The Community Club

Discussion on: AMA with Jake McKee

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kgillum profile image
Katelyn Gillum

Thanks so much for doing this AMA, Jake - your background is so impressive and I absolutely love what you've built with Dinner5! :)

Because you've spent a large amount of time working with online communities, do you find that having a physical, in-person community to support is a nice way to balance what might be missing from an online community? Are there different strategies/tips/advice you might provide for serving an online community vs. an in-person community?

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jakemckee profile image
Jake McKee Ask Me Anything

Thanks! Dinner5 has been a blast these last two years and I'm so glad it's been able to continue virtually through the pandemic. Are you signed up at dinner5.org??

To the events question, let me break this down into two parts:

Super Fan events
Without question, and when we return to normal times, building in-person events into the process of super fan programs is critically important. Some programs pay the costs of flying in members to meet in person, other programs like the Microsoft MVP program ask the members to fly themselves and then offset the costs of lodging and conference once they arrive.

But the goal is to ensure that people who are in the Super Fan program are able to connect to each other because we know that connecting in person has significant power. Super Fans are often doing significant heavy lifting around the community. In support communities, for instance, you may have Super Fans offsetting the costs of hiring support agents by answering tons of user questions. The more you can make them feel connected and part of your team, the more likely they are to feel excited to carry on. It's worth the money... and actually something I'd suggest is a moral obligation.

But if budgets are tight, even putting an event together and offering to host if they can navigate themselves there still shows your commitment to them. And when they arrive, go all out on the little details. You'd be shocked how much a wonderfully decorated gift bag can impact your members. (Which by the way, is a good point separate from events... quarterly Surprise and Delight campaigns to your Super Fans are a requirement)

General Community
I'm not sure exactly what you mean by having in-person communities, but I'll make an assumption that you mean creating offline activities to supplement online activities. Absolutely, 100%, wholeheartedly agree that creating an online+offline combo is an amazing thing to do. As we've all discovered during this pandemic time, online connection only gets us so far. Humans are herd animals... we need our people! As companies like AirBnB and DuoLingo have seen, creating offline programs to supplement online activities can really blow up your communities in amazing ways.