I wanted to tell you a little story about the power of an online community during a crisis, or moreso … the power of TDP’s community during a crisis, because y’see we knew it was a powerfully strong community, but heck.
Our community has saved us during this pandemic, and I doubt they’d even truly realise just how imperative the role our TDP community played in keeping TDP’s doors “open” during CV-19.
Y’see when this all first went down? We were stoic. Really stoic. Too stoic.
So we were all like, “everything’s fiiiiiiiiiine”, because I guess what I took from 3.75 years of unhappy business partnership whilst our TDP community were writing comments like, “business partner goals” is that … you don’t have to share everything with your community [of course. PR 101 there, really], but additionally? People will believe you when you’re all like, “everything is fiiiiiiine”.
And so we spent the first 1-2 weeks doing the whole, “everything is fine” thing online, except … it wasn’t [ha!].
So then? We weren’t fine.
Anyone else feel like this whole 8’ish week period has felt like 87 years?
I feel like the first fortnight of COVID-19 was genuinely 100 years long, and the emotions were high [so high] during that period, and the fear? JAY-SUS. It was real. And when fear feels really real? … kneejerk reactions happen.
We’d head “into work” [and when I say IN to work, I mean … our remote offices] each day, only to learn that another client was dipping out from our portfolio [sure, we have contracts, but honestly? What kind of arsehole would hold a person accountable to a contract in a climate like this one? Not us. Not ever].
And so it was all beginning to [seriously] crumble, and I was still 60’ish% in the whole pretending-that-everything-is-fiiiiiine stage of all o’ this, but quickly realising, “I’ll at least need to let Senior Management know that sh*t is NOT fine”.
And once I did that? … it kinda made me think, “let’s not pretend everything is fine online, either”. And so we didn’t. We didn’t share it all [no way], but we definitely begun to let people know, “TDP ain’t the powerhouse you – perhaps – have it in your mind that we are”. Like, guys? [big] businesses are collapsing here, and we’re an itty-bitty one, and we ain’t ok.
And d’ya wanna know what happened when we did that?
Our community rallied.
Holy sh*t, they rallied.
Y’see the thing about an online community? … well, it’s that you’ve got no idea how widespread its impact can be until you’re on the receiving end of that impact, a.k.a our community to us.
Our engagement spiked by 50% and your comments? They were like an absolute lovebomb’ing. It’s like, everything you’d always felt? … you passed on to us. And it was so beautiful, and uplifting, and it was like you all played this most incredibly important role: championing us on, just via your words.
Like, I’m a really non-athletic person guys? And I don’t watch any sports. Literally, no sports get me excited the way they do my husband when he screams at the TV in the loungeroom at a feckin’ football match > that’s a REPLAY > from 19-feckin’70, haha! But in saying that? … I think I finally understand why coaches are important [and why they earn the salaries that they do], because in week 2 of all o’ this when I was like, “ok. This is it. This is where it ends” … you guys sniffed out our panic, and you bombarded us with messages online, and it got us all g’d up to get into the ring again, and go the final round.
And so we did.
Additionally? We were swamped with DM’s. We were messaged on every social platform by people saying, “I have a cousin in Canberra who has a government contact who can get you some corporate work” [the list goes on]. And those contacts turned into opportunities for us to pitch. And we worked on various pitches until 1am, and then we went and won those pitches.
Instagram followers turned into Marketing Managers > heading up xyz marketing departments > who decided to outsource their SMM to us. Other Instagram followers were also Marketing Managers > who had training budgets they needed to spend [and so spent them via remote training with us].
And our followers across all platforms? Well, we’ve never been tagged us much as we were when our community got a slight whiff of us not being ok. And they shared our stuff, and they tagged their friends in our stuff, and they wrote the nicest bluddy things about the impact our business has had on their business.
And our clients? OMG. Our beloved clients. They added to their retainers: content creation, video creation, influencer marketing campaigns, Instagram story additions to retainers. Just … an absolute fleshing out of retainers. #thankyou
And this all ultimately allowed us to remain #doorsstillopen, which lead to … continuing on with the good work we do, but also? Getting into our very favourite cave [the innovation cave], and designing different products which you guys loved [i.e our content calendars + reporting templates + content populations decks etc.].
And selling those? Well, it’s meant that everyone wins: we priced them stupidly low, so that you guys win. And then when you buy them? … we win too. #altruismFTW.
The power of a community, eh?
I’ve always known its true power: I wrote a successful parenting blog for 3+ years [and ended up with a readership of 60k readers per month]. I worked my early days digital marketing roles across various online publications, where the community is your make or break. And then of course, I worked in-house with a lotta startups where you invest everything into the community you’re trying [so hard] to build.
So me and community? We are tight.
But now? Like, right now when I’m on the receiving end of a lovebomb’ing that’ll be something I’ll remember for as long as I’m Founding Director here at TDP? … I can whole-heartedly say our community changed the course of this here little business’ trajectory over the last 4 weeks especially.
Never underestimate the power [and importance] of your online community.