The Community Club

Discussion on: AMA with Jake McKee

jakemckee profile image
Jake McKee Ask Me Anything

Ask 10 Community Professionals this question and you’ll get 45 answers (we have many, many ideas about this question!). You're asking the MOST important thing though, so .....

I’ll answer this with my mantra: “Everybody goes home happy”.

I’ve been saying this for years, and I think it’s one of the most important things we community pros need to focus on. Here’s there’s skinny:

Say what’s true for you (the company) and repeat clearly back what you understand the needs of the community to be. Say both of these things openly, honestly, and frequently.

Community professionals absolutely must remember they are building a relationship, just like any other relationship between the company and the community and doing so depends on open communication and honesty.

Imagine building a relationship with a significant other where you never shared your needs. Or where you never acknowledged theirs.

As community professionals, we tend to be pretty sharp at recognizing and sharing back what the community needs are. But after 20+ years of working in the community space, I’m still surprised how hard it is for us to say clearly what we (our companies) need from the community.

But when we just state our needs clearly for the record, a funny thing happens… we earn trust with the community. The community starts to work harder to help us achieve our goals. They fight harder to protect our goals. And a wonderful symbolic relationship grows stronger and stronger as they see us deliver on their needs too.

When we are vulnerable with them and accept their vulnerability with us, partnership forms that is much stronger. They stop seeing us as marketing hacks and start seeing us as real people they’re sharing a foxhole with.