Anthony Kennada knows why you should escape social media’s limits and own your media

Anthony Kennada

Think about building your personal brand, spending time thinking about creating content, actually doing the job, engaging with the audience just to see a note from apps that your account has been banned.

All that time and effort is in vain.

So what should you do to prevent this from happening?

You go from rental channels to owned platforms

When you build your content and community on third-party platforms like social media networks, you are subject to their terms of service, algorithms, and potential policy changes.

These platforms have the authority to suspend or deactivate your account, restrict your reach, or even shut down entirely, leaving you without access to your audience or your content.

But owning your media channels lets you retain full control and independence over your content, ensuring continuity and stability for your brand.

There are more and more companies which are building their own media like Lavender did with LavenderLand, or HockeyStack with The Flow.

They understood the importance of owning the audience and getting them on their channels.

Someone else that understood why this is crucial is Anthony Kennada who actually built an entire company around the idea of helping companies build their own media.

Who is Anthony Kennada?

Anthony is the co-founder and CEO of AudiencePlus, a company focused on building software, content, and community to help every company become a media company.

Before founding AudiencePlus, he was Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) at companies such as Hopin and Front

However, he is most recognized for his role as the founding CMO of Gainsight, where he and his team are credited with creating the Customer Success category. 

At Gainsight, Anthony developed innovative marketing strategies focused on human-centric community building, content marketing, live events, and creative activations.

These strategies helped Gainsight’s growth from zero to over $100 million in ARR and eventually led to its acquisition by Vista Equity at a valuation of $1.1 billion.

Anthony started posting on LinkedIn in 2021 and he soon grew an audience of 27,400 people.

About six months ago, Anthony created a LinkedIn post presenting himself to the new followers where he wrote about who he is and his beliefs around the importance of building owned audiences.

How does Anthony encourage owned media and why is he a B2B creator?

  1. Highlights the importance of owning your media
  2. Audience first, product second
  3. Combines B2B with B2C
  4. Strongly associates his personal brand with AudiencePlus

A. Highlights the importance of owning your media

Almost a decade ago I read an article from Joe Pulizzi saying that you should not build your content on rented land, and it just got stuck with me.

If you think about it, it’s still valid.

Today, there are even more creators than there were ten years ago. They create content only on social platforms like LinkedIn, X, TikTok, or even Medium, and don’t have an owned place to share their content.

What’s the problem with this?

Two months ago, Anthony wrote about a person with an audience of 93,000 who asked for help on X because she lost access to their LinkedIn account and wanted to recover it.

This is just an example that the platforms can change their policy even banning you without having to say a thing.

Anthony frequently talks about owning your media on his social platforms by sharing relevant examples from brands.

He analyzed the success of Reese Witherspoon’s media company, Hello Sunshine, and extracted the lessons from her business model that can be applied to B2B, such as:

1. Audience validation

Hello Sunshine effectively uses its audience, particularly Reese’s 2.5 million member book club, to validate new content and ideas.

By observing which stories gain traction within the community, they can experiment with different narratives and double down on the ones that resonate the most. B2B companies can apply this approach by leveraging their own audiences to test and refine their offerings.

2. Influencer partnerships

Anthony highlights the importance of taking advantage of “cheat codes,” such as celebrity status or relevant influencers, to build and monetize an audience.

Hello Sunshine benefits from Reese Witherspoon’s popularity, but B2B companies can replicate this by partnering with influencers, building in-house creators or brand evangelists to build credibility.

3. CEO presence

Hello Sunshine has Reese Witherspoon as the face of the brand same as AudiencePlus has Anthony.

A CEO or a company spokesperson can humanize the brand and make it more approachable for potential customers.

Anthony also created a post about Lush’s anti-social media policy. The skincare brand closed all their social media accounts to communicate directly with their customers without interactions being controlled by third-party platforms and wanted to avoid any disclosure of privacy and data usage.

Anthony says that most businesses aren’t ready to withdraw from social media, but there is a way to strategically use social media for company’s benefit.

One thing is encouraging founders, CEO, or spokespeople to talk about the company and humanize the brand and to use social media as a tool to amplify the owned media.

Meaning, to redirect people to your blog posts, videos, and website.

Anthony spends a lot of time analyzing what happens on social media, and offers advice on how to leverage social media algorithms to drive qualified traffic to own media, such as blogs or newsletters.

B. Audience first, product second

Based on the type of content he creates, analytics, valuable insights, first-time founder advice, start-up advice, and actionable strategies, you can see that he directs his attention to founders and marketers audiences.

And Anthony knows exactly why he addresses them.

This community he formed around his personal brand is actually the right audience for AudiencePlus.

1. He offers entrepreneurial advice

For the people who plan to start a business or already are first-time founders, he offers advice about what they should do right from the start based on his experience.

In this post, he talks about the importance of stopping to make things perfect and surround yourself with people who have the skills you’re missing instead of building a mountain of anxiety on yourself.

Anthony also shares three resources that he found invaluable as a CEO, offering insights into how they helped him navigate the challenges of running a company.

He talks about leveraging resources, such as legal partners, technology platforms, and advisory boards.

Having a legal partner who understands the industry, besides assisting with formalities of incorporating the business, can offer valuable guidance, ask insightful questions, and introduce you to key vendors.

Taking advantage of different tech platforms can simplify all sorts of processes especially if you don’t have prior experience in different areas. 

Creating an advisory board can help you with their insights to guide the development of the product, company, and market strategy.

2. Offers tips for marketing and growth

Anthony shares practical tips, strategies, and tactics for marketing and business growth.

And what I really like about Anthony is that his content strategically connects his audience to AudiencePlus without making it feel intrusive.

In one of his recent posts he talks about the challenges marketers and business owners will face in 2024.

He calls the challenges “the four horsemen” and these are: new content formats, expensive and inefficient paid media, untrustworthy social media algorithms, cookie-less world.

In his post he offers a pro and a con to each one, and in the comment section he offers a free AudiencePlus ebook about how to plan your owned media in 2024 based on these challenges.

3. He’s a thought leader

Based on the advice, the personal experience, and practical solutions he’s offering, Anthony has all the characteristics of a thought leader in the marketing field.

Being on both sides, a CMO and a CEO, he knows when to solicit advice to keep his audience connected and when to offer advice to create a sort of camaraderie among peers.

C. Combines B2B with B2C marketing

On his LinkedIn and X accounts, he describes himself as a “B2C marketer trapped in a B2B body”.

The reason he says this is because he’s focused on bringing a lot of the same tactics used in consumer marketing to B2B

He highlights that while he used to focus solely on studying B2B giants like Salesforce or HubSpot,he now also looks to B2C greats such as MrBeast, Morning Brew, and Justin Welsh for inspiration.

Why? Because, he says, B2B companies mimic each other’s tactics and fail instead of adopting creative B2C strategies that prioritize human connection.

He thinks this approach is more effective in engaging audiences and driving meaningful connections with potential customers.

To prove his point, he gives Liquid Death as an example of B2C marketing tactics that can be used in B2B, such as building an audience first, creating ungated content, leveraging UGC, and creating a consistent brand voice.

And if you think about it, Anthony first created his audience and then came up with his product.

At the time he launched his beta version of AudiencePlus he already had a solid community he communicated with.

That’s why his post about the launch had 740 interactions, 155 comments, and 29 reposts.

D. Strongly associates his personal brand with AudiencePlus

First things first: what does AudiencePlus do?

Marketers relied on paying for access to audiences through search marketing and digital advertising, or renting access through third-party algorithms on social media and content networks.

But today, marketers are impacted by the new data privacy laws, so they want to build direct relationships with their audiences through owned media.

In an interview for Forbes, Anthony says that “AudiencePlus helps companies build, engage, and monetize their own audiences by enabling brands to become their own channels for distribution.”

Like most founders such as Tyler Denk or Nathan Barry, Anthony is the face of AudiencePlus, and he connects his audience with the company.

Like I’ve already said, a lot of his content addresses issues that AudiencePlus resolves and he constantly talks about how they do things in the company.

One thing I have noticed is that since LinkedIn encourages more video content on the platform, Anthony started to post snippets of the AudiencePlus podcast on LI

Since he owns an owned media platform, he obviously invites his audience to go watch and listen to the whole episodes on their website.

Anthony wants to offer a helping hand to managers seeking to build owned media, and due to this, about six months ago, AudiencePlus created the AudiencePlus Career Connect.

It’s a free place to post about hiring content marketers, B2B creators, producers, and more.

Since the launch of this program, Anthony has been constantly posting every week about the new job offering they saw on their website trying to connect companies with job seekers.

What lessons can B2B creators learn from Anthony?

1. Don’t build on rented property

Over the years, platforms have shut down, such as Vine, Google Plus, or others, making their users lose all their content.

Even today, the discussion about banning TikTok from the US is still going on, not to mention that these platforms like LinkedIn, TikTok, or Instagram can ban you without mentioning something.

Besides the cases where you violated the policy, LinkedIn can even ban you for sending to make connection invites or receiving too many messages.

Yes, you may recover your account after 1-7 days, but you can also be banned forever.

Imagine Sahil Bloom had no newsletter and he just lost the access to his LinkedIn account of 541,461 followers.

It would be devastating. All those years creating content, building an audience to disappear instantly.

You can still use social platforms to build audiences, but make sure to redirect it to something you own, like a website or newsletter so in case anything happens you don’t waste time building something on rented property ending up losing everything.

2. Audience-first mindset

Focus on creating content that resonates with your audience and provides genuine value.

Invest time and effort in researching and understanding your target audience’s needs, preferences, and pain points. 

Use surveys, interviews, and analytics data to gather insights and refine your audience personas.

Prioritize solving their problems, answering their questions, and addressing their interests.

Once you have everything cleared out you can start thinking of building a product that can help them solve their issues.

Since you’ll have your audience all build up exactly on the product you launched, your audience will be more eager to test and buy your product.

You won’t have to go crazy with the sales to find the right people for it, people will be already signing up to buy.

3. Humanize your brand

There is a saying “people buy from people, not brands” which I see more and more put into practice.

With companies encouraging their CEOs and employees to build their personal brands like Charli Marie, or building up brand evangelists like Zoë Hartsfield, companies see that people seek more human connection.

This connection builds trust and authenticity.

And if people like the people from a company, they are more inclined to like the product as well.

Final Thoughts

I hope Anthony made you rethink your approach to content and audience engagement.

If you already built an audience around your personal brand, think how you can take advantage of that audience and direct it to your own channel whether that’s newsletter, blog, or website.

Remember that on your channel you make the rules and you don’t depend on algorithms, you will be in full control of your audience’s data privacy, and you won’t be limited by any restrictions like limited brand customization or limited monetization.