Social media / Startups

‘Introverts are sometimes your ideal community managers’: Kate Kendall

She's down on Facebook Pages, but hype on Facebook Groups. Read a few social media insights, and get a look at CloudPeeps, an engagement network from this new resident of Park Slope, by way of Melbourne.

Shala Burroughs and Kate Kendall, cofounders of CloudPeeps. (Photo courtesy of CloudPeeps)
Correction: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated Kendall's nationality. She was born in the United Kingdom and lived in Australia. (11/30/14, 2:40 p.m.)

Kate Kendall has 51,000 Twitter followers, and that should count for something. She’s the CEO of CloudPeeps, a marketplace that connects clients to a network of freelance community managers to help grow their social media reach.

In the back of Brunswick Cafe in Park Slope, where she recently moved, on a recent rainy day, Kendall, a British-Australian, shared thoughts on connecting with a community now and the future of her company.

  • Facebook Pages? Not so much. “We’ve noticed that a lot of clients say ‘yes, it’s great to have a Facebook page’ but they aren’t doing much for their business.”
  • Facebook Groups, however… “I think Facebook Groups have been amazing to champion an internal community.”
  • Influencers are on Vine. “Vine has an amazing network of influencers.”
  • What about ello? “I think we’re actually seeing a consolidation of networks,” Kendall said. “I don’t think there’s much room for a social network just as a social network to win.”
  • Winning Instagram. One tip for succeeding here and on similar groups: show your team. Brands that are expressing their internal personality are doing better than ones that lead with their products. Take a look at how CloudPeeps is doing it.
  • SEOver? Kendall thinks that figuring out Facebook has become the new SEO. That said, great products and great content need strategy, not tricks, to be discovered.
  • Hiring a CM? Be careful about interviews. Introverts are sometimes your ideal Community Managers, she said. While we’re taught to put a lot of faith in how people come off face-to-face, that’s less important today. “Really, being a great communicator now is about how you can be succinct and interesting in writing online,” she said.

Kendall downplayed her large following a bit, saying, “I was one of the first journalists in Australia to use social media,” she said of her pre-startup life, with a bit of a shrug.

It wasn’t hard to be one of the first there, she explained, because she said her homeland is always a couple years behind the United States. She also started Social Melb, which she described as Melbourne’s equivalent of the New York Tech Meetup. Put those two things together and her following snowballed.

She relocated to the U.S. in 2012 because, she said, if you want to be part of big things on the internet, you need to be in New York or San Francisco.

CloudPeeps aims to be a marketplace for companies that want a better social media presence and freelancers who want to do that work. It pairs community managers with domain expertise with companies that need an online presence but don’t have the bandwidth to do it.

Companies pay a fixed monthly membership for a basic package ($499/month for a 15-minute phone call, about 30 tweets, 10-15 Facebook posts and light replying each week, though this is all customizable). Other services are available a la carte.

She wants to make a GitHub or a Dribble for community managers. Her company has partnerships with companies that are also big in this space like Buffer, Hootsuite and Get Satisfaction. Right now, CloudPeeps is a platform that handles 1099s, legal documents and lead generation for freelancers.

The next phase is to collaborate withCloudPeeps partners to make the work itself easier, with a platform that facilitates the posts (and tracking) for freelancers and their clients.

One advantage to working with CloudPeeps? The company takes money from clients up front and pays freelancers every two weeks, with no invoicing.

CloudPeeps is a small team of four committed to a remote culture. Kendall is the only Brooklynite. She often works from home or at the Makeshift Society in Williamsburg.

One product that Kendall said “has absolutely transformed the way we work” is Slack (which has come up a few times in this space). She said it has all but replaced email for the team and increased transparency for a team that only sees each other face-to-face at quarterly deep dives. CloudPeeps has 200 freelancers and 50 customers. It acquired its first customer in February. Kendall estimates about ten of the freelancers doing business on the site are in Brooklyn.

Kendall previously founded a professional events curation engine called The Fetch. CloudPeeps is a member of Lowenstein Sandler’s FirstGrowth Accelerator, which the company announced on Instagram.

Companies: CloudPeeps / Makeshift Society
Series: Brooklyn

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