Using Online Tools to Build Community

October 2017

By Leo Dion, CEO and Founder, BrightDigit

The blend of traditional marketing and digital marketing is more prevalent than ever before. Traditional marketing departments and companies are transforming into technology centric models. To that end, we have created the Lansing Marketing Hackers User Group. This group will be focused on helping businesses and individuals understand the plethora of new digital marketing tools.

Over the last decade, we’ve seen:

  • An increase in video as people have access to more quality content
  • AI has crept in the marketing industry and we see automation becoming a major part of the marketing toolset
  • Lastly, Email, a tried and true technology, has made a major comeback in digital marketing.

Lansing Marketing Hackers will help give an overview of the current landscape and provide people a better understanding of what new tools are out there.

We will host our first meeting on October 11th at Noon at the Grand Ledge Fledge located at 325 South Clinton. I will be presenting: Using Online Tools To Build A Community. Thanks to sponsorship from RMC and LansingCodes, I have run several meet-ups in the past and have experience using a variety of tools to make this happen. For those of you who want to learn how to build a community, we are going to go through the tools I used to start Lansing Marketing Hackers.

Gathering Audience Preferences

One of the first things that needs to be done before having my first meet-up is understand what my audience wants to gain, and of course when and where they would like to meet. One way to do this is through an online survey, and there are several tools to do this.

There are many tools out there that require some sort of subscription. However, when it comes to design, reliability, and price, we went with Typeform. Typeform, just with its free tier, offers some basic logic to build personalized, interactive forms for its users as well as some decent analytics. For instance - once we ask the first name of the user we can use that to personalize the remainder of the survey. If we pay more, we can add more logic into our survey such as asking certain questions based on answers or giving more response options to the users. If you want some personalization, interactivity, and automation and are curious to try something new, I would recommend Typeform.

Organizing the Event

The second thing I had to do was find a tool to use to organize the event. We ended up going with to host our events. There are several reasons for this. Meetup is geared towards building communities around free events. This means that as folks join a meetup they will be continually updated on upcoming events. For people who are searching for particular topics, Meetup offers a great way to find communities you may be interested in.

Next Steps - After the Meetup

Creating a community is not a one and done deal but is an iterative cycle. After the meetup:

  • Stay connected with your audience through survey as well as personal communication
  • Update the audience on upcoming events and continually send reminders.
  • Keep them informed about other events or relevant news and articles.
  • There are plenty of great tools but like any tool, the outcome depends on how you use it. If you treat your audience generously and give them the content they are looking for, you will be rewarded.

If you are interested in learning more about this subject, be sure to join on October 11 at the Grand Ledge Fledge at 325 South Clinton. You can RSVP at

See you then!

Since 2012, Leo Dion has operated BrightDigit, a consulting company which develops web and mobile applications for businesses such as Jackson National Life and Cheeney Media Concepts. He has also developed products such as TicTalkToc, a public speaking timer app for the iPhone and Apple Watch, as well as Tagmento, an intelligent time tracking app. Leo brings over 15 years of experience in technology. He has a passion for mobile technology, public speaking and education, and frequently speaks at professional groups about the benefits and capabilities of mobile technology.