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How Somewhere uses Intercom to build its community

If you’ve started a business or were a part of a founding team, you probably remember the feeling when the first customer walks through the door or signs up for your product – pure magic!

What follows is a guest post by Monika Kanokova (pictured above), Community & Content Strategist with Somewhere, an Intercom customer. Somewhere is a space for people to share the way they work – their techniques, values and strategies – so they can find and be found by like-minded collaborators. It can be described as a Pinterest for business or a work-focused cross between Instagram and Tumblr.

We discovered Intercom a year ago, after reading about it on a technology blog. The first few minutes after we installed Intercom – and I still remember these minutes like it was yesterday – we just waited. We wanted to see our users appear.

Don’t get me wrong, we had users, but we wanted to see how active they were. We had a great community, but no idea who they were, how often they came back to our product or how active these people were in it.

Suddenly, someone who wasn’t a colleague appeared on screen. Then another. Then two more. The number was small but as a young startup, watching our numbers grow and seeing where these people came from felt like a revolution. That first day we checked Intercom about 50 times.

We didn’t stop. Checking Intercom was how we’d start our days. We began to track our numbers, observe who our community was and we started interacting with them individually or in groups. We quickly established Intercom as our main tool for community management and discovered many different ways to make use of the product.

Here are five of the more meaningful ways we’ve hacked Intercom to meet our needs:

  1. We track from which source people come to our service. One specific example of how this is powerful: Austin Kleon wrote an article about Somewhere on his blog. Thanks to Intercom, we tracked everyone who signed up from his blog post. If they started dropping off, we mentioned his name in the subject line of our newsletter and reminded people to share their work. The newsletter had a 77% open rate.
  2. We don’t track just people’s visits, we track their activity. We ask user to share Sparks, visual insights into their daily work moments. The more Sparks people share, the more meaningful their pages on Somewhere become. As part of our engagement strategy, we congratulate people who’ve shared their first, their tenth and their fiftieth Spark. If you want to see an example, then start sharing your work moments now.
  3. We started using tags to define focus groups. Intercom is perfect when you want to react to people’s changing behaviour and do so automatically. Here’s one example of how we’ve used tags: we marked all users who’ve never posted a Spark and divided these users into smaller groups, which we then marked using different tags. It was a little bit of work to setup the filters to achieve the same number of people for different groups, but after this had been done it gave us the opportunity to try out different versions of copy (see above) to reactivate different groups of people and track the results accordingly.
  4. We maintain our visual identity. We sometimes copy HTML code from a third party editor and adapt it to send behaviour-related emails through Intercom. Intercom does a great job when we want to communicate to different groups based on their actual actions. It’s a bit dirty, but as a small startup, you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do.
  5. We track which platform people log in from. We’ve recently introduced our iOS app and thanks to Intercom we can see which of our users downloaded the app. We can see when these people logged in on desktop and when they last logged in via our iPhone app.

None of this would have been possible if Intercom didn’t support us on our journey and helped us to understand the product even better. We asked questions and sent emails to the team at Intercom on an almost weekly basis. A good moment to express my gratitude: guys, not only have you made a great product, you are also doing an outstanding job when it comes to customer care!

Monika and the team from Somewhere