How to build a Slack community that provides real value in less than a week!
In the past weeks & months @Leopold and I had first contacts with public slack groups focused on topics such as product management and online marketing. We were really thrilled by the new quality of business networking and decided to set up our own slack community. This is our first review on what we have achieved so far!
Both of us are working in programmatic marketing, a very young but quickly growing part of online marketing. Programmatic marketing refers to the approach of automated marketing processes such as real time buying of digital ad space.
As with many new areas in digital business we face certain key issues in our daily doing:
- The underlying technology is relatively unstable compared to solutions which have grown over the last decade
- Even though it is somehow unstable, technology is still changing at a very fast pace
- Opposite to technology, knowledge and understanding of programmatic marketing is spreading slow
- Best practices & experiences are changing so fast — even most blogs only scratch the surface
When we thought about how to tackle those issues best we remembered the public slack groups we use quiet often to connect & discuss. We also have been fascinated by the possibilites and integration slack offers. The overall concept of slack is very powerful because of its ability to integrate other services into their solution.
Talking more about how we have informed ourselves in the past we definately have to mention Quora. Without Quora many things of our business in the past would have been impossible. It was fascinating to see how interactions took place and how many of us share the same questions and face similar problems. After all one can say that Quora was the best proof for our case!
We decided to combine both: The technical backbone of Slack and the content approach of Quora. After this we split our tasks: While Leo was working on setting up website & 3rd party services, I claimed the actual slack domain (programmaticmarketing.slack.com) and prepared the inner structure & content of our platform.
One of the bigger challenges was to automate the user signup process, since at one point we wouldn’t be able to handle signups manually anymore (at least we hoped it would get to that point). Our first try included a Typeform setup on our landing page connected via API to our Slack account. This worked basically fine, but it was not as user friendly as we wanted our product to be: A delay of several minutes for invitation feedback was a no-go for us!
So we started looking for a quicker, leaner option to automate user signups.
We found Slackin, a github project started by Guillermo Rauch (http://rauchg.com/slackin/), which was super easy to setup (we hosted it on “Heroku”) and worked like a charm from the beginning.
In all of our doing we focused as much as we could on customer experience! For us the return of this project is measured in signups & engagement. We want to make our members happy and transform them into ambassadors for Programmatic Heads. To build something and get other users into using it is what really motivates us!
So far we are happy to admit that we have made lots of mistakes and lessons learned. The technical aspects of our idea have been more complex than we thought at the beginning. Slack for example makes it difficult to create waitlists and similar services which rather target the development of big communities and less of small teams. But still we managed to get everything up and running.
Now that everything was up and running, the next, even bigger challenge was about to start. We needed to acquire users! The problem was, that we didn’t think it made a whole lot of sense to invite/ signup users 1 by 1. That wouldn’t work out positively towards our engagement goal we had set ourselves — so we built a waitlist to collect 50 signups before we would open the community for everyone. In the end we reached the 50 signups we wanted to have in less than one week!
How we did it? First we started out with some classic Facebook and Twitter paid campaigns. It performed pretty good, but it was still too expensive to scale since we are not planning to monetize the community at a future point. A more organic approach had to be found!
We set up a plan and followed these steps:
- We built a Twitter profile with over 100 Followers in less than a day, just by following the right “Influencers” and posting relevant content tagged with the right #hashtags
- We messaged people, we thought would be a perfect fit, directly on platforms like Quora.
- We went through our own private networks and personally invited people to join from there (Linkedin, Xing, Email, etc.)
- We implemented “SumoMe”, a simple sharing widget on our landing page, which gave us a good number of shares so far, spread on different networks like Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter and email (whereas the LinkedIn performance was our biggest surprise!)
- We wrote an awesome Medium post on how we did all of that (yes this post, so please spread the word!!)
We are still super proud of what we have achieved so far: More than 50 members in our first week, good conversation about data management and similar topics and first questions on business partnerships show us that we are on the right track here.
If you want to learn more on how slack communities are set up or what programmatic marketing is all about, @Leopold and I (@momoschu) are happy to share more experiences and answer your questions!
We hope you like this little text. If so please give us a little “heart” and share it with your friend. We would be more than happy!!
Moritz & Leo
PS: You are working in programmatic marketing? Active in online marketing and interested in real time bidding? Representing a publishing house and keen on learning more about programmatic marketing? Join us here http://programmatic-heads.com