[PODCAST] How to Build an Online Community

How to Build an Online Community


JSB Talks Digital Podcast #92

JSB Talks Digital is a weekly digital marketing and social media podcast hosted by author, strategist, consultant, speaker and trainer Joanne Sweeney-Burke. Each Friday Joanne shares her digital marketing and social media insights from her work as CEO of Digital Training Institute. 

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In this episode #92, I discuss the power of online communities and how to build yours.

Coming up in today’s show:

  • In Social Media News
    • Facebook suspends Cambridge Analytics
    • Instagram has published a new set of tips to help publishers make better use of vertical video
    • Pinterest release study of user’s shopping behaviours
  • I interview 14-year old YouTuber, Jessie Kavanagh about how she grew her channel to over 220k subscribers
  • Shoutouts – Three Types of Online Communities
  • Ask JSB
  • In JSB’s column, 10 Steps to Building an Online Community
  • Find out what social media tool saved my working week
LISTEN: How to Build an #OnlineCommunity | #JSBTalksDigital #Podcast Click To Tweet

Listen now:


Social Media News

Facebook suspends Cambridge Analytica

A data analytics firm that worked with Donald Trump’s US election team has been suspended from Facebook amid claims it harvested 50 million profiles illegally from the social media site. 

Cambridge Analytica got information from academic researcher Aleksandr Kogan, who had an app that got Facebook users to take a profiling survey.

Around 270,000 Facebook users download the app but it allowed for information about hundreds of their online friends to be obtained without consent, according to a whistle-blower who spoke to Channel 4 News, the New York Time and The Guardian.

Writing on its blog this week, Facebook has denied that this is a data breach. They say that Aleksandr Kogan requested and gained access to information from users who chose to sign up to his app, and everyone involved gave their consent.

“People knowingly provided their information, no systems were infiltrated, and no passwords or sensitive pieces of information were stolen or hacked.”

However, Mr. Kogan passed on the data to Cambridge Analytica, though it is disputed whether any privacy rules were broken in this process.

The issue of privacy has been hanging over Facebook’s head for quite some time and this latest debacle will serve to turn up the heat on the social network. 


Instagram has published a new set of tips to help publishers make better use of vertical video

Partnering with a team of creators they have come up with four engaging ways to use vertical video.

Instagram Vertical Video

Source: Instagram

  1. Direct Your Audience’s Eyes: In the vertical format, the viewer has the freedom to experience content in a brand new, yet organic way—creating opportunity for creators to lead their audience’s eyes up and down versus side to side as with landscape video. With vertical, there’s no longer a clear horizon for content to exist as it’s constantly shifting.
  2. Animate Your Ideas: Using 2D, 3D, stop-motion or motion graphics to bring your ideas to life has always been a powerful way to capture the attention of viewers engaging with content on Instagram. And with vertical video, you’re now able to do so in a way that feels fresh, yet natural to those interacting with it.
  3. Split Your Screen: Whether you’re creating a grid to show different angles of a product or splitting the screen to tell two seperate yet connected, stories at once, vertical video is a great way to create content in a fresh, immersive way. By dividing up the space, you’re able to create new perspectives for your viewers to engage with, while guiding their attention to the most important parts of your video.
  4. Play with Type and Design: Grab the attention of your viewers by using a combination of type and design when creating for vertical video. Whether you’re stacking type in a playful, eye-catching way or using overlays to add texture and depth to your content, vertical video gives you endless possibilities when creating content on Instagram.


Pinterest release study of user’s shopping behaviours

Pinterest is a powerful social network. It has a unique ability to turn users into shoppers. Did you know that 90% of weekly Pinners use Pinterest to make purchase decisions?

Compared to other sites, Pinterest is more likely to impact what people buy. When we ask people why that is, they point to the unique mix of inspiring images and personalised recommendations.

Pinterest says that combination helps people move from open-minded discovery, to confident decisions.

Pinterest surveyed 4,061 weekly Pinners about their shopping habits. Their answers made it clear: Pinterest shapes which products people buy, the brands they choose and how much they spend.

The study also showed that brands play a special role on Pinterest. People actually want to see content from brands while they’re on the platform – 78% say it’s useful. That’s because Pins from brands make it easier to find new products and make the best decision. We even see a good number of people using Pinterest in-store to look back at their product wish-lists.

Read the full study…

Did you know that 90% of weekly Pinners use Pinterest to make purchase decisions? Click To Tweet


Interview with Jessie Kavanagh

Jessie Kavanagh

In this episode, I interview 14-year old Irish YouTuber, Jessie Kavanagh. The Co. Louth native creates weekly videos on her YouTube Channel Jessie Beauty x.   

She has a passion for beauty and fashion and also vlogs about her travels and everyday life for her 220,000+ subscribers.

Jessie started her YouTube channel in April 2015 and was so excited when her second video “Doughnut bun tutorial” went viral and it has been watched more than 40 million times in the span of two years.

Jessie and I recently spoke at the Radio Days Ireland conference and I used the opportunity to ask her about how she built and now serves her massive online community.

Subscribe to Jessie’s channel

@tweetsbyJSB asks @jessie_kav how she built her massive online community. | #JSBTalksDigital Click To Tweet

Listen to my interview with Jessie:

My favourite quote from our chat:

Jessie Kavanagh Quote


Shout-Outs: Three Types of Online Communities

In this part of the show I give shoutouts to brands, organisations or individuals whose work online is remarkable and worth talking about.  

In this episode, I share three types of online communities.

1. Social Communities

Social communities include public social networks like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Brands use social communities mostly for marketing purposes, broadcasting information, building brand awareness and reaching greater audiences for campaigns and messaging.

Social communities are useful for tracking what your competitors are up to and identifying broad consumer trends. Ninety-three percent of large companies use Facebook, according to a 2015 Social Media Examiner report.


2. Advocate Communities

Advocate communities allow brands to mobilize their most passionate, loyal customers. Also known as advocate marketing software, this community type often rewards members for writing a testimonial, posting about the company on social media and doing other similar activities. According to Laura Ramos, principal analyst at Forrester Research, branded customer communities of this type can help boost positive word of mouth.


3. Support Communities

Support communities enable members to offer product tips to other customers, helping companies reduce customer support costs. Support communities such as the HSE’s Breastfeeding and Quit Facebooks Groups are hugely successful for peer-to-peer and expert support.

According to a 2015 Forrester Research report, 81 percent of companies have a support community of some kind.

Three types of online communities | #JSBTalksDigital #Podcast #OnlineCommunity Click To Tweet



In this part of the show I bring the voice of my listeners onto the podcast.

This week’s question comes from Anna who is just starting out on her online community journey. She wants to know:

“What platform should I use to bring my community together online?”

Don’t forget if you have a burning social media or digital marketing question, simply click on digitaltraininginstitute.ie/askjsb and leave me a voicemail. You can also send me your question to any of our social networks.


Tune in to the podcast to listen to my answer to Anna’s question:


JSB’s Column: 10 Steps to Building an Online Community

JSB Profile PicIn today’s JSB column, I share my top 10 tips to build an engaged online community.

An online community is a gathering of like-minded individuals who have a shared space on the Internet. As with a physical community, members get together to share common interests.

These communities are terrific places to connect one-on-one while building relationships with a larger audience and industry influencers.

New connections are the most obvious benefit, but a strong online community can also attract customers and keep your business competitive.

  • Step #1 Share your passion
  • Step #2 Provide added-value
  • Step #3 Trigger conversation to encourage engagement
  • Step #4 Meet up in real life
  • Step #5 Find heroes in your community
  • Step #6 Peer to peer support
  • Step #7 The platform
  • Step #8 Go front of screen
  • Step #9 Reward
  • Step #10 Use members’ testimonials to help you grow

If you want help to build your online community strategy, then get in touch. Simply email [email protected].

LISTEN: 10 Steps to Building an #OnlineCommunity | #JSBTalksDigital Click To Tweet


Social Media Tool of the Week: Facebook Groups

The social media tool that saved my working week this week is Facebook Groups.

By setting up your own private Facebook group, you’ll spend zero money on your infrastructure, plus you get to house your community in a space that already contains a reported 1.49 billion monthly users.

But beware break Facebook’s rules and you could be locked out of your community and your business.

Facebook Groups

Source: TechCrunch

Facebook Group features:

  • Group Photos
  • Group Messages
  • Group Events
  • Group Files and Docs
  • Live Video
  • Native Video
  • Vet community members by asking questions before they are approved, you can also ask for their email address.

Discover all the Facebook Group features


I love feedback

I’d love to know what you think about this episode. So please get in touch by commenting below or tweet me @tweetsbyJSB or send me a snap to @jsbsnaps.

Review JSB Talks Digital on iTunes


Listen: JSB Talks Digital Episode #92

I would like to thank Eoghan Murphy aka The Galway Gamer for producing my podcast series and to Flirt FM on the campus of NUI, Galway where I am based for the use of their studio.

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