building a community

Over the last 2 years private communities have blown up. With in-person events being dead for a short period, people turned to social media. And then, when social media couldn’t deliver, they turned to private communities.

Now the question becomes, how do we take advantage of those communities?

This week, we’re thrilled to have Justin Levy on the show. Justin’s extensive experience spans across what feels like every B2B marketing community in existence. Join us as we pick his brain on the power of community, the transformations he’s witnessed, and what makes a community truly impactful.


Podcast Transcript

You’re listening to the Digital Banter Podcast, the show where we tackle the challenges of B2B marketing head on and aren’t afraid to tell it like it is. Join us weekly as we talk to industry leaders, explore opportunities that impact the bottom line, and rev your company’s marketing engine with actionable insights and tips.

It’s time to burn the old B2B playbook and build something that makes an impact. Here are your hosts, Andy and James.

What’s up everybody. We’ll come back for another episode of digital banter [00:01:00] live. So we have talked a couple episodes at this point in our. 55, 60 range of podcasts slash shows James around community, right? And the blow up community, how to build, you know, creation, et cetera. So we figure why not bring on the guy that knows community best, Justin Levy.

So Justin, welcome to the show. Thank you for having me. All right. So let’s talk about the blow up of community, James. I know this is kind of near and dear to your heart as far as the topic is concerned. So I’m going to flip it here and dear to my heart. That’s Andy’s favorite quote, by the way. Um, everything’s near and dear to my heart, apparently, you know, family, that kind of stuff.

Um, no, my question is like, all right, I’ll stop. I will start with a statement. Um, I said, kind of said this in like the video. So we actually story time, we had a team member of ours, like a while, I’m talking like six years ago, who was like, Mr. Community, everything was about community. It was a lot of talk this back [00:02:00] then.

It was more like Reddit. I mean, even like Wikipedia stuff. Like there, there was. A lot of talk about it and like us as an agency, like wanted to get involved, but I don’t know if there wasn’t really an opportunity. And then community honestly, like the private communities, which I think is the majority of what we’re going to talk about today, like blew up in seemingly when COVID hit.

So I want to get from like, your perspective, like. Why do you think things have really blown up in the last, I don’t know, two years? Yeah. And you’re really, you’re spot on about kind of when COVID hit, there was a study that, uh, Reddit sponsored along with the, uh, with GWI, so global web index. And, and they looked at, uh, where this all happened over the period of COVID and.

What you really have to remember is that [00:03:00] over COVID, well, not only were we all home and so seeking some sort of connection, but also the mistrust in social networks started to really escalate over that period of time. Of course, we had just come off, you know, election cycles and things of that nature. So there’s, you know, everything built in with that, but there was also misinformation about the pandemic.

And so. You had people turn into private communities to, uh, for that trust, but also to talk to people that were like that. Right. So if I was in sales or B2B marketing or mark, even something more niche like marketing ops, you know, people want to congregate with other people that are like them. So that’s where you really saw the.

The takeoff, the kind of hockey stick of private communities. So how much of this do you think is a result of [00:04:00] non private communities being, I mean, let’s, let’s look like, well, let’s be honest. So like, you go into LinkedIn, right? LinkedIn has had communities for, for. Forever, right? Like groups or whatever. I mean, every social channel pretty much has like their form of groups.

Um, and like some of them are good and some of them are terrible. Like the digital marketing group on LinkedIn. Um, and I know the reason that I start, I mean, I’ll say like listening to get Dave Gerhart’s podcast kind of got me into it, but then realizing that there was like another option out there that I wasn’t aware of.

Was a huge part of it. Cause like I would, I would try to like post and like get feedback on stuff. And you know, I made the joke about like getting pitch slapped, but I mean, you would just get, you know, 50 people from India or some like, you know, place other else in the world, just like [00:05:00] trying to then like sell me something even completely irrelevant.

Like, Oh, I can drive you 57 leads a day. Like that kind of stuff. Um, or the private communities to me just like feel a lot better. Yeah. And that’s sort of like, I also feel like the people turned to, I think what first happened is people turned to social during the pandemic, TikTok blew up. Right. Um, and then when social wasn’t getting it cut because of all the things that you were just talking about, that’s when, like, I feel like the private communities took off, but that’s just my personal, I don’t know, my personal journey with it.

Um, I know you have tons of experience from like the business side and everywhere else. Like when did you, what, what did that transition look like in your experience? Yeah. I think the, the other thing that we have to remember is the growth of, you know, Slack as a platform and discord and telegram. So, you know, [00:06:00] these were platforms that weren’t around.

Years ago, you know, of course, like as in B to B and even other, uh, you know, businesses and industries, you know, we’ve used slack for years, but people start to think of how could they manipulate the platform to be something different? Right? And so a lot of. Communities are on slack. Is slack a good community platform?

Absolutely not, but it’s where a lot of us spend most of our day. So I know that with communities that I engage in, in, in part of. Though I really find value in a lot of say browser based communities, right? Those that are hosted on like Circle or Mighty Networks or any of those, uh, I engage in them. I enjoy them, but they become another tab out of 40 or 50 [00:07:00] tabs that I might have open.

Whereas Slack, if I’m in my work, you know, version of Slack or my work. Workspace. I can see any other community I’m in and set my alerts and all that other stuff and be more likely to engage in them. See, I’m the complete opposite. I hate being involved in the Slack communities because it’s like, it just, you get overrun by it.

And to your point, I mean, the structure of it is terrible. I prefer anything that’s on mighty or circle because it, it forces me to actually get notifications and look at those notifications that don’t get buried in the inundation of Slack messages that are just coming through through other means. Yeah, and I think, you know, one of the things that it’s funny, whenever I share it, no one, uh, has known that the feature exists and it’s right there.

There’s not a lot of search to have to do it. But in slack, you know, when you go to your settings, most people control what they want to [00:08:00] be alerted. For, and usually it’s like all, or it’s like DMS and apps or something of that nature. But right below there, there’s an empty box and you can put the terms that you care to be alerted for.

So you might not want to be alerted by everything. Of course, if, cause if you’re in a community, like say a rev genius that has close to 40, 000 people. That’s a lot of conversation, but say if you were interested in learning about what people are saying about your brand, your competitors, and your solutions, or areas that you have an expertise in, social, influencer, community, whatever, you can choose only to get alerted by those.

So then you, you are filtering out conversations that really you don’t care about. Maybe you go and jump in when you want to see if you can help someone with something, but then you are just [00:09:00] driving your expertise in the areas that that matter to you and matter to your, your company and or your personal brand.

So one of the questions, James, I think you got this source to you, but like, Justin, where do you find your communities? I know, James, you mentioned like Dave Gerhard’s podcast that turned you on to communities as a whole. I got involved in like peak community because of somebody we work with and kind of thrown into LinkedIn and then just, it spun out of there.

You know, other people, you get, you get one, you find about 10 others. But like Justin, like from your perspective, how, I guess let’s start with a two part question here. Where do you find your communities or where did you find your communities? And then how did you go about determining which communities are best for what you’re looking to get out of them?

Yeah, sure. So a lot of it was research and or spinning out of kind of other communities. Like you said, right, you join peak, you start to talk to these people. They’re like, Oh, yeah, [00:10:00] we’re part of this, this and this or one of your friends launches a community or things of that nature. So that quickly grew.

I’ve been very kind of out there saying that I’m part of about 25 communities. What then has happened for me is there are communities that either I’m actively engaged with. Or passively engaged with, depending on what’s going on, right? So there are communities that every day I’m in there and I’m monitoring keywords and, and I’m engaged in conversations.

They’ve proven helpful to me, say my career or in building deeper level connections with other people and friendships and, and what have you. Then there’s other ones that are simply, for the most part, being monitored for keywords. And that’s when I’ll jump into those. Or if I have some time at night or, you know, uh, on a [00:11:00] weekend morning, I might jump into those.

So I’m part of 25 or whatever the kind of number is, but I’m probably actively part of. Five to eight or something like that, you know, something that’s fairly manageable. And then I really control the channels that I’m part of and, you know, try to filter out a lot of the noise that happens. All right, so let’s come at this from a different angle.

I think probably 1 of the things that most people listening are interested in. Um, I mean, you have managed a community on behalf of a brand. You’ve been in probably some of the most common. Us versus them conversations, parts of brands, um, that happen in these communities. Right? So I guess my question is.

As a brand, you know, that people are talking about you in private communities. They’re asking for advice on digital agencies are asking for advice on software. [00:12:00] What role does a brand have in a community environment? Um, I’ll start with that. Yeah. So I think that there’s a few things, the wrong thing to do is when someone asks a question about your brand or your competitor.

Is that everybody in the company jumps into that conversation and either answers on behalf of your brand or bashes your competitor, right? That’s not the type of business you want to be. And that’s not what is going to be helpful to that person asking that question. So you, you have that in the way that, you know, we worked to avoid that.

And the way that I would recommend people put that into place, you know, try to filter that out. Is again, if we [00:13:00] take slack, just because it’s easy and that’s where most, um, communities are right now, uh, for, for say B2B is if you set your, your preferences, these alerts up, uh, for your brand, your competitors in your solutions, track what those alerts are.

So let’s say you do get a question about your competitor or one of those. It’s, you know, our brand versus, you know, does anyone have info on this brand, this brand, and this brand? Cause we’re in a buying cycle or something of that nature. Take those and, uh, bring those over to your customer marketing team, build a partnership with your customer marketing team, because they’re the ones that work directly with.

The customers and, you know, that are part of their advocacy program and what have you, and then enable the [00:14:00] customers to go. Answer on your behalf because people trust people, right? They’re not going to trust a logo. So, you know, when we’ve done this at, you know, at my previous company, they, uh, customers would go in there and say something like we evaluated all these, we did POCs of all of these.

And this is why we made our decision, not just. Yeah, we chose this or no, we didn’t choose that not like that, but they gave their true kind of expert opinion, being an SME on what they were talking about. So I think that that’s really important. Uh, the other thing that a lot of brands or a lot of communities enable brands to sponsor, right?

So, you know, you can be a sponsor of different levels. Sometimes it’s. You know, logo on the website, some are go a little deeper, [00:15:00] such as X number of webinars or, you know, sponsorship over a channel or topic or things like that. So that, because that’s more of a, of a market and spend, but, uh, there are those options because if you are a brand, for example, that’s, uh, either very directly focused in the sales persona.

Or is trying to target the sales persona. It makes a lot of sense to go talk to Jared and the RepGenius group, right? Because of they have 40, 000 ish members. They have members from SDRs up to the C suite. So it makes a lot of sense to partner with them. The, you know, depth of that partnership is over, is over.

Of course, going to be just based on budget and, and, you know, a lot of, you know, what you’re trying to get out of it as a brand. So I think that’s, there’s the wrong way to do it. And then there’s kind of the, the [00:16:00] two ways that, you know, the organic way. And then of course the paid way that you can go. So I’ve got a question, sorry, you go, me go, I’m going, uh, I got questions on both of these.

I might have completely stolen Andy, which he’s going to forget his thought by the end of this. All right. I saw him write it down. Okay, good. You said that you are able to get customers to go in and talk on your behalf, basically, or not on your behalf, on their behalf, but in a supportive way. How do you do that?

I feel like brands are terrified to actually say like, Hey, customer that we know is a good customer. Please go into rev genius and say that our software is. You know, like what, how do you actually motivate a customer to do that? Like, I mean, it’s hard to motivate a customer to show up to their monthly call sometimes.

Like, how do you, how do you get them to, to go that far? I think that you, you’ll naturally have [00:17:00] customers that are interested in building their personal brands. They may have already, and this is going to be an unknown piece of it, but they may already be active in whatever the community is. Rev genius, pavilion, you know, uh, mo pros kind of fill in the blank.

They may already be active in that those communities and therefore they’re happy to answer or many times they may have already answered the question and have sent it back to the brand and said, Hey, look, I, I. Found this just so you guys know. Um, but there are naturally going to be members within your customer base that care about, you know, uh, growing their personal brand and, you know, I’ve seen it become where individuals have, you know, become kind of white glove type customers where we’ve helped get them speak in [00:18:00] opportunities or they’ve been put up for awards or.

You know, they’ve gotten levels, certain levels, uh, partnerships and things like that because. All they did. I mean, they did other, or the brand did other stuff from partnership perspective, but they were really focused on building their personal brand and in turn, that helped the company and their company and it helped, uh, their career path.

Gotcha. All right, so my other question from the brand side of things, ’cause there. Communities exit five, I think is one of my favorite. That is kind of a outside third party, not sponsored by anybody. And then there’s like metadata demand community, which I don’t know, you can say they tried to separate the brands a little bit, but it’s, it is a brand owned community.

Um, I guess what, at what point is there a benefit to a brand [00:19:00] starting? Their own community versus just trying to get involved in another. Yeah, I think that there’s benefit to both of them, right. And, and there’s an opportunity to run both at the same time. You know, when I was at demand base, we launched a revenue circle.

And I think that the biggest difference between the way we had revenue circle versus, uh, metadata with demand community. is that revenue circle didn’t have demand based Brandon blatantly on it. Not saying that’s a good or a bad thing. That’s just how the community was different. All of the members knew that this was demand based kind of funded and sponsored and what have you.

And that’s where the resources came from, but it wasn’t a logo at the top. Metadata very clearly On the demand [00:20:00] community has their logo at the top again, not right or wrong It’s just that’s kind of how the I think the two presences were different um at the same time I helped broker tons of relationships where we sponsored other communities or sponsored Webinars or kind of other content creation within communities.

So I I think they can both coexist the Piece of a commute of a brand deciding to start their own community is that they have to realize that once they start, they can’t stop. And they have to, if they want it to be successful, they have to continue to resource it in. Uh, give that individual or those individuals, the, uh, time, the effort, the space to, uh, continue to grow it.

And I think that’s one [00:21:00] of the things that you see with a lot of communities, generally speaking, but brands that dip their toe, uh, in the water is it sounds fun. It sounds cool. It sounds like a trended conversation right now. And they do it. And they realize, Oh, this is going to take a lot of work or money or resources.

And it’s cool for the moment, but it’s not sustainable for the long term, long run. So I want to keep going on that kind of thought process here then, right. In the sense of. You know, executive leadership or somebody higher up in the food chains basically buys into the hype. I shouldn’t say high, but they, they are excited about the idea of community and they’re on the train.

What are the foundational pieces and like steps to actually getting started in that process of concepting, but also ultimately building that brand [00:22:00] owned or brand first. Initiated kind of community. Yeah, I think that one of the of one of the things you have to decide first is who’s going to be the kind of ICP of that community, right?

Some communities want their community based on just their advocates, and that may or may not be separate from a customer community, right? Because you can have an advocate that’s not a customer. Or they may decide that they wanted the ICP is going to be what their actual ICP is, right? So with revenue circle, the decision was that the ICP would be who demand based cared about selling to.

So it eventually became directors and above in sales and market and roles. Very typical who demand based sells to. However, one key in there was. We [00:23:00] never sold to individuals in there, but it just was who it was like an executive touch point essentially for the company. Right. Among some other things that the, that the team did.

So I think the first you have to determine who your audience or your ideal kind of community members going to be, because that will kind of change almost everything. And then you have to make decisions around, is it going to be funded? And if so, to what level, right, because that may decide if, uh, in where you’ll have creative support and some of those other decisions, because that will decide, will you invest in mighty or circle or something like that?

Because 1, there’s a platform cost and 2, there’s a lot of costs to skin it to look like your brand and what have you, let’s say you go with slack free. You know, uh, kind of easy, low, low to no barrier to [00:24:00] entry and say, you start to build up the membership or go to launch it. You have to have a dedicated resource.

You have to have a content plan. What type of content are you going to have? How are you going to engage that community? What benefit is, is the community or is a member going to have, or an individual going to have by being part of that community, right? It’s great to go, Hey, I have eight, you know, I’m ABC community.

I’m going to set up D and F community, you know, community because. It’s cool. And I want to be like my competitor, but if you don’t resource it, fund it. And don’t provide value to those that are going to be part of the community. It doesn’t matter. It’s not going to be successful, right? Um, and that can be through lighthearted or serious questions of the day.

That can be through running virtual events, in [00:25:00] person meetups, getting thought leaders to come in and, and, uh, create content for the community. You know, I did Uh, besides all the above I did stuff where we brought in, uh, thought leaders, people that you would know, kind of an influencers on LinkedIn and whatnot, and created content that was community only.

So this wasn’t stuff that I just went and grabbed off our website and said, Hey, listen, you know, we just did this cool campaign. I did that too, but you know, this would be, Hey, rev circle kind of community. Here’s your next video or, you know, whatnot. So they made. Community members feel like they belong to something that was bigger than them and that they helped to drive the community.

So how do you, how do you define what the goal of a community is, especially from a business [00:26:00] impact perspective? How do you go about defining that process? And then two part question again, how do you, how do you measure that? Yeah. So defining, I think defining the goal is going to be. What the brand hopes to get out of it, right?

If it’s, if it’s going to be anything demand related, you might be looking more at your customer community or customer partner community. Not saying it doesn’t happen in other communities. It’s just a little easier, you know, if you want to look at retention and things of that nature. Have your customers, you know, have a customer community and be active in there, have a, you know, community manager, have your product team in there asking, answering questions, have your advocates be there.

If you want something to help with brand awareness, with executive engagement and, [00:27:00] uh, things of that nature, you can consider having your own external community. If you want to drive potential demand, you should also be, you should be, no matter what your goal is, you should be active in extra other kind of third party communities.

But I think those like you, you have to kind of measure what the business wants out of it and figure out kind of ways around it too. You know, like of course a goal that we wanted with revenue circle was to drive demand. But we didn’t outright sell to them, sell to the members, right? Cause I protected the members trust.

That doesn’t mean that someone that wasn’t a customer was a member and then they found so much value that they then became a customer, but that’s near impossible to measure, right? Um, one, uh, [00:28:00] the measurement of the community, two of the things that I measured all the time was engagement rate. So what’s the percentage of the members that are engaged with content?

And then net new logos, um, that new logos of, of, of becoming part of the community or community members. Yeah. So like in the community, we had a lot of the kind of top fortune 500 brands that were in there. Um, and one tool that I highly recommend, I’m not. I mean, I should get paid by them because I recommend them in every podcast and every speaking gig I have, but I’m not, I don’t, not even an affiliate of theirs or anything, but is a common room.

io. So common room, you can connect to your slack account and, uh, it’ll give you all of that data. Plus more gives you [00:29:00] your members, uh, linkedin profiles, their bios, their regions, you know, so I mean, you could look to grow or see where you’re grown kind of worldwide with your community and, and, uh, understand if you need to make pivots based on that, you know, um, the logo stuff, uh, yeah.

Organizational size, you know, by, by, uh, actual companies, you know, employee size, so, uh, common rooms. Great. I recommend it to anyone that’s starting a community, um, whether or not you have the. the analytics that come with the premium versions of Slack. So Justin will drop his affiliate link in the comments after.

All right. So I want to ask, you can get beer money from them cause I don’t even know. I don’t even know if they have a partner program. That’s why I like, I like them so much. So I want to address the elephant in the room when it comes to a [00:30:00] question that everybody is going to get asked. And anything they do in marketing, how do I, what is the ROI of community?

And how do I go about showing that to leadership? Because that’s ultimately what we’re all held accountable to. Yeah. I can tell you what, what I was measured on and then tell you probably a different answer. So, um, It was an executive touchpoint. Revenue Circle was an executive touchpoint, and there was multiple executive programs that were in place.

Some that could be measured very directly through kind of traditional marketing, right? You have to register for the event. Did you attend? Yes or no? That gets kicked over to the SDR AE, depending on where you are in your cycle or, or CSM. That’s very traditional, but it was an [00:31:00] executive touch point. Well, there would be a very good, uh, it’d be very good to drive demand.

Obviously from, in my case, revenue circle, that was not the goal. And I never had. To answer for that because I walled it off. Um, that was a purposeful decision that was made Now if you look at a community like metadata Um, i’m sorry like demand community. I know that katie ray reports on Demand through the community.

So she has mechanisms. They have mechanisms that help her report on it. I’m sure some of it probably has to do with land and page content and things of that nature. So there’s that too. That’s just two different ways to go about it. The hard part when it comes to, [00:32:00] uh, how companies. are structured is that some communities have a fill for like on their form.

How did you hear about us? Those companies can directly attribute, you know, participation in external communities, uh, or even personal brands, right? If you heard about, you know, my company and you put my name down, you can kind of give me attribution credit, you know, credit. Some companies do not have that.

How did you hear about us? So it’s really easy. You have that form fill option and they put in, you know, pavilion. It’s impossible if you don’t have that, right? Because you can’t, it would be too time consuming. Maybe some brands have done this, but it would be too time consuming to put a drop down [00:33:00] in Salesforce that listed every.

Possible community to where a rep would go. Hey, how did you hear about us? Oh, it was mo pros. Let me go select down your profile. Maybe some people do it, but I just. There’s too many communities to try to stay on top of. So I think the interesting thing that kind of, just to kind of look back at the last 20 minutes of conversation is so many brands, when they think about starting a community, right, they’re looking at it through the lens of.

A aspect of the existing marketing strategy or business strategy. What they lose sight of is that everything you just talked about. Justin requires its own separate strategy. It is a strategy within a strategy because you need to build it. You need to grow it. You need to sustain it and you need to measure it.

And I think that’s where so many people kind of get caught up in the hype, get caught up in whatever you want to call it. And they lose sight of the actual strategic aspect that is [00:34:00] necessary to make it a success. Yep. Yeah, I’m definitely I’m curious. You know, how there’s always like that stat that like, most podcasts fail after 7 episodes.

Like, I wonder, like, how many communities fail after the 1st, 6 months because they realize the amount of. Work that needed to go into it. I mean, so 1 of the questions that we got from somebody prior to this is like, about, like, sustaining engagement. So I’m going to ask this in a different way. I know you kind of went into this quite a bit, but, like, in the community, in the 25 communities that you are a part of, what are, like, 3 unique things that some of these communities may be doing that Make you want to come back and someone is Nick Bennett.

So if Nick is, if Nick is listening, I’ve been talking to him almost all morning over chat, but, um. No, so one, I think it’s the, [00:35:00] the top level is, are you providing value to your community? If you’re not, no one’s coming back. Like literally it doesn’t matter that it doesn’t matter if it’s free paid. Nothing art is everything you’re doing with a lens to provide value to them full stop as simple as that.

When you look at, like, how do you maintain engagement in kind of areas like that, you know, I’ll give you a perfect example to what I use when I kind of speak at conferences and whatnot. When I first launched Revenue Circle, it initially launched with CMOs and CROs only, and slowly over time, we expanded that.

So, as seen in other communities, people were asking questions of the day, fairly standard to try to drive engagement, [00:36:00] but the questions were more serious in tone, more on topic for why you were part of it, right? So, good example, um, Two good friends of mine run analytics for marketers, uh, Katie Robera and Christopher Penn.

And as you can imagine, and you know, Chris has been talking a lot about AI. Uh, nowadays. Um, so a lot of the questions GA4, how are you incorporating AI? What’s your plan for next year? Like stuff like that, you know, cause that’s the type of audience they purposely tried to get inside the community. So I decided to do that.

What are you thinking about when, you know, you’re doing your budgeting next year? And it would be crickets. No one would respond. And one day, in, [00:37:00] uh, Analytics for Marketers, Um, somehow, this wasn’t even a question of the day, somehow the, the thread devolved into people talking about whether they like pineapple on pizza or not.

And this thing, uh, I’ve asked this question four or five times. And I didn’t realize how violently people support it or opposed to it. Like they’re like, this isn’t an in between. This isn’t like, do you like Pepsi or Coke? This is hatred or love. Um, and it got a ton of engagement. People were like piling in, piling on and what have you.

So I thought to myself, maybe. These individuals, because they’re senior level, don’t want to engage with something that they’re doing in their day job, right? You’re coming out of a budgeting meeting and you’re going to go to the Slack [00:38:00] channel that you, you want, you were going to come by and someone told you about, and you’re going to get asked about budgeting, like just bounce, right?

So the first, I was like, let me try something lighthearted. I want to bring value to the community. I want them to engage and want to stay here. And I asked in immediately. It became people piled in and again, tons of engagement, people were debating with one another, people sharing screenshots and memes and all of that, um, and gifts.

So then it, it just hit for me that maybe for this level of seniority, people wanted to find like this water in the hole that they knew they could come during throughout their day and spend five minutes. Not thinking about work, but with like minded individuals. So that’s what I started to do, [00:39:00] but keeping the, the viewpoint of bringing value to the community at the same time, ran virtual events that were on topics that they cared about.

So while we’re doing. Questions of the day that are humorous and lighthearted and keep them in, uh, locked in, bring in Paul Roetser, who’s the founder and CEO of, uh, uh, an AI company of the, um, Marketing and AI Institute and is one of the foremost experts, in my opinion, come in and talk about the state of AI.

So now you’re here because you’re having fun answering whether you like pineapple and pizza or what your favorite type of fry is, or are you team dog or team cat. But then next Friday, you can join a state of AI conversation that actually is going to help you in your. In your career and in your, um, personal life and work life and things like that.

So it was [00:40:00] always to drive value for the community member. So I was going to say like social, like even just like building a personal brand on LinkedIn, like you need to have like a variety of different content, you know, it’s the, somebody was talking to somebody about this the other day, like we’re paid media people, like.

I want people to come to our website and say, Hey, I saw James on LinkedIn. I want to talk to him about paid media. Right. But like, that’s not like, if I just post about paid media all day, every day on LinkedIn, it’s not really going to get that much engagement. And I have to like diversify between doing events like this, which are more realm of relevancy type stuff.

And then also doing like, uh, funny stuff and then sinking in my. I don’t know my paid media knowledge, like once a week, not every day. Cause it makes a huge difference of like just overwhelming people. Cause there are a lot of people even just on LinkedIn that are just like. This is my thing, this is my thing, this is my thing, this is [00:41:00] my thing, and I mean, at some point, like, people are like, alright, dude, I’ve heard your thing, and I think communities are the same way.

Yeah. Yeah, some, some communities keep it very on topic, I guess. It might not be the right word for it, but it’s, it’s just all day every day about that topic, and that’s fine. It’s. Finding ways to continue to keep that interesting. Yeah. So one of the things, again, if you use Market and AI Institute as an example, they have a Slack community.

And, you know, and one of the things that they do, Kathy McPhillips, who’s a good friend of mine, runs it. Um, she’s their head of growth is that she’ll recap news from the previous day or previous weeks, you know, just depend on whether open AI’s decide to [00:42:00] kick out their CEO. He gets hired over the weekend.

He gets hired back something like that. For example, um, she’ll recap some news that’s going on, but she’ll also say, Hey, listen, these three people had these questions. Like this would be a post for the day. Here’s three things that happened in the AI that you might want to have your eye on. Here’s three people that are looking for answers in the, you know, in the comments that, you know, if anyone knows.

And then, hey, listen, we have these two courses coming up if, you know, one’s free, one’s paid, for example. So it’s like they, she gives you a breakdown of the topical thing that the community is about. She helps bring value to the members in that way. She tries to help the membership, get their questions answered.

And then even the courses bring value to the members, but it’s their [00:43:00] product. So yeah, she’ll mention it because they’re a business. So I want to go back to the question that I wrote down that then we just got. Carried away with. It’s super that James cut you off on that. James cut me off on that. I let him cut me off on um, it’s super technical and you may not know the answer, but going back to what you were saying about like basically social listening within Slack are there, to your knowledge, external, we’ll say social listening tools that allow you to collect all the information like you would historically from social media platforms, but also from private communities and aggregate it into a single view.

There, there have been some, and maybe a couple more, a couple are more advanced than I know about right now. Okay. But there have been a couple startups that have tried to do this. Um, and no one that I’m aware has succeeded. Again, not [00:44:00] saying that there haven’t been the ones that came up on my radar. Um, kind of didn’t succeed.

One of the things that is hard, and it’s actually controlled by Slack, is that if you’re on the free version, you can only connect so many apps. If you’re on the paid versions, you’re fine. Also, it depends on if the administrator, if it’s administrator granted, right? So if, if from a brand perspective, I want to get an app and, um, to monitor all these communities, if that admin of this community doesn’t allow me to connect the app, it doesn’t matter.

And if this one is free, they may already have the allotted number of apps connected. Again, maybe there’s some tools that are finding their way around [00:45:00] this, but some of that is dependent on Slack limitations and then the admin of, of kind of set community. If you own your community, common room will give you that all day.

Yeah. Yeah. I was definitely thinking more of external as far as like listening to customers and mentions and things like that. All right. So just like everything else in B2B disparate separated data that, you know, sometimes you get, sometimes you don’t. Yep. Exactly. All right. Last question for you before we take it on home.

All right. We got our magic wand here, which I don’t know if you’ve seen on previous episodes or if you’ve watched any of our previous episodes, but essentially you get the magic wand to solve one of B2B’s biggest problems. What are you solving with it? Uh, being able to look at LinkedIn’s data. So LinkedIn right now, if you look at say influencer marketing, because that’s another area of that I work within.

Right. So, [00:46:00] and if you’re in B2B influencer marketing. You know, specifically, you have to do manual research to find who your influencers are going to be because no tool can tap into LinkedIn’s API because they have it locked down. So I can’t, the two of you might be. Ideal influencers for something I’m working on.

I couldn’t figure that out unless I manually searched LinkedIn by your titles by, so like I would like, I would have to search like CEO, chief executive officer, like all these different ones. To find you and let’s say I did find you to find you and then figure out what your number of followers were. And then some other data that I care about personally, when I run these campaigns, like what’s your engagement, you know, and [00:47:00] then run what’s your average engagement, what topics are you interested in?

I can only get that based on literally manual research because you can’t do that. Uh, so that’s a, like a frustration, say, from an influencer perspective on a brand side. Like, if you just want a different view using LinkedIn, if you’re not tagged. As a brand, you cannot respond as the brand. I understand the reasons behind it.

So it’s, it’s, I know why, but if I, as an individual just mentioned the brand, but I didn’t tag them for whatever reason, maybe I just. Forgot or LinkedIn was being cranky. I might be asking a question about that tool or tools or say this, it goes right back to the communities, [00:48:00] right? The brand can’t answer because they were not tagged.

That is the delineator there. So you have to, in that case, A, be monitoring and then, you know, using a tool. And then kind of have someone on your team that you essentially trust to go in and answer the question properly or route the question or what have you. So LinkedIn as people and companies double down more and more on it.

Um, there’s more limit there. It’s harder to do. Uh, your job daily, um, whether you’re an influencer, social things, that nature makes sense. LinkedIn doesn’t make a lot of things hard. That was just, I feel like you just scratched the surface there. Yes. Yes. All right, Justin, bring us on home with three actionable takeaways for our listeners today.

Uh, definitely, [00:49:00] I think definitely going into 2024, um, learn about communities and, uh, go join one. If you’re not in one, it, you know, the easiest going to be free, right? Um, there’s a lot of paid ones out there, but easiest going to be something free. Based on, uh, what you care about or, you know, what’s going to be most helpful to you again, I’ve kind of beaten up a bit on rev genius and I’m more pros if you’re marketing ops or rev ops or what have you.

You know, go look at MoPros if you’re in, uh, GTM or, or, um, revenue focused roles, go join, uh, RevGenius. They’re free to join very low threshold to be part of, just so you can start to understand what they look like and feel like. And, um, I think, you know, we continue to see it, but work on building your personal brand.[00:50:00]

That goes to some of what we’ve talked about with private communities, right? It goes to some of what we talked about with LinkedIn. Work on building your personal brand. There are not only is there a ton of information out there, but there are people like Sam McKenna, um, Mandy McEwen, and some of these folks that do this professionally, not saying you have to go hire them, but connect with them on LinkedIn, they post a lot of great content.

Um, on there and be aware. I know we didn’t dive into this. This is more on the kind of content marketing, uh, area. And it’s something I just wrote about for, um, content marketing institute on some 2024 predictions. Be aware and conscious of generative AI content. You’re going to see more and more, not where it’s an assist, [00:51:00] not where I maybe feed data into it.

And ask it to like help and, you know, maybe I have my voice, but where it’s just pure, uh, comments or pure, cause it’s going to mess with a lot this coming year. It already is, but it’s only going to escalate. Oh, yeah. I mean, the influencer side, we had a whole episode the other day. I’m like validating it’s going to get real hard.

Well, there’s someone, uh, I just saw this earlier today. Um, my friend Ursula, if you were to look up her post on, on, uh, LinkedIn, she just posted this really long post earlier today, but she had said that there’s an influencer that’s getting paid 12, 000 a month right now. And is, uh, AI generated the contents AI generator.

This person doesn’t exist. And it’s just all, it [00:52:00] doesn’t exist. Let’s look, here we go. We can go, sorry, I’m going to do my one. The, the Luna report that came out 25 percent of advertising spend on LinkedIn is invalid. And a huge part of that is because when LinkedIn first started, everybody needed to like associate like a company to a real person and nobody wanted to do it with like a real person.

So every company made up like a real person and now they’re taking that, like those real people are. Blowing up even more and actually engaging in stuff. And I don’t know, I’m sure a guy was, uh, What was ours? I don’t even remember. Jane Dragon. I don’t even think it’s real. Oh, I don’t remember. Fake LinkedIn page.

We’re talking like circa 2007. It was Facebook. It wasn’t Facebook. I don’t know. But still it’s like, it’s going to get out of hand. They’re going to, I mean, you’ll see LinkedIn will have to, and they’ve done it a couple of times, but they’ll probably have to do a very [00:53:00] significant scrub of the network at some point.

You’ll see, I mean, this happened on. On Twitter, because I refuse to call them by their other name. Um, you saw this on Twitter, um, happen all the time, right? You would get like, you know, I’d have 20, 000 followers. Um, and wake up the next day and I’d have like 16, 000 and then I’d grow back up to 2021, 22, 000.

I’d wake up 1 day and I’d be at 18, 000. So it’s just because they would go through and scrub, um, debt accounts, fake accounts, stuff like that. It’s crazy. All right, Justin, thank you so much for joining us today. How can people connect with you and pick your brain about influencer marketing community? The whole nine yards, the easiest way is on LinkedIn.

So just, uh, you know, Justin might be on LinkedIn. All right. Well, thank you again for joining us. Like subscribe, reach out to Justin, pick his brain. He knows a lot. All right. Until next time. Catch you guys later.[00:54:00]

Thanks for listening to the Digital Vanter podcast. Make sure to subscribe wherever you get your podcasts so you don’t miss an episode. For more resources and to keep up with the show, visit dragon360. com. Until next time.

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