Please forgive the obvious Short Circuit reference. I couldn’t help myself.
Allow me to introduce myself… I’m Jake McKee, and I founded Community5. We’re on a mission and it’s a simple, yet powerful one:
Make online communities awesome for both the members participating in it and the company driving and supporting it.
I’ve been designing, launching, managing, and leading online community teams for nearly 20 years in some form or fashion. I’ve seen a lot of great growth in online communities over the years. I believe we’re in a third stage of community development. Allow me to explain.
Stage 1: Nascent communities
At least 10 years ago, communities were starting to find their stride in the business world and we were talking a lot about how to best bring online community activity (both official and fan-driven) into the business strategy planning process. But just as interest was growing…
Stage 2: Social media introduction
Social media was introduced around 2006, and based on the rumblings of online community and fan engagement that had preceded many of the tools we saw popping up (Twitter, I’m looking at you), social media started to take over the mental space of many marketing execs. Social media was more “containable”, so to speak. It was easier to build campaigns closer to what marketing teams and execs were used to executing. And it was grabbing the attention of the typical internet user like crazy. Online communities were put on the back burner. Until…
Stage 3: The resurgence of online communities
After 10 years of focus on social media, we’ve successfully integrated social channels/tools/experiences into our marketing mix. But from what I’ve seen and heard, many marketing teams and execs have been asking themselves “now what?” They have thousands of followers, but little on-site, deep conversation capable channels/tools at their disposal. So we are seeing a resurgence in interest in online communities once again.
I believe that in a few years, we’ll see online communities as a crucial part of the marketing, support, and engagement mix at most medium and large companies.
Community5 was founded to help drive that resurgence, bringing the value and success communities and fan engagement can have back to the forefront of the business strategy planning process. It’s going to be a fun ride!