How to Start a Branded Online Community from Scratch

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On Air: 18:00 - 19:00 EST (GMT-5)
Monday, January 25th, 2016

When you’re launching an online community for your company, you’re flooded with questions such as: How do we know our customers want a community? What results do we need to achieve for this to be successful? Do we need to hire a full-time community manager? How have other companies been successful?

Luckily, we’re bringing together topic experts and key findings from CMX/Leader Networks research. This hangout will help you put together the pieces of your community launch strategy.


Carrie JonesCarrie Jones
Director of Content at CMX Media

Carrie Jones is the Director of Content for CMX. She has built community both full-time and as a consultant for companies such as Chegg, Scribd, Socratic, and Coursera. She lives in Seattle, WA.

Connect with Carrie on Twitter at @caremjo or on Google+.


Vanessa DiMauroVanessa DiMauro 
Founder and CEO at Leader Networks

Vanessa DiMauro is the founder and CEO of Leader Networks, a research and strategy consulting company that helps large organizations succeed in social business and B2B online community building. DiMauro is a popular speaker, researcher and author. With over 15 years experience in social business leadership positions at Cambridge Technology Partners, Computerworld, Bitstream and TERC, she has founded and run numerous online communities, and has developed award winning social business strategies for some of the largest and most influential companies in the world.

Connect with Vanessa on Twitter at @vdimauro or on Google+.

Raj NijjerRaj Nijjer
​VP, Community at Yext

As VP of Community, Raj oversees community development at Yext, a global Digital Location Management (DLM) leader based in New York. ​Raj also manages, a leading independent location-based advertising news site as its Publisher.​ Prior to joining Yext, Raj managed GoDaddy’s Online Presence and Commerce division growing it into a $100m+ business. While at GoDaddy for nine years, Raj held multiple leadership roles launching new and innovative products resulting in over 20 patents filed and four issued. A startup fan and digital marketing zealot, Raj is an angel investor and advisor to multiple founders.

Connect with Raj on Twitter at @rajnijjer or on Google+.

Dayna ShultsDayna Shults
Director of Community at Spark Capital

Danya is the Director of Community at Spark Capital. Formerly an evangelist and recruiter for Teach For America and a founding employee and leader of culture and community at Skillshare, Danya is a connector who aims to build and strengthen communities, create greater access for more people, communicate with transparency and promote learning through sharing.

Connect with Dayna on Twitter at @danyacg or on Google+.

David SpinksDavid Spinks
CEO at CMX Media

David is the founder and CEO of CMX Media. Above all else, David seeks to help and empower community builders. He started CMX Summit and CMX Hub after he noticed that the thousands of community builders in the world weren’t talking to one another. Before CMX, David cofounded an online cooking school called Feast (part of 500 Startups) and BlogDash, a platform to help businesses with blogger outreach.

Connect with David on Twitter at @DavidSpinks or on Google+.

Discussion Questions

  1. What are some signs that a business is ready to invest in community strategy? Whose responsibility is it to “sell” them on it?
  2. How do you know that your customers are ready for a community?
  3. What are some “lean” ways of getting an online community off the ground? Do you need a platform right away?
  4. How do you get early members into your community? What are some pre- and post-launch best practices for member acquisition?
  5. What are some ways to measure the ROI of community right when you launch? Do these change over time?
  6. Do you need to hire a full-time community manager right at the outset of the community? Is it possible to do this work without one?
  7. How do you know that your community launch was successful?
  8. What are some examples of successful community launch stories?

RSVP & Watch the Hangout

Want to RSVP for the Hangout? Visit #CMAD presents: How to Start a Branded Online Community from Scratch and let us know you’re going to watch. This will add the event to your calendar and remind you to attend!

The video will play on the event page when the broadcast starts.

Not sure what time this is for you? Use to find out.

Sherrie Rohde

Community Manager at Magento
As the Community Manager for Magento, Sherrie connects people with resources and with each other, and, since she’s just a bit passionate about the topic, she also co-produces a weekly broadcast for community professionals called #CMGRHangout. An ENFP, Sherrie is obsessed with innovation, terrified of status quo, and motivated by adventure. 
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