Visit the Star Wars community and you'll find one overriding concept: the fans are what it's all about.
From fan generated artwork, art contests, fan pages, fan collections, to coverage of Star Wars promotional events, fan blogs, fan podcasts, to fan film awards - the Star Wars community celebrates fans in a big way. What you won't find? The Star Wars franchise talking about itself. That's right, the fans speak here - loud and clear - even though the community is well curated.
What can you learn from this?
Your community is about your customers, not your brand. Now, you may say that you are already putting your customers first in your community. But what we are talking about here is not just facilitating a place for customers to ask questions, participate in contests, get help and discuss your brand. This is about focus and engagement. Passion. Love. Delight. And more than anything, about being part of something bigger.
The Star Wars franchise has given their fans a place to become part of the Star Wars legacy. It's not just conversations, but creativity: artwork, sculptures, filmmaking, podcasts, collecting. It's not the movie that takes center stage here, but the fans.
Can your brand do that?
You can argue that Star Wars is a film and so it lends itself to this kind of engagement. But your community members are just as loyal and just as excited to be part of your brand. How can you rethink your community so that your customers take center stage and you give them ways to become part of your brand legacy?
Here are some ideas:
- Inspire their creativity, not just conversations. Whether its photos of how they use your products, art contests, video contests - encourage them to create and visually share their creations
- Feature customer content up front and center with tools such as Lithium's Media Experience that pulls visual content and uses a masonry view
- If your brand has customer organizations that focus on your brand, highlight those
- Think beyond the immediate scope of your brand's usage today. Does your brand have a legacy product(s)? Do customers collect your products? Is there a way they use your products (repurposing or reselling them?) that you could include in your community? Star Wars features fan collection pages, for example
- Engage your members' sense of goodwill and power to create positive change. At the top of the Star Wars community page is a banner ad for Star Wars Force for Change: Inspiring People to Make a Positive Impact on the World Around Them - an effort to harness the power of this franchise to do good in the world. Your community is where you want to harness the power of your customers, and once again, make them feel as if they are part of something bigger.
Have a look around the Star Wars community page, and see how you can create a community that makes customers feel front and center.