A win-win approach we can all like and share
A win-win approach we can
all like and share
Community is a verb. An interaction. A give and take. So, the successful community is one where all its members—and that includes you—are expressing their needs, contributing their unique value, and getting what they want, whatever that is. When a meaningful connection between company and customers happens, everybody goes home happy.
The philosophical approach that has driven my work for more than two decades is this simple mantra. It means that for a community to work, both the company and its customers must recognize each other for their efforts, meet each other’s needs, and be able to speak up and be heard when that’s not happening. If you do your best to make each other happy, your community will deliver exceptional value and build an army of advocates who will advance your brand as far as you want it to go.
What I do best is help you build successful communities by uncovering the needs of both your company and your customers, then design effective and engaging ways to deliver on them.
Five steps to making Everybody happy.
Recognize we don’t all have to have the same needs
It’s okay if a company wants to reduce call volumes after a new release, while fans want more inside access. We just have to be aware of each other’s objectives, respect each other’s needs, and be honest and open about them with each other. We can’t help each other if we don’t know what “help” looks like, and I have become an expert at recognizing it.
Remember we’re all in this together
Fans aren’t the only members of your community—you are, too. We’re a fifty-fifty partnership in this thing, and we’ve got each other’s backs. You and your brand fans are working toward the same essential goal: to make life better and easier for everyone in the product ecosystem.
You can tell me your needs and I can tell you mine
For the relationship to work, we must speak up when needs aren’t being met. Fans need to believe that you understand and care about them. You must reflect their needs and express your own—openly, honestly, and authentically. And because what’s good for you is good for your customers, telling them what will help you deliver on their desires will show them how they can get what they want.
Stay flexible but fiercely loyal to the community mission
That mission, should you choose to accept it, is to elevate and enable your fans to be equal partners, striving for the same goals. We’re all working together to advance a common cause, a higher calling to promote our brand, satisfy core desires, and make the world a better place because of it.
Always, always stay in touch
It’s our job to keep the lines of communication open and let fans know that we hear them, understand them, and are working on their priorities. That’s why community teams exist—to engage with their members in meaningful ways. Not just blanket emails. I can train your team to communicate better so you can share your progress on meeting needs—theirs, yours, and everybody’s.
Hi! I’m Jake McKee, the original Community Guy. Going all the way back to 1996, I’ve played an instrumental role in building online communities for some of the world’s most successful and recognizable brands, including LEGO, Apple, Southwest Airlines, Canon, and H&R Block.
I consult with organizations of all sizes to help solve community and business challenges of all kinds. I’ve co-authored books on social media and community strategy, and spoken to and run workshops for audiences of business professionals countless times. I created Dinner5, a community project that connects senior-level online professionals every month for conversation, connection, and camaraderie. As if that’s not enough community nerdery, I also created a web comic about community management, Confessions of a Community Manager.