Building a community through the understanding of human needs.

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Photo by Warren Wong on Unsplash

After the events of 2020, it’s hard to argue the impact that community can have for brands and individuals. With a global population stuck at home, our ability to connect and communicate has shifted more than it ever has before. Groups of like-minded people have found each other online, on social, and connected with complete strangers.

Remember when our parents warned us not to talk to strangers? Those are now our closest friends.

We want to belong, be seen, and be understood.


We want to belong. We need to belong.

Multiple papers address the need to belong as a key driver in human behavior. The concept of the belongingness hypothesis becomes a significant argument in how we behave even as children. What we do so we can feel a sense of belonging with others — parents, family, and potential friends. …

How to build a fan army.

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Photo by Anthony DELANOIX on Unsplash

So you want to build an army — a fan army. You want your fans to grow and your share of voice online to increase. Where do you even begin? Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither is any community.

Community building is an investment. It’s geniunely a long game, so you need to understand that for yourself and any stakeholders, you will need to convince along the way.

Here’s how to start building your community one brick at a time.


It isn’t enough to say you want a community. You need to understand why you want it to be a thing. Essentially, why will this community exist? …

How to create a human connection in marketing like McDonald's.

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There are endless tools that make marketers’ jobs easier. If we want to learn more about our audience, create, test, and schedule content — we are covered. Technology continues to offer a new option on Product Hunt that will answer our latest issue. But can something make us feel human again?

To find out what makes us feel robotic… heartless, we need to look at what is perceived as a bot and what immediately resonates with the audience. Essentially, what do we not want to be seen as, and what is the goal instead?

Characteristics of a Bot

The nameless, the faceless — the army of accounts that immediately conjure negative feelings about spam, misinformation, and trolls exist across the web. Bots have become more recognizable by bad agents than the original concept of a non-human account. …

Congress tries to paint tech CEOs as the bad guys instead of taking responsibility for a struggling country.

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Photo by Will Reyes on Unsplash

If this week has shown us anything, it’s that Congress can get things done when they really want to. Sadly, the needs of Americans seem never to make it to the top of their to-do list.

We started the week with the confirmation of Supreme Court Justice appointee Amy Coney Barrett. Even with a fiercely divided government, her appointment and confirmation were executed quickly. Proof that even controversial decisions can be made when the election is so close. Time is ticking, and action must be taken.

Today, set the stage for a similar Congressional move. With the election days away and many already casting their ballots in person or by mail, we see tech CEOs Jack Dorsey, Mark Zuckerberg, and Sundar Pichai answer questions about their censorship guidelines, misinformation, political leanings, and how they hold democracy in their hands. These tech giants are set to explain why they have added fact check beacons on tweets or the removal of content. …

Why I am leaning in.

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Photo by engin akyurt on Unsplash

This year is breaking us. It’s turning us into something new.

2020 is disrupting how we work, how we communicate, cope, and fight for tomorrow. With each headline, the stakes feel bigger. It feels like there is more to lose because, for many, there is. There seems to be no perfect path that protects you from the pain of this year.

We can choose to hide. Choose to cry until the tears can no longer fall. Barricaded in our homes and wallow in a sea of pity, resigned to the worst-case scenario. I can’t. I’m leaning in instead. Embracing the chaos, knowing I will end up changed somehow. …

Escaping What You Love For Your Own Sanity

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Go where the notifications can’t find you…

There’s beauty in the places where the signal is weak. Where the notifications can’t find you. Sometimes the only way to unplug is to escape to a place that prevents you from staying connected.

So I escaped. I was blessed enough to walk away and heal. No matter what that looks like to you and what you can financially afford, those pockets of peace are a must now. Close the laptop. Put down the phone. Get lost, if only for a few hours.

We often hear the adage “do what you love,” but there is so much more to consider when it comes to your life’s work. So many in social media and marketing love what they do. Love isn’t enough. Love isn’t enough when you can’t sleep at night when the bad days become a regular occurrence, and the wins seem to fade. Love isn’t enough when your brain constantly feeds on the drops of venom you consumed through the day. …

It’s Time To Work On Your Audience Relationships.

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Photo by Jiroe on Unsplash

We have all had that first date. Sitting across from each other, hearing them talk endlessly about themselves. There are no questions, no back and forth banter; it’s just an ego show.

You get through the night and are left wondering why you were even there. You were talked at for hours. No reciprocity, no appeal to connect with you emotionally or intellectually. You were just there as a sounding board for their narcissism concert.

That person needs to take a hint…and so do brands.

More and more brands have made social media and digital a regular part of their marketing mix, but they haven’t necessarily embraced best practices. They haven’t stopped using it as a broadcast channel like a tv commercial or a billboard. The thing is, social media isn’t a billboard. It’s a conversation, whether you choose to talk about something other than yourself. …

Welcome to the burnout zone.

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Photo by Agê Barros on Unsplash

It has been the year of extras. The year of noise, boycotts, PR disasters and more. The year of Karens. The year of social media hate. The year of… I’m exhausted.

At the helm is the social media professional, reading vitriolic tantrums in 280-character bursts. The professional often regarded as a lowly intern, a volunteer, a teen with a smartphone, is stacked against a torrent of anger, frustration, and whatever announcement their comms team is ready to unleash, breaking the internet and signaling press reports with soundbites, quote cards, and the ubiquitous embedded image to make you, the reader, click.

The past few months have been more than just COVID. COVID was somehow the opening act. Crisis comms has become the major skill set for social media marketers, unable to unplug for fear that they will miss the next hack, the next boycott, the next news alert. The social media marketer has truly become the messenger for brands across the internet and the public has indeed shot the messenger. In addition to being the voice of the brand, they also act as the eyes and ears of it. They are using social listening to see what consumers and the general public are saying about their brand/industry/latest announcement. They are seeing the flood of negative sentiment. In a country divided, a brand’s stance immediately encourages love and hate. …

Want to be a better marketer? Become a better storyteller.

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Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

Fairy tales aren’t just for children and older Disney fans. The modern-day marketer can learn quite a lot when it comes to these timeless stories and the attention they continue to receive. As more and more marketers shift their marketing message to social media channels, there is a lot of content, but not nearly enough stories.

“Marketing is no longer about the stuff that you make, but about the stories you tell.”

― Seth Godin

No matter what you do or how big your business is, you have a story to tell. As marketers, you get to be the crafter of that story, with social media as a living canvas for your words, images, and videos. …

A review of Rand Fishkin’s latest tool.

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How well do you know your audience? Even in the best of times, marketers and sales teams are continually working to increase trust, conversions, and more. The core of doing this well is through audience understanding. Knowing your target audience’s pain points, needs, and online behavior fuels strategic plans to not only reach potential customers but provide them with a service or product that feels so needed that it no longer feels like a sales pitch. It feels meant for them. That is the power of aligning with your audience.

But how on earth do you get to that place? Social listening and audience research offer the opportunity to find out how your audience is talking about you, your competitors, industry, and more as well as getting information through social media as well as through surveys. The problem is that audience research has innate biases based on hoping that those who participate are honest in their survey answers, and that also doesn’t showcase a full breakdown of other correlations you might find interest. …


Christina Garnett

Digital Marketing Strategist | Social Listening Analyst | Featured in The Startup, Better Marketing, and Digital Vault, and The Next Web | In The Trenches

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