Community Building: The Value of Being Real

For the last 10+ years, marketers have started to realize that interacting with consumers is not a one-way street. Refusing to operate with this mindset fully embraced will most likely leave you out in the cold. Consumers don’t want to be talked at, with the only opportunity for feedback a suggestions box glued to the wall.

In the instance of a marketer trying to pull off the monolithic, “our corporate walls cannot be penetrated” tone, who is he trying to fool? We’re all human, so let’s stick to that.

Here’s a quote from the Foreword to Cluetrain Manifesto:

“I was dumbstruck. There, in a few pages, I read a startlingly concise summary of everything I’d seen in twenty-one years as a reporter, editor, bureau chief, and columnist for my newspaper. The idea that business, at bottom, is fundamentally human. That engineering remains second-rate without aesthetics. That natural, human conversation is the true language of commerce. That corporations work best when the people on the inside have the fullest contact possible with the people on the outside.”

The same goes for a Community Manager. When communicating with your community, be real. When reaching out through email, newsletters, comments, and in-person events, be transparent, understanding, and reachable. You are not standing behind a podium, on-stage, you’re in the trenches.

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Joseph Porcelli

Right on Lauren!

When preparing communications, I like envision myself in a circle surrounded by the community. Just like you would when giving a talk, I virtually look around and remind myself of people are there and then communicate with their interests in mind.