, you’re not doing it.

[00:11:21] Just, you may for the goodness of your heart, but you may want to make some money at this. We’re going to talk about some ways to monetize your Facebook group because. Facebook has rolled out recently some some new ways that you can actually monetize your Facebook group. First of all, community shops and fundraisers, and it’s mirroring features that are elsewhere on the platform.

[00:11:46] If you see that with just some pages that are doing it, community shops are an extension of Facebook’s existing features and allow group admins to sell themed merchandise or other goods. And likewise fundraisers will enable add admins. Crowdfund specific projects or otherwise offset the cost of running the group which is what we just talked about and also paid subgroups.

[00:12:08] So those are subscription-based subgroups and they’re actually smaller groups within a group where members pay a monthly fee to participate and. You can have these subgroups for free. In fact, Paul has some that I wanted to talk about a little bit. When I went into his group, I just noticed them as well.

[00:12:24] And it’s a paid version of the free subgroup feature. And it’s the latest effort for them to. Do the subscription-based product that you see rolling out on Facebook and Instagram. So talk about Paul, how you’re using subgroups in your Facebook group now, Powell, nation.

[00:12:43] I would love to know, because I thought that was really interesting when I do it.

How To Use Subgroups In A Facebook Group?

[00:12:49] Paul Gowder: Yeah. So again, going back to our vBulletin days, we had lots of forums set up all kinds of different topics, not just power related, we had just general life topics. So that’s something we’ve been experimenting with subgroups.

[00:13:03] And again, I miss those people 10 days cause in the sub forums and people attending. Set special permissions in subgroups. So one of the things we’re experimenting with is having a subgroup designed for people to ask questions. If it’s their first time or they’re new to Pow Wow and have that safe space and not ask a question, and I’ll give you an example in our community, in the powwow world, when people come in and use the word costume to describe what dancers are wearing, it can be offensive to some people.

[00:13:38] Now what? I always try to tell people, cause we get new people coming in and they don’t know that word is offensive. So they’ll come into the main Facebook group and they’ll ask a question about, Hey, I saw this costume, what does it mean? And that will just lead into this big, long discussion and they don’t get their question answered.

[00:13:54] So we’re trying to create some safe spaces for people to come in and ask those kinds of questions and not feel like they’re getting attacked. And then being able to educate them and say, that’s probably not the right word. You didn’t know that, but here’s a better way of doing it. So that’s what, we’re one of the ways we’re experimenting with subgroups.

[00:14:14] I’d love to eventually hopefully, face. Evolves these subgroups. I’d love to take our three separate Facebook groups we have now and be able to combine them all into one Facebook group, and have a plate, a marketplace, and have the one for genealogy and all be one home. So I’m hoping that as subgroups evolve, that will happen.

[00:14:35] Whereas we haven’t done a paid subgroup. I know you mentioned that we haven’t done one yet. That’s probably something again. Now. My role in Paolo pals com has changed a little bit. Now that I’ve retired from my day job, we’re going to look at other things like that and look and see if that’s something that will fit our community.

[00:14:53] It is a great feature and I know lots of people are using it really well. Somebody earlier was asking about PE or private versus public. The subgroups is a great way to have a public group with a private component, especially with a paint subgroup and kind of restrict it there too. So yeah, it’s a really cool.

[00:15:13] Jeff Sieh: So before we move on, I wanted to ask are there any other ways that you’re monetizing your group? Because I know you did this at first kind of to build community and a lot of times you don’t want. Go and Mo monetize your community. Cause that can be a little skeevy and sleazy feeling, but you also have to keep the lights on.

[00:15:35] So are there any other ways that you were monetizing your group? Maybe not in an overt way, but in a different type of way?

How Do You Monetize A Facebook Group?

[00:15:43] Paul Gowder: Sure. So number one, our main revenue at palace icon is advertising. So we do use the group as a way to drive traffic back to the website. So if we have a big promotion or giveaway or some kind of content that we want people to do, we are promoting that in the group and hoping that we can get traffic off the Facebook platform to our website, because that is our number one source of revenue, but we’re also doing some other things too.

[00:16:07] Yeah, indirectly benefit and monetize. We’ve done a Facebook live event or a paid live event. We actually had somebody come in and do a special concert presentation and we that was paid. So that was really cool. And that was really good. Monetization other things we’re doing too is and I think you have this on the agenda to talk more about later, but we are using a tool called group funnels to help get emails out of the group.

[00:16:34] And then we can really market to them a little bit better with our email marketing. But for the most part, I don’t look at our group as a revenue stream. I look at it as the place where the community is just going to go. And a lot of times I do go in the group and I interact and I post questions, but a lot of times.

[00:16:51] For our group, I just try to stay out of the way and let the community, engage with themselves.

[00:16:58] Jeff Sieh: That’s a good, and I can tell you’re a Lou Magelo disciple because that’s one of the things he always says, like he built the, he built the community and everybody else plays in it. So it’s that kind of, that philosophy is like you build it and you interact and give things for them to talk about, but you stay out of the way.

[00:17:15] So I think that’s really cool. So let’s dive into our next section, Grace, and this is going to be really interesting to a lot of people is the Facebook group management tools. Yeah.

[00:17:27] Grace Duffy: So a few weeks ago, Facebook announced some new features to help group admins. We touched on a little bit about the reasons why, but one of them is the ability to automatically decline incoming posts that have been identified as containing false information by their third party fact checkers.

[00:17:43] There’s also a number of new features to help admins more efficiently manage that flow of comments. Some of them is the ability to mute or suspend. So admins. Bods can temporarily suspend members from posting commenting, reacting, participating in group chats or creating an entering rooms in the group.

[00:18:01] And then the other two features, I thought it was really cool for promotion. What is the QR code? Of course, QR codes had their glow up over this last couple of years. We didn’t realize how cool they were until our lives depended on them. So now you have the ability to generate a QR code, which you can copy and paste and share everywhere to get the group across.

[00:18:22] Clunky to get that URL just right. Or whatever. And then the other one is the option for admin to send invites by, which ties into what you’re talking about, creating email funnels with your groups. So those are the things that were just announced a few weeks ago. Paul, have you implemented any of these new tools and the way that you manage your group and what do you think.

Facebook Shop In Groups

[00:18:45] Paul Gowder: They’re awesome. Yes. But I do want to back up, I forgot Jeff mentioned it and I forgot to mention it. Say it in the monetization we are using shop the new shop feature in our Facebook group. Yeah. That’s something that’s still rolling out. But it allows you to sell products directly in your Facebook group.

[00:19:04] So if you haven’t turned onto your page, you can take those same products and post them in your group. It can be a little difficult to set up because you have to get into the Facebook business manager part and set up your store. But for me, like we run everything through Shopify. So you can own your shop.

[00:19:21] If I used to install the Facebook app and it takes care of all that for you, and it takes all of your inventory and posted on your group automatically as you create new products, it’s a great, if you’re selling merch, it is a great way to easily get your stuff into the group and Facebook, the tool is really nice.

[00:19:37] And so again, with Shopify I’m able, every time I create a new product, it automatically just promotes it in the group. And so that’s a really cool tool. If you’re, if you are selling merchant, do go check that out. It’s really helpful. Yeah.

[00:19:52] Grace Duffy: Oh, it’s going to ask, does the tool allow, does the tool allow you to just like, if I see a product, some beautiful bead work in your group and I want to buy it, can I automatically just buy it in the group?

[00:20:03] It takes me through the payment and then it’s you get my order and then it comes to me. Or are there any other steps involved on the on the setup end or.

[00:20:14] Paul Gowder: So there’s a couple of different ways you can set it up. You can choose to let the checkout process happen right on Facebook. And of course, Facebook, that’s the way they’re going to prefer it to, they want the money to their platform with opt set it up the other way, where.

[00:20:28] The payment processing happens on Shopify, just because not to get into it, but I use print on demand. And so Shopify handles pain, the people who are printing the shirt and then giving me, sending me the rest of it. And so if I do the checkout on Facebook, some of that breaks but you can do it either way.

[00:20:49] If you are just selling a few products, turning it on and letting Facebook handle the whole transaction is going to be a great user experience and really quick to eat and easy to, for people to buy a product and just check out.

[00:21:00] Jeff Sieh: So what is the cut? This Facebook ticket, a cut of your sales, or how does that work with Facebook?

[00:21:07] Paul Gowder: Currently there is not a cut. I am sure that they are going to, they’re going to have something soon. But I think they’re also looking at ways to, for them to monetize this and put it into their ad ecosystem so that you can start boosting products. Promoting products more than others. So it’s coming right now.

[00:21:29] They are just promoting it and letting you do it all free. Facebook’s good at that. They want to give you the first. Exactly.

[00:21:38] Jeff Sieh: Exactly. All right. So I’m glad we talked about shots, cause that was one of the big things that I’m thanking you for putting the brakes on that. Cause that’s super important because I think.

[00:21:48] We’re seeing that across all the networks and everything is the monetization and selling products of, for creators to be able to do that, which I think is great. And the platform that’s going to have, the lowest amount of friction I think is going to be the one that wins. And I love that.

[00:22:05] You’re saying that Shopify can integrate that. And hopefully that will come easier because. I used to set up e-commerce websites and back in the day and Shopify, it’s amazing. I would have killed for that back what I did because it was,

[00:22:19] Paul Gowder: I know,

[00:22:20] Jeff Sieh: oh my gosh. It’s so easy

[00:22:22] Paul Gowder: now.

New Features To Promote Facebook Groups

[00:22:23] Paul Gowder: Yeah. It’s so the tools are amazing. And so it’s really letting a lot of people sell products and create businesses. That’s so much faster. So we’ll switch now and talk about these admin tools, which I think is Ian, who was worried about hiring a community manager. Some of these tools can really help you get over that hurdle until you, you have some other people and processes in place.

[00:22:49] We use these tools in a couple of ways, one for new members, we do have some rules turned on so that if you’re requesting access to the group and you don’t have certain things. We’re not letting you in, but more importantly, we have these admin assist tools set to, again, you were talking about, the political problems and the trolls and all of, things starting to go down a bad path.

[00:23:12] And, once we all know what happens and once a couple of people get an argument or something, it’s just going to go downhill real quick. So these admin tools now, let’s, you. Put things in place. If a post gets so many comments within a certain time period, slow down the commenting, and then we have, then we can put another rule in place.

[00:23:33] If it continues then close commenting and all that happens automatically. And we don’t have to even go in there cause we all know. These things can happen so quickly that you don’t even have time to react. Even if you’re getting notifications and in large groups, notifications can be overwhelmed.

[00:23:50] So these things can really degrade quicker than you can respond. So these admin tools are awesome for that. And we even have it turned on, if you don’t have a profile picture set, your post is not approved. We want to make sure that we keep all the spam out and the bots out. And yeah these groups are really are.

[00:24:07] These tools now are really helpful to set up some basic procedures in your group and to at least take that first layer of management and maintenance off.

[00:24:19] Jeff Sieh: That’s really cool. So a couple of questions that I have I know they have these things now where you can actually, instead of a lot of times it was like, you could just ban somebody or, whatever, and now there’s you can put them in timeout kind of pretty much go think about what you’ve done, a thing.

[00:24:37] And even Gary says it’s really awesome with all these group mods help them run a good a good and great group. Yeah. What about, let’s talk about the timeout kind of thing. And do you have rules in place that you use for that? And also, do you have, is there a way to ban like specific words?

[00:24:53] Like you mentioned that there’s a problem when people come in and talk about costumes and that kind of can upset and inflame the community because they just don’t know any better. Can you set certain like key words to have different modifications on them or

[00:25:07] Paul Gowder: not? I don’t know if you can set it to have automatic like actions.

[00:25:12] What we do is there’s a keyword alert feature in the group, so we turn it on. And so that if certain words are posted, then all of the admins will get an oh and moderators will get a notification immediately so that what’s happening is a week. And we have a few of those turned on.

[00:25:29] That’s really helpful. And cause yeah, this stuff happens so fast. So

[00:25:38] Grace Duffy: it really is. I, oh, go ahead.

[00:25:42] Jeff Sieh: I was gonna say on the fast thing, I know some people have it like set up and I don’t know how you would manage this, but that every post has to be approved before it’s. You do that

[00:25:52] Paul Gowder: as well. We have that turned on every new post has to be approved by a moderator or admin.

[00:25:58] And it, again, that takes a lot more work and sorry, Ian. I know we’re we keep putting more work on prop a view, but it does take a little bit more effort in, but we want to make sure that one, we keep spam out to. Somebody is not posting just to start a fight. And of course, we’re also trying to keep out, there’s people trying to do self promotion or things like we’ve got, we have a lot because of the size of our group, we’ll have a lot of people joining.

[00:26:31] And I guess this kind of falls into the spam category, but we’ll have people like they’ll create a post. It might be a really good topic and they’ll post it in their own group and then share it from their group to our group. Just trying to get that cross promotion instead of just organically posting it in our group.

[00:26:48] So we, we try when that happens we’ll delete it, but we’ll talk to them and be like, Hey look, I get, I understand what you’re trying to do. Let’s figure out a better way to post that kind of content. So we do that a lot too. But yeah, every post has to be approved by a mod for us.

[00:27:07] Gotcha. And how

[00:27:08] Grace Duffy: long is your turnaround time on like when you quit, what do you try to get them approved within a day within? Cause I understand for a group your size, 98,000 people, that’s a lot to manage. I do not, but I’m in some groups where there’s 20 people and they have that on and I’m like, seriously, Like I can recall all of noon.

[00:27:29] I can call all of you and ask this question before you get through it.

[00:27:35] Paul Gowder: We try to clear the queue every day. Yeah. And so Mo like I said, my wife is now one of the main admins in that group. And so she goes through a couple times a day and tries to clear out all of the pending posts. So we do, we try not to let anything go more than a day, of course there’s going to be times where you’re traveling and, but we have, yeah, we have mods too, that are in there and they’re cleaning it out a couple of times a day.

[00:27:59] So most of the time a post is not going to sit, waiting to be approved more than a few hours. That’s good.

[00:28:07] Grace Duffy: So he has a really great, oh, go ahead. I was going to call up Ian’s question. He says, do you use any third-party tools for your Facebook group or should these be avoided? I’m curious what those third-party tools could be.

[00:28:21] He has in mind.

Are Their 3rd Party Tools To Manage Facebook Groups?

[00:28:23] Paul Gowder: Yeah. There’s some third party tools that can help you schedule posts, those kinds of things. We don’t use any of that. The best third-party tool that we use in Facebook groups right now is group funnels. I wish I had an affiliate link. I would post that right now, but but group funnels for us is.

[00:28:44] Awesome. What it allows you to do is, you can ask questions for groups, for people that are looking to join your group. One of our questions is, Hey, do you want to subscribe to our newsletter? If so, leave your email address. And group funnels takes that those questions automatically puts them in a Google sheet, which then we can set up automation to, to move into our email list.

[00:29:05] It is fantastic. We have grown our list over 10,000 people in the last year, just by doing that.

[00:29:13] Jeff Sieh: Okay. So I want to dive into this before we, we wrap things up because I know that at momentum you spoke a lot about email marketing and how groups have funneled it into your list, which for everybody listening, this is the mic drop moment because.

[00:29:28] And he’s siphoning people from his group into his list, which he owns, Facebook, we always talked about building our, on rented land, the way your 10,000 emails siphoned off Facebook. What is your strategy? Is there, do you do it once a week? Give us some of your strategy on how you do this, because I think people starting out even small groups that they need to start this process now.

[00:29:55] As it grows because it’s just going to bless them more down the line.

Using Facebook Groups To Grow Your List.

[00:29:59] Paul Gowder: Yes. For anybody who is starting out, whether building a business, starting a Facebook group, starting a Facebook page, the number one thing you should always do. What I tell people is start your email list immediately. You want to own your followers and your customers.

[00:30:15] And the only way you can do that is with an email list. So what group funnels allows us to do is create this automation and it happens it’s not once a week. I’ll back up. When we started asking people for their email addresses, I hired a VA that would go in there once a day, collect all the email addresses and then approve the members with the size of our group that got to be a little overwhelming and people were waiting two and three days to be approved just because of the volume.

[00:30:41] So I looked for and found a tool that group funnels. And it does that. Now whenever. And my wife now handles all of the group approval. So whenever she hits approve on a new member, that email is put instantly into our email list.

[00:30:59] Jeff Sieh: And why would they give you their email? What’s the, is it do that?

[00:31:04] Do they have to give the email to join the group? Cause I know some groups do that, but what is the incentive that they get for joining your list?

[00:31:13] Paul Gowder: We don’t make it a required field. We would love for you to, but we know that some people don’t want to give out the email addresses and that’s okay.

[00:31:21] And so it’s a, it’s an optional group for, or optional field for us. But what we’re encouraging people to do is it is your way to subscribe to palace.com and we use our news. Probably the number one thing that people look to our newsletter for is we send out notifications and updates to the Powerwall calendar.

[00:31:39] So going back to people, wanting to visit Pow Wow and wanting to experience native culture in person, our Powell calendar is the number one resource for that. And we send out an email twice a month with all the updated listings and you can get that, if you’re on our list, then you get that sent right to you.

[00:31:55] And so people want that information and that’s probably the number one reason why people say.

[00:32:00] Jeff Sieh: Gotcha. And so your either, does your email go out once a week or does it go out like once a month? How frequently you email your list about this new, the new power.

[00:32:11] Paul Gowder: New Pow Wows, we email out on the first and the 15th of the month.

[00:32:14] And then of course we have lots of sequences and drip campaigns that are happening all throughout the week. So broadcast messages, we’re sending out that one on the first and 15th, we’re sending out a weekly update newsletter once a week. So usually it’s maybe two broadcast messages a week. Maybe more if we’re doing a promotion or something.

[00:32:36] Jeff Sieh: Gotcha. All right. As we wrap up I wanted to ask you what is what’s your secret sauce to growing a great group? You grew up from zero to 97,000. Now. It didn’t happen overnight. You’ve been doing this for what, 20 years? Something like what? Something like that

[00:32:54] Paul Gowder: twenty-five years for the community itself.

[00:32:58] So there isn’t a wish there was one secret thing. What I have found is that we continue to post good quality content in the group and on our page. And we’ve tried to really identify who we’re marketing to and what we have Palo Alto ca.com are doing is trying to promote native American culture to anybody.

[00:33:22] Whether you grew up on a reservation you’re full-blooded native, or whether you are. New and an ally and just want to learn more. We are trying to just promote and raise awareness of native American culture. So that’s our mission and we make sure all of our content really is focused on that and beat trying to be as positive as we can.

[00:33:41] And so then we just use the tools, whether it’s our Facebook page, our Facebook group. And promoting that contact content and interacting. And then, we go back to what Lou said, you continue to put out the content that you want to read and that you believe in, and the people like you will find you and come and join.

[00:34:01] So there really isn’t for me there isn’t a magic bullet. It’s just persistence over time and it was.

[00:34:08] Jeff Sieh: A follow up question to that. When you move from your bulletin board over to Facebook group, did you get a lot of pushback? Did you lose a lot of people? I have an idea. The answer to that,

[00:34:19] Paul Gowder: but sure.

Moving To Facebook Groups From Another Platform

[00:34:20] Paul Gowder: I will tell you that it wasn’t because Facebook groups weren’t immediately available when social media was really coming onto the scene. And I remember that. I should go back and look at Google analytics. There were times when we were getting literally tens of thousands of posts a day on our forums, and then with Facebook, it just, the traffic just tanked.

[00:34:45] I remember getting messages during that time of people that were longtime users and friends of the forums writing me and say, Paul man, Hey, the forums were great. Had a good time. It was a good run, but pals dot coms did I’m out. I’m I’m go ahead and to face. And we got dozens of messages like that, and it was hard.

[00:35:05] It was, for us, it was a real shift in how we had to do things and how we had to really look at social media differently. So it wasn’t something that just happened overnight. It took a couple of years to figure out how to use Facebook, to continue to grow the community. It works now for us.

[00:35:26] And we have a very successful group, but it wasn’t easy. And it was something we really had to work at over a long period of time to make that transition from forums to Facebook.

[00:35:36] Jeff Sieh: Oh yeah. Thanks for that. That every, anytime you move, it’s super, super hard and you always can’t make everybody happy.

[00:35:45] Last question, Gary asks, what platform were you using to manage your email?

[00:35:51] Paul Gowder: Sure. I’m using ConvertKit.

[00:35:53] Jeff Sieh: Okay. That’s what I use too. Thanks Gary, for asking that question, by the way, before we wrap things up, I forgot to do it earlier, but when did another shout out to our sponsors over at Ecamm. SocialMediaNewsLive.com/Ecamm

[00:36:05] If you noticed that. Our stream died in the middle of this. I would not be able to reset it as fast as we did without the amazing people over Ecamm. They make it really easy to stream to multiple platforms and get things back up and running. So thanks to them. It’s amazing tool. I love it.

[00:36:24] I used it way before they were a sponsor. SocialMediaNewsLive.com/Ecamm And Paul, you have been amazing. You had a great talk at momentum. You’re not only an expert in Facebook groups, but community building email marketing, all sorts of things, but where can people go and find out more about you and what do you have coming up that you’d like to share with us?

[00:36:44] Paul Gowder: Yeah. So I’d love to talk more about to people. If you’re looking to grow your business PaulGowder.com is that place and. So I mentioned it earlier. I retired from my day job, and now this is my full-time gig, working WowWows.com and the PaulGowder.com. And so I really want to help you. Over 25 years, I’ve had some ups and downs and I was just talking about a challenge where Facebook killed our community for a long time.

[00:37:08] I want to help you try to find a ways to break through those barriers and really level up your business. Yeah, reach out to me. I’d love to help you. And I do have to say a special shout out. I saw Chad mentioned my shirt, so thank you for that. In the comments, and he also mentioned some of the issues with Disney and native American culture actually did a Facebook live about that a couple of days ago.

[00:37:28] There have been some issues there. Again, jump over on our group. I’d love to talk more about that.

[00:37:34] Jeff Sieh: Yeah, and it’s a great group. And thanks Paul so much for being here today. Thank you guys for all your good comments. That was like the second comment about your shirt. So they really loved your shirt and Paul has an invite.

[00:37:46] I’m sure he’s going to come over there shortly, but make sure you guys go check us out over on volley and that’s where we’re talking about everything and SocialMediaNewsLive.com/Chat You saw, we were able, and with their permission, of course, I was able to bring some videos and for people to ask me questions from our guests.

[00:38:04] I think that is super cool. SocialMediaNewsLive.com/Chat We’d love to see you guys there and always thank you to the amazing Grace Duffy, who does an amazing job helping produce this show and everything she does behind the scenes and being such a great host, all that stuff. Grace, where can people find out more about you?

[00:38:24] Grace Duffy: We are kicking off our live show series over on restream. So come join me this Thursday over on YouTube or YouTube free stream channel. Yeah, I wish free streams, YouTube channel. Excuse me too. I’m actually interviewing our friend Lauria Petrucci about an event that she produced was involved in involving.

[00:38:49] Getting more women and non-binary people interested and involved in crypto. So that is way out of my wheelhouse. I have a, so come watch me navigate that fun as if watching me navigate this show every week is enough, but we’ll be back again next week. Next week is April fool’s day. So hopefully we’ll have something, some fun and folly to fall back on next week.

[00:39:16] But this. Side of technical difficult thing. Thank you for everyone, for hanging with us and for Paul for staying a little bit after D and he’s been so generous with his time and his knowledge, and he kept me and Jeff on track with this show, believe it or not. So

[00:39:33] Jeff Sieh: we need all the help with that as so our next show is on Friday, April 1st at 11:00 AM. Central 10. 11:00 AM Eastern 10:00 AM central. You can find us on Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, Amazon live. Thank you so much, Paul, for being here. Thank you to all our people in the audience, Sabrina, Gary, Chad Ian, as always all of you folks who chimed in with some great questions, Chris stone was here.

[00:39:55] Thank you for jumping over streams with us as we had some issues. And with that, we’ll see you guys next time. Thanks everybody. Bye now.

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