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Onboarding Your Group on Hylo
How to set up your community for success using Hylo
So you've decided to set up your group on Hylo. This is a big moment!
This is our top advice for a thriving group: An online community is just like a garden -- it needs care and attention to thrive. Your group needs one or more dedicated stewards who are committed to building your community on Hylo, and can show up regularly to water the seeds, pull weeds, and harvest the abundance. As your group grows, participants will lend a hand more and more, until one day you have a collective of stewards caring for your group as a commons.
Here's how to start this living process:

Before you started clicking on Hylo, we recommend doing some reflection to make sure you have clarity on your purpose, agreements, and network landscape.
  • What is your group's purpose? For example: "Our goal is to create a network for ecosystem restoration in our county." Get as specific as you can. This will guide the activity in your group, and it's a good basis for the group description.
  • What are your group agreements for values, priorities, and how you treat each other? You don't have to have it all figured out, but it's a good idea to develop agreements early in your group's life. We lean on the Prosocial framework which is designed to support groups in aligning interests and achieving their goals.
  • What is the landscape of your group ecosystem? How do different parts of your group connect and relate to each other? For example, is it just one circle, or does your group contain several working groups or small pods? On Hylo you can set up a nested group architecture that matches how your group is structured in real life. There is no limit to the layers of nested groups you can set up.
It's also OK if you don't have it all figured out ahead of time. You can start with a clear invitation that lets people know what they're getting into, then enroll your group members in developing shared culture, values, priorities, and structure.

You're ready to create your group(s) on Hylo. There are a few different ways to do this.
  1. 1.
    Open the menu in the top left and scroll down to the button that says Start a Group. This will open a simple popup where you can set basic group details: Name, Visibility, Access, and Related Groups.
  2. 2.
    Click the Create button on the left-hand navigation. Click Group on the menu that appears.
  • Enter your group name and make sure you like the URL we generate (you can edit it if you want!)
  • Choose your group's Visibility and Access settings.
  • Specify if this group is a part of any other groups.

We highly recommend fully customizing your group to make it as awesome a space as possible! Here's everything you can do:
  • Add a group avatar image and banner image. Your logo or a simple graphic is best for the group avatar. A nice photo works well for the banner image.
  • Fill out the Description so everyone knows what the group is all about.
  • Add a Location - this will make your group icon appear on the map. If your Visibility is Public, people on Hylo will be able to find you and ask to join the group!
  • Check Visibility and Access settings, and add questions for people to answer when joining, if desired.
  • Invite more Moderators: it's more fun with a team of group stewards.
  • In Topics, add specific tags to curate the conversations in your group
  • Related Groups - Is your group collaborating with other groups? Are you part of any networks? This is the place to set up those connections.
  • Set up the Explore page! You can customize the Welcome message and the order of widgets on this page. This is the first thing people will see when they join your group, so make it awesome!

  • Decide who your stewards will be, how often they will share posts or start discussions, comment on posts, and generally keep the energy flowing in your group. It's a great idea to start posting interesting content even before you start inviting members to the group on Hylo, and to have a plan for welcoming new members when they arrive.
  • There are lots of ways to nurture organic peer-to-peer engagement. One idea is to post a question you know people have but are afraid to ask. DM community members to collect ideas. Prompts: "What is a challenge you face in [our area of shared interest] and what kind of support do you need? What question would you ask in a room full of peers?" More ideas:
    • Conduct regular member spotlights where you ask a member a few questions via DM, get a cool photo of them, and post on their behalf.
    • Get group members to host an Ask-Me-Anything, where they introduce themselves in a post, and others can comment with questions about that person's work, interests, or areas of expertise.
    • Encourage people to post Requests and Offers about things they have to contribute, or things they need help with. Comment on every post.
    • Hold regular video chats for the group, whether it's for work or socializing (ideally both, make it fun!) This could look like a weekly "Office Hours" on Zoom, end of week social time, or regular co-working sessions. Post an Event to promote the sessions.
    • As different initiatives emerge in your group, start a Project to organize the effort. If the project gets enough momentum, you can spin it off into its own subgroup.
  • Make a Moderation Plan: Stewards will lead by example, embodying the values of the group, and will also be responsible for ensuring group members abide by those values. It's a good idea to have a plan for what happens when someone in the group violates those values or your group agreements. Moderators can remove content or individuals from the group if necessary.

This is the last step in onboarding your group, and it's just the beginning of your group's life on Hylo.
  • In settings, the Invite tab offers two ways to invite members: with the Invite link, or by sending an email invitation via Hylo. Be sure to save your invite email text in a text editor elsewhere, as of now we don't currently save that in Hylo.
  • If you have a group newsletter or another way you reach your members, start sharing the Invite link there, and be prepared to share it regularly: every time you send a newsletter, every time you have a Zoom call, post in on the group chat, etc.
  • Once people start joining, encourage them to fill out their profiles completely: with an avatar image, banner image, tagline, description, location, skills & interests, and what they're learning. This is key to members finding each other and starting to collaborate.
  • Host a few video sessions (before and after you send the invites) where you explain Hylo to your group, and demo how to use it. Reach out to the Hylo team if you need help!
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On this page
Hylo Pre-Work: Know Your Group
Setting Up Your Group
Customizing Your Group in Settings
Make an Engagement Plan
Invite Group Members