Everything we learned about community at Salesforce with Stephanie Nakano

Learnings from the AMA with Stephanie Nakano, Community Manager at Salesforce
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November 4, 2022

Threado Community AMA series is exclusively built for the tight-knit slack community we are building at Threado. We gathered and brought together community leaders from Notion, Mixpanel On Deck, Glide, Startup Grind, and many more fast-growing startups.

For this episode, we had Stephanie Castanos, Stephanie Nakano, Community Manager at Salesforce joining us to answer all questions in the community. The session was filled with many amazing insights on community building. Here are the top highlights from the session 👇

Q: What are the steps to take that will help a slack community thrive?
A: Stephanie Nakano recommends the below steps to help a community thrive :
⁃ Meet their users where they’re connecting and facilitate that.
⁃ Establish clear paths of engagement.
⁃ Easy naming conventions for your channels.
⁃ Easy acclimation of new members.

Q: How do you measure engagement?
A: Stephanie prefers using emoji reactions to conversations to measure how people are reacting to a certain conversation. Measuring the success isn’t just using new tools it’s using old features and tools properly, features that are built into slack.

Q: How was the trailblazer community born?
A: Trailblazer was started by Erica Cole. She was the VP of community at salesforce and her idea was a community where salesforce enthusiasts, admins anyone can join and get their education about salesforce. Salesforce is a big platform and it’s hard to learn every single thing about it. The idea of trailblazer is cantered around what do you want to learn? How are you helping others learn? Can you answer other’s questions? Do you have similar questions?

What have been some of the major wins for salesforce which can be directly mapped to this community?
The main point is that, it’s saving Salesforce millions of dollars. Communities don’t make profits, they have other ways to return values which is to increase brand visibility. Erica has pioneered the idea that community saves you money, you’re not spending money in support or ticket cues or other tooling that otherwise can’t be measured.

Q: How is the community team structured at Salesforce?
A: Salesforce has more than one community team and they are structured through the orgs they serve, currently they have Salesforce, Trailblazer, Meal Saw, Tableau, Stephanie herself in internal communities and Slack.

Q: How do you ensure that all communities are on track to the key metrics defined for them and are also directly impacting business metrics at Salesforce?
A: Salesforce values are at the core of everything they do and what they’re accountable for. It’s absolutely grounded in sales V. Values. They’re no. 1 value is trust and building it is an effort in and of itself.

Q: How are you supporting/rewarding/ nurturing the top users of your product?
A: There are regular events with segments and events focusing specific topics. There are awards for various categories and the coveted gold jacket that shows the highest level of achievement. There is a company wide acknowledgement of these achievements from top members of the community.

Q: How is your championship program structured?
A: Championship programs should come from a need not from a structured plan or strategy. Right now they are still working on it and Stephanie wants to make it inclusive, diverse and accessible with trust which is a huge thing to achieve but she hopes to make it a reality.

Q: How has community initiatives impacted growth of company overall?
A: Here Stephanie talks about Zapier which has recently scaled to 180,000 page views per month and engaging 2.2 million users so far. They have done this by outsourcing and working on automation workflows so they can focus on bigger initiatives, which is User Experience, how is the community designed? How is its information discovered and found? How does it tie into existing Zapier ecosystem? When you start doing this, funnelling fresh users to the exact information they need and deepening the value of community as a viable source user and customer success, it scales very quickly. It allows those who want to use Zapier with experts. It also offsets cost with customer support and ROI.

Q: What are some of the key workflows a community builder should prioritise to keep up with a growing community?
⁃ Automation and low code no code.
⁃ Moderate your content.
⁃ Going back to previous content that worked well in the past.

Q: How do you prioritise tasks/initiatives?
A: Always prioritise things that impact the wider community, things like user experience, how does the community look, is it managed well, does it fit theme or brand of the company, does it reflect what the community finds important.
It’s the job of the community manager to find the middle ground between community needs and company needs, as what we prioritise may not work out perfectly.

Q: How can one grow from a junior community manager to a senior community manager? How can a community manager stay relevant?
A: There is no sure fire way to grow from a junior community manager to senior, because even when you're a senior manager you’re still continuously learning new things and new methods. You have to be continuously teaching yourself, you have to be continuously learning. You have to be working with various leaders and keep pushing yourself because there is always something new that keeps coming up. Community managers can stay relevant by leveraging their skills, for example their outreach, leveraging this to keep people coming back again and again. It is hard for companies to discern which community managers are doing what, as you will be doing almost everything but this is where communities need to work on and figure out who specialises in what.

Q: How does a company like salesforce measure success regarding community initiatives/programs?
A: Salesforce measures their success by basis of their values. They also measure how to amplify success not just within their peers and programs but also within their customers and community. The core of Salesforce is CRM.

Q: How does salesforce create a sense of belonging in the community as it’s consisting of various startups, founders and companies?
A: Belonging is not an end destination, it’s a journey, it’s an effort same as equality. It’s not an end goal and it’s not a metric so to further those and gain grounding on that, we have to maintain trust.

Q: What are some slack initiatives you are experimenting with that are new to the world?
A: The one new initiative that Stephanie has been loving recently is Slack’s release of canvas. Using this and low code no code there’s this unification of a shared agenda where you can just write and have within slot communication.

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