In this episode of the Social Lights Podcast, podcast host and Social Mediology founder Kate vanderVoort chats with Beth McIntyre, Head of Community at Bevy, a leading provider of community software, powering live community events both in-person and virtual. Bevy’s community, which is called CMX, is the world's largest and most passionate network of community professionals.
Beth is the Head of Community at CMX. She manages the ever-growing Facebook group, the bustling CMX Slack Workspace, and the incredible CMX Pro Community, CMX's premium space.
CMX is the world's largest and most passionate network for community professionals. Thousands of community professionals come to CMX for support and education in community strategy. Beth oversees the engagement, strategy, and structure of all CMX’s community spaces. She also built and runs CMX Connect, an in-person distributed events program (turned virtual in 2020), with more than 50 volunteer-run chapters, that host live events regularly around the world.
She is also the host of The Community Corner with Beth McIntyre podcast.
Beth lives in the incomparable Rocky Mountains in Jasper, Canada and spends most of her free time in total awe of their majesty.
BIG IDEA 1
“That excitement, that enthusiasm, that engagement can take place the entire year.” (7:50)
Beth discusses a growing trend on how communities are starting to leverage off the momentum of holding annual conferences or large one-off company events that bring all their customers or users together in one place. She talks about the experience of going to a trade show or conference how you walk in, you can feel the buzz, people are talking and it’s so exciting! And when you get home afterwards you are still feeling that buzz and excitement, you have all these big ideas about things you are going to implement.
Beth then talks about how little touch points there are after a big event, an email, a survey, another email to say the recordings are uploaded, that’s it. Then you have to wait another 11 months to feel that excitement again. She says more and more companies are starting to take the momentum from that conference, and using it to build a community for the other 11 months of the year. They feed into each other, the conference will help build your community, it will help engage. It will help drive that momentum and your community will help drive the momentum back into your conference. So it doesn't have to just be this one big event. That excitement, that enthusiasm, that engagement can take place the entire year.
BIG IDEA 2
“Social media is an entry point and the community is an end point” (23:20)
Beth talks about the customer journey loop and the difference between communicating on social media and communities. Social media is the top of the funnel and how customers find you, but it’s not a community because it’s not necessarily a 2-way street.
She says the community space is a lot more intentional, it’s like a bubble at the bottom of the funnel. There's an identity. So instead of someone just choosing to follow you on Twitter or on social media, there's kind of an agreement that you have these expectations for your members, and they have expectations of you. The beauty of the community is that you're both meeting those expectations and holding each other accountable to how you want to be treated and what the purpose of the community is, and what we're there for in the first place.
When we talk about the social identity cycle, it starts with identification. Beth feels like that's where social media comes in. They see your tweets, they see your social media posts. They say, I identify as that thing when they join, that's participation. Now they're in the community, they're commenting, they're liking, they're connecting with other people. And then the third step is validation. That's when you say we love having you in here, when you're liking their posts. That's when they receive comments from other members who are validating their engagement and what they're contributing to the community. That's the difference, social media is an entry point and the community is an end point.
BIG IDEA 3
“The power of community is that you own the conversation.” (27:18)
A major advantage in owning the community is the level of control you have over the conversation. Beth says something she hears time and time again is that executives are scared to step out of the chat out of fear that someone will say something negative or that a troll comes in and starts to complain or make negative comments. Let those conversations happen, the thing is that those conversations are going to happen anyway, people are going to find something that they don't like they want to talk about. It might be a feature, might be something else. The power of community is that you own that conversation. You can see it, you can nip it in the bud. You can message that person personally and ask them for feedback right away. The idea of owning it is what should drive more and more people to get on that community driven marketing, let people have those conversations, and then you get to see those conversations happening.
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Thanks for your time and stay inspired,