4 Things We've Done to Build a Community

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

In this episode, James and Logan talk about the importance of community building as it relates to building a new category.

Are you trying to establish your brand as a thought leader? Start a PODCAST, invite industry experts to be guests on your show and watch your brand become the prime resource for decision makers in your industry. Learn more at sweetfish MEDIACOM. You're listening to be tob growth, a daily podcast for B TOB leaders. We've interviewed names you've probably heard before, like Gary vanner truck and Simon Senek, but you've probably never heard from the majority of our guests. That's because the bulk of our interviews aren't with professional speakers and authors. Most of our guests are in the trenches leading sales and marketing teams. They're implementing strategy, they're experimenting with tactics. They're building the fastest growing BETB companies in the world. My name is James Carberry. I'm the founder of sweet fish media, a podcast agency for BB brands, and I'm also one of the CO hosts of this show. When we're not interviewing sales and marketing leaders, you'll hear stories from behind the scenes of our own business. Will share the ups and downs of our journey as we attempt to take over the world. Just getting well maybe let's get into the show. Welcome back to the BB grows show. My name is James Carberry. I'm joined by my fellow Co host, Logan Lyles, and if you are new to the show, I just want to explain just a little bit about the framework of this podcast. So during the week we interview VP's of marketing CMOS CEOS at fast growing betb companies, but on the weekend myself or Logan of myself, kind of Peel back the curtain on our own business, on sweet fish media, and we talk about what we're learning, how we're growing and share that with you. These episodes are actually some of our highest downloaded episode, so clearly listeners enjoy these. Hope you get a ton of value out of this one. We're going to be talking about the role that community plays in building a category. If you didn't listen to last week's episode, I would highly suggest you listen to...

...it. I think the first part of the headline says big announcement. Logan and I announce that that sweet fish we are building a category called content based networking, and so you know, in that episode we talked about why you should be considering building a category as well. And and, as Logan and I were talking off line, we realize that, man, we need to talk about how important it has been and how critical it's been for us to have spent the last three and a half years in the business building a brand and building a community so that it makes the category creation process just that much easier. But, Logan, I would love for you to jump in here and and talk to us a little bit about the role that you think community plays in building a category and then we're going to dive into some really granular specific there. There for specific things that that I think we've done to actually build community. We're going to talk about that, but want to hear your kind of high level thoughts on this before we dive into that. Yeah, absolutely, you know, I think it's extremely important. You know, if you're building a category, you're trying to gain traction, you're trying to increase your credibility in the niche of the market that you're trying to carve out and obviously having a community of folks around you is incredibly important. You know, and I love what we're going to do today and dive into some specific ways that people can do this, because I think that the idea of building a community. You know, even as you and I were talking about this before we hit record, you know, it can feel kind of fluffy, it can feel kind of in the clouds. So how do you actually go about doing that? And how do you go about doing that if you're not, you know, a funded company with hundreds of employees? So I think that, you know, we all understand that community building is important. You know, and we talked about the fact that it's not what you know, it's who you know in the last episode. So you know, building a community is the next logical step in that and I think the four things Logan just to dive right in, the four things that we have done as a business...

...to build our own community be to be growth is obviously been a huge part of that. But I think something that's so simple that saw Gary v talk about this in a video, I think earlier this morning, or maybe it was last night, but he was talking about the importance of responding to comments on social and he said, you know, everybody's out there saying that they want to build a community and you go look at their instagram account or their linkedin account or facebook and and they put out content and don't engage with anybody that responds to them, and that's such a small thing. But to make this kind of big, fluffy idea of community tangible, I think this is this was at the top of the list when we were talking through, like, okay, what have we actually done to build a community? Both of you, myself, Ryan on our team and drew on our team. We respond to comments when we write content on Linkedin, because that's our kind of platform of choice. That's where we're getting most traction, and so we spend a lot of time. They're creating content, but we're not just putting up content and then leaving or actually engaging in the conversation that it hats. Yeah, and so some people listening. I go, James, when I put out content and it doesn't it doesn't get any comments, doesn't get any engagement, so there's nothing for me to engage with. Get in some engagement groups. Start, you know, fine, ten or fifteen folks that are your peers or people in similar industry or in a similar role as you, and say hey, let's engage with one another's content. On the events, you can start up a message thread and start engaging with one another. That engagement in is going to ultimately get you more reach, because Linkedin is going to see that your contents getting engagement and it's going to amplify that content put it in front of more people, which is going to then create more engagement. So that's just one kind of little hack on how you can start down that path. But I think it's so you know, I have people comment all the time. Not all the time, but I've seen, you know, multiple people say, James, appreciate that you're replying to every comment. Now part of that is because I know that the more I reply to comments,...

...the more exposure that piece of content is going to get, because the algorithm likes engagement and so it in my engagement included. If I'm engaging, it's going to force other people to reply to that is a kind of a spiral effect there. But also we really want to build a community and and so if you can have micro conversations that related, we have a piece of content by simply replying to any anybody that comments on your on your post, that's a great way to do it. So that is one way. Replying to comments on social another thing that we do. That is this part missed opportunity and part not missed opportunity for us because we have a daily podcast five days a week or interviewing someone new. We've started to build a community amongst our guests. This is something even if you don't do a daily show, I think you could still do this if you're doing content based networking, you're creating content by collaborating with your ideal clients, with referral partners, with other people in your industry. You start to build a community with the people that you're collaborating with, the create that content with. So even if you don't have much of an audience, you can start to build community just amongst those people that you're that or your content collaborators, and I think that in and of itself is a way to get started in building a community. One thing we've done we've built a facebook group. I haven't nurtured it the way that I know I should have and I haven't added someone to the team and made that their responsibility just yet, but the framework is there. You know, we invite every one of our guests to be a part of that facebook group and I don't know, maybe ten or fifteen percent of our guests actually going request to join that group. So it's there if we choose to invest heavily in that. I haven't seen a lot of reach and a lot of engagement on other kind of facebook groups that I've tried to spearhead. I've certainly been a part of groups that have incredible engagement. I just haven't had the patients to create that for our brand just yet. But it's there. We've got kind of the the baseline there. But the second thing that we've done where we...

...have, I feel like, capitalized on the opportunity to leverage guests is we started doing these bb growth dinners and we invite guests on our show and we invite listeners in a particular city. So I was just in Toronto last week and we put a BB growth dinner in Toronto. I've been doing, you know, a couple of these a month where I'm just flying to different parts of the country. This doesn't require an enormous amount of money. It's, you know, an AIRBNB and in a flight and, you know, a rental car for the day or just whatever the cost of Uber is in the city and I've been able to deepen relationships with so many of our guests. I've been able to create like real in person relationships with listeners of our podcast and it's ended up turning into business opportunity. People referring US, business people turning into clients. So that community aspect of what we're doing with these BB growth dinners is having a direct impact on revenue and it's not forcing us to break the bank to do it. So between those two things, you know, responding to comments on social and doing an in person event that's smaller, we obviously can afford five hundred thousand or a million dollars to throw a massive event and ran out a you know, a big venue and have a thousand people come to it. But we can do these little dinners and it doesn't. Does it cost us that much to feed? Right, you know, five or six people? Right, it's building community and through that we're getting to know our guests and our listeners. Right, and that same word, building that that trust and credibility amongst that community in a very microway and a wonder one way. What would you say, Logan, to add to those things? What are some things that that you feel that we've done right or that things folks listening to can do to start building community without breaking the budget. Yeah, I have to stay on that point of the micro events, what we've done with be tob growth dinners, because, you know, if you were call back, the first time you and I connected facetoface in person...

...was that a BB growth lunch. You know, we had known each other for a while, had been friends. I was a listener of the show and, you know, Lo and behold, only a few months after that, you know, I came on as a full time member of the team and got converted from listener to employee of sweet fish, and I feel like that really took our relationship to the next level and made that next conversation happen. I'm not saying, you know, everybody is going to put on micro events and that's going to be, you know, their hiring strategy. But again, for for a smaller company or a bootstrap company, these small little events don't take a ton. They actually don't even take, you know, a ton of planning. You know, on top of that, you we have a google form that people can sign up with. I remember when you started doing them. You know, we put an ad spot in the in the show where people could go to sign up and request their city and kind of gage interest of where we had the most listeners and and we know where, you know, most of our guests are. So I think that, you know, that's a way you can you can kind of tweak that strategy. No matter what your business is or what community you're trying to build, these small little events, if you're strategic and thoughtful about you know when and where you have them and who you invite, they can be very, very powerful. I completely agree. When you see, you know, other companies that have built communities that are also building categories, you see a similar trend, you know. So we shared this in last week's episode and I'm sure there are other companies out there doing this. These are just the companies that are top of mind for us. You know, two of the three of them are are clients of ours and so we're obviously thinking about them a lot. But they are really the folks that we're looking at saying, okay, these are the big dogs. They've raised capital, they've got a lot of customers, they've got a lot of revenue, they can do this stuff at scale and I'm really looking at them going, okay, how can we do that on a more micro level? But I'm seeing companies like terminus, you...

...know, the community that they've built with flip my funnel and the category they're building with ABM. See Drift, the hypergrowth seeking wisdom community that they've built with their event there in person events and their podcast building the conversational marketing category. You see gainsite with their pulse community building the customer success category. All of these folks in you know from my perspective, are growing their business at a clip that I want to be growing that fat at that rate. And all three of these across the board, they're building community and they're building a category. And so it just comes back to this point of what you know last week's episode why you need to be thinking about building a category, setting yourself apart instead of swimming in a crowded waters, going and create your own category and make a bigger splash. That way get more traction faster. But I want to talk about you know, so we've talked about some specific things that we've done and talked about responding to comments on social. I think to respond to comments on social you've got to start putting out content on a regular basis on social. You know, we talked about how we nurture relationships with guests. How we engage relationships with our listeners by inviting them to these dinners, by engaging with them on social when they reach out and they're by engaging with you know, I didn't mention this earlier, but a lot of our listeners end up on our email list, and so engaging with those people in that way creating community there. And then, obviously, you know, we spend a little time talking about the the BB growth dinners as well, and there seems to be an inperson event element, like terminus does. Flip my phone conference. Drift is doing their hypergrowth conference that I'm about to go to in a few days gain site. Does you know pulse events? I want to say they're all over the world now, and so you know, all of those companies do a podcast and all of those companies do in person events. And so if I look at them and I say, okay, if...

...they're winning, I certainly don't want to just copy them, but there are elements of what they're doing that I can emulate my own business for our brand, I'm certainly going to do those things because they're doing them for a reason. And so that being said, I want to talk about and why having a community of helps and feeds your ability to create a category. The three that I want to talk about is your ability to get traction. When you're creating a category after you've already established a community, is just it's so much easier to get traction. We've already got people, you and I both looking to have had people messaging us on Linkedin when our announcement that we're creating account of your live Saturday you had somebody messaging you. I've had people messaging me saying, you know, I love the episode of where you know we're trying to build a category to our company. Really excited to follow along and see, you know, what you guys are doing, because we've had this show now for two and a half years. We've been doing these BB growth dinners we have we have built up a certain amount of trust and credibility in the marketplace. So when we go to build our own category, we have almost instant traction. People are already, you know, talking about it and lots of people are hearing about it because we put in the time in the effort to create that community on the front end. The other benefit of having community is having people's attention. I think this goes back to kind of the piece about getting being able to get traction when you have an audience because you've been building a community. That your your effectively audience building. When you have an audience, you you have attention and then, thirdly, you have trust. I alluded to that when I talked about the first one. They all kind of overlap, but but you're going to get instant traction because you have a group of people that whose attention you already have and who's trust you already have. And so those are the three things that came to mind as I was thinking about of why the all of these companies that are building categories, why they're communities and why our own community is playing such a huge role in the...

...category that yeah creating. So those are those are my thoughts are around this idea. I hope what I what I really hope you walk away from this episode with some tangible, actionable takeaways around how you can start building your own community and hopefully reinforcing the reality that you need to build a category, figure out how you can differentiate yourself from from the incredibly competitive crowded waters and build your own category. What are your thoughts as we close this down? Logan, I mean I have to go back to my story again and in joining the team, and I don't necessarily want this to be all about us, but I think that people can can take away from this, you know, a real practical application in you know, you and I you had added me to a linkedin engagement group seeing that I was, you know, posting stuff on linkedin about, you know, be tob sales and marketing and we had connected offline and I started getting into the orbit of, you know, the sweet fish audience and the BB growth community before I was an employee in from the outside I could see people engaging, I could see, you know, when new clients came on board and started talking about it, and to me that built trust in the brand from an outsider well before I was part of the team, and so I just have to, you know, share that a little bit in that you know that traction, the attention and the trust. It takes time, but if you're methodical and consistent about it, you can build a community without being, you know, a huge funded company with hundreds of employees. And so hopefully some of these things have been helpful for our audience in thinking about how can they practically go about doing it, because I've seen it from both the outside and the inside here at sweetfish and I know that this, this game plan and this road map definitely does work. Love it awesome, man. Will thank you, Logan, for hanging out and talking through this, I think hearing from your perspective, particularly with your...

...experience with the brand before, with our own brand, before joining the team, and kind of how our focus on community ended up allowing us to pick a, you know, to get a rock star of a sales leader in yourself to join us. I think that the benefits of community go far beyond just, you know, the fact that it makes category creation a whole lot easier. There are a ton of of other benefits, obviously just not the focus of what we're talking about here specifically, but I really want people to understand that the building a community is critically important and hopefully they get some tangible takeaways on how they can go about start, you know, starting that process. So if you're listening to this and you're not already connected, I know I sound like I know I con record here, but connect with Logan and I on Linkedin a Logan Lyles James Carberry, would love to connect with you as send us a personal note. We're getting a lot of connection requests these days, so just leave us a personalized note and say hey, listening, listening to BB growth, I wanted to connect. Would love to connect with you. Thank you so much for listening and thanks again, Logan a man. You are incredible and stuck to do this again next week. It's been fun. There are lots of ways to build a community and we've chosen to build the BEDB growth community through this podcast. But because of the way podcasts work, it's really hard to engage with our listeners, and without engagement it's tough to build a great community. So here's what we've decided to do. We're organizing small dinners across the country with our listeners and guests. No sales pitches, no agenda, just great conversations with likeminded people. Will Talk Business, will talk family, will talk goals and dreams, will build friendships. So if you'd like to be a part of a BEDB growth dinner in a sitting near you, go to be tob growth dinnerscom. That's Bob Growth dinnerscom.

Thank you so much for listening. Until next time.

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