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The C2C Podcast on Smash Notes

The C2C Podcast podcast.

December 28, 2019

Marketing is changing.

With internet advertising now 20 years old and traditional media dying a slow death, where do marketers turn? Meet Customer-to-Customer (C2C) Marketing. C2C transforms your most loyal customers into your greatest advocates. C2C powers your brand through in-person connection and genuine community. This podcast will teach you to build your own events community, using C2C, before your competitor does.

Episodes with Smash Notes

Today we have a special episode, Community Manager Appreciation Day, where our guests reveal what they are grateful for and proud of about their communities:

Katie Ray, Head of Customer Community at Clari, shares her accomplishments of growth and engagement from her time managing the Saleshacker community. She also discusses her current work, hyper-growth, and engagement growth in the Clari community.

Next, Diane Yuen, the new Community Manager at Alation, has extensive organic community experience after building her gaming community for seven years. Diane shares her story of taking on her first full-time community role.

Jennifer Serrat, Associate Director of Community Engagement at IE University and Community Moderator at CMX, shares a story about some out-of-the-box thinking that led to the revival of her community in the middle of COVID.

Kaleem McGill is the Community Manager at The Better Product Community powered by Innovatemap. He shares how he and his team audited and revamped their onboarding process for new members.

And finally... Neha Agarwal, Head Community at Quora India, shares the strategy she and her team used to launch Spaces in Hindi.

Today, we’re joined by Ilker Akansel, Community Manager, Builder, and Strategist at ilkerakansel.com. Ilker details the importance of and differences between developer relations and developer communities. He also shares some of his experiences working in the community space and his predictions for the future. Ilker describes his company, named after himself, as a community strategy and management consultant service.

Developer relations are nurturing mutually beneficial relationships between organizations and software developers. It is an organization-centric function, where you make sure that the developers around the organization have the best relationship in the interests of both the developers and the organization.

Managing developer communities or a group of developers is much more community-oriented. Technically, they are all specialists in their craft forming a tech community to help each other. Communities are crucial for developers to speak with other developers. They can interact with them in these respects, share their ideas, and act to consult in problem-solving. Developer communities are converging fast into talent communities. Forming and being part of talent communities will give competitive advantages to organizations. Move into developing, curating, and managing talent communities. Look into new technologies and skills your community is interested in. Focus on upskilling, reskilling, and outskilling.

Today, we’re joined by Maxwell Lyons, a Community Manager at Course Hero. Maxwell shares how they drive engagement in their community, and how through a combination of feedback and data, they know what kind of programming their community wants. He also explains how going virtual has had a positive impact on the community.

Course Hero is an online learning platform with over sixty million course-specific study resources for students to access worldwide. These resources consist of practice problems, study guides, test prep materials, etc. As a Community Manager, Maxwell manages thirty of their on-campus representatives with the Student Community team.

The members of the community get various benefits. The community offers support to each other as they seek ways to grow student engagement and offer support to other students at schools around the world while on their learning journey. To drive engagement in the community, the team uses slack workspaces and advice channels, incentives, bonuses, specific events, and more.

Though the community programs change, it's important to get feedback from on-campus reps, listen to their thoughts, be open to further changes, and adapt. Also, get the most out of the virtual experience by engaging with your community.

Today, we’re joined by Jan de Vries, Senior Community Engagement Manager at Mendix, an application development platform in a market called low code. It makes it easy for people to create apps visually instead of having to write code all day. You can just drag and drop, which makes it much more accessible, easier, and faster to build applications.

It’s important for people to connect not just digitally but in person as well. Start by organizing the small group of people around you, understand them and their goals, and organize meetups with key people in the community. The eventual goal is to turn into a facilitator where you just share the plans and processes for other people to self-organize and conduct events. Make everything easily accessible so meetups can be done without attachment to specific time zones.

Go to these meetups, connect with attendees, understand what they do in the industry and what brings them to the events.

Find people or groups of people who can regularly conduct events. Help them adopt a group-learning mindset which is at the heart of building highly engaged communities.

Today, we’re joined by Nikki Thibodeau, Senior Community Operations Manager and Chair of the Women’s Employee Resource Group at Shopify, the powerful eCommerce platform.

Addressing gender-diverse or racially-diverse groups is tough because it requires having some difficult and, sometimes, awkward workplace conversations. You want the right people to be there, but that also means you sometimes have to exclude the wrong people. It's really important for the success of our communities that we keep those who are not going to be helpful to those conversations out of those conversations. By having that space created at the very beginning - as Shopify does with “Empower Hour”, enables a real conversation to happen in a caring way. If you're not the right person to have the conversation with, step away and find the right person. Create your conversation safeguards and processes that you can refer to when stuck in difficult conversations.

Today, we’re joined by Willa Tellekson-Flash, Director of Community at Public.com, a platform that aims to make the stock market social and allows its members to discover companies to believe in and invest in with any amount of money.

Use your community as a product of its own and elevate it as a part of your brand. The conversations in the community can form a great resource to create content. Document and track direct feedback and ideas from the community. You may not be able to implement every idea that comes from them. A community manager’s job is to make community members feel heard while being transparent about the likelihood of implementing their ideas. It’s important to make your members feel welcome in asking for help when they don’t know something. The job of the community team is to set ground rules that help establish trust among members and between individual members and the community itself.

Today, we’re joined by Laura Galbraith, Director of Community Impact at Vidyard, a video platform to help users create, manage, and optimize their video content with features for personalization and measurable video experiences.

We all have an obligation, and we all have the privilege to give back to our communities in a very tangible way. If employees love the companies they work for, they will come forward and volunteer to help in various ways by leveraging their own communities. Having the executive team buy into the benefits of their community lays out the foundation and makes it easier to integrate the community into the rest of the company. Be open and responsive to new ideas from employees and other communities because, at the end of the day, a community that doesn’t respond to what members want is just a marketing forum.

Statistically, if you have engaged employees, they're more likely to stay. If an employee volunteers in a leadership capacity, they're more likely to succeed as a leader within your organization. Start small with something you're familiar with - ideas such as product donations and volunteer time - and see where it takes you.

Today, we’re joined by David Spinks, VP of Community at Bevy and Co-Founder of CMX. The CMX Community recently launched its new set of values. These values are:

• Be generous • Be ground-breaking • Be actively inclusive

Community values are not the same as company values. Company values decide how your company does business. Community values define how community members - not necessarily the founders and managers but users of the company’s products/services - can interact with each other and create a supportive culture with communication as its base. These two sets of values should be aligned, but they do have to be independently defined.

Hire a consultant for DEI (Diversity, Equity, Inclusion) to help translate your values through the DEI lens and make sure they’re future-ready. Collect ideas for values from your community management team, organize them into themes, take feedback from DEI consultants, and publish them as version one for the community to give you feedback.

Take feedback from long-time members, moderators, and superfans in your community for the first round of revisions. Then take the second version of your values document to the rest of the broader collection of community members for their feedback.

Your community members will embody the values, create the space, and essentially become the culture, and therefore, their voices must be heard. More of them will feel more invested in the community. Their feedback will improve your values into something that is more widely accepted and more accurate.

Lead with these values during community registration, membership confirmation, and community events. Empower your members to report those who don’t comply with these values.

Today, we’re joined by Stephanie Louis, Senior Director, Community and Developer Programs at PegaSystems (Pega), a software company that crushes business complexity through intelligent automation while providing great customer service and experience. It's an open platform that comes with out-of-the-box solutions but also allows clients to expand on it.

Communicating technology is a key responsibility of community managers in tech companies. Community is a product of your company, it’s not just a “sidecar”. It needs to be appreciated and managed like a product. Therefore, more team members are needed in individual roles for managing a community.

They also need to help connect all internal departments (product, sales, marketing, and other teams) of the company involved in the community efforts. Internal programs help gamify, measure, track, and reward the contribution from the company’s teams to the community. Also consider qualitative metrics of contribution to the community when deciding on rewards for your members.

Today, we’re joined by Lauren Uyeno, National Director of SEC and SOX Professional Groups at Workiva, a computer software product that brings together everything you need—teammates, datasets, and data sources—so you can work better in the cloud. Lauren builds the SEC and SOX Professional Groups, which are member-driven, community-led events programs. These communities currently have forty chapters and are helping drive acquisition, contribution, and engagement for the business.

Communities help professionals in industries find other people with whom they can share their problems and find a sense of belonging. On the events side, Lauren is tracking attendance percentage (how many of those who RSVP'd attend the event). Workiva also has their key tools all synced on the backend with the help of On24, which integrates smoothly with Marketo and Salesforce to track lead generation. On the community side, the key stats Lauren is tracking are unique visitors, the number of visits, and the percentage of activated users from posts and comments.

Not everything that you track needs to be entered in reports. When inheriting a community, it’s important to introduce yourself to user groups, talk to them, and listen closely to get a read on the community.

Today, we’re joined by Tuvy Le, Program Manager, Community Content at GitHub, a website and cloud-based service that allows developers to store, manage, and control changes to their code. They’re most commonly known for hosting open source projects. As part of the GitHub Community team, Tuvy is currently focusing on content strategy.

Community management efforts should start by building relationships with highly engaged members who consistently contribute to the community in their own way. These members help drive the community culture. This will lay a solid foundation that can then be scaled to further spread culture in the community. Goals and KPIs aside, true empowerment comes from learning what’s important to community members and helping them cultivate a robust community culture.

Different types of people in the community have different content needs. The responsibility of figuring out these needs should eventually fall on the most engaged community members. It gives them more direct ownership and lets them take care of the community as more active participants in the process of community management.

Today, we’re joined by Roseli Ilano, Director of Community and Partnerships at Pop-Up Magazine Productions, a live magazine that creates multisensory experience events for stages, screens, and live audiences in theaters where nothing is recorded or ever produced to be played later online.

Community events are a great way to create novel experiences for your audience and can lead to professional and personal connections. Organize a time at your event for face-to-face interaction with all contributors (if restrictions allow) so that they can directly address any questions or concerns. When passing on the responsibility to super fans, help them organize their own local version of your events and offer the full support of your teams.

Community is also very different from marketing. Marketing is the one-way sharing of messages specific to a brand by the brand itself. A community helps the brand’s audience organize and provides a space for solving problems, finding great connections, and sharing ideas that help raise the profile of the brand’s products/services.

A virtual community experience expands your reach and your community globally.