Online Community for a Funeral Insurance Company

We’ve covered a lot of community use cases on Community Signal. Here’s a new one: An online community for a funeral insurance company.

That is just one of many communities that Kirsten Wagenaar has helped build, in her 8+ year career in online community. As the founder of CMNL, the organization for Dutch community pros, she has been among the leaders in growing the community industry in the Netherlands. We also discuss:

  • The reasonable approach to community ROI
  • How client expectations for community tools are sometimes disconnected from reality
  • Kirsten’s advice for starting your own community association

Our Podcast is Made Possible By…

If you enjoy our show, please know that it’s only possible with the generous support of our sponsor: Open Social.

Big Quotes

“[With clients,] we’re very keen on having people in the organization become community managers. [We’re sharing] the skill of community management and the understanding that we’re just consultants, and we are there for a short period and then they have to take it over from us. They have to understand that they need to implement the whole idea of community.” -@kirstenwagenaar

“What caught my eye was the nine months to a year before you say that it is viable to measure the bottom line return on your efforts. I like that because it’s grounded in reality. It represents a patient approach which is what community needs.” -@patrickokeefe

“[If you’re worried about starting a community in a crowded niche,] go to your regular supermarket and see how many soft drinks there are. You can look at the same for communities, how many communities for kittens are there? I’m sure you can make a new community for kittens that is very relevant to the people that you invite. It’s all about finding your niche. Finding something that’s relevant to people. Finding those couple of people around you that find it relevant so you’re not on your own. There’s always a place to start something new. You just have to do it really well.” -@kirstenwagenaar

About Kirsten Wagenaar

Even though Kirsten Wagenaar studied psychology, she has been working in the field of community management since 2009. Starting as a community manager for the Chamber of Commerce, Kirsten became a consultant for a social media agency, KREM. During which time, she founded the association for community management in the Netherlands, CMNL. When KREM merged with a larger digital company, eFocus, Kirsten became a social lead. But, as she wasn’t interested in pursuing a career in social media, Kirsten started freelancing as a community consultant in 2013 (under the name Waves & Wires).

Then, in January of 2017, she started a company with Peter Staal, called Bind. Meanwhile, Kirsten has given hundreds of training presentations and courses on community building and management, consulted with over a hundred different organizations, wrote blogs and spoke at conferences. Bind has grown to four employees, community specialists that advise and do community management for their clients.

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Your Thoughts

If you have any thoughts on this episode that you’d like to share, please leave me a comment, send me an email or a tweet. If you enjoy the show, we would be so grateful if you spread the word and supported Community Signal on Patreon.

Thank you for listening to Community Signal.


    Hi Kirsten – Listening to your podcast now, THANK YOU for the inspiration. Was looking for ideas to do something similar, was not able to find anything “outside the box”. Your strategic vision is great motivation. Do you operate only in the Netherlands?

    Hi Michael, thank you for listening and your kind words!

    Our office is located in the Netherlands but we serve some international clients so I’d be happy to get in touch to explore if we could maybe collaborate. How does that sound?

    Hey Michael, no worries at all! I’m so glad that you got value out of the show. I’ll forward your note on to Kirsten. Thanks!


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