Fostering an online community around your podcast is one of the most important things you can be doing to grow the presence of your show. There are several ways you can nurture your community, but if you're skipping one particular outlet you could really be doing yourself a disservice. That outlet is Facebook groups.

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Why are they impactful?

In January 2020, the New York Times wrote an article titled Podcast Groups Aren't Just About Podcasts which brought some really interesting views surrounding podcast fan groups to life. Since then, many podcasters have seen a huge uptick in their Facebook group presence and have witnessed these communities take on a life of their own!

These groups will help you grow your podcast, increase the overall brand and identity of your show, and help podcast hosts paint a visual picture of who their listeners really are. Friendships can form and, sometimes, even relationships that expand outside of the realm of Facebook may grow. Giving your listeners a safe space to gather and bond over your podcast is something they will value and can also act as a resource for you to learn about your fans. It's an added bonus that most people already have an account with Facebook— making it easy for anyone to join.

Gain feedback from dedicated followers

Yes, this forum is a wonderful place for your followers to connect over a common interest. But, besides that, this is also a free spot for market research. Keep your finger on the pulse of your community by listening to their comments and feedback, and keeping an open mind. Here are a few tips for engaging your group to gain useful feedback:

  • Create a post for discussion on each episode within a week of its release. You can then see what your listeners found most interesting, which could lead to new ideas for engaging content. Pro tip: You can schedule these posts ahead of time. We encourage you to use the Facebook group scheduling tool so these posts appear on a regular basis. Consistency is always key.

  • Create polls. Polls are a great way to gauge interest on topics you may be exploring. You may be on the fence about a certain area of interest, but running a poll in your Facebook group takes the guesswork out of how interested your fans will be.

  • Considering a live tour or selling merchandise? This is the perfect space to see what would sell best. Let your most enthusiastic fans help you build your show's revenue.

  • Use the group analytics. Within the settings that allow you to manage your group, you can find analytics such as location, age and gender. You can also see what time and days your group members are most active online. This may help you determine where to place marketing efforts (along with your Acast Insights, of course).

Best Practices

Listeners who join Facebook groups tend to be the podcast’s most avid fans, and are therefore very passionate about the show. That's great! However, if left unattended it could lead to arguments among the most passionate commenters. Don't worry. If you follow these best practices, you can effectively manage your group and create a safe space for your fans.

  • Set your group to private and require anyone wishing to join to answer a set of questions. This is a fun way for you to get creative with your followers. Do you have a tagline you use often? If so, you could require anyone requesting to join to use this tagline as a password. This also makes the group feel exclusive.

  • Create rulesand require anyone requesting to join the group to agree to all the rules. Facebook will choose a few for you that reflect anti-bullying, rules against hate speech, and other important standards. Feel free to make some rules specific to your brand. For instance, if your audience spans many demographics, consider a ‘no politics’ rule. Or consider one that prohibits self-promotion and selling. We encourage you to see what some of your favorite podcasters have set as their rules, for inspiration.

  • If needed, set post approval. This way you or your moderators must approve a post before it's available for group engagement. This may not be necessary for your followers, but it's a commonly used option in many communities as they grow.

  • Consider your level of involvement and commit to it. Running a Facebook group with many active members can be a serious time commitment. Some creators may decide that they want to be an active administrator of the group while others may decide to delegate those responsibilities to others. If you decide to put that work into the hands of trusted moderators, make sure to step back.

  • Once your group tops 1,000 users, get help. Finding moderators and admins for your active group is a good idea to help you manage engagement. Within the settings of your group, you can find your most active users. Consider reaching out to these engaged members to see if they'd be interested in providing moderation help. You can offer them fun perks in return like merch. A good rule that many abide by is one outside moderator or administrator for every 1,000 group members.

There are so many exciting ways to grow your community online. We can't wait to see all the creative ways you make Facebook groups work for your followers.

Happy podcasting.

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