Fan communities can be incredibly powerful word-of-mouth machines. A fan community brought Harley-Davidson back from the brink of bankruptcy, inspired hundreds of thousands of people to carry Maker’s Mark ambassador cards and got many people talking about what they do with orange-handled scissors.

Building one takes hard work and a long-term commitment. But if you pull it off, you can create amazing, sustainable word of mouth that will carry you through good times and bad.

An expert at doing this is Spike Jones, and he shared a bunch of tips on how to do it at our last Word of Mouth event.

A few of his big ideas:

  • Take time to do the research. Great communities help their customers accomplish something. Yours might help them get a better job, learn something new or simply meet people like them. So do your homework and find the big problem or fantastic goal your community can help people accomplish.
  • Be ready to commit. Anyone can start a community, but it takes real talent and commitment to get people to show up and keep coming back. There are no shortcuts here — and it’s important to remember that when starting yours.
  • Give them something to believe in. Great communities stand for something. They give their fans a rallying cry, a badge of honor and something to believe in. Give them a bigger purpose — something worth fighting for — and they’ll tell the world about the reason they’re a member of your tribe.

Watch Jones’ video.

If you love this, check out our upcoming Word of Mouth Crash Course.

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