We recently Zoomed with Maayan Patito, seasoned B2B marketer, community manager of G-CMO, and expert on communities. In our conversation, Maayan explained what communities are, how to get started with them, and why they are so useful for B2B startups — especially right now. Check out our full conversation in the following video, and read highlights from the conversation below.
What is a community?
A community is just what it sounds like — a group of people who have something in common. In a startup context, communities are usually groups of people who have similar functions or roles in their company, or share a common identity or common goal. Some examples are G-CMO and Mera’anenot in Israel, and Tech Ladies and POCIT (People of Color in Tech) in the US.
What do communities do?
Communities come together to support each other, learn from each other, and broadly speaking—provide value to each other. The best communities gather both online and offline via Slack, WhatsApp, Facebook, etc. and happy hours, talks, and other events (when gathering IRL is possible). Communities work best when there is a designated moderator or team of moderators who plan gatherings, share valuable content, and set the tone of communication.
So, how is this a B2B marketing channel?
B2B startups use communities to bring together groups of people that are important to them—members of their target audience, or even people they might want to hire one day. By starting a community and building it intelligently, a B2B startup can get to know their target audience very well and develop lasting relationships with them.
An example we love is Wix Engineering — a community for software engineers started and run by Wix. (This is more B2D than B2B, but the same principles apply.) The Wix Engineering community takes the shape of an email list, a blog, a podcast, and a series of meetups (all digital for the time being). Wix shares helpful resources with the community, including segments of their code and the latest industry news. The community gets real value from the content created by Wix, and in turn, Wix gets access to an attentive audience of talented engineers and cements their reputation as a knowledgeable, generous, and fun company to work for.
How can you make sure your community will be successful?
It all comes down to providing value. Make sure you are providing actual value to your community on a consistent basis. What are their knowledge gaps? What are the resources they need access to? If you’re not sure what your audience needs, the great thing about a community is that you can ask them. Don’t be afraid to reach out to your community about what they need, and let your strategy be shaped by those needs. Make sure to check out the video above for more insights on making communities successful.