Interesting where one gets their inspiration.
In regards to Community Management – I’ve read books on the subject, countless blogs, and even attended conference sessions.
Perhaps the place I’ve found the most inspiration from is the community associated with the hip-hop label QN5 Records. I first stumbled upon the site in 2004 when searching for album information and it was immediately clear that this was different from other music websites I had been to.
What was the difference?
They had a forum where all of their artists were available, active, and engaged. Gone was the the “I’m too busy, mysterious, important and/or cool for my fans” attitude. Instead it was replaced with a transparent, appreciative & and all around warm atmosphere.
Fans could now not only get to know the artists on a personal level – they could get to know each other on a personal level.
The power of creating these connections is best showcased each August when the label’s fans ascend on New York City for what is called The MegaShow.
In the months preceding the event, NYC locals post threads offering up their spare couches, out-of-towners organize road trips from 300 miles away, unofficial pre-parties are scheduled and people from as far as New Zealand are sharing news of plane ticket purchases.
In almost every single one of the post concert reviews, people talk about how meeting all the forum members in person was among the most gratifying parts of their experience. And while QN5′s ability to put on a great show shouldn’t be discounted, the produced takeaways from these events are far greater than “that was my favorite concert”.
People talk about how seeing this event changed their lives, how this is now their second family, and how much they will genuinely miss each other waiting for next years event.
Much more of a childhood summer camp vibe than a hip-hop concert.
This example taught me that by creating a community around their brands, companies can produce customer experiences that are beyond what can be achieved solely using traditional forms of interaction.
Simply put, it pays to connect your customers.