My new favorite community software: Burb

My new favorite community software: Burb

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What the heck is a burb, why I am hyped about it, and what I’m using it for. Last updated on 6/3/22. This has a burb affiliate link so plz use it.

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If you’ve read any of my articles before this one, you know that I’m kind of a nut about community tools.

This is because I’m lazy. People who ✨perceive me✨ on the internet probably don’t agree with that descriptor, because I get hella stuff done, but it is truly a function of my laziness.

And this is why I LOVE COMMUNITY TOOLS THAT WORK FOR ME!

Here are some articles that will give you better context on this community tool nerd-scape I’m in.

Today, I want to tell you about burb. It is the most fun beta I’ve ever been a part of, and I’m SOOO excited about it. I’m a little nervous too, because tech comes and goes, so getting attached to any tool means the possibility of heartbreak.

My dates with burb have gone great so far, so we’ll see where this goes 😉

Note on 6/3/22: I’m currently not using burb at the time of this update. I can’t afford their pricing at this time, and I’ve run into some major automation bugs. If this is solved, I will re-update this post and edit or delete this note. At the time of this note, I recommend using burb if you’re running an earlier-stage or smaller community with patience to test through tech errors.

What is burb?

On their home page, they describe their product as helping you “grow, measure, and connect your community across any platform”. Let me tell you how I see it though — it’s like my community zipper that helps me automate intention and deep connections.

I KNOW how that sounds. But let me explain.

By integrating with burb, I’m able to get a better view of member engagement while also scheduling emails and DMs that feel more personalized than my email CRM... and way easier than copy pasting the same message a million times.

It’s like Zapier x Mailchimp for community.

How I use burb

As I said, it’s still in beta, so this will change (and I’ll update my post with any edits).

Currently, I use it to:

  • Email people in my membership community with monthly announcements
  • Follow up with specific members in our first cohort-based course
  • Send DMs to gather quick & thoughtful feedback
  • Reach out with gratitude for our most active members

Stop, don’t automate 🛑✋🏾

The thing with automation is that it also automates your oopsie poopsies, and I’ve already done quite a few due to my overzealousness with new tools.

This isn’t burb’s fault though (I would tell you if it was). It’s not also entirely my fault (well, maybe it is) but instead of faults, let’s talk strategy.

I might write a separate post on this, but a couple quick hot takes on automation:

  • Automation should be about humans, not robots, doing the work
  • Always go manual first
  • Test your automations

#3 is where I struggle the most because I am an impatient bearer of all things chaos. Alas!

#1 Is the hottest take though — I believe that automation should scale the thought and intention you put in your community, instead of just “outsourcing” work to the algorithms. Thoughts?

Anyway, always go manual first. Don’t automate something and hope for the best. That’s my process, and it has not always worked.

(It has helped me connect more with my members, though — thankfully they’ve thought my mishaps were hilarious).

Why I use Burb to automate my community activities

I’m hoping to update this as life goes on, and I’ll change the date at the top so you know when this post was last updated. Here’s the link to burb if you’ve lost it.

  1. The playbook of options is lit I love knowing how to use new tools but I hate learning how. You get what I mean? I just want to magically have the knowledge of the universe bestowed upon me, but it’s too much to ask. Not for the burb team, apparently! In their “Playbook” section, which is one of the first things I see when I access my account, it has 3 options ready to go for me (as illustrated in the screenshot below): Schedule a Series of Posts, Schedule a Post, and Schedule a Message. Great!
  2. Alt: screenshot of Playbook as described above
    Alt: screenshot of Playbook as described above

  3. More options in the Messaging menu MORE OPTIONS!!!!!! I set up integrations between Gmail and Circle, et voila, ideas for what messages I can send Soapbox members have magically appeared! There is a “Send welcome message in Circle.so” option (below) that would have taken my brain weeks to set up, simply because I drag my feet for no good reason. I just think things are way more complicated than they actually are. Burb has read my mind, apparently, and has saved me the toil and trouble of... clicking one extra button. But honestly? I needed that.
  4. Alt: menu of scheduling message options as described above
    Alt: menu of scheduling message options as described above

  5. It integrates with Gmail!!!! When I first signed up for burb’s beta and got onboarded by Drew, their founder (wow, what a star I felt like that day), he alluded to some Gmail automation off in the distance. I told him this would save me a mountain of pain, because I HATE my current email service provider (Mailchimp), so I just bcc our community members in Gmail and hope for the best. It’s not elegant, and my segmentation is terrible. Now, thanks to burb, I can send emails to people in specific groups and make them personalized! (🛑 Caution: I also super messed up on this because I got too eager and didn’t double check all my settings, so proceed with care.)
  6. Grouping members is easy At least with my current Circle <> Burb integration, it’s easy — I add a tag in Circle and then I can set up an automation that adds them to a group in burb. Groups let me send targeted emails/DMs to that subset of people, and it’s really useful for things like pre-course reminders and quick feedback check-ins. They also have a “% Active” number that displays in each of your Groups, which I thought was pretty cool.
  7. Thoughtful DMs at scale Burb is helping me scale thoughtful leadership in a way I’ve never seen with a tech tool like this, and that’s the biggest overarching reason I love it so far. Automated DMs are such a great way to quickly check in on people who are inactive or dropping off, and also to appreciate people that are most active. And as I said before, they have pre-set suggestions for these, which is the reason I’m finding it so easy to use. Burb is basically my friend who says, “hey, have you checked on ____ recently? I haven’t heard from them in a while” or “____ has been working so hard lately! Wanna chip in for a gift basket?” (Ok so it’s not exactly like that, but a girl can dream of automated + thoughtful gift baskets, right?)
  8. Alt: screenshot of a gratitude DM for most active members, posted by Danielle Maveal
    Alt: screenshot of a gratitude DM for most active members, posted by Danielle Maveal

  9. The team First of all, huge shoutout to Danielle for all of burb’s community resources, including content, events, and more. I appreciate you, Danielle!! Second of all, huge shoutout to Drew and the whole product/engineering team (does that cover everyone lol??!) Not only do they lead with values first, they are also so responsive to feedback. As you know by now, I have generated some serious wack messaging by getting trigger happy with the tool, and the team has, within a couple days, implemented a feature so people like me can’t accidentally blast emails to their whole community as easily.

It’s time to end the list here, especially if I’m planning on adding to it as I continue to use burb. I have high hopes for my lil community friend! 👉🏾 Sign up here!

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