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Interview With Danny Batchelor – The Biggest Facebook Drone Community Manager

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DJI Mavic RC

If you are drone owner and Facebook user, you probably have heard of the Danny Batchelor ’s Facebook groups. These groups are places where drone professionals and enthusiasts can interact, discuss their problems, and share their works. Danny’s groups are some of the largest and most developed on Facebook, so we interviewed Danny and find out what it took to build his thriving online drone communities.

Danny Batchelor

Danny Batchelor

We Talk UAV: Hi Danny! Thank you for taking the time to have a short talk with We Talk UAV! Let’s start from the very beginning. When and how did you get into the drone business for the first time?

Danny Batchelor: I am not in the drone business, but my first interest would have been in Sept 2014 when I saw a Phantom 2 for sale in the FB group Pattaya stuff for sale. I read about the GPS and return to home functions so looked up DJI on Google and focused in on the Vision Plus, and was blown away with the technology. By the end of the month, I had a Vision Plus delivered to my door.

We Talk UAV: When did you first decide to start a Facebook group? What was your first group’s name?

Danny Batchelor: Being a member of the Vision plus group I was well aware of the Phantom 3 release rumors and in March as I enjoyed the group so much decided to get in early and start a P3 group. I posted a few links, got banned from a few groups but most were happy to let me post. I also got slated by people who said I was stupid to be starting a group for something that didn’t yet exist, but within a couple of weeks, DJI revealed there would be a product release on 8th April 2015 and it did turn out to be 2 Phantom 3 models. At that point, member requests went through the roof and in no time we had 1,000 members and I was over the moon. And of course, I pre-ordered mine.

DJI Phantom 3 and remote

We Talk UAV: How many groups do you have now? In total, how many people are in your communities (not counting audience overlaps between groups)?

Danny Batchelor: 14 groups with 75,859 members, with hundreds of new members added weekly. Impossible to calculate the overlap but there obviously are people who are members of multiple groups.

Here are the groups and number of members next to every group name:

We Talk UAV: Some of your groups that have only couple hundred members. Why are you making so many groups when you have only 3-4 “main” Facebook groups?

Danny Batchelor: I had some requests to start the P4 Pro group as well as some of the regional groups, and most of these are quite new but starting to grow quicker now.

We Talk UAV: Along the lines of the last questions, where did your GoPro Karma and Yuneec Typhoon H groups go?

Danny Batchelor: The more I read about the Typhoon H the more it seemed to be doomed, membership requests were very few and there were hardly any posts. As far as GoPro goes, I gave up with that when the Karma was recalled.

We Talk UAV: Tell us more about your competition. We understand that DJI MAVIC is a largest Mavic group on Facebook. How about other groups and your competitors?

Danny Batchelor: Most of them have banned me haha, so I cannot really comment.

We Talk UAV: You are selling DJI products via affiliate links. Why only DJI? Have you ever thought about becoming an official dealer?

Danny Batchelor: I would love to be an official dealer with my own shop, but to qualify I think you need a lot of capitol and I just don’t have access to the finances right now. When I started the GoPro group my e-mail requesting to join the affiliate program was ignored.

We Talk UAV: I remember one of your posts describing admin’s life that was pretty interesting.

Danny Batchelor's Post

What is the most difficult part of being a community manager? How much time does it take per week to maintain your groups?

Danny Batchelor: It’s not really difficult. In the early days, I used to get quite hurt by some of the abuse I got, but now its water off a ducks back. When you are managing nearly 80,000 members you will never please everybody. The one thing that does really annoy me is people who complain about my links. I put over 10 hours each and every day into these groups, posting, vetting members, all keeping the groups as free as possible from spam, some of which can be really gross, and as a result these groups have a lot less rubbish posted than most, yet those who complain seem to have no idea of the time and effort involved. Orders from the links were good in Nov and December but have slowed to a trickle now.

Danny Batchelor: I would also like to say thank you to my 2 admins, Phil Bedford and Scott Green for all the help they have given me. It’s quite interesting that all 3 of us are originally from the UK. However I’ve been living in Thailand for 15 years, Phil lives here in Ko Samui too (another island in Thailand). Scott is based in the UK, but he comes to Thailand on holidays. 

We Talk UAV: Yes, It’s great to have teammates that you can rely on! Thank you very much for keeping the community clean, as it’s not as easy as it seems to be.

Thank you very much for reading!

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