The greatest asset any business can have is good relationships with their customers, and communities are a powerful environment to not just foster those relationships, but to do so in an environment where the world can see how engaging, supportive, and kind you are.
So how do you do that? Read on…
For guitar nerds like myself, the Fractal Audio Systems Axe FX 3 is pure, liquid gold.
For the uninitiated, the Axe FX is a piece of gear that emulates hundreds of analog guitar amplifiers, speaker cabinets, and pedals.
It is an endless toy box for guitarists, saving me and my six-and-seven-string brethren thousands of dollars in other gear. It does it all.
With such unbelievable levels of configurability, there is understandably a pretty rocking (pun intended) community wrapped around it. The usual exists there – lots of Q&A, discussion, speculation about new features and more.
Where it gets interesting is that every month, the head of Fractal Audio Systems, Cliff Chase, releases new firmware updates for frothing Axe FX 3 fans who lap it up immediately and put each new release through its paces.
Two things are interesting here…
Firstly, community members get early access to the new features as part of this firmware. They test the firmware out, find and report bugs, and pile on oodles and oodles of thanks to Cliff for his hard work and toil.
Secondly – and perhaps most pertinent – these firmware updates come from Cliff Chase himself.
He posts them from his account. They don’t come from an SVP Engineering, they don’t come from a Community Manager and they don’t come from a Digital Prophet (sorry Shingy).
They come from Cliff, the founder and main engineer at Fractal Audio Systems.
He shares the firmware, shares the release notes, and actively engages, discusses, and even debates with community members. This isn’t an isolated incident, it has been happening for years.
This is a critical reason that their community is thriving: community members want direct access to the people building the products they love. Cliff is one of those people and the community wants to engage with him.
One of the very first things I talk to new clients and masterclass students about is the importance of your community being part of the daily working operations of your company.
Put bluntly, I don’t care whether you are a CEO or whether you are an Intern, everyone should participate in your community.
Because fundamentally a community is an environment where we show up for each other.
The greatest asset any business can have is the relationships with their customers, and communities are a powerful environment to not just foster those relationships, but to do so in an environment where the world can see how engaging, supportive, and kind you are.
To be clear, I love community managers and they do amazing work designing, optimizing, and building communities, but an essential part of this work is getting others in the company to play a role.
This requires understanding the different incentives for different teams in your company and providing guidance, training, support, and helping everyone to be successful.
When this works well, you get the Fractal Audio Systems community where thousands of people around the world – including me – are proud to be a Fractal Audio Systems customer.
So, be kind to your friendly neighborhood community manager, but don’t accept silence from your teams in your community. If you do that you are doing a disservice to your customers and community members.