Christina Garnett of Hubspot shares How to build a successful advocacy programs

Learnings from the seventh episode of Threado Community Hour featuring Christina Garnett of Hubspot, and our very own Sharath Kuruganty and Pramod Rao.
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August 26, 2022

It’s 2022 - the year of Community-led growth is upon us. The best time to build your SaaS community was before you launched your product. The second best time is now. But community building is tough. It takes time, courage, efforts, persistence, failures, second-guesses, leap-of-faiths, sleepless nights, and maybe even a couple of urges to give everything up. But it doesn’t have to be done alone. We’re here to help and give you the resources you need to succeed.

Presenting Threado Community Hour - an hour-long panel discussion with some of the most successful community builders and networking sessions to help you learn the best engagement tactics, grow your network, and get answers to the questions that matter to you.

In this episode, we have Christina Garnett sharing with us everything you need to know about advocacy programs.

Join Sharath Kurunganty and Pramod Rao as they talk with Christina Garnett about Advocacy programs and their importance in community building. Christina Garnett is a community advocacy genius currently working as senior marketing manager for offline community and advocacy at HubSpot.

She is also a huge Marvel plan and has a little Wanda who sits at her desk listening and planning all day long. She absolutely loves memes that explain communities using the Marvel Universe.

Here are the key takeaways from the session 👇

Start-ups and community programs and advocates:

- Every start up doesn’t need a community or advocacy programs.

- It depends on what stage they are at, at the very beginning start-ups aren’t concerned with what does my audience think, they are concerned with finishing their product and launching it.

- They should start a community only when they can answer the question why? Why do we need a community.

Growing a community:

- Just because you have started a community doesn’t mean people will automatically join your community.

- Your question shouldn’t be how can I get more followers? It should be how can better my community from my rivals?

- Match Plus : Match the quality of your competitors, and then upgrade so that followers are attracted to your community (“Plus”)

- Do not create a community because it’s “hot” or “cool”. Christina says founders who ask her “How can I get 3000 followers easily?” and similar questions are giant red flags for her, they don’t care about the community, they want a quirk they can market.

Best way to create an Ambassador program:

- Before creating an ambassador program Christina always reaches out to existing members of the community and has regular talks with them regarding expectations of community, if they faced in problems, what they would like incorporated etc.

- The one main point we need to remember is that a community is made of individuals, and it will only thrive when the tools are provided for every member to work and communicate in a way that is most suitable for them.

Layering advocacy programs and outcomes:

- While advocacy programs are not focused on what outcome we can get from them, we can use a few tips and tricks to get outcomes from the advocacy programs :

- Decide on what outcome you want and reverse engineer it.

- Monitor the behaviour of your audience and tailor advocacy programs to target their issues.

- Research your market.

Personas:

- Personas depend greatly on who they are for, you might tailor a specific persona fora casual community member, another for an investor etc.

- Decide on what you want to achieve before creating a persona.

- Game Theory is your friend : You need to master it because all your audience won’t be satisfied by the same thing, you should be able to predict and solve as many problem areas as you can.

- As your business grows so will your community and their needs you should be able to adapt to these changing needs and fulfil them.

- Know that no one way is perfect and this all is one giant human experiment and can only work through trial and error.

Customer Persona V. Community Persona :

- You should always try to keep your community interactions genuine and not transactional.

- Once a member has to “pay” something to you to be part of the community, you are telling them your only value is the money.

- Interactions should be mutually beneficial, creating a safe space not “Hey your my friend only if you pay so-and-so amount regularly.” Or “Yes of course you're my friend here’s a gift card regularly so that you will continue to be my friend.”

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