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Collaboration & Community Management with Matt Navarra

Recap on our workshop session with Matt Navarra on Collaboration & Community Management.

Sophie Thompson
15th July 2021

Micro-communities are becoming increasingly popular to bring together groups of people with the same shared interests, give everyone a voice, and build loyalty towards brands.

There's no one more qualified to talk about their impact than Matt Navarra, Founder of The Social Media Geekout, which now has over 25,000 members and focuses on the latest updates and releases in the world of social. It's pretty much an industry-leading forum for social media marketers.

For part two of our Tips, Tools, and Tactics series, Matt led a workshop on collaboration and community management, sharing advice on how you can follow in his footsteps to create a game-changing community for your brand.

Watch the full session below, or keep scrolling for the summary.

You can also re-cap on part one: experimenting with content, here.

27.3% of people use online communities when making purchasing decisions, so they really do serve a key commercial purpose - and play an important role around brand reputation. Communities allow for informal interactions between audiences and organizations, giving users the human-to-human connection that builds trust.

From a brand perspective, online communities are also great for gathering user-generated content, and building a case study portfolio, which you can then use for promotional activities and to populate your content plan.

Matt started the session by reminding us that communities aren't just Facebook groups! The idea of 'community' actually goes a lot further and wider than social media in general. Here are some other formats you could consider for building your community:

  • Slack

  • Newsletters

  • Blogs

  • Podcasts

  • Telegram

  • WhatsApp

  • Twitter

  • Webinars

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Why communities look different in 2021

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Matt is passionate about the fact communities are built on trust, transparency, authenticity, and the chance to build closer relationships with brands. Brands now have more ethical and moral duties to fulfill, and having these communities allows them to tweak and align their online persona to match their customers.

Some brands, such as banking app Monzo, use communities to get user feedback and ask for new product ideas. This helps their audience to feel they're playing a part in shaping the product they use - but also lets the brand push new products to an already engaged audience and build new features they know customers will use, because the customers were the ones who asked for them!

Embrace new platforms

Every day more and more community-focused platforms are popping up. Matt says you should also be trialing these alongside the more traditional ones, as they're less saturated so could be impactful for content and ads and you may even find the new, alternative approach is better suited to your brand and message.

Here are some of the newer community platforms and how they support community building:

TikTok - TikTok has just announced Shouts, it's own version of personalized video site, Cameo, which allows a user to give back to their community with shoutouts to their fans

Patreon - Patreon is becoming increasingly popular for creators looking for a way to a) get paid for their content and b) give back to the people that choose to support them. In exchange for a monthly subscription, users will be given exclusive content and opportunities to connect with the creator

Clubhouse - Clubhouse's shared stage format in its rooms allows everyone to get involved and have an opinion on a topic, something that is essential for a community. It's not just about one person!

Substack - Matt's GeekOut newsletter is a great example of how Substack is building communities. It's an extension of his popular GeekOut Facebook group and provides news and updates from around the world of social, as well as ways for Matt's audience to interact with him.

All of the above platforms are paving the way for existing communities to expand further and a lot of them are even becoming multi-purpose channels for reaching people. For example, an audio-focused platform may also have a group or newsletter functionality, meaning you don't have to put all of your eggs in one basket, and can really play around with what works for you.

Matt advises aligning your long-term content marketing strategy with the existing features platforms have, and researching what features they could be planning to bring out. Communities can quickly become saturated, so it's important to get in there with a solid plan before anyone else.

IOS 14.5 and the battle to know your audience

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Apple's latest major update has provided a huge blocker for brands trying to get to know their audiences better - and is even more proof that communities are essential for gathering information on who you're targetting.

The update means that apps will directly ask users if they want to be tracked when they open it, and as you can imagine, most say no. 97% to be exact!

While that poses challenges for advertisers, Matt stresses that it provides a new opportunity for communities to build audiences and build relationships in this new bid to learn more about them.

Even by conducting something as simple as a poll in your Facebook group, you're learning about your community in a non-invasive manner.

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How to get started building a community

  • Be clear on its purpose and what you want to get out of it

  • Have a clear calendar of activities for people to come back to. For example, meme Monday, or Wednesday wisdom.

  • Assign roles and responsibilities

  • Create a policy detailing what you should and shouldn't talk about and how you should interact with users - and be ready to react in real-time

  • Choose a platform - and see what's working well for your competitors

  • Be ready to adapt - what's working for your community now might not work in six months time

How to maintain community health

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Communities aren't a one-man job. They need a team to function, and the beauty of them is that it's not about who set up the community, it's about empowering members of the group to participate and set the tone.

Having multiple experts getting involved adds health to the group (because no one wants to only hear from one person) and allows multiple viewpoints and areas of expertise to flourish. It also makes your job as a community manager easier because you no longer have the pressure to come up with every piece of content that goes out and keep the group active!

Matt ended the session with a quote that perfectly sums up virtual communities:

"Building and developing a tribe creates an online army of evangelists that become your loyal fans."

Time to get building!

We've actually just launched our own community - Confessions of a Content Marketer! It's a new safe space for marketers to share their funny, awkward, and most secretive mistakes, totally judgment-free. Make sure you're following us on Instagram, and don't forget to submit your own confession - we know you have one!


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