Communications platform Community received a $40 million investment from Salesforce Ventures, bringing the total raised by the startup to close to $90 million. The company plans to use the money to further its mission, build new tech and product features and recruit new customers. Previous investors include Twilio, Live Nation Entertainment, Sony Innovation Fund and Sound Ventures, which is operated by Ashton Kutcher and Guy Oseary.
Launched in July 2019, Community gives celebrities, businesses, politicians, influencers, bands and brands a way to connect directly with their fans through a text messaging-based platform. Community provides users with a phone number that fans can use to text and communicate directly with their favorite celebrities, brands and businesses, including subscription companies. The messages from Community “leaders,” including celebrities and influencers, can be sent out as text blasts to all fans or to segments of fans. Community leaders can also send texts one-on-one to fans and followers. The text messages can include messages, emojis, voice messages, photos, videos, GIFs and links.
3 billion texts
To date, the Santa Monica-California-based startup says 3 billion texts have been exchanged with an average click-through rate of 59% and average open rate of 95%. People magazine, The Jonas Brothers, Ellen Degeneres, JLo, White Claw, U2, Sean “Diddy” Combs, A Rod, Tony Robbins, former President Barack Obama, Philip DeFranco, The Chainsmokers, Bryan Cranston, Lauren Daigle, Kerry Washington, Tony Hawk, Tom Brady and the Pittsburgh Penguins are among the cast of characters you’ll find on Community. According to Variety, Community celebrities, influencers and brands pay a monthly fee ranging from $100 to thousands of dollars to directly access their fans.
What it’s all about
Here’s an introduction to the communications platform and what it is all about:
Community lists its key advantages as:
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- Direct engagement with fans
- Segmentation by age, location and interest
- Intelligent inbox organization
- No ads or selling of personal data
- Organic reach so there are no algorithms to figure out
Different than social media
When Community launched two years ago, they explained how they differ from social platforms like Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat – direct, meaningful engagement.
“The vast majority of social tools aren’t designed for this level of reach or engagement. Community is not an evolution of social media. It’s a break away from it. Email and direct messengers focused on one-to-one communication are high effort and low coverage,” Community said. “One-to-Community communication is what excites us. Audiences made of individuals, with names and faces, interests and opinions, hometowns and pronouns. Conversations that are personal, relevant-and above all-wanted. Where community leaders own the relationships and create the engagement, not algorithms. All on a channel we know, use, and love.”
Social media, while still a common avenue for celebrities, influencers and subscription companies to use as a marketing and promotional tool, leaves a lot to be desired. Getting around algorithms and fostering true engagement with fans and followers can be challenging, as can moderation and engagement. As an alternative, text-based tools like Community and Subtext are growing in popularity because the open rates and opportunities for engagement via text message are significantly higher. This is an exciting time to use new tech tools to improvement engagement and foster meaningful relationships with fans, followers, customers and subscribers.