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March 4, 2021

200: How to Scale Influence through Community (and Why I am Launching One)

200: How to Scale Influence through Community (and Why I am Launching One)

Whether you are a brand or a person, the ultimate sign that you have influence is when people are singing your praises when you are not in the room, whether online in social media or offline.

What if you can bring all of your fans together in an environment so that they can talk about you while also getting direct access to you or your brand?

This is what brands are doing by investing in Facebook Groups for their customers, and in doing so, they are investing in a community that can scale their influence.

Many digital entrepreneurs are doing the same for their customers of their digital programs.

I have decided that the next step to scale my own influence is in the creation of such a community. Listen in for my thoughts and plans for my new Group Coaching Membership Community, Digital First - and learn how you can become one of my founding members!

Key Highlights

[02:59] My Journey to Scaling Through Community

[03:59] The Story Behind My First and Second Book

[06:08] How Being A Consumer Yourself Helps You Understand Your Purpose

[08:52] How Content Creators Build Their Influence?

[10:02] How Does Community Help You Scale?

[11:53] The Story Of How I Developed My First B2C Product

[13:08] What Communities Can Do

[14:36] Digital Economy

[16:35] My First Digital Membership Community

[18:17] How Will My Membership Community Provide Value to the Members?

[19:31] What The Community Will Be

[20:24] How to Join the Community

Notable Quotes

  • Any type of content creation online, on an edge over time, builds influence. But somewhere along the line, you don't build influence over anyone and everyone you build influence over a specific community.
  • For one to excel at social media marketing, one needs to be an active consumer of social media first.
  • What I've realized over the years is that those content creators that do have their own courses, actually build influence for the fact that they have a course.
  • And that's how the community helps you scale, you have a lot of newbies coming in, they don't know if they should buy the tool or not. Or maybe they're on the free trial, they join the community, they see everybody else talking about what they do with the tool, how great it is. And they end up buying it right.
  • That's exactly what I see communities can do, they can make it bigger than you. Because everybody talks about you.
  • There's an economy of people that consume digital products out there that I was not part of that I did not know anything about. yet. It was huge, right? And that's what fuels all these new programs that we see out there, these new courses. And that's why there are people generating seven figures from this, right?
  • The whole idea was that big enterprises have these centers of excellence that they can tap into for guidance on anything social media, or anything digital marketing.
  • So read on blog posts, take all the courses book come to the community to get that applied answer to what you are looking for, to drive your business forward, get to the next stage, grow your business through innovative marketing.

    Reference Links for Neal Schaffer:
  • Become a Founding Member of My Digital First Membership Community: https://nealschaffer.com/membership
  • Contact Me about My Fractional CMO Consulting Services: https://nealschaffer.com/contact/
  • Learn more about this podcast: https://nealschaffer.com/maximize-your-social-influence-podcast/
  • The Age of Influence Free Preview: https://nealschaffer.com/age-of-influence-pre
Transcript

Neal Schaffer:

Are you looking to scale your influence in social media? Specifically, are you looking to scale your brand your business's influence in social media? If so, today's episode is going to be all about how community helps you scale influence. Stay tuned for the next episode of The maximize your social influence podcast. Welcome to the maximize your social influence podcast with Neal Schaffer, where I help marketers, entrepreneurs and business owners grow their businesses using innovative marketing techniques, leveraging the concept of digital influence throughout digital and social media. Hey, everybody, welcome to episode number 200. That's right, Episode Number 200 of the maximize your social influence podcast. I could not have done this without you. So I want to begin this podcast by thanking you for giving me the energy, the courage, the satisfaction of knowing that I'm helping people and businesses by continuing this podcast from my very first episode number one, and this should actually be a trivia question. Whoever answers this gets a prize. Don't think I can do that. But you probably won't be able to answer it. But episode number one was in January 12 2013, when this podcast was known as social business, unplugged. And it's funny, because that episode number one title was the biggest reason you should become a content creator parentheses and why I started this podcast. I've already talked about how podcasts build influence, in fact, any type of content creation online, on an edge over time, builds influence. But somewhere along the line, you don't build influence over anyone and everyone you build influence over a specific community. And that's why I'm really excited about this episode. Obviously, when I did Episode Number 100, it was like any other episode. In fact, you know what going back in history here, I don't even remember what might have been special about it. Episode Number 100 was, wow, this was almost six years ago, March 25 2015. So it's taken me quite a bit to get to this next 100. And that was when I spoke at the seebut Global conference in Hannover, Germany. Wow, how times have changed. But today, I'm really excited because together with this podcast, and one of the reasons why there's been a little gap between the previous podcast episode is I wanted to finally launch something that I've been hinting at, I've been talking about for a long time. So you'll have to stay tuned to the end to hear exactly what that is, and how that might be able to help you. So my journey into scaling through community that I want to talk about today, really began with the creation of my own brand. Well, this is a few brands ago, but it was also the title of a book that I wrote my very first book called windmill networking, understanding, leveraging and maximizing LinkedIn. And at the time, I wanted to create a brand that was bigger than myself. So I thought by creating a brand name, instead of using Neal Schaffer, which will never be bigger than Neal Schaffer, obviously, things have changed over time, I wanted to build something that everybody could a broader audience could buy into, right. And I created this brand called the WeMo networking. Now, that brand really started with a very b2b focus. So I launched my blog back in July of 2008. I did my first speaking engagement in July of 2009. And then when I published that windmill networking book, understanding, leveraging and maximizing LinkedIn back in September of 2009, that's where I got a lot of pings to consult with companies. And that's why I launched my now digital marketing, consultancy PDCA. Social, it really began back in January of 2010. And my focus was really on b2b. That was my professional background, I did not have an agency background. And I only thought that I want to blog for the masses. But I want to generate income from businesses. So I suppose it was an active approach. It wasn't some sort of passive, I'm just gonna, you know, monetize the blog and then live forever after through advertising. It wasn't like that at all. It was really I enjoy working with businesses always have in a solution selling consultative role. And that's where I went and it was really, man. It must have been back in like 2012 or 13 after I'd published my My second book, which is called maximizing LinkedIn, for sales and social media marketing, and someone asked me, Neil, do you have a digital course for your book? Or do you have a digital course I could buy on LinkedIn, because that's sort of the niche that I was known for. Early in my social media career. And I, it's so funny thinking back at this, I literally had to say, dude, can you explain what that looks like? I had no idea. And it's really interesting. There's an interesting parallel here about and when I started doing podcasting, again, I taken like a few year break. When I started again, back in, it was October 6 2019, was Episode 140. So since then, I've pretty much been podcasting. Every week, there been a few weeks where it's taken two weeks, like this week, but but pretty much in the title of Episode Number 40 140, excuse me, was one to excel at social media marketing, you need to be an active consumer of social media first, and it was about me, and my journey with podcasting, where I had actually started to listen actively to podcasts, that was q3, or q2 of 2019. And I realized I've been doing it all wrong. So in the same way, I was never a consumer of digital courses, right. So that was the time where people like Lewis Howes who actually started with a LinkedIn book by myself. So it's interesting to see how two people have gotten very, very different paths with all this. He was before me when he wrote his LinkedIn book, obviously, you know, Amy Porterfield, that's when these people sort of emerged. And to me, it was, you know, it was just sort of an area that I had no clue about, because I wasn't a consumer, I never thought about creating that sort of a product. I wanted to serve businesses. And I thought doing so through consulting, speaking, coaching was the best way to do that. Not necessarily one of those courses. And then it was probably 2000. Actually, you know what it was 2012. All this out. In the same year, I got invited to attend an author marketing conference, this author marketing conference was actually in Las Vegas, Nevada, actually, just outside of Las Vegas and Henderson. And it was at this event, where I met, I met a few people, I met the CEO of Morgan, James publishing, who they are a well respected publisher, they were just I think they're really starting to get get to be known then. But they're a publisher that a few of my author friends have worked with. But I also saw a guy on stage named Brendon Burchard. And for those of you that do not know him, Brandon, really, really early on, he got all this stuff. And he basically said, Look, if you want to monetize your IP, monetize your knowledge, you need to create informational products. And he put together the strategic blueprint of, I forgot how many there were like eight or 10, or 12, of different types of products that you can create, in order to monetize your experience. That was the first program that I ever bought, not cheap. But definitely Brandon at the time was so way ahead of everybody else. And I've always sort of looked at those different areas that he talked about. And I've been able to analyze other content creators and how they've been able to monetize what they do. And it's given me food for thought as to what I want to do in the future. But two things I want to point out here, the first thing for me is that the natural place where everybody goes as well, I need to create a course. And I never went that route, I really didn't know what course to create. Because I was involved with so many different things I toyed around with the idea of creating a LinkedIn course, several years ago, actually flew out to my friend in Charleston, South Carolina, do a powwow for a weekend, try to figure out the agenda and all that it never panned out for various reasons, right. But what I've realized over the years is that those content creators that do have their own courses, they actually build influence for the fact that they have a course, there's only so many courses on a specific subject that you can take. So whether it's a course on Udemy, or on Lynda, now LinkedIn learning, or wherever it is, or on your own website, or on a site like teachable or Thinkific, those people actually have become more influential because they have courses This is the conclusion I've come to. And they become more influential, not just for the courses, but for the people that join the courses and the community that is generated from those courses because now people have skin in the game. And now because people have skin in the game, they're actually following the advice of these content creators, and they're actually seeing results and now they're talking about it to other people. I often talk about with influencer marketing, if people are not talking about you. In social media, you need to incite word of mouth and this is often done, especially in b2c Industries by giving away free product. Obviously there are other ways of doing it. But it's just become very clear to me over the last few years that it's having a course. But also the community that comes from it that can yield a lot of different influence. And what's really interesting is over the last year, especially with b2b products, b2b tools, what have you, the smart companies now have their own Facebook groups, and they have a community, and I'm a member of many of them, they have a community that, you know, some of its complaints, some of its sort of computers that customer support, but a lot of it is other people singing the praises of that tool, right. And that's how the community helps you scale, you have a lot of newbies coming in, they don't know if they should buy the tool or not. Or maybe they're on the free trial, they join the community, they see everybody else talking about what they do with the tool, how great it is. And they end up buying it right. That is the ROI. of having a community it also means that not everybody needs to contact your customer support, they can go into the community, and other people can answer their questions before customer support has to. So this is something that's been at the top of my mind most recently is this, this concept of how community builds influence how community builds trust, how community generates word of mouth. So circling back to my own digital products, it was really when I created the pre sales page for the age of influence. For those of you that might remember, I use the site called publish Iser, and you can go back to episode number. And as I do this in real time here, I know that there are some podcasters that have every single episode number memorized. Unfortunately, that is not me. But episode number 149. How to Become a published author with Lee Constantine from publicized. If you're curious about this sort of Kickstarter for author programs, that was back in February of 2020, just about a year ago. But with the Publish Iser campaign, I put together some if you bought not just one copy, but if you bought three copies of my book, I was going to hook you up with a I called it at the time, because the original title of the age of influence for those that remembers the business of influence. I called it at the time group, the business of influence group coaching mastermind, I said, if you buy three books, I am going to give you one free month of this. So I have always had a commitment that was me putting my you know, one on the line saying I'm going to finally develop a b2c product, right. And this product is going to be a group coaching type of product. And well, the book came out now it's going to be the one year anniversary. So it's time, I think you'd agree to finally launch what this group coaching mastermind might be. But then, over the past few months, have really been fascinated and really done a lot more research on communities, and technology that can help support communities as well. I recently helped a client launch a Facebook group a very successful launch that they're going to begin to monetize. So I see the many, many different benefits that we can have when we launch communities. But at the end of the day, right? When I talked about I wanted windmill networking to be a brand that's bigger than me. That's exactly what I see communities can do, they can make it bigger than you. Because everybody talks about you. And you know what, they can help you scale. Just like all those other people who comment to those complaints, or give advice before the customer support of these tools companies have to that's how you scale. I am in the biggest need of scaling. I want to help everybody. I just don't have enough time in the day. Right? So and those of you listening who may have asked for my help, Hey, man, my apologies. I really do do my best. But more than often I'm just sending links. Here's a blog post to answer the question. Here's a podcast episode where answer the question. So I do my best to you know, provide that free content, but I want to scale. And I want to help more businesses and professionals. But I also think, Okay, I know, from my tools, recommendations, and my running a conference called the social tools summit back in the day. And you know, when I work with clients, introducing them and getting them on board with new tools I know, that have generated a lot of sales for a lot of companies. I know that I've made introductions to agencies, to consultants to other speakers. I know that I've generated probably by this point, because it's been 10 years, it's definitely in the seven figures of business, right that have gone to a variety of people have gone to a variety of companies. So one of the interesting things, just going back to seeing Brendon Burchard on stage and that author marketing conference, is that there is an economy. There's an economy of people that consume digital products out there that I was not part of that I did not know anything about. yet. It was huge, right? And that's what fuels all these new programs that we see out there, these new courses. And that's why there are people generating seven figures from this, right? It is a huge economy similar to how, if you close your eyes, you didn't realize that all the sudden we have all these Tick Tock influencers and Instagram influencers and YouTube influencers, you're not, you're not consuming their content, so you wouldn't know. But if you knew, you'd see they're out there. So I think there's a huge economy, this huge digital economy, I want to create an economy. For those that follow my advice for those that are partners of mine, and those that I've collaborated with those that listen to my advice, or they want to apply my advice to their business, I want to help them be more successful. Now. Up until now, I've only had my fractional cmo consulting, and I finally created a blog post called what is a fractional cmo. And why you should consider hiring one, I just published that this week. So you want to go to Neal Schaffer comm where there's hundreds of free blog posts that can really help you. But you know, now that I'm about well, with this 200 episode, I'm going to announce it, what I have come to the conclusion is, because I need to scale, and I want to help more people in more businesses. In essence, what I want to do, and this is going to be the tagline for this product, is bring innovative marketing to the masses. Right? Now, there's a lot of free content out there, but I can't handhold you through the process. There's a lot of courses out there. But a lot of the courses get really technical, and you can't necessarily apply them to your business. So I want to take all that and bring all of my fractional cmo consulting together and create a community, a membership community, where I and other community members because it's going to be an application process are going to be helping you at every stage of the way. And therefore it is it is membership, right by application. It is a community. And I'm confident with the right people, because these are people that I engaged with on social media, these are people that read my books, my blog with the right people, this is really going to be able to scale me but more importantly, it's going to offer just so much more additional value to the members. And this is the problem with Facebook groups. Now I have a Facebook group for this podcast maximize your social influence, because there's no skin in the game. And because anybody can join. And because there's no skin in the game for me as well, it hasn't really resonated into the community that hoped I'm almost thinking with a paid community where there is skin in the game, and people are bringing their business problems because they know they're going to get answers. And they know that I'm responsible for providing the answers, I think there's going to be more engagement, but engagement by the right people for the right reasons. So this is going to be called the digital first membership community. There's no logo or anything up yet digital first, by the way is this new concept I've been working on for my upcoming book, which you're gonna hear a lot more about in the coming months. But I really want to work through my book in this community. But like I said, bringing innovative marketing to the masses. And this is how I plan to apply my own medicine, of how you can use communities to scale your influence or to scale your brand's influence to my brand. So what I've decided to do, and I plan to do this in will it fly fashion is really I want to bring on 30 people that are going to become founding members that are going to help me mold and shape this community into something that's gonna provide immense value to all who joined afterwards. So I am committing to at least one weekly q&a live stream inside the community. But that's going to be the minimal amount of support, I'm going to give community members, there's going to be more than that. But at the minimal, it'll be a chance for me to really help you and help your business that and give you access to me which until now I really have not been able to give as many people in businesses as I would have liked. So that alone, for me is a huge ROI. So I announced this verse just a few days ago in my email list. And I already got a really, really good response. So I'm going to put it out there on the podcast, that I'm now open for applications for founding members. So if this is something that you're interested in, if you're a business and the way I see this as almost like when I launched my facebook group, it was originally called the Social Media Center of Excellence. The whole idea was that big enterprises have these centers of excellence that they can tap into for guidance on anything social media, or anything digital marketing. That is what I wanted my facebook group to be, that's what this community will become. And that's why similar to how I have a WordPress maintenance service, and I may not have a question for them every day, but when I do I know that they're to respond pretty quickly. It's the same type of support system. So read on blog posts, take all the courses book come to the community to get that applied answer to what you are looking for, to drive your business forward, get to the next stage, grow your business through innovative marketing. That's my promise to you. If this is something that interests you, like I said, there's going to be a link. It's actually Well, I'll tell you what the link is. It's Neal Schaffer Comm. slash membership, right now you're just going to see a form. Once you fill out that form, nothing's going to happen. But over the next few weeks, I will be reaching out to those who applied, I just want to make sure not only Why do you want to join, that's pretty obvious. But what can you contribute? Right, we're all in this together. And I want to find people, I want to find my fans that Russell givers, I know most of you are if not all of you. But I just want to confirm that, because this is how we scale. And this is how we create an economy of nano economy that really benefits every single member of the community. So if you want to wait it out until it launches, officially, that's awesome, my family members are going to get the absolute lowest price that I will be offering to to thank them for obviously helping me mold this. And it'll be a chance to get to know you, and what you offer the world as well as what your pain points are visa v digital marketing. So I hope you'll join me on this new journey. And you know what, if I don't get 30 people, maybe I launch a free version and wait until I get 30. To launch a paid version, this is going to be my own little experiment that I will be reporting back to you on on a regular basis. So at a minimal, I hope that you'll join me on this journey, you'll support me. And just a reminder that you always need to be pivoting and shaking things up and doing new things with your business. And this is the first really, really new thing and really my first digital consumer product that I've ever developed. So I'm really excited that I finally got the confidence. And yes, this is one of the reasons that I took me a little bit longer than normal to record this episode. But I'm glad it's off my chest. And I can't wait to launch this and help as many of you as I can. So this is not a pitch. But if you're interested, please go to Neal schaffer.com slash membership. I look forward to seeing you there. And as always, I want to think so many of you have seen on the apple podcast charts of see maximize your social influence creep its way up in really key countries like the United States, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland. But I also want to give a shout out. I know you've been listening to me, in Spain, in Mexico, hola amigos, in Italy, in Thailand, in the United Arab Emirates and in Luxembourg. So thank you all. I'm really honored if you could take a minute, if you find this to be a value, my only ask is that you just write a quick comment on Apple podcasts or wherever you're listening to this, take a screenshot send it out there and social, I would be honored. And by the way, as I mentioned before, Neal Schaffer calm is the home to you know more than 400 blog posts on everything digital and social media marketing related, including influencer marketing, of course. So if you haven't checked that out, I actually redid my website this last week. Another reason why I'm being a little bit delayed here. I moved to a really, really robust and fun WordPress theme. So I hope that you like the new look and feel. I'd be honored if you could just let me know what you think about that as well. And I'm going to stop here. Thank you for investing your time with me. It really means a lot make sure you hit the subscribe button. We got a lot of great interviews coming up over the next few weeks. But hey, until next time, I want to make sure that I wish you a great virtual social day. Bye bye everybody and SEO nada