Introduce yourself to Christina Garnett

Where do you fit in and why? Christina Garnett has figured out that people rarely fit in to communities that aren’t welcoming. She’s been single-handedly making Twitter friendlier (put her on the payroll, cowards!) and sharing insights about how to nurture meaningful communities. If you’re a long-time listener, you know I come back to this topic often. See Darien LaBeach’s episode for another solid conversation on this topic. It’s a recurring passion of mine because I’ve always felt like an oddball, and am trying to learn what happens inside of groups that gives them their characteristics. Good news, Christina has answers. Find her here. Before and after the episode, we talked Foo Fighters, they are great but they don’t need a plug so I’m not linking to them. Here’s the original tweet we discuss at the top of the episode.

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Adam Pierno 0:03
All right, welcome back to another episode of the strategy inside everything. I am excited today I have my guest Christina Garnett. She is the Senior Marketing Manager, offline community and advocacy, which is a long way to say she knows how to bring people together. Christina, how’re you doing?

Christina Garnett 0:30
I’m doing well. Thanks for having me.

Adam Pierno 0:32
Good. And I don’t think I mentioned where you work. You work currently you’re at HubSpot.

Christina Garnett 0:36
I am at HubSpot. Yes.

Adam Pierno 0:38
No, that has been a fun ride to see you. Jump into that big huge community and apply your skills.

Christina Garnett 0:46
Really nice. It’s it’s a dream job. Obviously. I’ve loved HubSpot for about five, six years. So it’s nice to be able to see your city on the hill and it is still shining once you get inside of it.

Adam Pierno 0:57
Did it lead out to Yeah. Has it lived up to what you thought from the outside?

Christina Garnett 1:01
It has has everyone’s unkind and willing to help. When you when you wind up talking about the things that you need. There’s always someone that jumps into the chat to say, How can I help? What can I do? What can I do? And so there’s there’s definitely this collaborative mindset, which is, which is obviously refreshing.

Adam Pierno 1:22
Yeah, that’s cool. Well, we are going to talk a little bit about that. But first, we’re going to talk about the thing. You’re a number one expert in Foo Fighters. No, I wish I would. That’s another podcast I think. No sequel. I feel like you probably could do an episode on Foo Fighters.

Christina Garnett 1:37
I could. Yeah, I’m down.

Adam Pierno 1:40
You’re like actually, if you don’t mind. I have some theories or honor. Do cuts. Yeah, exactly. Would you mind giving people who are not familiar with you just a sense of your background kind of where you’ve been and what you’ve done before you got your new role at HubSpot newish role, I should say.

Christina Garnett 1:55
Absolutely. So I’m a bit of a polymath English major in college, taught math for five years, then was a stay at home mother got into got back into the professional field, started doing social media, auditing and marketing. have worked with nonprofits, small businesses, universities, fortune 500, companies, agencies, a little bit of everything, and found my way from social media auditing marketing director to strategist to now I work at HubSpot.

Adam Pierno 2:32
That is quite a journey. I think the teaching aspect will probably come into this. I have a feeling.

Christina Garnett 2:38
It does a little bit of teaching and like I joke that curiosity I am just I’m curious to a fault. And it’s the one it’s one major thread that that kind of weaves through absolutely everything. Yeah.

Adam Pierno 2:51
Well, what I wanted to talk to you about specifically and indirectly, more than a year ago, you posted a tweet. And I have been checking in on you on this tweet. Like about every six weeks I send you a DM that’s like I cannot believe people are still replying to this

Christina Garnett 3:07
tweet. Never it’s the never ending tweet.

Adam Pierno 3:11
It’s amazing. So it was very simple, very innocent, and very kind of you just want to give people a summary. Just remind everybody, people listen to this probably like, Oh, I’ve seen this. I’ve seen this I actually introduced myself. What did you say?

Christina Garnett 3:25
I basically said, if you have less than 1000 followers, introduce any work in marketing in some capacity, introduce yourself and tell us a little bit more about yourself and introduce yourself to marketing Twitter.

Adam Pierno 3:35
Yeah. Now this is not a social media stats show. So I don’t care how it’s performed. But I see it in my feed. I see people still a year later, replying to it and still saying like, Oh, I just found this and I’m happy to introduce myself. I have seen people still retweeting it on I think it was December 20. Might be the anniversary, I saw people quote, tweeting it and say happy anniversary to this tweet. Yes. It’s like a third. That’s a newish Twitter phenomenon. Yeah. Tell me what you meant when you did that. Like what? There was either a direct or indirect reason that you posted that. And what was it?

Christina Garnett 4:13
Where were you sitting, I was sitting in my car. I just like pulled up from getting a coffee at Starbucks. And I, I find that it’s really easy for the big names and for the cloud monsters to kind of be heard whether what they’re saying is good or not. And I found that you can’t you can’t really throw rocks at giants like it doesn’t it never it never accomplishes what you need it to accomplish. Everyone just thinks you’re jealous instead of like, no, there’s really genius people doing better work who are being ignored. And so I really found that the best way to combat that was to elevate the people who are doing great work who are saying really insightful things. And for me, and I could be wrong, but from my experience 1000 really is that threshold from someone’s gonna take you seriously versus not take you seriously. And so, a lot of times in my career, I’ve wanted someone to open a door for me a door that I could never reach myself. And it was always just unnecessarily arduous for no reason. And so if I’m in a position where I can open that door for others, especially if they’re doing like, really great work, but just, it’s not that there aren’t saying really great things is that the right people are saying it. And so if I can open a door for people, to be able to connect with others to learn from each other, to be able to share, like how brilliant they are, then I’m going to do that. And that’s actually going to make a bigger ripple than me throwing rocks at Giants. Yeah. And so I put it out there. Literally not expecting anything, just thinking expecting like maybe five or six people to be like, Hey, this is cool. I’m so and so. And it went bonkers.

Adam Pierno 5:58
Yeah. Did you tag anybody? Or did you just posted it up?

Christina Garnett 6:02
As posted it? There’s no hashtags. There’s no tags, there’s no there’s nothing. There’s an extra space after a comma, which will always like bother the crap out of me. Anything that’s unclear.

Adam Pierno 6:14
Button person or no?

Christina Garnett 6:16
I used to be an edit person. I’m not anymore. Yeah, I

Adam Pierno 6:19
don’t care about it anymore. I’ll leave it

Christina Garnett 6:21
at the type. I think the negatives outweigh the positives. I can I can see how people would manipulate it. I could see how people could use the Edit button to manipulate people, especially in the world of misinformation. Yeah. I used to be a diehard, like, give me an edit button. And now I’m like, no,

Adam Pierno 6:39
no, be it would be weaponized.

Christina Garnett 6:40
It would be weaponized immediately. And I it’s not worth it. I will I will live with I will live with knowing that like I’m educated. I know how to write. I just type really fast.

Adam Pierno 6:51
Yeah, or sometimes I just make a kind of a fat thumb over something.

Christina Garnett 6:55
Yeah, yeah. I think that we’re all adult enough to understand that. We can type we understand it’s just really passionate about it or

Adam Pierno 7:06
get some well, actually people that are like, Oh, that apostrophe is wrong, or well, there’s another there’s another point actually at play here beyond the your your correction that was made. But thank you for contributing, I can now downvote your reply. Did you? How does that view of opening that door and putting the light on people that have less of a voice play into how you think about community? You know, and I mean, online communities, particularly, but we can talk about all kinds of community.

Christina Garnett 7:38
I think it really shifts the idea of audience to community because a lot of people especially last year, when it was really becoming more of a buzzword, it was very interchangeable. And it’s really not. I think that when you open a door for other people, you’re showcasing that it’s not about you. And that, for me is the heart of community, I’m going to bring people together. And I may not personally benefit, but others will. And that’s enough. And, and being able to create a spot for people to grow and connect with each other. There’s, there’s people who have gotten jobs because of that tweet, there’s people who have connected with best friends because of that tweet, there’s there’s Twitter meetups with people who they found their best friend from that. And so if I get to be this, like tiny little conduit, that’s really lovely like that. That’s enough. Like that’s the payment

Adam Pierno 8:29
as you are. I don’t know what the right word is, as you’re leading communities, or as you’re nurturing communities, maybe is the word. Is it more about creating the conditions for anyone inside the community to be successful? Or for the community itself as the vessel to be successful? Or are those connected in some way?

Christina Garnett 8:55
I love the term facilitate, hmm, find that that that tends to really kind of showcase what you’re doing. I think what it was a, it’s very much aligned to if you take care of your customers, like you’ll see the growth that you want, if you take care of them. The other metrics will follow suit. Yeah, I feel the same way about the health of a community. If you’re taking care, and you’re creating the if you’re creating the environment, the ecosystem that they need to get what their needs are, they need to be taken care of. Whether that be they want to connect, they want to learn, they want to grow, they want to have opportunities to speak. They want to work on their personal brand, whatever that whatever that looks like. If you create an ecosystem where they can be successful, then the growth and the health of the community will take care of itself. Because they’re going to want to come back. They’re going to want to invite friends. They’re going to want to help others in the community. So it’s very much if you if you drive the behaviors and I think I tweeted about this a while back, it’s you work your way backwards. If I think about the health of the community These are the KPIs I’m looking at for success. So okay, if that’s if look engagement, if I’m looking at engagement as my major KPI as to, are we doing a good job? Is this healthy? Is this Are we are is what does success look like? If I go from there? And I say, okay, the engagement numbers, well, what behaviors do I need in order for that metric to be met? Okay, cool. Well, what can I do to make the people in the community want to do that behavior? What, what needs to be in place? How can I make it easier for them to do that? How can I make it more convenient? How can I incentivize that behavior, and then working your way out so that at the very end, the core of what you’re getting deeper and deeper into is how do I take care of the members? How do I take care of their needs, and how do their needs align with what we are judging the success of the community on this another thing is, there’s a lot of problems with community when they don’t see really quick wins. And they don’t think to realize that the needs of their community needs to align with the KPIs. Because if their behaviors don’t match what I’m deeming as success, then on paper, it’s never going to look like a success, you have to make sure that you have a very clear understanding of what their needs are, what behaviors they will do based on those needs. And how does that align with what we how we want the community to act as a whole?

Adam Pierno 11:26
Yeah, that’s interesting. And then aligning those, whatever the KPIs or whatever your goals are, to what the community is going to be asked to do, or what they naturally want to do. If those things aren’t aligned, it feels disingenuous to the to the members, they start to realize, like, why are they keep asking me to do this thing that we’re not? This isn’t why we’re here? Yep. Have you observed that behavior before? Or that is that when When did communities break down? I guess I’m putting words in your mouth? And I don’t want to do that.

Christina Garnett 11:55
Yeah, no worries. I’m a part of a lot of communities I, I am a sadly, I’m a lurker on most of them. Because I’m, I’m an observer, I’m that person. If you see me at a live event, I’m usually very quiet. And I’m in a corner, and I’m watching everybody, like, that’s me. I just constantly am just, I’m looking at behavior, how are people? How are people working with each other and deconstructing that. And I’m very much the same way, when I’m in communities, I find that there’s this really perfect balance of give and take. And you have to make sure that you’re giving enough so that when you take, it doesn’t feel like it feels like Well, of course I would do this for you, you’ve made this like amazing environment. For me, it doesn’t feel like you’re taking something it almost feels like all this is a way I can say thank you, for you through everything you’ve done for me in this community. So I find that, like with the advocacy advocates that I work with, I’m very particular about how I talk to them. And I want to make sure that I’m giving them more opportunities than I am asking for things. Because it needs to be it needs to be mutually beneficial, but it needs to weigh heavier on them. Like they need to be feeling like they are getting more out of this relationship than I am. Because that’s what makes you feel loved. If it’s reciprocity, it feels very much like tit for tat. But if I if I receive more from someone that I give to them that it feels like, they really care about me, they love me, they want me to be happy. And that’s how I feel about my advocates. I want them to feel appreciated, I want them to feel special. I want them to feel like when I ask them to do something, they understand why I’m asking. And they understand all the things that they’re getting in exchange. And I feel like that trance that transparency, and that that mutually beneficial thing is is it takes time to cultivate that. And a lot of brands get that wrong. Because they immediately want to ask for something. Yeah. And you have to build that relationship. You have to build that trust, and it needs to make sense to them why they’re doing something.

Adam Pierno 14:05
Yeah. The other thing is, you mentioned tit for tat reciprocity, I would say transactional is what can I give to the community a lot of times turns into, like, what are the easy things? Yeah, you know, tips and tricks. And here’s a, some kind of the Easter egg will tuck into a message or post, you know, yeah, how do you identify what are the meaningful pieces that you can gift? That or appreciate it? Like, what’s, what’s that work? And then I guess, how do you inside an organization? How do you get that stuff? Because it’s harder, it’s usually more expensive in some way or another? A lot of times it’s time that costs money to create that stuff. Yeah. How do you advocate for those pieces?

Christina Garnett 14:49
I am in a unique position because I was a hub fan before hub fans was a thing. So I know what it’s like on the outside looking in and wanting a piece of the pie one Need to feel seen and appreciated. And so I do a lot of social listening. And I am constantly talking to the advocates making sure that they feel loved and appreciated. But I always think, like when I’m looking at their posts, whether they mentioned HubSpot or not, I’m always thinking like, what are you up to? What are you doing? What are your goals? Where are you headed? And how can I share that and it might be like retweeting a piece of content that they created, it might be making sure that if if I see an opportunity that would be great for them that I tagged them in something. Basically, my my advocates are more than advocates to me, I definitely want to be seen as someone that’s in their corner, and I want them to be successful, and I want them to feel appreciated. And so when I’m looking at things for them, and I talked to them all the time I do surveys, but I’ll say like, what’s important to you? What, what is motivating you? Where are you headed? Do you want to be a speaker at something? Are you working on an ebook? Are you creating content? How can I be your fan and that’s why like I jokingly call myself a fan of the fans. Because I want to support them the way they support HubSpot. So how can I put you in a position to be more successful, and that could be that you get the opportunity to speak and HubSpot Academy certification course, it could be that you speak it hug. It could be that you’re an inbound correspondent, like we had earlier this year. So there’s all of these opportunities for them to really be the subject matter experts tend to be the hero. And that honestly, is my job is a lot of marketers say like make your customer the hero but like, I get to do that, like I’m the one that puts the cape on him. I’m the one that like, make sure like, is this the logo you want? Is this the branding you want? How can I make sure people know about you? And so for me, it’s something that a lot of brands struggle with. Because you need someone that genuinely loves those people. You can’t just say like, alright, well, here’s a logo, here’s this, we’re going to send them this email. The thing is, is that you want so badly to automate everything. And love can’t be automated.

Adam Pierno 17:09
That’s, that’s crazy. Yeah, it’s such a known thing. But to hear it put so plainly is like, oh, yeah, of course. Especially when you work at a place HubSpot, which is in the business of automating those things tend to identify that there has to be a heart behind it, even though the sending and metrics and analytics will all be simplified for you.

Christina Garnett 17:31
Yeah, I mean, like metrics matter. But I’m very much believe if I take care of them. And I make them feel loved back. The numbers will take care of themselves. And they have

Adam Pierno 17:43
you do you did community management as a part of some of your other roles before you got to HubSpot as part of you know, social media management? I did. Where do brands fall down there? In when they fail at community management? Like where do they? The biggest

Christina Garnett 17:59
thing is they and I’ve said this in previous things, but they’re so focused on crisis cones, and putting out fires. Yeah, that they they ignore, and they don’t adequately love the people who say positive things back. And so when you only pay attention to people, when they’re yelling at you, you’re conditioning your audience to only talk about you when they’re mad. Yeah, there are so many people who feel special and loved and seen and appreciated with just liking something like you don’t even have to respond. Like if you just like something like I’m a perfect example this. Mark Hamill is liked about 20 of my tweets. And it may not even be him, it could be an assistant, but every single time he does it, like my heart flutters. Because I love him. Luke Skywalker, he’s the Joker. But it’s little things like that. And brands do the same thing. And I’ve had brands like my stuff, and I will know the social media person. Like I literally know the human who tapped the button, and it still feels special. Like it still like makes me giddy and makes me feel excited. It makes me feel seen. Yeah. And that’s the thing is brands. They want these relationships, but they don’t do the like the small things well, like they’ll send like $1,000 pr package to an influencer that’ll get like three likes and no one will actually buy the product are influencing. But they won’t tap a like

Adam Pierno 19:32
for free, who complimented them on someone

Christina Garnett 19:34
who loves them, and is now going to tell every single person they’ve ever met that someone just like their thing like that’s, that’s what’s so striking to me. It’s the little things that cost very little money and take seconds like you can make someone feel special in seconds. You just have to do it and they’re so focused and granted you need pet care people who are angry. But if you just spent just some time talking to the people and loving On the people who if someone talks about if someone’s asking like, hey, what CRM should you use? I’m looking for people, whether they tag HubSpot or not. I’m looking for the people who mentioned us and liking it and sending orange hearts because they are giving us free word of mouth. They are getting people to look at us for free for absolutely nothing. And the only thing I have to do in return to say like, Hey, I see you, thanks. That’s such a small ass. And so many brands don’t do it, they will spend that time trying to like, like the thing that kills me, the thing that absolutely kills me, as a marketer, I love it and hate it. It’s when you have all these brands do threads where they like talk to each other.

Adam Pierno 20:44
And it’s amusing. When I when I when I

Christina Garnett 20:48
first started doing it, I really loved it, because I’m like, this is really cute. But then the more I saw that, I was like, that’s time that you could be talking to someone that loves you. That’s time that you could be talking to someone who feels a pro who doesn’t feel appreciated this time that you could be talking to someone who’s recommended you to 20 Different people this month, like you’re showing that you have the time, but you wanted to start instead. And I for me, the social social media is such a unique opportunity to have a one to one relationship with your audience. And so many don’t do it. They’re looking for what’s going to get them in like Ad Week or Ad Age next week, like what stunt can we do to get awareness instead of actually creating these really special moments with customers and potential customers? Like,

Adam Pierno 21:43
is this is it more effective community for HubSpot is b2b that is enabling communication as a brand as a product. Budweiser or Wendy’s? And those are top of mind because they do a lot of those brand new brand chain conversations. So they I mean, there’s when these have a community around it, as I know people like the snarky tone, but I wouldn’t think that’s a real community. I like what Wendy’s is fine. I Wendy’s somewhat regular. But when I look at there, it’s mostly people like hanging on like watching a comedian. Yeah. Like what his record is gonna say next. Okay. Oh, you burned him? All right, great. Or she I guess in this?

Christina Garnett 22:31
I think, as I think that it’s an audience that could be turned into a community if done correctly, they definitely have diehard fans. They definitely have people who kind of lean into them. But I’ve never. I’ve never, like there’s never been a Wendy’s tweet that made me want to eat their food. Yeah, like, there’s never been anything where I was like, they made me laugh, I’m gonna go get food in the country never done that to me,

Adam Pierno 22:59
I can eat their once a month. And never having seen their Twitter, it doesn’t add is not additive at all. It’s a separate thing. Like I can look at it as an entertainment without it being part of the food experience. Maybe that’s maybe that’s bad. But for, like what you’re building, it seems more integrated into the experience of using that tool, that suite of tools.

Christina Garnett 23:23
It can be the community is very much focused on like the way the the current community is set up is it’s when you go there. It’s very support focus, there’s a there’s a search bar, you can go ahead and ask your questions. But you can also join groups and everything else. What I what I like about the community is that you might go in you join the community because you’re a user or a partner. But you come back because of the people that are there because of the resources and the opportunities are there. So I find that it’s it’s HubSpot is the connector like that’s the common thread that runs through everyone there. But once they’re there, they’re doing different things. They might want to connect with others, they might want to take a course they might want to learn they might want to help someone else they might want to become a subject matter expert. So I find that the community for HubSpot is incredibly inbound focused. It’s it feels intrinsically HubSpot it because it’s all about giving value. And it’s all about you can we can come to this place. You can meet others. And there’s not one single person that knows absolutely how to do everything within HubSpot, right. But you have a core group of people who have a very similar mindset to hub spotters, where they have heart they want to help. They’re not gatekeepers. They definitely want to make sure that like if they see that you have a question about something and you’re struggling, and they’ve had a similar issue. They’re very open to saying like, Hey, I ran through this exact same issue. This is how I solved it. This is what I did. I find that that’s such a common thread. And the HubSpot community is that it is a community of helpers. They’re very, very selfless. You’ll see partners go in there and give advice to other customers, not their customers. They’re not paying them for that. They could very easily be like, I’d love to help you with this, but you would have to hire me. But that energy is not there. Yeah, like they’re very, it comes from this place of all you like HubSpot cool. We’re friends, let’s help each other. And that’s just really priceless. To me.

Adam Pierno 25:32
That’s interesting. Because having done enough technology and using enough products and Googling solutions and ending up on Stack Exchange, or the Microsoft Help network or any of those, I don’t know what that thing’s called. It’s you get the answer. Ultimately, if you google and find the keyword and read Google, usually three or four times. But you don’t get a sense. It’s very nice when occasionally, you stumble into a chat where someone has asked the question, and you can see the community, one person building on another on another on another, but I think more of stackexchange in that way than I do have most brands. Do you think the community that HubSpot is has invested in and that you’ve been really considering over the past year or so? Is that kind of becoming a brand element that is drawing the specific type of customer that wants to participate and wants to help and wants to, yes, receive help, but also to contribute and say, Oh, I learned this and now I can share it with the next person in six months when they ask,

Christina Garnett 26:40
yes, it’s definitely a strategic advantage for sure. It not only creates, it creates a safety net in a way. If I have questions, I have my support. But I also have an entire network of people who have done similar things. And who I can I can reach out to and really kind of have a back and forth. But we’re also looking at other events and opportunities for people to do something more. So like with hub fans council for next year, a lot of what I want to do is like peer mentorship. How can we create these connections, where I know how to use this tool, but like I need to level up? What does that even look like? Well, there’s a partner or this person who’s like the president of their company who worked their way up. And now they’re in a capacity to be like, I’d love to mentor someone else. And so now you’re creating these deeper connections. And so, like I said HubSpot, the connection with HubSpot is the foundation. But we are building branches off of that now, like what can the community do once you’re here, and you can learn from each other and you can figure out how to best facilitate your needs using HubSpot. That’s amazing. But what’s next? Yeah, I’m I’m very much a fan of like, surprise and delight has to continually Elevate, because if I surprise and delight you today, and I do the same thing next week, that second one doesn’t feel a specialist. Shrug, right? Yeah, you have to constantly keep growing what you’re offering. And so for me, it’s all right now this foundation setup, what’s next? What’s What are the branches that we can start growing? To really facilitate this and the root? The word is HubSpot. But what can we grow from that?

Adam Pierno 28:24
I don’t know a lot about HubSpot. I’m not I’m not a user. So I apologize.

Unknown Speaker 28:30
But you’re always welcome. But what I

Adam Pierno 28:32
see people who use it commenting about it, they really seem to like it, they get a good benefit from it. So I don’t think my question is going to apply to HubSpot. Can a good community approach ultimately overcome a substandard offering? You know, if the product is not delivering? Does the can the community save it?

Christina Garnett 28:54
It depends. It depends on how receptive the brand is to the community. Great example this is there’s no there’s no perfect product out there. I don’t think anyone anyone who says there’s a perfect product is lying, like whether they realize it or not. So HubSpot has the ideas forum. And it’s literally a forum where customers or partners come in there and say like, Hey, I really need this. Or why can’t it do this? Or why can’t we have this. And so the community is giving you market research, they’re giving you data, they’re giving you information, they’re giving you everything in one place for you to be like, alright, what are they missing? What do they want? And so in that capacity, HubSpot, and the project manager in the product teams, they look, they look at the ideas form to see like, what are they asking for is that something that’s already on our roadmap, is that something that we didn’t even realize was a thing, all of these things. So you’ll see in the ideas forum, people can upvote it, they can like it to make sure that it gets more like these are the things that a lot of people want and you’ll see people say like hey, I put this on the ideas forum. Please go vote for So they’ll realize like how much of a need we have for it.

Adam Pierno 30:02
We do this in my office too with a product called right where they’ll, someone will slack the whole 100 person unit and say, hey, everybody go up with this idea. We need this implement.

Christina Garnett 30:11
Exactly. Now, if the brand has something similar to this like HubSpot does, and they listen, then the community is a conduit for constantly improving the product. And that’s good. And it’s very good. It’s priceless. Yeah. So in that capacity, community can tell you exactly what’s wrong. Exactly what they need exactly what’s missing. And now instead of being like, well, we have it and we have these customers, instead of that meeting, like what do they want, you can pull out the URL and be like, I can tell you exactly what they want. Yeah, tell you what, here’s the list. And here’s the priorities. And here’s the comments. And here’s, and sometimes they’ll not only give you an idea, they’ll tell you how they would implement it. And so, exactly. So community can definitely do that. As long as the brand is receptive, and uses that information to improve the product. Yeah. Now, if you have a community, and they’re and they’re keep yelling at you about like, I need this, or why can’t we do this? Or this doesn’t work? Why can’t we do this instead, and the brand isn’t receptive. Now, what you’ve done is you’ve turned a community that wants love to you and wants to be helpful, now feels ignored. And now you have the opposite of advocates. Now you have these people who, who feel completely demonized and taken for granted. And now, not only will speak badly about you about your brand, but also could theoretically turn into advocates for a competitor because you’d be like, you’re not gonna listen to me. Well, they will.

Adam Pierno 31:42
Yeah, that’s funny is so you give them the tools. But if you don’t, then listen, take some of the feedback or respond or engage if it’s just going into a mailbox that nobody checks. It’s harmful.

Christina Garnett 31:54
It’s harmful, it does it, it turns that community against you, because you’ve given them an opportunity to talk to you. But you’ve turned it into a vacuum instead. And so over time, they’re like, they’ve, they’ve given me this, but they don’t listen, and they don’t respond. And I feel and so now, at first, I was like, I was helping you now I feel like no more now I feel taken for granted. And now you have resentment. Yeah.

Adam Pierno 32:21
Yeah. And frustration? Because I came to you, you told me to tell you when I see an opportunity, or when I have a problem, and here it is, and you didn’t do anything? Yeah. How much? Do you weigh offline social, listening to comments, you know, in that platform environment, or, you know, direct communication to customer success?

Christina Garnett 32:42
Got it, you got to look at all of it. Yeah, as people also communicate differently on different platforms. So a great example is Twitter versus Reddit. I do a lot of social listening on Twitter, and Reddit. But let’s say that you’re in DevRel. You are more likely I get a lot more content from Reddit than I do Twitter. Because there’s more there’s more opportunity for characters and Reddit. And people just tend to believe that there’s going to be more like technical people there. So that if I talk to you about this, like I’m a developer, or here’s the struggles I’m having, here’s the question I have, they’re more likely to feel like someone’s going to respond to them versus putting something on Twitter, Twitter, they might like, say, their frustration, or they might say like, Hey, I’m having questions about this. But because of the character count, and because of the audience that they feel connected to, they’re not going to be as specific on Twitter versus Reddit. So on Reddit, not only can I figure out like, Alright, these are the problems that they’re having. These are the questions that we’re having, is this something our team knows about? Is someone did someone do a really great job of answering that question, and maybe I should see if they want to be a hub fan, if they want to be an advocate and be rewarded, because they’re already doing stuff for us already helping all of those things you need to you need to make sure that you’re listening to because a lot of people another problem that brands have is that they only take the time to look at stuff where they’re specifically mentioned. So if there’s not an apt, they’re not looking at the stuff. Yeah. And you’re you miss out on quite a lot of things like you missed out on a lot of gold. Because if you only look at the stuff where you’re mentioned, like with an app, so it tags you, if you only look at that you’re only seeing the content that they want you to see. You’re not seeing the casual conversations where they recommended to you or the casual conversations where they’re like why like HubSpot, but dot dot dot, like you miss out on a lot of praise you miss out on a lot hate you miss out on a lot of neutral stuff,

Adam Pierno 34:40
especially where people are asking you for comparison advice, hey, I’m looking at these three. They’re not tagging brands, I don’t know, right? Or even on Twitter, we’re even in Google searches where they’d say, Hey, show me side by side who’s who’s used these three? Yeah, right. There’s insights that just get missed if you’re only if you’re only capturing those tags. Mm. Those are very deliberately placed, especially in a certain part of the funnel.

Christina Garnett 35:06
Yeah, if you if you’re, if you’re just looking at the tags, those people want to make sure you see them. Either they have a problem, and they are super pissed. And they want you to handle it ASAP. Or they absolutely love you and they want to make sure that you see them. Yeah, right, right. But other than that, they’re just, they’re just going to say the name of your company, or they’re going to talk about your industry, or they’re going to talk about your competitor. I’m a firm believer and looking for the stuff that isn’t like, like hashtags, like hashtags are fine. But I’m gonna go straight to native. And I’m going to look for just the words without the hashtag without the ad, and I’m going to look for people, like, how do they naturally communicate? People don’t naturally communicate with ads and hashtags? And especially if they’re in a hurry, they’re definitely not. Yeah, so you need to make sure that you’re looking at that, because there’s a lot of information that you just you don’t see. Otherwise,

Adam Pierno 35:58
what are you using for listening now? Are you just doing native?

Christina Garnett 36:01
I do native, the thing is, is that the API access is so different across platforms that I always do native first, because you know that you’re not, you’re gonna get everything that you can, versus if you’re going through a platform, there might be a cut off, or there might be, there might be something that this link doesn’t get through. And so it’s not in your feed, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist, right. So I like I usually start my day and I go on Twitter, and Reddit and just search HubSpot and to see like, what’s happening? Yeah, what’s going on? How are things are things really great? Is there someone is there someone who’s a big advocate for us that I didn’t realize that I can be like, Hey, let me introduce myself. Let me let me let’s be friends, how can I help you? Other times if someone having an issue, but they didn’t tag support? And so I want to make sure support gets in touch with them and sees you and yeah, and gets taken care of. So it’s just these little things that I love native, but I also like, I use Twitter natively to like everyone thinks I have like TweetDeck. And I do all these other things. I’m like, No, I love native. I love native. Yeah,

Adam Pierno 37:08
I don’t always like either. Yeah, yeah, I

Christina Garnett 37:10
have to I have to do native it feels. I feel like I have as much access to everything as I as I need without it being. I don’t want it to look like work. If I feel like if I put everything in TweetDeck it would look like work. And I’m like, Oh, I don’t want to do that. I needed to feel fun.

Adam Pierno 37:25
Yeah, that makes sense to me. You have in your title, which I didn’t know until right when we started recording this. You have the word offline, offline community and advocacy. Tell me what that what that means. Because I think of you very much as online. And I think when I reached out to you, I said I want to talk about online communities, which Yes, are you an expert in? But deliberate placement of the word offline and your title? Yeah, tell me more.

Christina Garnett 37:50
So much of what HubSpot does. Even though like obviously, you’re in your online, you’re using the tools, all these things. They’re still very much a global network of people who need human connection, who want to talk to each other who want to meet in person and all these things. And offline can mean multiple things. So not only does it mean in person, does it mean not online, but it also means the stuff that like is not HubSpot community. So there are slack communities that I’m a part of that HubSpot might be mentioned in but it’s not HubSpot Slack channel. It’s it’s there’s multiple opportunities for us to have advocates, in other groups and other communities and on message boards that we don’t own. But they they want to represent us. And then the idea that, like for me inbound is like the quintessential community, like I’m an introvert. I know it doesn’t feel that way about marketing my introvert face. But like, I don’t like big rooms. I don’t like big rooms that don’t like lots of people. But if you put me in lane Stadium at a football game, you put me in a Foo Fighters concert, you put meat in bounds like the serotonin takes care of it. Like I thrive. But that’s the thing, like you go to inbound. And it is like it’s perfect community to me. I can be standing in line waiting for a coffee and I know that the people around me if I start talking about my work, they’re gonna get it. And in a world where like, there’s all these jokes about like, Hey, how did you explain what you do for a living to your parents over Christmas? Like that kind of thing. You get to go to a place like inbound. It’s like these people get it. These people understand these people get me and I go anywhere else. I’m a complete weirdo who just wants to talk about like Twitter and Reddit and like advocacy and community. I go there and then I these are my people. And so I really find that that offline piece really kind of ties everything together because it doesn’t just live online. We live in a hybrid world now. There we do. We do desperately need have the ability to be able to connect face to face and to be able to sit in a room together or just like have drinks afterwards and just talk about like the sessions we loved and hated. Versus jumping on a zoom call or, or being an on the message boards together or being in Twitter, DMS. I mean, there’s, we very much live in both, we need both. Now, there’s not going to be just this all offline world. And so it’s it’s really nice to be able to speak to people across different countries across different boards, their customer or partner and very varying tiers of those. Understanding that someone can be a free CRM user, or they can be like, an elite partner, I want to make sure they’re all taken care of. And so it gives it broadens my scope, so that I can I can really take care of everyone, no matter what their connection to hub spot.

Adam Pierno 40:56
Does that? Is that how you approach a classroom when you were a teacher? Not so much the teaching, but there’s 30 desks. And not all the people sitting at those desks need the same thing to get from lesson to lesson? Is it the same? You want to show each one that you care, but everybody receives care differently?

Christina Garnett 41:17
Yes, my, my second, my second job was at The Fletcher School in Charlotte, and it’s a school for students with learning differences. And we went through training, Orton Gillingham training specifically. And it’s all about differentiated instruction and how to teach students who might have short term to long term memory issues, who might have dyslexia dyspraxia, who might have, they might just learn differently, and they’re in a capacity where they’ve been, they’ve been put in a different school, so that they can get the specific training they can get the learning that they need. And so for me, differentiated instruction, whether I’m focusing on someone who’s auditory or is more tactile, or is a visual learner, being able to figure out how can I take care of these individual needs so that they feel successful, because there are differences, there are differences or the reason why they’re being deemed unsuccessful. But if I can tailor my work to their needs, then they can be successful. And they don’t feel like failures because the system around them didn’t take care of them. And so that was definitely a huge part for me, like you said, the teaching will come back it did. But differentiated instruction is incredibly important to me, there are some people who just want swag, like they’re happy, like you’re fine. There’s others who want to be speakers, and they want to be subject matter experts, like everyone has different motivations. And everyone is in a different place in their life, based on what their needs are. And so I do what I can to try to learn as much as I can about each individual advocate and their role in the community and what their needs are. Because I if I give the same thing to everybody, and I talk to everybody exactly the same, no one feels special, it doesn’t matter what I give them when they realize that like, she talks the same to everybody, she gives the same opportunities to everybody. There’s no, it needs to feel different. It needs to feel special. And so I asked myself every day like, how can I make them feel special? How can I make them feel appreciated? And when I’m creating plans for next year, and strategy, and what that looks like, and what the opportunities I could offer them, it all comes down to with this make them feel special. And I found like you said earlier time is the biggest thing that that tends to be the biggest gift. It really is. It’s time and access. Yeah, people really like swag is great, but it’s very foundational. I see swag is like, Hey, I see you. But if you can be in if you can be in a in a chat with like people that you’ve known for years on Twitter, but you’ve never had a chance to talk to them. Or you get like a special VIP access to do certain things. Knowing that you get that opportunity. And then you see the other people who have that opportunity. And you’re like I understand why I am here. I understand. I’ve seen what these other people do too. And I understand our connection with each other and what we’ve done similarly. That’s just really powerful. A really great example of that is we had a couple inbound correspondents who, who English is not their first language, it’s not their primary language. And we had a we had a meeting to kind of like answer any remaining questions for inbound started. And a couple of them were just very uncomfortable. And they tried to speak in English and everything else. And I was like, I’m just glad you’re here. And when you’re creating content and you’re sharing your stuff on LinkedIn and Twitter and anywhere else about Inbound, if you want it to be in Spanish or Italian or whatever, like do that. Because that makes you You feel more comfortable, you’re gonna be able to express yourself in a better way that also opens up your content to other people who didn’t get a chance to go to inbound. Because they don’t speak English, right? And so it’s a barrier

Adam Pierno 45:13
that you’re overcoming. Yeah,

Christina Garnett 45:16
that’s a huge barrier that you feel more comfortable. But you’re also democratizing that content and creating access for others. That’s a, that’s a good thing. And so just things like that, like, how can you? How can you make it so that people can lean into their strengths? I, before they had hub stars originally. And we brought it back. And it was before it was all gamified. But I very much wanted community and gamification, because not everyone advocates the same way. There are people who love us, but they don’t care about points or badges. They don’t want to do challenges. They think it’s stupid. There are others who are in the community that are lurkers, and they just don’t feel comfortable talking to each other, but they will take every single challenge I put up there. And they should both feel equally welcome. Yep, they there’s no one way to be a fan of something. And I don’t want people to feel like they’re not welcome. Because they don’t follow like the script that they think needs to be set.

Adam Pierno 46:16
Do you going back to having a classroom and in all that you learned and applying that community has? Has that ever been a challenge of scale for you? You know, 3030 students in a classroom versus I don’t know how many 1000s of customers, users, hubs, supporters, you have partners, whatever the words are that you use there? Yeah. Is that is that scale overwhelming at times? Or is it Are you able to just break it off into bite sized pieces,

Christina Garnett 46:49
I prioritize what I need to do and what their needs are. Obviously, as we continue to grow, you need to scale the team just as the community scales. So it will eventually need to grow, it will eventually need to be a bigger team. But for right now, the way that I work through it is I’m very particular about prioritizing what needs to be done now what can we what needs to be done, what needs to be prepared? And also, just like I said before, like just being very careful about what are their needs? And what is most at risk? If I’m overwhelmed, if I’m doing too much. What are the risks? Who’s Who’s going to who’s going to be impacted the most by that? And how can we minimize that risk. So just a lot of like Future Planning has been has been really helpful and making sure that because it is easy, it is easy to as it scales, everyone’s takes a step back. And then it doesn’t feel a special right being in a room of 20 versus being in a room of 20,000. Very different, very different. So yeah, there’s, it’s definitely something that I keep an eye on. And I’m just very, I tried to be very mindful about my interactions, who I talked to how I talked to them. And then who do I need to work with to make things better, to make things to make things easier and and taking care of and then I make it so that people can contact me like I have. I’ve had fans that are in the community, but we’re better on Twitter DM, so we DM each other, they need anything they know they can reach out to me, and vice versa. And so meeting them on their ground, where they feel most comfortable is also incredibly helpful.

Adam Pierno 48:39
Nice. Well, I want to make sure I let you get back to work you are working today. I am off. Sucker. Thank you so much, Christina, for making time for me today. I appreciate the chance to catch up with you again. Absolutely. It was great. Where can people find you online besides everywhere?

Christina Garnett 48:57
Twitter, Instagram, medium, I’m that Christina G? Yeah, find me find me wherever. And you can learn more about hub fans. If you just search. Actually just contact me actually. And I can give you a full detailed list of what we do what we offer and see if it’s a good fit for you.

Adam Pierno 49:19
Awesome. I will link to that original tweet from from last year that just had its recent one year birthday.

Christina Garnett 49:26
And we and we do have an official marketing Twitter community now on on Twitter communities, which is nice.

Adam Pierno 49:32
Oh, yeah, that’s right. You started that? I did join that. So

Christina Garnett 49:35
yeah. That’ll bring more people in.

Adam Pierno 49:38
I feel like it’s going to take off soon. I know you started to just before Christmas. So people have been joining but so far it hasn’t done what I think it will do in the next couple of weeks.

Christina Garnett 49:47
Yeah, I hope so. I think right now we’re around like 560 people. So it’s not it’s not too big.

Adam Pierno 49:53
Yeah. Still time if you didn’t on the ground floor. Yes. All right. Well, thanks again. Christina. Great talking to you.

Unknown Speaker 49:59
Absolutely. Sounds good.

Adam Pierno 50:00
This strategy inside everything is produced by me, Adam pure. If you liked what you heard, please leave a review wherever you listen to your podcast really helps. For more information about me Adam pure note you can go to Adam There’s information about my books, my speaking and my strategy work. Have an idea for a guest send it my way, just go to Adam and you’ll find a forum there that will help you connect. Thanks for listening

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