Issue #274: Three keys to building an incredible fan community

A fan community can be an incredible force for spreading love for your brand. When you bring people who genuinely love your product together, amazing things happen.

It’s hard work, but it’s worth it.

At our upcoming Word of Mouth Crash Course in Austin on May 10, Spike Jones is teaching a class on how to create a fan community. He’s an expert at creating word of mouth movements and has helped brands like USAA, Best Buy, Fiskars, and GM make it happen.

To get an idea of all the incredible ideas you can expect, here are a few he shared at our last word of mouth event on how to build your community:

1. Do your homework
2. Put some skin in the game
3. Give them a rallying cry
4. Watch Spike’s video

1. Do your homework

The first step in building a fan community is knowing your customer. It’s one thing to listen to the conversations about your brand, but it’s another to act on them. Spike suggests getting your hands dirty and living side-by-side with your customers to understand what makes them tick. Once you’ve experienced their day-to-day lives, you’ll discover what they need from you.

2. Put some skin in the game

You can’t expect full commitment and participation from your community’s leaders unless you are willing to fully participate and offer the same amount of dedication. Spike recommends sharing special information, giving sneak peeks, and always fully disclosing about your brand. It’s OK to show them that you’re not perfect — in fact, they’ll love you even more for being honest.

3. Give them a rallying cry

Your members need something to identify with — a badge of honor — to know that they’re part of something. Giving them a bigger purpose inspires them to spread the word and support your community. Spike gives examples of Patagonia and LIVESTRONG as brands whose fans stand united because their products represent a bigger cause.

4. Watch Spike’s video

…and Spike shared all these ideas in just 20 minutes. Watch Spike’s video below to learn more about how to build a fan community. And when you’re done, check out our upcoming Word of Mouth Crash Course to see an incredible lineup of inspiring word of mouth speakers (including Spike!).

How to create a fan community, presented by Spike Jones from WordofMouth.org on Vimeo.

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