Building a sustainable online presence starts with defining a target audience and building a community. But gathering like-minded individuals who see value in what you plan to provide is challenging. Therefore, it is critical to ascertain a few things before diving into this endeavor.
In this episode of RevOps Champions, we are joined by Devyn Bellamy, the senior marketing manager, partner GTM enablement at HubSpot, and George B. Thomas, the owner of George B. Thomas. The two share their experiences building various communities, the challenges they faced along the way, and the lessons they learned. They also discuss authenticity, consistency, and mastering the art of listening as critical factors in building and growing a community online.
Noteworthy: George is involved in different HubSpot communities, including certified HubSpot Trainers and HubSpot Partners. He's also built three micro-communities inside HubSpot. In 2013, HubCast became a community around podcast content and HubSpot’s how-to content.
Community will never be yet another buzzword. However, people have different aspirations when building one. And regardless of their professional experience, beginnings are challenging, and most fear failure. Luckily, each of us has specific skills to gather like-minded individuals, start conversations that make a difference, and contribute to groups we want to form. ''One of my superpowers, which I didn't initially realize was one, is to be behind this mic and communicate with humans. When Marcus first brought up the idea of a podcast, I told him, 'You're out of your mind, dude. I hate my voice.' [...] Yet, when we started HubCast, [...] I heard over and over, 'Dude, you sound like a radio announcer.' [...] What I thought was my biggest weakness ended up being one of the superpowers that I have been leveraging for the past ten years,'' says George.
Conversation builds and grows community. Moreover, it is about mastering the art of listening and allowing everyone to express their thoughts, beliefs, and ideas without fearing rejection or judgment. ''You have to be an open-minded human being, meaning you're listening to be educated. One word I would use, which unfortunately has a negative connotation, but I don't mean it in a negative way: the layer of ignorance. By the way, ignorance is simply the soil in which the seed of education needs to be planted. With education, you can grow what is supposed to be there versus how people live now. And so thinking about this from the level of conversation, listening and what you do is very important,'' explains George.
Revenue should be the afterthought in community-building. Although many have experienced a community's positive impact, there's still doubt whether it is worth investing time and money in it as many believe there's no ROI in building a community. ''What people do when they set out to build a community is that they are focused on the success of combining a couple or a bunch of people to eventually turn it into a revenue-generating process or system or a lead-generating system or process. Community is not about success. Community is about significance. So if your goal is the significance and the way that you or your company is able to pour themselves into the lives of the humans that you're serving, your whole goal is to be significant in the world [...], and it's not necessarily revenue. And we said this on the HubHeroes podcast: When people stop thinking about the transaction and start thinking about the transformation, you're going to get somewhere. [...] The ROI is there, but not if it's your initial strategy. It's the outcome of what you'll do because of it,'' says George.
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