Mailbag Monday Building a community

Mailbag Monday: Where would you recommend building a community?

Katie and Chris answer your marketing, data, and AI questions every Monday.


This week, Jessie asked, “Where would you recommend building a community?”


Mailbag Monday: Where would you recommend building a community?

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AI-generated transcript:

Katie Robbert 0:00
Welcome back to another episode of mailbag Monday where Chris and I are answering your marketing data and AI questions every Monday. This week, Jesse asked, Where would you recommend to build a community? So, Chris, where would you recommend to build a community?

Christopher Penn 0:16
The answer is, it depends. It

Katie Robbert 0:18

Christopher Penn 0:21
And it depends on on three things, it depends on where you’re coming where your audience spends time right now, what you want that community to do, like what, what activities and stuff? And what is the overall purpose of the community? How does it fit into your overall strategy? In terms of sort of the unsurprisingly, this, this mirrors, the Trust Insights, five P’s, right, your purpose, people process platform warrants, what is the purpose of the community, who you want in the community? How you going to manage the community, what platform is the best fit for that those requirements? And then how do you measure that, and, again, it’s going to, it’s going to vary wildly. There’s so many platform choices alone, that it can be kind of bewildering. But that’s the last thing to select, you really want to work out the other stuff first.

Katie Robbert 1:13
And I think that that’s, you know, it’s interesting, because the question was, where would you build the community? And there’s so many things to answer before you even get there. Because you may find that even having an in person, like a live human community, is your best bet versus having something that’s strictly online, there may be a hybrid option. You know, maybe people get together once a month at a community center, and then you keep them up to date with an email newsletter, or maybe the community is solely within the email newsletter, or maybe it’s something within a social media, or maybe, you know, there’s a lot of different possibilities. But the first and foremost, is you need to know where your community is, and who that’s comprised of, I think there’s sort of the two, there’s the, there’s the today’s state, and then there’s the future state. And so today, you may have just a handful of members or potential members that are all sort of scattered across different platforms that may be, you know, where you’re starting? So the question then is, you know, okay, if I have people who are on Twitter, and I have people who are in my email newsletter, and I have people who, you know, sometimes are on LinkedIn, how do I get all of those people together? Well, what is what’s going to be the most beneficial for your goals for your company. And so if your goal is to strictly sell to people to find an audience to sell to, then I would probably suggest not spending the time to build like a Slack or Discord community, I would say you could probably keep it on social, it existing social media, like Twitter, or LinkedIn or something else. But if you’re looking to truly build a community of loyalists, and Evangelists, creating a private social community is probably going to be your best bet. And then, you know, to Chris’s point, there’s no shortage of platforms that you can do that on. We often talk about Slack and Discord, because those are the two most well known. But that’s there’s a wide variety of platforms. I manage the women in analytics, private corporate community, and that’s on a platform called Mighty networks.

Christopher Penn 3:21
Exactly. If you pop into the MAR tech 11,000, you will notice there’s an entire subcategory here of the different map, or community management solutions. And there’s this, this whole category here is social relationships, there’s probably easily 500 different solutions for managing a community of some kind, if you include like webinar platforms and things as well. My my recommendation, and this goes back to sort of process is if you want to be able to reliably reach your audience, you want to look at a platform that is not on mainstream social media, right. Because if if you are on LinkedIn groups, or Facebook groups, things you are competing with everything else in those news feeds, and your visibility is is guaranteed to be very, very low. I remember when we tried running our analytics for marketers slack group on Facebook, one out of 100 people even saw our posts, much less integrated them and this was with a new, relatively new group. So at that point, the algorithm was still working in our favor today. If we were still there, we there’d be nothing there.

Katie Robbert 4:35
What’s interesting, as I’m looking at this, it strikes me that even just the term community is so wide open for interpretation. And so if you if you know, let’s say your, you know, manager comes to you and says we need to start a community, you really need to pick apart what that means, you know, is it you’re looking to, you know, find your, to your point, Chris, you’re looking to find your audience and be able to target them all. Over time, that is a version of a community or community where there’s more give and take and communication and conversation. That’s another version of a community. You know, maybe you’re looking to do influencer marketing, that’s a different version of a community. So you really need to be clear on when you say, where would you recommend building a community, what does community actually means you really need to be clear about what that how you’re defining it.

Christopher Penn 5:27
Exactly. And what makes a community successful is generally not the platform. I mean, the platform is. Again, one of the things that we actually take from our friend Mitchell is you don’t want to be in one more thing on someone’s to do list, right. So if you’re choosing some, you know, bespoke brand new community or building your own thing. That’s another thing for someone to remember to do. If you are integrated in a platform like Slack or Discord, where people are spending the time already, it’s not extra work, there’s nothing new for them to install. Thanks. So and there are considerations on the platform side, but it really is about what value you’re going to provide on the process side that will help to help nurture and grow that community. If you have watched parties where people can watch a video together, or music parties. There’s a number of Discord communities where someone is DJing. You know, like techno music for the in the middle of the workday, like you want to put your head down and get some work done. You don’t want to choose your playlist yourself, you can just hop into one of the music parties. And there’s no one speaking, there’s no words it’s just you know, someone spinning house or techno or progressive rock or whatever. There are things that like you do, Katie in the in the analytics remarketing slack group where you’re asking questions of the day, and sometimes you’re serious questions, sometimes they’re not. There’s all these processes that are really what makes our community successful. So where you build isn’t as important as how you’re going to run it.

Katie Robbert 6:57
You know, on that train of thinking. So John, our other partner, every Friday, he offers up the Friday afternoon on turntable where he’s you know, spinning tunes. And, you know, basically, it’s just an opportunity, it’s a different kind of community, where it’s solely people join it and can, you know, swap off playing DJ, I’ve joined it a few times, and it’s, you know, it’s interesting gives you like a little avatar, it looks like you’re standing in a pit looking up at the DJ, and whoever’s turn it is to play the music is in the DJ booth, and then everyone else is down in the pit and you can like, thumbs up or thumbs down the music, like it’s killing the vibe, or this is great. And so it’s just another version of a community. So community doesn’t necessarily have to be something where people are having a conversation that can literally just be a gathering place for people to you know, have a shared interest. So it really does come back to what is the purpose of the community that you want to create for your organization. It could be a customer service community, it could be, you know, people who are, you know, super psyched about your product, and are going to start being evangelists for your product, because they’re so passionate about it. So how do you continue to incentivize these people to be, you know, speaking on your behalf. So there’s a lot of different ways to be thinking about it. But that’s really where you start to Chris’s point, the platform is the last thing that you choose, the very first thing you need to do is figure out why you want a community in the first place.

Christopher Penn 8:31
Exactly. Now, there in terms of platforms. Again, this is a thing where if you want to be successful, like what Katie was saying, this building for today in this building for the future, if you’re building for today, then you want to do an email survey to your your community to your audience right now and say, Where do you spend your time on these five platforms, you know, Slack, Discord, Microsoft Teams, etc, etc. And then based on the responses you get from the audience that will help guide you to where you that community is right now. However, my recommendation is if you are building for the future for the way the industry seems to be going if I had to pick a platform to start Rand new today, I would 100% be on Discord, because that is that platform is engineered specifically for community building where slack is like your workplace collaboration. And the cost of running a fully featured community is much, much lower on Discord than it is for slack if, if analytics or markers were on Slack today, we would be paying upwards around $12,000 a month just to operate that community and give everyone full features. The equivalent community on Discord would cost us about at least like $150 a month I think is what it would work out for for the type of community we run. It would be there’ll be different people participating because people have varying comfort levels with the different platforms but If I was building for the next five years, that’s the way I would go.

Katie Robbert 10:03
Well, and I think that that’s exactly it. So that’s, I mean, there’s sort of an eye, you know, not to pick on you, but to pick on you, you know, you’re talking about your comfort level, you choose Discord, but our community, we’ve asked them, and they don’t want to move to Discord. And so those are the things that as you’re building, you definitely have to think about the voice of your customer, the voice of your audience, and really take that in consideration of, okay, my audience, my community, my customers are, you know, hardcore, they want to stay in Facebook groups, all right, we got to meet them where they’re at, versus where I’m trying to force them to go. And so there’s definitely that give and take when you’re building a community, because unless you set out to say this community is going to be exactly what I want it to be, it’s going to be self serving to me, you need to really consider what your audience wants to.

Christopher Penn 10:56
Exactly. So that’s communities if you’ve got some thoughts of your own, where you want to offer a community or how you want to think about communities or suggestions you have for running our community pop by our community over at trust for marketers, where you have over 3000 of the marketers are asking and answering each other’s questions every single day. And if you want to catch up on previous episodes of mailbag Monday, go to our newsletter, make sure you subscribe, you’ll get email updates every Wednesday from trust Thanks for tuning in. I will talk to you next time.

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