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Episode 95: Community Trends for 2023 from the Community Consultants Collective

by Deb Schell
November 20th 2022

In this episode of the Community Strategy Podcast the Community Consultants Collective, a cohort of new and veteran community industry leaders, share their experiences discussing the state of the c... More

Hi there and welcome back to the community strategy podcast. My name is Deb Shell. I'm a creator turned community builder. After launching my online community in 2020 I have a passion for online events and bringing people together, I now consult business owners and leaders just like yourself who have a message their life's work or a vision for helping others transform through their online courses cohorts or memberships on this interview style podcast, you'll hear conversations with community leaders, passion for bringing people together online. Our goal is to provide you with interesting conversations to inspire you to build launch and grow an online community with energy, confidence and purpose. Let's get started. Um So I'm Deb and I'm the founder of finding calm here. I started my consulting business in 2020 but I've been struggling on what does it mean to be a consultant and how do I do that?

So um over um during 2021 I reached out to people on linkedin and said, hey, you know, are you doing community, is anybody going to be consulting and do you want to meet up? And that's kind of how this group started uh in 2021 about a year ago um by just having these monthly sessions where we have open dialogue and conversations around um community consulting, you know, being a consultant building a business, you know, what services am I offering? How am I pitching um pricing and and all of those conversations of how we work with clients, how we onboard clients. Those are all conversations we've been having over the past year with what is the community consultants collective, which you are a part of as of this moment in this space. And so recently since I started working more in with Todd over the summer time, we talked about how to formalize our group a little bit more and so we have established a board advisors who we're gonna be meeting um a couple of times to get a sense of direction and focus and get a little bit more strategic about how to really utilize um this relationship that we've been building with each other over the last year and inviting other people as we invite other people in the conversation.

But today for a collective session we've been having different topics of focus. So um the other month Todd was doing on boarding of clients and kind of walking us through, he how he onboard some clients and we've had different sessions and conversations around. I think the last call we had last month is all about CM X and what our experiences, our feedback or takeaways were from the CMX summit that happened in september and as we're recording this on november 2nd um what I taught and I have been working on was this, there's so much going on in the industry right now that we're like we need to like put together uh some community trends and and I thought that would make a really great podcast episode and also um I'm ending the community strategy podcast at the end of the year, so we've got, and on a high note, my win is that I got David Siegel the ceo of meet up to be a guest on the committee schedule podcast and so he's going to be episode 100 which I'm really excited about and so I will just say this will be an episode of the podcast and I'm opening up the floor as of right now to stop talking because I want to hear what everyone has a thought around and I will share some of my briefly Give you some tips here on best ways to kind of share some trends.

Um so anything that you've noticed in the industry in the past year, if there's something you'd like to highlight that would be something that would be super valuable as well as anything that you see happening for 2023, whether it's within the enterprise space or in software or in um a lot of different areas. We have a couple of different areas todd. I'm gonna have you kick us off Awesome. I love it. Um lots of stuff I think happened in 2022. Um layoffs, of course, a little bit crazy. I wonder if that is, this is maybe a point of conversation. I wonder if it's a market correction for over hiring during pandemic uh and then organizations getting cold feet, anticipating recession. Um we're kind of seeing a little bit of a little bit of a whiplash effect from that. Um even so I'm still seeing a lot of community opportunities that are out there, so um it's curious, it's definitely a thing um and I hope that it evens out or corrects in in 2023 early on.

I'm gonna chime in real quick on this point of just to clarify when you're talking about community layoffs for the general people listening, we're just talking about the industry enterprise companies, some of the larger community companies are had, we have seen on linkedin, there are some people that are poor about changes such as layoffs happening, so I wanted to clarify that and just say also um there are lots of job openings in the community space, I think from my perspective and just a point because we're on the spot of just to say that, I think that a lot of what my experience has been recently is that companies don't even know what community jobs are and how to hire for them and they're kind of like throwing these things out there, but they're not then they're getting thousands of people because they're not being clear about what they want or need and then they're getting people who now they deem are not qualified because they don't even know what they need, so now they're getting 1000 plus applicants for one role and how much time and energy is spent on evaluating that and then, you know, so I think it's, it's, it's very layered, I feel like with as far as, like the complexity around job, community jobs in general for right now, and I think that's, that's part of it is um like we're still educating, you know, about what the heck is community to so many executive leadership teams like that, despite the fact that we think like, oh, everybody gets community now and now we can be community led and kind of like, there's a lot of companies out there that just don't have any word, any idea where to start.

They think that their social media manager is right away, their community manager, which is not the case. Uh, you know, you know, yes, it can be great because Caroline is a great example of making that, that move from that world, but but you know, I don't think that that's always the case or um I mean, I was, I was seeing, I don't know if you guys caught David spinks is post this morning about Lincoln about community, uh, what, what he's trying to do around, you know, building a talent bank for, for community professionals. I like the way that he put it that, you know, community is just so misunderstood misused as, as a term and it's being thrown into everything and it's not, you know, it's not understood by a lot of companies. So I think we're still sort of in that educative piece around that. Yes, Caroline. Absolutely, I do too. Um and in some ways it's a little parallel with what Pilcher and I are trying to do with, with talent communities in general, not specifically about community professionals, but just sort of how you engage talent using community type platforms and experiences um something that most organizations are not doing at the moment or doing in a very piecemeal, you know, kind of fashion.

Um just other big trends, I mean, no, no surprises if you were kind of paying attention to CM X this year, um the rise of community operations as kind of its own category. Um so you know, more diversification in roles. Um I think the platform wars seem to be heating up that there's just a lot of new entrants in the space. I think we'll probably see some shakeouts in 2023 Of platforms that just didn't make it. You know, they were, they were easy to set up and they easily crashed and burned if they didn't have a great business model for what was there. I think more integration with Web three technologies is going to happen. I think I'm already seeing some of that and attempts to make that easier thing um rises to things like um unify and and uh common room and talk base and just a lot of specialty supporting apps that that helped community experiences and help to help to give people a better picture of them, I think that's really interesting to and uh you know the rise of community consulting is a more formalized thing I think is we can definitely call that a trend.

There are a handful of us, you know in this space that do this work that love the the consultancy side of the world and I'd love to see that grow in the coming year too. So just a couple of quick ones, I'm sure there are others. If I pause for five minutes to think about it, but I'll open the floor up to other people. Maybe maybe Caroline can go next. Sure, yeah, I can go. Um so one of the big things that I see happening a lot currently in the community spaces right? Like kind of my understanding of how the industry stood before I joined like a year and a half ago, is that a lot of it is you know, very small team lead kind of like off in their own, not necessarily interdepartmental integration and now we're seeing wider like especially at a corporate level, wider buy in or at least it's a buzzword, so there's wider interest, you know, maybe C E O s are asking like what's this community stuff, all those sorts of important questions that we kind of wrestle with as professionals with that rise, like there is such a clamor for data and reporting that is easy to format for different departments, right?

Like data exists for community teams, we know what we're talking about when we talk about user churn, we know what we're talking about when we're like active users logins like all those different things, we know what those mean. But one of the biggest trends I see is like looking for actual reporting tools that are going to speak other people's languages as well to get that cross departmental buy in and the buy in from the C suite down especially at the enterprise level as well as I mean my heart is like the creators, the scrappy boots trappers who are making their way content builders on Tiktok Youtube twitch, I love all of that stuff and those are people who are community pioneers and they know that they have communities and they are not nerds like me, they are not interested in data but they should be. So I see the creators who have this total goldmine becoming more and more interested in understanding their communities that are across different platforms and how to analyze them in kind of a centralized way.

Obviously this is a lot of what we're working on it commune, if I but there's other people who are working on it as well, right? I for one in all of my stocking and research, I don't see people Softwares that are executing it in a way that speaks custom reporting language to either multiple departments or allows for easy adoption for those sort of creator people like the creator economy is going to surpass a billion dollars next year or more, forget the exact number. It's huge. There's so many people since the start of the pandemic that have been like good bye corporate life now I'm ready to do my own thing, my own pace and kind of make their own way. There isn't software that's for them. There's tons of enterprise level data analytics and data aggregation software, there's not stuff built out for creators. So I would see while the community conversation has like really kicked off kind of in the corporate sphere, creators have been talking about community for forever.

They're going to start talking about data. That's my that's my call that they're going to be hopefully hungering for something like commune if I or some other software that comes comes in and doesn't Right. All right, Claire is going crazy in the chat. Are you able to unmute, tell us? Yes. Uh No, I this this is I mean it's really hard for me to say, but this is literally who I worked for. I worked for a really well known podcaster named Aubrey Marcus and we've leveraged his podcast to cultivate a community based around his interest and I think that what we're seeing is, you know, it went from like a $1.2 million company this year. We're in the hole because we spent a million dollars on a festival and that's just the way the festival's working, lose money for a while, but because of this position I'm in working for him, I'm seeing these influencers realize that what their messaging and their artistry and everything that they care about actually they become what I, when I talked to them, I become like it becomes um an energy funnel where they have so many one on one interactions with people.

It's not scalable for their time, it's not scalable for their impact. So what I've been working with with Aubrey particularly, but for other people in this space, because it's now my space that I have contact with is how community gives them more free time, gives them more impact. And the correctly cultivated community actually is the thing that is going to give the highest returns and like prevents that thing. So it's like, you know, it's like an irrigation channel instead of everybody coming up to you all at once, which is a a lot of them experienced really intense burnout from the like managing fans and shifting those fans attentions to each other rather than directed out of one individual is this development of community that's super monetize double if you do it correctly. But like you said, we've had to kind of back end our way through a bunch of different systems and the metrics that are helpful for enterprise or not at all helpful for us because what we're really looking for is like we want people to get tattoos of our logo, that's what a metric we want.

We don't want people like I like, I don't really care how many times you engage in the app because it's not showing me the fullness of the connection and the vibrancy of the brand and that's been hugely problematic for us and especially to Like this is, I could go on for a long time and you guys are getting me, I woke up at four this morning on a two hour flight and I landed like 20 minutes ago and I've got a meeting in another 20 minutes so I'm there. But the other thing that I really do see as a trend is people taking these communities private. Um, and there's really this dance between so like YouTube Tiktok, all of those different platforms are beautiful because of discovery. But then once you've discovered your tribe and once you've discovered your community, they become cluttered and overwhelming. So what I'm seeing at least is people really trying to balance the enticement of discovery because I can go on Tiktok and find a bunch of cool new people with the intimacy of a community and the intimacy of the community, once it becomes more powerful or large enough then begins to replace the Discovery aspects of those pieces. So I've seen a lot of people in this personal brand influencer space Being too scared to leave YouTube and Instagram but also realizing that that's not what's great for their members or for the people or the community that they're trying to cultivate, but there does seem to be like this tipping point where you have to have like 3-5,000 people that are deeply engaged before you can actually let go of those platforms and you still need those platforms as funnel, they just no longer become the place where your community lives.

Yeah, really I got so, and I really think it's fascinating. Well, thank you so much claire. I think those are some really great points and I'm gonna tag onto this, but just to say that one of the things that I've been noticing and doing some research on is this creator economy, uh you know, is in a place of explosion right now, and I don't know if if a lot of people are picking this up, but um there's a promise, a secret promise, I feel like that was made to creators that if you, you know, work really hard and create all this engagement, then, you know, eventually you'll get money for this. Like if you work hard enough, you'll get money like this, that's stupid thing. Well, you can work till your eyes are bloody like it doesn't matter because these platforms are not gonna give you enough to make a living, it's just that's the fact of it, there's no way around that you have to create your own model and I think community is where really great piece that has really supported creators in the last two years, I think they're the challenges, there's too much check, there's too many things happening all at the same time and they're getting distracted, right?

But this, this idea of being able to um make a living off of our creation is what has led, like the creator economy to to my experience that was this quiet quitting, which has led to the other conversations around um you know, how can I make a living at what I love doing instead of working at a job that I hate, and that's, you know, or working in a job that doesn't light me up or doesn't encourage me to connect or inspire me in any way, versus I'm going to create something that I own and that I have control over that, I can choose how to live my life, and that's what we're seeing is the trend that's shifting, So some people are going the safe route of, I'm sticking with my corporate job, and other people are like, I wanna try some other things because this is life and we only get one and it's time to explore. So I think there's a lot of trends that are happening right now, and and the creator Economy space is a big, big space for um community, and I think there's also challenges with it, like platforms that are confusing the crap out of these people, and what happens is, if you like, my experience personally, has been that I created a lot of things and spent a lot of time And it has not led to income and in fact there's statistics that I'm putting together for the pitch deck that I'm working on that says, you know, only 10% of creators, there's, I can't remember the number of millions of creators in the world that identify as creators and only 10% of those are making more than $100,000 a year.

So you know, if you're and I have a whole pitch deck and things that I'm working on. But just to say that there is where the rubber hits the road and where you get and I think the pandemic has brought us miles ahead in in the sense of wellness and life's purpose and mission and drive around what what it is we do and how we spend our time, which is an amazing benefit that has come out of this challenging time. But it's given light to that now that can transition us into other directions. Okay now if I'm gonna spend my time with people I actually want to spend my time with and do work that I'm actually really, really passionate about what does that look like and that's a whole new opportunity and I think it lends to creators and senses of where they can, then there's two ships right? There's a empire where you have millions of followers and then you have a system and you pay gated access, they get paid to have access to you. That's one like the shards of the world kind of situation or there's another place where it's ecosystems and pam slim is leading the way with ecosystems and building out these supportive this is what I would consider an ecosystem.

I'm not the one in charge. We're all kind of here sharing our expert wisdom and I feel like that's the magic of community. I'm gonna stop because I'm gonna welcome paul. Hi paul. Bye. Um Thanks for joining us, pause from the Director of community, global community over I do you want to share any insight since you just joined us? Thank you. I'm sorry that I was late. Um I've been trying to get from one of these meetings for like months and months and we have all these standing meetings that that that um block blocked me from coming. I'm also not a consultant so I don't know if I apply anymore. The reason the reason paul is here is because I got connected to paul with through somebody else, but basically worked with Paul with Agora posted some discovery interviews with him when he was in the process of building his community and so he's a great resource because he knows a lot of people. So that's why you're here just to say Ben. When we first started talking, I was fresh off working on the community consulting team for higher logic. So we or a group of 30 community managers who basically functioned as a de facto community teams for clients of higher logic strategic services.

So while I got a paycheck from higher logic, I do have a little bit of a sense of what it is to be a consultant except for the piece of actually like going out and landing clients, which I think is probably the most important thing, so um and then something that I abjectly failed at from 2010 to 12. Um What I had social media consultancy and then transitioned into my first community management job from there. But um Deb and I were talking a couple weeks ago and she was like, oh my God, you have to come to the next meeting if you can. Um And I don't even remember the details of what I was saying, we were talking about community and some of the trends. Yeah, yeah, I can't remember what I said, that was so insightful, but um uh we, from my perspective, I'm very interested in just kind of like the economic downturn and what that means for a community. I got into community after the last recession, but that recession incredibly impacted my career and out of it, I ended up becoming a community manager, which was great, but I haven't been in the field during much of a downturn.

I think a lot of us have sort of forgotten um or weren't there? Um but it's interesting to see some, some layoffs at key places that are sort of leading the thoughts that are thought leaders in the community space. Um so that makes you a little bit concerned that even companies who are leading that conversation or entities that are leading that conversation are devaluing community in some capacity. Um and that's you know, being realistic about business. Um Not shocking because often community is viewed as a cost center. Um I remember talking to a guy years ago when I told him what I did for a living, he was like a mentor type guy and I said, you know, we deflected uh $900,000 a month and support calls for for our our team and he was like listen your company's never gonna care about you if you're not making money if you're deflecting money, that's not the same as making it. Um and so it makes you wonder kind of like a lot of community teams may be on the chopping block if things go badly now, I think it was great that the economy rebounded in Q three and like 2.6% growth after two, very slightly down quarters.

Um but the inflation is still crazy and so I think what we're seeing in the business world is like maybe not necessarily that that companies are losing money, but they're a little bit afraid um And when they are afraid, they start to look at, like I said, what they think are cost centers. Um and so I think that's going to impact it could impact us, certainly you guys as consultants, those of us who have jobs at companies similarly right, that that that work may go away or may not be there. I'd like to think there are enough companies out there um who won't be afraid. Um I think that it is certainly something realistically to know that like, yes, some education teams are gonna get cut, yes, some community teams are gonna get cut in a lot of places. Those are the same teams and that's actually a great trend. Um So, um you know, I'm very cautious right now and uh you know, and and particularly, you know, in my company, just full disclosure, you know, we have a mandate from the ceo uh to exist as this sort of altruistic educating of the industry type thing where we don't support our product, we don't market our product.

That might change. We have some down quarters and not the altruism may go out the window. And and in fact, one of the things that I'm working on right now is even with the altruism intact, we've determined that our audience will tolerate a certain amount of marketing. Um now we're not gonna do it like directly via our content in the community, but our properties, we're gonna go out and start selling sponsorships, so we do the social media news every monday, It might be the social media news presented by Stream Yard or something. Um and so that we can actually get some revenue back. My goal is to kind of get our salaries back in 2023 if we exist right? Like if we don't get cut and I don't believe we will, I mean knock on wood, but if I'm pushing towards getting our salaries back, I I feel like that's a good way to hedge right now. And so these are the kind of things I'm thinking about is like I've never been in a position where I had to start thinking about revenue from community. So we're looking at like job posts selling job posts, um things like that. And you know, we're gonna we're gonna double down on our data that tells us what community members are more likely to do, becoming like from the standpoint of becoming a customer.

Um So like, you know, we proved out on our team that worked with IBM at higher logic that a community member was three times more likely than a regular qualified lead to become an IBM customer. And so I think with this more altruistic look and software audience, we over time, you know, we only have 67 months of data, we'll be able to prove that community members are much more likely to become a customer. And so I'm just thinking a lot about showing our monetary value, whereas you know, in the past, other than showing like deflection Ferraro, I I haven't had to do as much of that. So that's that's kind of the trend in my world, is my microphone working out. Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. Thank you Paul. Like so for someone who's been in the industry for quite a few jobs, 18 years now through multiple downturns, recessions, layoffs, uh the the harsh reality is community is one of the first to go.

I've been through layoffs. I've been in another company where they hired me, said I had a bunch of budget, I was going through vendor selection. My stock is up here and then the next day the ceo does something crazy and my stock is my options, I'm option at 70 and now the stocks at 30 right? You know, and there's no budget for community and now I'm suddenly doing the social media stuff too. I'm doing a job that I don't like. Right, so being flexible, keeping your resume up to date knowing that, you know, do being speaking, being out there publicly as a person. So you have worth in the industry will help you get that next job. But a lot of community managers stand there for a long time at the big places, right? They get in there if they're the solo, it's when you have a bigger team, I think your tendency to have seen as more overhead if you're integrated into like a good part of marketing or if you're integrated into support, you know, the support team, you know, doesn't get hit on the cutoffs a lot of times, you know, marketing and events, you know, a little bit more so, right?

So it is a harsh reality, but every time community seems to come back stronger, right? Every time, like there's like this down term, it seems like, okay, yeah, we're reinvesting, we're doubling down, we see the value of it, you know, that you can show them the numbers clearly when you look at their comm from when they had a community manager, when they didn't have a community manager, like, I don't know a community that will show you any number of personal community that had a community manager had a community left, and then they brought in a consultant like, like that's to review these numbers. You can clearly see this inflection point where the where someone left and I always tell my clients, it's like if you had a product, you would you would need a product manager or what's gonna happen, that product, right? It's kind of flounder. And if it's someone who's like an intern, you know, when you get a product to an intern, you know, probably not right. You probably want someone who has a little bit of experience doing the job for will have a huge impact into it. My trend this year is all about the ai aspect and, you know, community managers being able to use numbers and reporting easily and more effective.

Like that's I think that's the way that I was able to keep my job for so long that some of these companies that were highly competitive, talking about Silicon valley startup, cybersecurity storage, these are competitive just to get in the job job, right? And so I always had to show my numbers at one point at one job, I was doing 80 page deck a month in numbers going in, going out at oracle, it was like a novel right? It's going out to five different business uses, segmented in different ways, you know, it took a data scientist team to produce, right? And so that's what our goal was to try to simplify that. But I think uh the smaller communities and smaller people really need to use numbers to their advantage and yeah, yeah, that was, it was a horrible report to do, but it was like contextual and post and reports and went to multiple teams.

Our community was impacting, you know, 1400 employees who was every business unit was using it and then 100 and 50,000 members people. But that's what I was trying to do to prove my worth to stay in business. It started out as a one pager and then I think I got to a one pager again and then, you know, hate hate reporting. I love it though. So, so true numbers are great and I think a lot of people look at numbers and but I think it's hard to community is just always going to be something that's hard to really show in a number. I think sometimes um you can say we have 10,000 people but are they all active? We have 500 active members. Great. But are are they, you know, getting what they need here, are we answering the problems? Um Great. You're getting solutions. Okay. So I always included, I always try to include just like the numbers, but I would also do like a lot of snippets of questions and responses because I knew a lot of people that were reading my reporting.

They're never going to go to the community. They probably don't go to the community and they just want to see the numbers, they might click on link maybe. But so I would actually screenshot the actual post the little snippets of text where these are things I want to highlight and I would, you know, collage them into into a tile, that's okay, here's the anecdotal, here's the conversation stuff. This guy was like, hey, and then I would say this guy made this post and then then I blow up his profile so you can see that hey, this guy works as a senior engineer at IBM right? And you know, he just answered a question to our customer HP. Right? So, you know, talking about cybersecurity because they both use fire, I write and we would highlight these relationships between partners and customers and, and support and then obviously Support deflection is a strong way to show value of community. I know it's like a cheese ball way to do it I guess or it's, but you know, if you can show the case deflection, you know, it's hard to then like justify you if you're under that support wing, you know, you can say, Hey, I saved you $10,000 this month.

Do you really want to get rid of us? Yeah, it's crazy. Oh sorry. No, no I was, you know 10 years of these like corporate community jobs and like the reporting that I've had to do like I don't know if I ever got to an 80 slide deck but I think probably someone stopped me from going to an 80 slide deck at some stage. Um but I got so used to just like giving people a clump of data, like reporting to executives who only care about data that when I started doing my reports here and I would do either a presentation or all hands meeting or like a loom that would go out on slack to, you know, most of the company, my community manager came to me was like enough with the data like include the data, like can I help you on the next report and like put some humans in there and like some actual screenshots and stuff And I was like I just realized I hadn't seen the forest for the trees because I got I was so used to an executive audience as opposed to like a community or a company of social media people.

Um so now we have kind of friendlier reporting and the data is like five slides. I I love it. That would make me more happy because I don't like numbers as much. Okay, rapid fire. We've got we've got like five minutes left, so we've got five minutes and or we can go over if anyone can hang out later as well. So I was going to be a gentle person that would be very inclusive, you know, Laura hasn't shared their insights yet. So I was gonna say, you know, Laura, if you've got something to say before me, please do because you know, I'm one of the veterans of the, you know, these these meetings, so probably if I, you know, if I go, if somebody should go over, that would be me. Very nice. Alright, I'll drop one drop one point in there and then I'll pass it on to I think it kind of comes off nicely from can everyone hear me this time? Do I need to go a little bit if you're leaning closer with lean in, lean in again. So I think my thing that I would just want to add is that I think, I think sort of a trend that we might see is that and that we're already seeing is that is how can we connect the communities that we already have to some sort of more social good in the world or something like that.

And how can companies then tell that story to potentially even attract better people if you think about the next generation coming into the work place and what they care about and what we've discussed already about how different and how sort of where they are and what motivates them and what, what they really want out of a company. So it's like you've got this community together, whatever it is, whether it's a brand community, customer community or whatever community it is. And how can you use these people to do something that's maybe even linked to your corporate social responsibility or something like that. So I sort of see something going in that and maybe this leads really nicely into Elka and um and Todd's sort of stuff about telling communities because I think there's a massive link there. But again, it's just how can a company actually craft story around this And that that comes along with the data reporting as well. But that would be my, my my friend to add and I'm going to keep it really short and pass it straight over back to you. Elka. Thank you. Thanks so much. Fantastic. So basically I'm gonna see if I can, you know, squeeze it in a few minutes, which is extremely unlikely of me, you know, it's a it's a major challenges, so it's you know, a mountain size challenge for me anyway, I've written this down, you know, there's a couple of trends that I see happening, so I'm going to talk about three first one is that there's a there's a big, big, you know, non returnable change about our perceptions on work career and personal branding, so now, you know, our perception of career, what career is has changed fundamentally, there's no going back really, so everything is going to be so centered around this is, you know, the base of our thinking with Todd, you know around talent communities because employers, employers are becoming or they're trying to become super brands, they're becoming brands themselves, so something related to, you know what claire was saying earlier in a way, and certainly, you know, there's going to be interesting and new facets to everyone, so we're going to have more than one career, this is something that I've been trying to do for a number of years now, but this is not happening or everybody's sort of forced to do that, you know, Deb has been very kind and transparent in sharing her journey, of course Deb, you know uh is a professional, but also you have to become a creator had to become many things, so we just have to do that, you know, all of us are expected to have, you know, to become a creator, you know create content, create things.

So basically creator ship is going to be quite central and of course everything revolves around communities in that front, so against something, what Claire was saying, So companies are trying to do different things such as, you know, writing your own job description and the like, so therefore there's massive opportunities and changes in, you know, the more traditional thing of, you know, recruitment and being an employee or being even an alumnus, you know, I'm just touching to the point where you know what we're talking working on with talks, so this is the change number one, it's going to be even more pronounced in 2023. Again, number two community as a concept of shifting is changing, it's no longer just some collection of people in um in a, in a platform where you know, they just make a movement when you poke them, it's not going to happen, it's going to be something completely different, it's going to be completely intertwined with many of the things that we do, we're already seeing that. Um so it's now leading product, leading organizations, you know, leading businesses, it's become a business itself through these, these douse and everything, so it will be even more repurposed.

So I don't know if anybody is already a meme uh Tesla has got a platform called Tesla engaged, I don't know if anybody's come across it, this is their community of Tesla users but they repurpose them. And basically if you go to that platform they're actually actively enticing people to for example take action against individual US states. When there is a law that is past that is all about to be passed, that will restrict you know electric cars use it or anything that will actually undermine Tesla's work. So this is there, I say it, you know just weaponizing community, which is very very interesting. And once again this was all the talk yesterday when there was the opening night of web summit in Lisbon and everybody was so you know, thinking about what Ellen will do after having purchased twitter. So twitter is one of the biggest communities in the world, one of the most influential communities in the world. And you know, I really wonder, you know what the community what this will change community wise into um for Tessa or anything else or just one example and I think we're going to see more and more of these and what does that mean?

As community professionals, we are going to go places that we have not gone before, it's not going, we're going to do really untraditional things and we're going to be you know closer to brand management or you know um user engagement. So N. F. T. S. Wave three Blockchain. They were they became a goal of target as a target, their out of state, they're dead. They're they become they're going to become a medium for user engagement. This is my prediction. Hopefully just, you know, shoot me down as much as you like, but you know, we just have to learn and improvised and then basically get out of our comfort zone as community professionals as well. So that's like one thing and secondly, and the last thing, community platforms, popular to john and Carolyn here, um, they're gonna like what I say, because I think there's been a big boom in the community platform or the community industry and in Turkish, we call this a defoliation, basically, a lot of, you know, people are a lot of companies are now sort of have to, you know, converge into something else, shut down or, you know, we've just seen it happen when organizations, companies, platforms, products that are not really delivering anything sort of disappearing out of the face of the earth.

Um, this is happening in the community platforms and community products industry. So, um, I think anything that is not unique or anything that is not fixing things such as the, one of the biggest pain in the lower back side, which is the kPI s on in the community world, um, like commune, if I basically trying to fix that they're going to see their existence and this is what we're actually going to be seeing in 2023 according to my extremely humble opinion and thank you very much, wow, super comprehensive Oakar amazing, um, that you've just hit on so many amazing trends. Um, I know we're at our end here. I want to thank everybody who joined this conversation and I think we continue the conversation each month with the community consultants collective. Go ahead, paul. You had a final thought. Okay. I just want to exclude anybody. We tried to get everybody in and so what I'll say is I wanted to just show a slide real quick to everyone.

This is part of a slide deck that I'm working on. Can everybody see the slide deck? Just not for me? Yeah. Um, I'm just gonna do this slide and it just says this um, the statistics that I was talking about earlier is at this link and I can share that if anybody needs it. But over 207 million content creators in the world, 23 million have less than 1000 followers, 46% are full time. Only 10% of influences earned more than $100,000 creators need online community training because they don't know how to build an on online community that they need that in the world. So anybody that's in this group that's helping people build online communities for, for either creators or others, um, they need our support. So I think the, whether you're in a full time role as a community professional or as a consultant, um, I think we're gonna see the need for both and all of those things coming in in 2023 and community platforms need us. They need content creators, they need, they need consultants, they need people to help them make it easier to make decisions and so going to the point around, you know, there's so many platforms that launch and you know, how many of them are gonna survive.

We don't know, we don't know, we're gonna see, it's gonna be really interesting in the next year to see um you know what VC funded backed platforms are solving problems and like my friend, Pablo says, um the B two B space um specifically is a place where Pablo Gonzalez says and a lot of other people say you have to be solving a monday morning problem. And so in in business, if you're not solving the, if you're not addressing what keeps the ceo up at the at night on sunday night that that that's solved on a monday morning in the community space, then um those are, that's the platforms and the people and the organizations that are going to really thrive are the ones that are solving those monday morning problems. Whether it's change whether it's creating change in the world because we see there's a lot of places in this world that we need some change to happen, like 50 years ago we had change happened in the US and then all of a sudden it flipped on us.

So um things like that I think are going to be a major way that we will see communities. Um come and rally together in 23 2023 um, to create social change. So I think that social change is gonna be one of the key elements of the community industry and how that happens is gonna be these players and we're going to see it as a live in in the next six months to 12 months. Um Cool. And I saw some comments in the chat. Um everybody needs guidance, yep. And does anybody have a final thought that they wanted to stay? And I want to make sure that we get anybody who has a final comment wants to share anything rapid fire question. Last question here, I'll give you a prompt um if if you could go back and tell yourself when you started out in the community space. One thing, what would that one thing be? Caroline? Don't go small because I mean when I started in this space, what we're still building for the company that I co founded, it has so much potential and we're still reaching it and realizing how much more there is.

So, and I don't think we ever sold ourselves short, but there were definitely moments where we're like, yeah, it would be okay if we had like, you know, this goal like a low hanging fruit goal and then we exceeded it and like what would have happened if we would have stretched early on, what would we, where would we be now if we would have been stretching for it and I think community professionals are really, really by nature able to stretch and go big because they have a community to back them up. They have a network of people. So yeah, go go bigger big and bigger saps laura and invest as much time as you can in educating the people internally as you do externally. Because we don't get the support from the people inside your business, You're gonna be really hard pushed to get outside the business. And I think too many of us neglect that. I think we think everybody, we can tell them and present our flies once to them and they get it. You've got to get yourself in as many conversations as you can around the business with different people in different functions to get them brought in and you've got to continue to get their feedback to get their buy in to get them to care.

Um and that is a long term thing. It's not a five minute thing and it's possibly to me, I think what I would tell myself is like worth spending a really significant amount of time. Yeah. I just say the last closing words like, yes, the more people you have involved in the community from your company, the more customers you can support. It's a totally correlated number. Uh and you don't disregard your numbers, look at your numbers and course correct, course correct. You're afraid to fail fail fast. It was a mentor mind. Uh you tell me is fail fast. Try things. Look at the numbers, it's not working. Stop. Right? And if they are do more, right? So your numbers are your friend and try things out because different things stick for different communities. F perfection is what I got from that. Don't let perfection stop you. We don't have to have everything shiny and perfect. In fact, we do a disservice If we have think we have it all figured out because we if we haven't talked to ideal members, uh we don't have it all figured out.

So I would be my my tip would be just talk to your members before you do anything. Um Big or changing because yeah, let's think big. But then make sure we talk to members to make sure we're solving the problem that we want to solve. So I think that's it. Todd looks like he has one final comment there. And then I don't think we'll wrap up. I don't know if I would. You guys are making me very literary this morning. My early training was was a lit nerd. So, so my my brain goes back two quotes that I that I learned early in my career and I put one up in the chat. But the one that's sticking with me is from an obscure renaissance poet that you guys probably wouldn't recognize unless you took a lot of renaissance like classes, but in one of his epic poems, he he wrote Be Bold, Be Bold, Be Not too Bold. And I I kind of love that that that sense of we need to be adventurous about this stuff. Um we need to know what the sense of propriety is, but I I you know, the the advice that I would definitely have given myself would have been to be even more aggressive than I thought that I could be um when, when entering the community space.

Um so hard learned lesson. I've always been a little too conservative entering into into new stuff. Mhm Thank you and thanks again for everybody who shared today. I think um what I also would say is making it easier and not taking the complication out of things because I think the biggest thing that I've learned is that, you know, the clients I work with have really enjoyed conversations and people like talking to people and keeping it light and um fun versus heavy. I think we've all gone through a lot of heavy stuff the last couple of years and what we want right now with a lot of people want at the bottom line is just connection to be seen, valued and heard and to have a little fun and to feel like we're making a difference in the world. And all of those positive, rosy colored glasses stuff is really something that more and more people are really wanting in their life.

So I think if there's a way to somehow add that element in into every community opportunity um I think that's a great, a great thing to add of, of, let's keep it simple and how do we connect with people because at the end of the day we don't need seven tools or systems to talk to people, we just need to talk to people. So whatever that system is, let's just make that happen and talk to people um and that's all for today. Thanks for everybody who's been listening to this episode of the community strategy podcast. We are on Youtube. So um if you did want to see our faces, you can go to Youtube and find us there and have the new handle set up recently. Youtube just announced that you can have a handle. You don't have to like meet their parameters of so many subscribers to get to have a handle now. So the community, the handle is the community strategy podcast And um, we are excited to have a bunch of episodes that are coming up and some really great episodes that will be, I love Todd put a little little graphics.

The showings uh the feature isn't available on Youtube yet on my Youtube. Okay, Caroline. Yeah, I got, I got the email this week, they actually sent me a couple of times because they were like, did you change your handle yet? And I'm like I'm a little behind on email. Youtube. Give me a break anyhow. Alright well so you can watch on the, on the Youtube channel or listen on all the platforms until the next time. I hope you're finding calm in this day, evening, moment, afternoon or today is Wednesday at one, take care uh find calm until the next time. See you later. Thanks all by Hi, this is Deb Shell and I'm super excited to let you know that I'm writing a book. Yes, it might be not be a big deal for you but it is a big deal for me. Um as I work through writing the creators community builder book, I've decided to launch a crowdfunding campaign and I'm super excited to share with you that this is where I'm asking you for your help.

I need to reach $5000 and at this moment we've raised about 100 $1,110. So thank you so much for all of the people who have um supported this project to this point, I wanted to let you know with updating you today that I'm extending this campaign to the end of the year. So by December 31 my goal is to raise $5,000 for this book. The estimates are about um $10,000 of cost of public publishing printing a limited, you know, amount of copies and um paying for a designer. So I just uh I just started um reconnecting with our book designer, he's going to be getting me some proposals next week and I'm going to start with a new cover designed for you hopefully before the end of the year. So um that's my update for today. Thank you for supporting me so far.

If you haven't supported this project yet, please go to the show notes and check out the I Fund Woman crowdfunding campaign for the new book creator to community builder. I'm super excited. Thanks so much for all who have supported.

Episode 95: Community Trends for 2023 from the Community Consultants Collective
Episode 95: Community Trends for 2023 from the Community Consultants Collective
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