We had a privilege to have our brother Pradeep Kumar, of Hellboundbloggers for an interview, back in 2012, when we explored his personal side. Just loved it all together, and he was an amazing inspiration in my blogging journey too.
This interview is unique and will explore one of the strong points of our brother, i.e building amazingly active communities, that are more like a family.
Who Is Brother S.Pradeep Kumar?
Knowing him for about 8 years now, brother S. Pradeep Kumar is the founder of a very popular technology blog HellBoundBloggers (HBB). Since then, he has founded various successful online ventures including Moviesdrop, Foodgravy to name a few.
Brother Pradeep is an inspiration for many in aspiring bloggers!
Without any further due, lets find out the insights and golden tips in creating healthy communities like Facebook Group, Forum etc.
Me: Question #1
First of all, thank you so much for being here once again for BloggingeHow readers. It's been a long time since we had you here for an interview.
A lot has changed since and you've MashaAllah progressed a lot!
Your Facebook groups are rocking I must say specially your FoodGravy one 😛 It makes me go hungry even when I'm full xD
Its been 4-5 years now that I've been following HellBound Bloggers (HBB) that has over 7k Facebook page fans.
You lately started two new ventures i.e FoodGravy and MoviesDrop which I absolutely love.
I was amazed to see your success with these 2 Facebook groups/communities that you have built up. When new brands start, one of the first things they do is secure their social media pages.
With these 2 recent projects of yours, we are curious to know, what made you go with building a community via a Facebook group, rather than creating another blog with it's Facebook page?
Him: Answer #1
Hi brother. 🙂
It's an immense pleasure to connect with you once again and I'm glad to see you are doing awesome as well.
I don't have a team for Slashsquare (our blog network and web consulting media), it's me and my blogs, so I don't think it'll wise to launch the blog first and then build the audience for that.
We all know how hard it is to manage a blog, it's like growing up a baby and I don't want to spoil my baby. I always believed in the power of communities and thanks to Facebook, I can easily start my journey with their Groups option.
The same happened for MoviesDrop, I didn't start the blog first, I first launched our Social Media profiles (like FB Page, FB Group and Twitter profile).
MoviesDrop Facebook group was doing potentially very great, I got plenty of active members, it was more or less like a family to me. It was easy for me to see what they want, what movie freaks usually search for and then I prepared the content for our MoviesDrop.com blog accordingly.
Instead of searching for the readers, I built a community and made the readers for our blog. But at the end, it's all about sharing & learning quality information.
Me: Question #2
Facebook pages offer a feature of 'user posts' to engage the fans. How do you see this feature vs groups as a whole?
What do you think makes Facebook groups more empowering in this scenario?
Him: Answer #2
Both Facebook pages and groups are more or less the same but with Facebook groups, it's a person to person interaction, whereas on Facebook pages, it's like brand to person interaction.
I felt I need to be connected closely with our members/readers to know more about their requirements and problems.
I also believe they feel comfortable with speaking with the person behind the brand, it increases trust and helps the brand to grow further.
Whatever brand I start under Slashsquare, it'll surely have both a Facebook page and a Facebook group. It's mandatory. 😀
Me: Question #3
Me #3 Don't you think you're loose quite some revenue and traffic on the table by investing your time with Facebook groups vs if you had made a dedicated forum on your blog for interaction purposes?
Really curious on this one 😀
Him: Answer #3
I somehow agree with what you have said mate. A dedicated forum on our blog would have been nice but a Facebook group is something people are close with and I can expect active participation via that.
Moreover it'll be hard for them (members) to get proper notifications for each and every thread if I have a forum.
We'll be launching a forum for HellBound Bloggers (HBB) or DeviceBAR soon, but the Facebook group will remain the same, even I feel very comfortable there, talking with my buddies. 😀
Facebook groups are majorly for brand visibility and trust I guess. The more they love it, the more they respect it and it goes on.
Me: Question #4
How do you monetize these 2 popular groups? Do you share any relevant affiliate products every now and then?
I'm sure readers would be inch close to screen to read your response to this one <3
Him: Answer #4
Sharing of direct affiliate links are totally prohibited on all the Slashsquare network groups bro. 😀 This rule helps me to keep the group clean and informative.
That's why even I restricted myself from sharing our own affiliate links. We can share affiliate links if someone is requesting for a product or service, but apart from that, no way.
All those Facebook groups are not for monetization bro, my focus is much more bigger than this, I wanted to build a community, a proper community for the passionate people who want to learn and help others with their knowledge.
People often tell me why don't you take some time off from your Facebook groups and relax yourself from your work, but they don't understand, only when I'm active on my groups I feel relaxed. 😀
Me: Question #5
Have you made Whatsapp groups (or on any other platform) for these popular brands (FoodGravy and MoviesDrop) too?
How do you see Whatsapp in contrast with Facebook groups? What's more rewarding in terms of ease of management, more user engagement and overall fast rise of a brand?
Him: Answer #5
Actually we made WhatsApp groups for HellBound Bloggers (HBB), DeviceBAR, MoviesDrop, BookWritten, MusicBooze and FoodGravy.
Initially all the groups were awesome, irregardless of the annoying notifications, we totally loved it.
But, at one point, when the same people are present in all the groups, it's like, hard to control them to restrict the topics. People talk about Food on BookWritten, Gadgets on MoviesDrop and it goes on.
I didn't mind it to be honest. But I was quite busy with other works, and I was not able to properly moderate it. I usually keep in the morning, so when I wake up in the evening, it'll be like 1000+ notifications on all our groups.
WhatsApp groups are very very hard for professional community building. As an admin it's my duty to keep the groups focused and on-topic, but I badly failed. Lessons learned, hopefully someday I might re-open it or focus on expanding our Facebook groups further.
Me: Wrap Up!
Thank you so much brother for taking out time and sharing your experiences and valuable thoughts on creating a family-like community! InshaAllah I'm sure we all would have learned a lot, out of this healthy discussion of ours.