The post below is a recap of our VP of Social Media Brian Hurst’s X chat with Krystal Wu from November 29th. You can see our chats live at x.com/amaboston.
How would you describe your role at Zoominfo?
KW: Thanks for having me! Excited to connect and chat about Community. My focus at ZoomInfo is to empower ZoomInfo’s customers through communities. Whether that’s on social media or through a forum platform.
When did community land on your radar and what does it mean to you?
KW: Community caught my eye early in my corp career. To me, it’s about creating genuine connections, empowering members, and creating with others. It’s not just a buzzword — it’s dynamic, a space that creates belonging for people.
Christina Garnett said at Inbound23, “People are closing ranks and becoming more intimate” in relation to Community, How should brands look at this type of behavior in 2024, smaller communities matter vs always the focus on larger.
KW: I love that you call this out, (Christina Garnett from Hubspot) @ThatChristinaG is a Community powerhouse! 👑 In 2024, brands should cherish the intimacy of smaller communities — and even lean into them. Smaller communities are where trust grows, and you can understand and deliver your audience’s unique needs — big or small, authenticity matters. Larger communities are built on that foundation of trust. Without them, larger communities become lost.
What are some effective ways marketing teams can contribute to community in their respective focus areas?
KW: Start with active listening. Communicate internally to understand your audience’s pain points, then tailor your marketing efforts to provide value where it’s needed most. It’s a two-way street of value exchange. Does your audience need a closer connection to the brand? Host events and create opportunities for them to meet the team. Is there a knowledge gap in the product? Offer educational activities, resources, and events—just a few ways to get more involved.
What are some good ways to continue momentum in a community after the launch or honeymoon phase?
KW: This is a tough one for many communities, and there are a few important factors: consistent engagement, internal stability, and a clear mission. Keep conversations alive, host regular events, and spotlight community achievements. Show you’re here for the long haul. While you do that, ensure that on the back end, you have a stable group of people maintaining that activity & relationships. Members know when a community is built from a mission or ‘just because’. The mission should be clear & align with the member’s needs.
When marketers seek buy-in from leaders for launching a community, How do you recommend positioning potential long-term growth vs instant results?
KW: When seeking buy-in, highlight the long-term benefits that align with the company goals, whether generating brand loyalty, gathering customer insights, or market leadership. Instant results are rare and really shouldn’t be the leading factor. Communities are for the long game, and it’s important to provide a roadmap of the ongoing impact of the community, providing leadership with a clear direction.
What are a few initial steps in getting started including best platform building an online community for a B2B company?
KW: My thoughts immediately go to starting with clear goals for the members AND the business. If there is alignment, there will be success in your community. Serving just the business will not give value to members. Then choose a platform that aligns with your audience. ne way I go about this is by seeking out where the audience already resides, what platforms they are familiar with, and what they like most about it that has them gravitate towards it. Options like Slack, LinkedIn, and dedicated forums can be great, but it should be a decision that favors where the members will go. This is where audience research is so fundamental. One approach I like to take is to poll our customers to get their input.
Your posts include “building trust” and “being genuine and authentic” are paramount to building community, If a company uses AI to generate content for the community, when and how should this be disclosed and does it impact authenticity?
KW: Such a good question! It’s great to see that AI-generated content is becoming more widespread. I believe that it can be really valuable; however, we should make sure we call out when AI is being used and double-check our facts to confirm accuracy. It’s powerful tech but still relatively new. We should ensure that there’s a human element to maintain the authenticity & relevance of our content. That content style could just be what resonates better. I haven’t found AI to replace the uniqueness of people.
What brands do you celebrate for having top-notch communities?
KW: I’d say brands like Asana, HubSpot, & Lego stick out to me as some of the communities that do a great job in terms of engagement, value creation, and building trust. But there are SO many brands out there that do it well (support, identity, connection, etc.)
What are a few communities that you are a part of and what do you think they do well?
KW: I’m part of various professional communities as they center around sharing expertise. However, I find that being a community prof & being part of them outside my job can still feel like work, so I balance w/hobby ones like pickleball, yoga, & location-based groups. I also have to shout out to Reddit’s various subreddits, which are noteworthy for their diverse discussions. What these communities do well is they are focused on their goals, guidelines, safety, and provide a healthy mix (~ 30/70) of content from admins and members. I joined them because the discussions are in line with the community members’ interests and always provide interesting insights into experiences and opportunities within a space that I was previously unaware of!