The Community Club

Discussion on: AMA with Jake McKee

katrine_129 profile image

Hi Jake, thanks for being here and answering questions! When you think about building out programs dedicated to super users, where do you usually start? Are there any components that translate well across all types of programs or are they all really unique based on the community itself?

jakemckee profile image
Jake McKee Ask Me Anything

To your first question, where do you start… this is a remarkably simple answer, at least to start off:

*What will create joy that encourages members to return? *

Before I dive into the program question, let me clarify something… You’ll notice I’ve not said “Super Fans”, but “members”. Any Super Fan program is about building a pipeline system… moving members from interested to active to insanely enthusiastic. You can’t have a Major League Baseball team without a Minor League team feeding great up and coming players into it.

Now back to the question:

Super Fan programs are based on the idea that we are providing a destination, an experience, and some unique value that is so motivating that members can’t help but want to come back often, contribution frequently, and express themselves openly.

So the question isn’t really “how do we create a successful super user program”. That’s a business framing that is only focused on what we the business want. That’s the second question. The first question is what experience are we creating for the members that is so compelling that they can’t HELP but want to come back so many times that they are participating their way into a frequency program (which is really what Super Fan programs are, right?)

So to the second part of the original question: are the program components uniquely based on the community itself? Yes, but also nah.

Yes: every community is different and motivations are therefore different. A community of 50 year old CIOs and a community of 20 year old gamers are going to have different dynamics, motivations, and desires for rewards.

But also, we’re all human and our desires are surprisingly similar at the core level. We seek:

  • Connection to our peers
  • Recognition for our efforts and accomplishments
  • Support during our trying times
  • Solutions to problems we can rely on (and hopefully quickly)
  • Escape from boredom

Now the question becomes HOW do you translate those into specifics for your community culture and member desires. Godspeed, my friends.

By the way, here’s a few resources on Super Fans I wrote with our friends at Vanilla Forums.