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1-2-3: Community Transcends Platform

1 Idea, 2 Resources, And 3 Tools For This Week.

Welcome to the 2nd issue of The Community.

If you’re a new reader, thanks for signing up to read this.

There are almost 250 people that have signed up that I’ve had 1:1 conversations with asking them if they’d want to read this.

That’s the power of community.

Let’s dive in!

The Big Idea

Community transcends platform.

Last week Apollo & ZoomInfo had a back-and-forth on LinkedIn sparked by Clint Hinkle’s LinkedIn post (see it here).

Quick overview: Clint made a viral post on LinkedIn calling out Apollo.io on how they used ‘influencers’ who were paid to promote them and saying how ZoomInfo was much better. An onslaught of comments and DMs from both sides ensued.

The interesting thing that happened was the rush of support Apollo received following this post.

Not only were there retorts on Apollo not actually paying anyone to post, but more importantly there was support for both the brand and product.

This brings up something I often think about: Community transcends platform.

What I mean by this is community doesn’t just live in a private Slack or Discord.

Community is everywhere your members are.

Let’s be real- they’re visiting multiple social networks, and multiple Slack communities, reading a bunch of content, and networking with a bunch of people daily. How does your brand remain with them throughout?

Apollo does a marvelous job with this. The overwhelming support for their brand on this post had been set up by months and months of careful community building.

Dan Cmieja, the VP of Community at Apollo, has laid out a strong community strategy:

  • Customer Advisory Boards

  • Community Advisory Boards (Specific Personas Targeted)

  • Affiliate programs (CAB members + Non-CAB participate)

  • Paid Community Partners

  • In-Person Events

  • Webinars

  • Social Media

Let’s break down each:

  • Customer Advisory Boards: Groups of a dozen or so customers meet at a regular cadence to give feedback on product and direction, and share new product rollouts and company direction first with them.

  • Community Advisory Boards: Groups of a dozen or so people that are grouped by persona to discuss what they’re seeing in the space as well as give feedback on product and direction, and share new product rollouts and company direction.

  • Affiliate programs: This is open to all raving fans and brand supporters including folks on their advisory boards. This incentivizes folks to share their love of Apollo on social and in their networks.

  • Paid Community Partners: They have some paid partnerships with a handful of communities (currently: Women in Sales, Sales Assembly, Sell Better, Growth Mode, SD Lab) to align with their target ICP and Persona. They collaborate on events and support of Apollo initiatives within these niche communities in addition to on their individual social accounts.

  • In-Person Events: Apollo throws IRL events and partners with their community partners to promote them to their communities and audiences. Creates an awesome energy amplified by other communities.

  • Webinars: Apollo throws incredible monthly webinars on topics that are important to their users. They leverage community leaders as panelists and hosts. People show up in droves.

  • Social Media: Apollo shouts out and celebrates their customers, CAB members, partners, and others in their ecosystem on social consistently creating amazing energy for the community.

All of this together has built up the Apollo brand as a relatable and supportive organization within the broader GTM community.

This post by Clint displayed how the Apollo community shows up in support of the company that supports them. In this case, showed up in a neutral place - LinkedIn - and demonstrates how community transcends platform.

The Gap I see in the space:

So many SaaS founders and marketers want to build community to help scale their growth but don’t know where to start with community building.

This is why I started this newsletter.

My calling is to help SaaS companies build community-led motions to help solve their GTM challenges and give more people a space for belonging.

After months of meticulous planning, my friends and I went to finally go see the solar eclipse. We had to drive about 2 hours away, but that ended up being a nearly 4-hour drive because of how crazy the traffic was. The day was hectic and stressful. On the contrary, whenever I look at this photo, it brings me awe and a sense of calm. This is a photo I will never forget.

2 Resources

I. RevCon 2023: Community-Lead Go To Market (GTM) Conference

On Oct 18-19, RevGenius is throwing RevCon - our annual digital conference. Over 25 GTM Thought Leaders will be teaching 5,000+ GTM leaders how to go to market smarter. Loads of community strategies and tactics. (register here)

II. Community Everywhere Virtual Conference

Community Everywhere, a unique convergence dedicated to professionals who curate exemplary community experiences within the B2B landscape, is hosting its upcoming conference for community leaders. I’ll be speaking. Come learn about community in B2B (here).

3 Tools

I. Beehiiv

Beehiiv is the newsletter platform that I use for The Community newsletter that you’re reading. I’m so bullish on newsletters because it’s one of the most personal ways to communicate with somebody 1:1. I’m so bullish on Beehiiv because they are shipping incredibly useful growth-minded product updates almost weekly and are building a heck of a community on Twitter of their loyal users. I think they have Notion-like potential for building killer community growth loops. (try it)

II. Skool

Skool is an impressive platform. It’s a simple and straightforward platform for creators and brands to use to build community. Focuses on the important things and guides you to be successful vs giving you too many options. (try it)

III. Senja

I just started using Senja to gather newsletter testimonials (leave me one). Just got my first. The difference between Senja and other tools is that there are way more ways to visualize and share testimonials which leads to more people seeing them and submitting them. Those are the KPIs that matter most. (try it)

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Until next week,


p.s. What is one important problem you would like community to solve for you?