Ep. 89

Saying Farewell to Our Online Community with Team Interact

In this episode we explore the ever-changing landscape of online communities and discuss the reasons that led to our decision to close ours. We discuss the factors that contributed to our decision and the impact The Quiz Collective community has had on our business and customers. Join us as we say farewell to our online community and discuss what the future holds for Interact and our customers!

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This episode features Interact’s CEO Josh Haynam, Customer Success Manager, Damaris Pacheco, Growth Manager, Jackie Aguglia, and Social Content Manager, Jesy Nelson.

Hi everyone. Welcome back to Interact’s Grow podcast. My name is Jesy and I’m the social content manager here at Interact. And today I’m here with Jackie Damaris and Josh. Thank you guys all. Hi everybody. Yep. Thank you guys all for being here today and last week we mentioned that it was our first episode without Josh and Jessmyn and I think we did pretty good.

But give that episode a listen and let us know what you think. And today we have Josh today, so still one down. Still missing judgment still on her sabbatical, but I think we will be able to push through without her for now. We’ll see if we survive. If we, if we break everything, then we’ll just we’ll just go find her.

We’ll go find her and just get into this show there. We’ll call her on. And today we actually wanted to talk about something that we are doing right now at Interact and it is saying farewell to our beloved community that we launched back in 2020. So on this topic, Jackie, I think I’m gonna start it off with you.

Why did we launch the community? So at the time we were, well, I guess first the off the pandemic, right? And maybe Josh, you could even speak a little better to this cuz I wasn’t here in 2020 yet. But the pandemic just sort of required a more human centered community approach because people were away from people.

So I think that’s what initially kicked it off. And then we built out a coaching program. So it was five weeks of coaching with yours truly. And if you couldn’t attend the sessions live, we needed a space to send people to or where people could gather. To sort of catch up on the replay, ask questions that they couldn’t ask in the live sessions as they were doing their homework or the action steps from coaching, if they got stuck or wanted feedback on what they were doing.

We needed a, a place where we could communicate that when we weren’t meeting live. And so that’s sort of where the need for the community came from. If anybody else wants to elaborate on anything, feel free. Yeah, I think that describes it pretty well. I would say in reflection. I think during the pandemic especially there was, there was that increased need for just like connection across a lot of things.

And I feel like so much of what we do is just in response to what our customers are are looking for. And at the time they were looking for a place to like talk about their businesses and share ideas and. You know, really have a space to, to chat. And if you remember back then, and like, this is probably still true to some extent, but like, I think especially during the pandemic, like Facebook got pretty nasty.

Like people were not agreeing on things and getting in a lot of fights and stuff like that. And so there was a huge push to move off of Facebook which is part of why we did that. And then now like people are kind of switching gears where they’re just like, Kind of back to the, let’s just get stuff done, let’s get it done fast as possible.

I don’t want to dilly dally, just like, help me get my quiz live and then I need to move on to the next thing. And so it makes sense for us to sunset it at this point, I think. Yeah, we started out, I remember with the Facebook community and it was a little different than Circle cuz that we were allowing anyone who wanted to learn about Interact to join in there.

And it definitely got harder to moderate as the pandemic went on. So I think when we moved to Circle there were a few reasons, different features that we decide to make that switch for Jackie. Could you tell us a little about Circle in case anyone’s wondering what it’s like. Yeah for sure. Go check them out.

They have their own circle community that helps you launch your community. So a lot of the best practices that we started out with in the quiz collective came from what I learned from other community creators over in, in Circle. But I think the, probably the best feature that Circle offered in moving away from Facebook was.

The community grew quite a bit, I think for the Facebook group. Got to like five or 600 people and it was so hard, not even just for us to keep control of like the messaging in there and, you know, link back to other things that had happened in the past and keep up with what was coming in now. But for the members, especially the newer members that were coming in at that time, they would have to scroll and scroll and scroll through the Facebook.

Group to find what people were sort of typing or asking, and it was almost impossible for them to find information, so they would just re-ask the same questions over and over and over again, right? Which isn’t the point of a community for us to ask questions. You can use our chat feature for that in a community, you don’t just want our answers.

You wanna speak to the community, the other people who are creating quizzes as well, specifically in your industry. So when we flip to circle, they have specific channels where we could group the weeks of coaching so that if you had questions on your quiz idea, you could talk with other people who were working out their quiz idea as well.

You could brainstorm with each other, share best practices, things like that. For all five, the five different weeks that we had. The other thing that I really, really loved was the member directory. So with the member directory, Again, because you’re trying, as a facilitator of a community, you don’t just wanna answer all of the questions.

You wanna put people in touch with each other and get them to know each other. And so with the member directory, there are certain filters that we could use and also members could use to search for specific things that you’re looking for. Maybe copywriters, maybe somebody who works in the same industry as you.

Right. An expert, we had expert led channels. So if you were looking for somebody who, who knew more about Facebook ads or branding, anything like that, you could use the member directory to find those people. But as the facilitator of the community, we could use the member directory to connect people with other people so that we weren’t just answering the same things o over and over again.

So I would say those two features, the specific channels and the member directory were two of my favorites that you don’t have access to on Facebook. Yeah, I would have to say that the member directory was one of my favorites cuz if someone wrote in and they’re like, Hey, I’m writing a quiz about beauty products, then I could kind of do a quick search to see if anyone else was in that same industry, what they were going through, any questions that they had and you were totally able to connect them, which is way too hard on a Facebook group unless you know people by first name basis and everything like that.

Yeah. Yeah. I also think that our ability to host our workshops in there that were really just for our members and weren’t posted anywhere else was super cool. Yeah. And that the organization of it too, right? So like live events were in its own space that you could RSVP two and get links from. But also the replays were in a different space where we didn’t allow, I don’t think we allowed commenting or posting on, so it just kept everything very organized of like, Hey, if you’re looking for, I don’t know, extra sessions that don’t necessarily relate to building your quiz, which you’re getting up in these channels.

Then check out these replays and they’re all organized for you based on what you would need to know without the extra distractions that you get from Facebook. Well, first of all, just your notifications of people not even in your community trying to talk to you, right? But also people posting among the replays, which just like sort of like suppressed the replay so much.

Nobody could ever find it.

Well with, I think we kind of touched on this a little bit, and I think our main goal was to get a place where we can help people and give them the right resources and connect them. What do you guys feel like, what are the other things that went well with our community?

Hmm. From my perspective, it was a good place to hear people in a longer format of what they’re struggling with. I think sometimes, like with direct support, it’s more specific of like, I’m trying to solve this little problem. But on the community, people would write things out in kind of longer form, which is really helpful.

That’s like one of our big things is always just like listening to customers and trying to understand what is really happening that’s problematic. So I think that was really helpful. And then just a comment as you all are discussing this, I think on this topic of like switching gears and sunset, something that we built, I feel like there’s a good lesson for us and like for probably all of our customers too, like.

There were a lot of good things and there still are good things about the community, and we’re choosing something that’s better, but it doesn’t mean that like we’ve failed at building a community, or we’ve failed at, you know, successfully doing something in our business. And I feel like that’s often the case.

It’s actually a good sign. Like if you’re switching off of something and you look back and you’re like, oh, there actually are good things here that we are choosing to move on from because. We have limited resources and like, you know, pros and cons of people writing really long things is I think part of our reasoning for switching is like we do have limited resources and we want to help people as specifically as possible.

And so, you know, we don’t want to be putting ourselves in this position where somebody writes this really eloquent and great like problem that they have and we just don’t have time to get to it cuz we’re a small team. Yeah, that actually brings up a a good point when around community and our support that we’ve had for, for, I think for a very, very long time, which is our chat support.

And when I think about community and back when we all decided to start the community, Time was more accessible for people. People had more time in their hands. People were really looking for connection and just a sense of community. Since a lot of us were really just at home, either working from home or just isolated.

And I think we’ve noticed that there was a shift in just this last year of engagement, I would say in community, just because as Josh and you guys mentioned, people have really gone back to. Normal workflow, going back on vacations, enjoying their leisure time, having community again with the things that they really want, you know, hobbies, family, all of those things.

And so now we’re seeing sort of a sup, a shift in, in support, which is mainly what I do. You know, people are really just coming in and asking very direct questions. I just need help in this specific thing. Just give me the answer. And move on about our day. Right. And that sort of also connects to what we’re doing now with Inter Interact AI is, you know, they just really want a really quick, fast, how do I get this done?

And moving on from that. So I think that’s I just wanted to sort of point that out of how times have changed and just the last two years it’s just, it’s gone. It’s gone very fast, even though it’s been two years. Yeah, and I think that’s something that the community did really well. Live sessions work like webinars and things like that worked really well when they worked really well.

But then our customers told us by not showing up to live events that they didn’t really need the live events. So like Josh said, we’re only a team of our 10 12 now. Cause we have two developers. But the developers aren’t on these calls, right? So you still have the same four or five, six people that are having to moderate these live sessions.

And if that’s not what people need or want, then we can spend our time much better for you, helping you in ways that you actually do need support, like with these direct and faster answers and things like using Interact AI, building out the feature, the tool itself, so that you can use it in all of that.

I feel like this all really comes back to what Josh mentioned earlier, that everything we’re doing is in response to what our customers are asking of us, whether they’re asking it directly or showing us by not engaging in our community, not involving themselves in the live sessions. It all kind of ties back into why we’re making this big shift.

Yeah, and that points to, okay, just the quality of our team, again, which is like always so apparent because you all right, were paying attention and, and hearing what people were saying, which is one of our values, right? Like listening to our customers deeply and then also adapting really fast, like. It’s incredible that our team was able to spin up a really successful community in a couple years and then move on from it, but not move on in a way where it’s like, okay, that’s gone now and we’re not supporting people.

It’s just we’re supporting people in a way they want to be supported and. To, I think DARI’s point, right? Like the economy, the parts of the economy that are booming right now is airlines and hotels. Like people who are like, we were stuck inside for two years, get me out. So they don’t want to be online, you know, talking with people about their businesses more than they have to.

They just want to get in, get their stuff done, get out, and then go on vacation, spend time with their kids or whatever it is, right? So, Hats off to our team again for just being able to make those shifts really fast. Yeah, and I feel like anytime we were talking about the community, how we can increase engagement and everything, I always had to kind of reflect about how I engage in communities, how I work, when I need a problem solve, and I’m the type of person that goes in searches what I want, and then leaves.

And I feel like that’s kind of one of the things that didn’t go so well in our community is that’s what people were doing. We were the only ones engaging. We were the only ones responding when ideally we wanted it to be, you know, people responding and supporting and helping each other, but people wanted to go in, get the information they needed, and then kind of leave.

So I think that also made it hard. And also one of the reasons why we’re like, okay, if people feel this way, then we should. Not have this whole setup where we have to answer multiple questions all at the same time or different times. So it was just better for us to kind of shift away from this. And I know Jackie, you also felt like getting people to respond to each other was always just hard in there.

Yeah. And where the member directory came in handy, right, of like connecting people, because I think it was J Klaus from the Circle community had said something like he, in a real life setting, he went to a conference. And the fact that I think, I don’t know, somebody he knew, or a host of that conference, introduced him to somebody where that they thought they would benefit by meeting each other.

Jay never would have met this person at this conference or introduced himself to this person at this conference, had that introduction not happen. And so that’s essentially what we were trying to recreate in the quiz collective too. Hey, Jesy, meet Damaris so that that would open, I would be an easy way for you two to start a conversation with each other.

And it’s not to say that that didn’t happen. It did. Not at the scale that I sort of expected, I guess, but also I think in response to the, the changing needs of our customers, of everybody out there, right? Like they just didn’t have time to connect with people just for fun. And the other thing too what do I, how do I wanna say this is, The types of questions that were coming through the community were often very much the same.

And so having to explain the answers to whether a community member did it or whether we, we answered the question or one of the experts in this, in the community. We were ex, we were answering the question in slightly different ways every single time, which maybe led to confusion. And so now that we know, okay, these are definitely the parts where people are getting stuck, because these are the questions that were asked the most often.

Instead, we’re focusing on creating content based or like videos, right, of showing you this is the answer and this is why. So we can give everybody who asks a more streamlined answer to what that is so that it, it’s less confusing. I don’t know if that was even an answer to your question. I feel like do this every time, but that’s what I wanted to say.

No, I think that’s a really good point because if you want to create really good content, you need to be in like creation mode and it’s, I think it’s impossible to switch between creation mode and like question answering mode. And so like Jackie, if you’re making a video. Right. Like if you have to switch off every five minutes and answer a question, you’re not going to be able to make a great video or, you know, an accompanying blog post or help doc or whoever else is creating content.

And so I think it’s actually really important for us to set aside that time so we can answer those questions in a way that’s like succinct and in the format that our customers want instead of trying to like do it over and over again, which is just inefficient and doesn’t really benefit anybody. Yeah.

And speaking of inefficient, what are we doing now with Interact AI to make things more efficient for everyone? I think everyone here is working on Interact AI quizzes, but let’s just talk about like the difference between how we were helping people build their quizzes from scratch and the community to what we’re doing now.

Does anyone wanna take the lead on it? I mean, I have a short answer to that, and it’s before I was leading you through five weeks of coaching where you had to dial in, listen to me, my little spiel for five weeks at a time on top of doing homework or action steps after those live sessions. Answering and and participating in the community.

And now it’s really just a matter of fill out this quick form, which has two little fields, right? Your email and any quiz ideas that you have or your website. And then we will just make the quiz for you. So instead of having to worry about all of the places that you can get stuck in making your quiz, which is what the five weeks of quiz coaching addressed and helped you through, you don’t have to do any of that anymore.

We just put the quiz into your account based on what type of quiz you’re looking for. Yeah. You know, that actually brings up a good point and for all of the business owners that are listening I think it’s important to just sort of recognize like, just like as Josh mentioned, the community serve its purpose.

It was the season of. Building community, wanting connection, and as a business owner specifically pointing this out to you, Josh, because you’re a c e O, you know, listening to our feedback of how the community’s sort of winding down and then at the same time you are starting to recognize, okay, AI is sort of taking over, people are really getting into that trend.

How can we pivot and then start focusing on that to help our customers? That’s very important. I think it’s a very important. Sort of, I don’t know what you would call it, but the shift and focus and being able to sort of understand that that’s what the business needs and then that’s what we need to, to do to, for the lack of a better word, survive.

Right. And the times of change is, is important for all of the business owners listening out there. If your customers are sort of, Dying off of what you’re doing. Don’t be scared of change and try something new and you never know. I mean, for us, it, going back to what Jesy was, was saying, Interact, AI has been.

It’s been very good. It’s been very steady. People are really liking it. We really have not had a lot of negative feedback on it. If anything, it’s made our jobs easier because we don’t have to do that much strategy, right. We can help you guys even faster. So I just sort of wanted to, to point that out.

You know, change is scary, but it’s not, it’s not a bad thing. Yeah. And I think there’s a really good podcast episode I listened to last week, so I’ll recommended. It was it’s called the Social Radars. And Brian Chesky, the founder of Airbnb, was on and they were talking about the origin story cuz the host of the social radars, his woman named Jessica, one of the hosts.

And she was like the, the founder in Airbnb when it was like a. You know, two people in an apartment. And so they were just talking about being a cockroach business, which basically means you don’t die. And you know, we we’re, we’re heading into turbulent times and Airbnb started in 2008, and what we’re experiencing in the economic environment is not so different from 2008.

I mean, that’s when I started my first company, what was 2008? And. You know what I did then and what our company is doing now. And now that we have all of us here and we’re all figuring it out together, we’re just like figuring out what we have to do to survive. And I think it’s a really good lesson for any business.

Like, you know, the stuff that was working before, you know, it’s kind of just like throw it all out and start with a blank page because. You know, and it just happened that the AI came along right as everything was falling apart in the economy and was kind of like our knight and shining armor, if you will.

Like it’s, it’s really changed things. Like Jackie said, five weeks of coaching down to 10 minutes of building an AI quiz. I calculated it out. When I help somebody individually, it’s about 200 minutes, so three-ish hours to make a quiz from scratch. And AI is like, Five to seven minutes. So that’s, that’s kind of the thing that comes along and you just have to like stay open and I think you have to pivot like all the time like that.

I mean, the underlying thing that we do, connecting people through quizzes, like using a quiz as a medium to connect businesses and customers, that’s not changing and it hasn’t changed since we started, but how we deliver that and how the quizzes get built and all that stuff, that’s always gonna change I think.

Yeah, and I think I just wanna add to that. Never, I mean, and I don’t think this is ever gonna happen when you have your quiz, regardless of how long it takes you to make it right, there’s still. There’s still more effort that you have to put into marketing the quiz, right? Getting it, visibility, maybe tweaking it or optimizing it.

Building out email sequences to send people to after taking the quiz. And so with the launch of Interact AI, it’s. Because in, in coaching, I used to see this all the time where we would get through the five weeks and people would be so excited that they finished their quiz, but then they were like, oh, I have to do all this more work in order to get this quiz to actually be successful for me.

And you do, sorry, but you do, right? You have to get people to find it that aren’t already in on your radar or on your list. It’s not just a put your quiz on your website and that’s all you have to do. Everyone’s gonna find your website. And so now with Interact AI, you don’t have to put. Really any energy.

I mean, it requires a little bit, it does to build the quiz. But now you can really focus on what you’re always going to have to do, which is market your business. And that’s where, I mean, we, we can do it in different ways. You can hire out, you can do it yourself, right? But that’s where, as an entrepreneur, you have to spend your time.

And so we’re giving you energy back and time back to spend it there as opposed to, Hey, I wanna use a quiz. Oh, it’s gonna take me five weeks to put this thing together. And I really like how you mentioned that it saves so much time cuz I feel like a lot of people come in and not. Most people that come in, they know they wanna use a quiz.

They wanna try a quiz, but time is money if you’re running your own business. So if it’s gonna take you five weeks to try something out that may or may not be a good fit for you, you’re probably gonna veer towards the side of not trying it and not doing it. But now when we can build a quiz for you in five to 10 minutes, you’re like, yeah, I’ll give it a shot.

Let’s see if it works. That’s not taking up much time, much brain power. And if it works, then you tweak it, you move on, you keep using it, and if it doesn’t, then you know right away you’re not putting in that much time and effort. So I think that’s a huge kind of thing that’s like led people to try them out more.

Less like a less, what is it? Marketing barrier. That’s what we had. That’s what we talked about on those other, like that barrier is like completely gone with ai, which I think is awesome. Yeah, and I wanna say to that because when I say like, you do need a little bit of energy to put into creating your quiz, right?

When you, so in that episode where we talked about creating your quiz as the barrier, we talked about the, what did you, Josh says so much better the level of thinking, right? So like, you know, in your mind what you want your quiz idea to be, or what the end result might look like, but you can’t figure out.

Where to put what information in order for a quiz to actually work, to ask questions to get people to the right result. And so the only energy spent really in building your quiz through Interact AI is giving us that information. And we’ll help guide you through it if you don’t know what that looks like.

But if you have a quiz idea, all we really need to know is your, Expertise. Yeah. But just like a brief description of what you would want to tell people. And we can expand on that using ai, which is why I think our quizzes come out so well and sounding like the people who we’re making them for, because we are using your words with AI to, to craft.

I mean, we’re using your idea and your words to then craft the quiz using it. So, The energy that you’re spending on making a quiz now is more fun because it’s something that you already know as opposed to trying to learn this new skill or mindset shift, whatever we might call it, to actually put your idea into quiz form.

Yeah. Yeah, that’s exactly what I was gonna say is like even evolving on the levels of thinking kind of way of framing it. I, I feel like the new way of framing it that I think you’re saying over and over again, Jackie, which is perfect, is like you can do things that you already know how to do instead of having to learn something new.

Totally. It’s so frustrating to try to learn something new. Like I’m trying to build a website with chat GPT now and. It’s really easy to use chatGPT, but I cannot figure out how to deploy it. Like, I don’t know if you guys ever hear our engineers talking about like deployments and push and pull and whatever, and I don’t know how it works.

It’s not actually complicated, I don’t think. I just don’t know how to do it. And so I’m experiencing what I think our customers have experienced for the last decade is like, it’s not that making a quiz is that complicated, it’s just you’ve never done it before. So it’s really confusing and frustrating to try to figure it out.

But now that AI takes care of that, and like, like you’re saying, all we ask you for is to tell us like, what does your business do? Who are your customers, and where do you want people to go? At the end of your quiz, tell us those three things. You know? And where you want people to go is usually just your products anyways.

So easy stuff, stuff that you already know. And then what you do have to do at the end of that is like connect up your email list and put it on your website. But those are things that you’ve probably done before. Like you’ve put stuff on your website before. You’ve connected your email list of things before so you can focus on things that don’t require learning a net new skill, which is just like supremely frustrating when you have to like sit down and be like, how do I do this?

So essentially we are sun setting the community and making your lives easier because we are doing it for you. Yes. Nicely said. Nicely said, Jesy. Yeah, yeah, yeah. You know, you can have that be the opener of the, to keep it simple, tell you don’t need to listen to the rest of this one, but that’s essentially it.

If, does anyone have anything to wrap up this episode with? I think we covered all of it. No, I, but the only thing I would like to add is, you know, you are still. Getting support even though the community is sun setting. We still have our chat feature in our dashboard. You can reach out. We still have a Contact us tab on our web, on our homepage of our website that you can reach out to us.

You’re still able to use Interact AI, so we’re not really going anywhere. We’re just sun setting one thing and replacing it with something else, but we’re still here to help. Mm-hmm. Yeah, I love that. And it’s super important. We’re still here. If you do have questions on any part of your quiz, we are here to help here to talk you through it and figure out what’s gonna work for you.

Yeah. And for anybody who is maybe hesitant to use chat, I that coming from the community, I just wanna say the same exact questions that you were asking in the community. You can ask in chat. So we’re really not taking anything away by, we’re just switching where you’re submitting these questions so that we can get back to you faster and EAs better, honestly.

Mm-hmm. Yeah. Great. Well, I think, oh, the last thing we should mention is that our community will be officially closing on May 31st, and after that everyone will lose access, I believe. Right, Jackie? Yes. Yes. And I think that’s about it, right? Yeah, I was just talking to Ashley, who was our Facebook ads expert earlier today, and I told her if, I mean, if there is anything in there that you would want to screenshot, I mean, if you are taking content from somebody else, make sure that you’re asking that other person, right?

Like I’m talking about getting testimonials maybe for yourself or the quiz process for yourself. If you’re wanting to grab those things. Feel free to go in and do so before mar May 31st because after we close the community, even we will lose access to the content that is in there. It will no longer be available.

Hmm. And then one more thing that I do want to say is a big thank you to circle because really I don’t think that we would’ve been able to build out the community that we built out without the support from their team. Huge shout out to Ma Till, but also the community. Creators that are in the Circle platform as well.

And I guess just a really, really, really big thank you to all the members that were in the quiz Collective because I, for one, and I think I can speak on behalf of the entire team and the experts that are in there, had a blast meeting everybody and getting to know more about you and what you did. And I wish that I had all the hours of the day to continue that, but because we don’t, we’re moving forward in the best way that we can.

Yeah. So just thanks to everybody who’s supported and been with us since the beginning. Yeah, huge thanks to everyone and this podcast will come out later, but we will have our last office hours today with Jackie, so hopefully we see some familiar faces there. Yes, I’ll see you there. Yes. Sounds good. Well, thank you everyone for coming on, and thank you everyone for listening.

Stay tuned for next week. Bye everybody. Bye bye-Bye bye. Good to.

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Jessmyn Solana

Jessmyn Solana is the Partner Program Manager of Interact, a place for creating beautiful and engaging quizzes that generate email leads. Outside of Interact Jessmyn loves binge watching thriller and sci-fi shows, cuddling with her fluffy dog, and traveling to places she's never been before.